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Biblical Water Baptism, The Mode, Episode II

Updated on March 2, 2014

Referenced Texts

Jn 3:5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (ek hudeitos) and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Jn 5:25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

Ro 6:4-5 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.

! Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

The Mode of Water Baptism

In the treatises before us we have come to the question: "Which mode of water Baptism is the correct one?" Evangelical Christians are divided on the question. Some denominations (typically those who believe that only believers should be baptized - called believer's baptism) think that immersion is the only valid mode; while other Evangelical groups (usually those who recognize the validity of infant baptism) consider all modes to be acceptable. Then there is the Orthodox who practice infant baptism by immersion. Before us, in the Q&A we will discover what the Bible teaches on the subject.

Question 10: What is meant by the phrase “Mode of Water Baptism?” ∼ Answer: The “mode” of a thing is the manner in which it is done or appears. In the case of Water Baptism, different modes are practiced by different Christian sects. These different modes include immersion (in which the person is completely submerged), affusion (that is, pouring), and aspersion (sprinkling).

Question 11: What does the Bible teach concerning the “Mode” of Water Baptism?” ∼ Answer: The Bible is not silent on the subject of the mode of Water Baptism. First, the word baptidzo (the Greek word from which our word baptism comes) means to immerse or to dip. (See Question 1.) Secondly, Paul teaches that Water Baptism pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:4). This imagery would require an immersion in that the waters of the baptismal site would represent the grave. For example the teaching of Jesus in John 3:5, is that the baptized was to be born (ek hudeitos): “out of the water.”

Some who argue against immersion will offer Mark 7:4 and Luke 11:38 and point out that the same word translated "baptize" elsewhere in Scripture means “to wash by pouring,” not “immerse:” but in those texts the actual meaning (as historical information substantiates) is to “wash by dipping or immersing in water.”

Question 12: What is the significance of the symbolize of a burial, planting and resurrection given in Romans 6:4, regarding Water Baptism? ∼ Answer: When considering Water Baptism as a burial, planting and resurrection, immersion is the only mode that maintains the integrity of the imagery presented in Romans 6:4-5. One does not bury, nor plant by pouring or sprinkling; plus, one resurrects only from a grave; neither pouring nor sprinkling provides such an image.

Question 13: What examples do the Bible provide for the mode of Water Baptism? ∼ Answer: The Biblical examples of Water Baptismal modes are as follows:

  1. The Water Baptism of Jesus, by John, was by the mode of immersion; the Bible says “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).
  2. John the Baptist seems to always have used the mode of immersion, because we read: “And John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (John 3:23.)
  3. Philip baptized the Ethiopian by the mode of immersion: Acts 8:38, 39, “... and they went down both into the water. ... when they were come up out of the water.”

Question 14: How important is Biblical (Apostolic) example? ∼ Answer: Luke wrote that the first Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine” (Acts 2:42). This included both their teachings and practices. Paul wrote of the Thessalonians, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us:” (Second Thessalonians 3:7). Also, the writer of Hebrews says “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the Word of God: whose faith follow,...” (Hebrews 13:7).

The Biblical Physical Example Given, Demonstrates How A Biblical Command Is To Be Obeyed.

Question 15: Why is the mode of Water Baptism important? ∼ Answer: Symbols teach. The proper mode of Water Baptism (i.e. immersion) teaches the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:4); which is the Gospel by which all men are saved (1Corinthians 15:1-4). Moreover, Water Baptism is the believer’s testimony that he/she is identifying with these things. Further, it is the believers “first resurrection” (see John 5:25 and Romans 6:4).

Apostolically Speaking

☩ Jerry Hayes

Water Baptism Q&A, Q's 10-13


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    • Bishop J L Hayes profile image

      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 3 years ago from Texas City, Texas


      Permit me to invite you to review the articles on WB that does deal with your concerns.

      See the many articles linked here.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 3 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth. between the oceans

      while I do not see you saying that water baptism is just for show as most church groups do I notice you do not mention the reason (what happens in water baptism) in your articles . which can be found in Col 2:11-13. Which is the circumcission of the heart , made without hands, so that we can receive the things of the Kingdom, which the uncircumsized evil (natural-- see jeremiah) heart of man cannot receive or understand.

    • Bishop J L Hayes profile image

      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 3 years ago from Texas City, Texas

      The Bible is not silent on the subject of the mode of Water Baptism. First, the word baptidzo (the Greek word from which our word baptism comes) means to immerse or to dip.