THE ORGANIZATION OF THE MATERIAL ON BAPTISM
The kind; the purpose, the form; the meaning; and the subjects of baptism,
lb. The kind of baptism: spirit or water baptism?
(1) Spirit baptism is not for discussion here. Spirit baptism is administered by Christ himself (Matt. 3:11), and falls outside the pale of our discussion (1 Cor. 12:13).
(2) Water baptism alone can be performed by men. Of the four kinds in the N.T. (Jewish, Jesus; John's, Christian) we are interested solely in Christian baptism.
lc. The institution of the ordinance of Christian baptism in water.
There are just two passages which treat it: Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16
Three things run parallel:
(1) New dispensation;
(2) Gospel message;
(3) Ordinance of Baptism.
ld. A new dispensation is announced and ushered in by the Lord at the same time.
le. The first announcement is made within eight months of the close of Christ's ministry on earth (Matt. 16:18, 21). Plans for future because of rejection.
2e. The formal announcement comes within forty days after the resurrection. (Acts 1:2-8). Announcement of transition (vs. 2-5); confusion (vs. 6); new plans (vs. 7-8).
3e. The fruition takes place on the day of Pentecost. Luke 24:29 - command to wait; Acts 1:4-5 - Not many days. Acts 2:1-4 - the baptism (Acts 11:16); cf. 1 Cor. 12:13.
2d. A gospel message is given for proclamation among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.
le. The first announcement of the message is given during the forty days. Luke 24:46-49.
2e. Peter preached this message on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:31-33, 38
3e. Peter preached the same message to the Gentiles in Cornelius' house. Acts 10:39-43
4e. Paul also preached this message in his ministry among the Gentiles. Acts 13:37-39
3d. A Christian ordinance of baptism in water was instituted at the same time as the gospel message. These two cannot therefore be separated. Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16
Therefore this answers two extreme theological viewpoints.
le. Covenant theology which argues that there is no change; that Israel is perpetuated in the church and all that goes with it.
2e. Ultra-dispensationalism which argues that the change took place later and therefore all ordinances, especially baptism; thus baptism belongs to Israel and not to the church,
2c. The perpetuation of the ordinance of Christian baptism in water.
1d. The apostles knew of the command given by the Lord and recorded in Matt. 28:19 Acts 14:21 - "Teach" - Greek - "matheteuo" This is interesting in the light of the fact that Paul is the one who is credited with revealing the program for the dispensation of grace. A.T. Robertson says this is indubitable evidence that the Apostles knew of the command of Matt. 28:19.
2d. The apostles also knew the significance of the trine formula commanded by the Lord. Acts 19:3 "Unto what then were ye baptized", should read "Into what then were ye baptized". The preposition is "eis", for it has to do with form. Here the context demands this explanation.
3d. The other passages appearing to use another formula do not contradict the instructions of the Lord in Matt. 28:19.
-Acts 2:38 (epi or en) means on the authority of Christ's name.
-Acts 8:16 (eis) means joining to, in doctrine, the person of Christ.
-Acts 10:48 (en) means on the authority of the name of Christ.
-Acts 19:5 (eis) means joining to the person who bears the name.
-(Wherever "eis" is used it means precisely what it means in 1 Cor. 10:2, and never has reference to the form of baptism but the end and purpose of it; unless the context clearly indicates otherwise).
4d. The ordinance of Christian baptism in water was carried on by the whole company of the apostles.
Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 8:12-13, 16, 36, 38; Acts 9:18; Acts 10:47-48; Acts 16:15,33 Acts 18:8; Acts 19:3-5; Acts 22:16; 1 Cor. 1:13-17; 1 Cor. 15:29.
2b. The purpose of baptism: is it a saving or symbolical ordinance?
lc. It is definitely not a saving ordinance.
ld. The evidence from the institution of the ordinance.
le. Positive information from Matthew. 28:19.
"Go ye therefore and teach" involves all that is necessary in making disciples and bringing them to a saving know—ledge of Christ.
Obviously then, baptism was not meant for any but the saved, and never at all intended for people who are unsaved.
2e. Confusing information from Mark 16:16
Since there is a textual problem in connection with this passage, it cannot be said that the Bible teaches this. But this is by no means all.
However, since the passage itself is not too clear, then it must be interpreted in the light of the passage that is clear, namely, Matt. 28:19. You never go to an obscure passage when there are plain passages to clear up the obscure ones.
Though, it is possible to accept it just as it stands. The last half of the verse makes it clear that baptism is not the necessary thing for salvation.
2d. The evidence from the perpetuation of this ordinance.
le. Positive evidence from the perpetuation.
1. Baptism is a work of righteousness (Matt. 3:13-15); but we are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done (Tit. 3:5).
2. It is an ordinance or rite performed by the worshipper.
This excludes it as a saving ordinance (Heb. 6:2 with Mark 7:4,8; Luke 11:38; Col. 2:14, 16).
3. If this passage speaks of water baptism, then it is the answer of a good conscience toward God, not a step in the ladder climbing to God. 1 Peter 3:21
4. It is unnecessary for salvation as shown from several instances:
-Cornelius was regenerated before the baptism was administered (Acts 10:44-48).
-Samaritans were not regenerated until sometime after baptism (Acts 8:12-17).
-Simon Magus was not even saved though he was baptized (Acts 8:13, 18-24).
-Paul thanked God that he did not administer baptism except in a few cases. 1 Cor. 1:13-17.
2e. Confusing passages and their possible explanation.
1. It may be accepted as read A.V. and be true. A most important element is there in the word "repent" Which includes also faith and conversion. This fact does not make baptism the important element nor the saving element.
2. "For" does not always mean "to get"; It often means "with reference to", or "unto"; or "because". The R.V. has used the word "unto".
3. By a comparison with Matt. 3:11 and Matt. 12:41, it will be seen that the Greek preposition "eis" may well be translated "because" and thus doctrinal correctness maintained.
4. The punctuation of this verse in A.V. suggests that "repent" is to be joined with "for the remission of sins", and baptism is not the saving thing.
5. Since public acknowledgement was necessary here, repentance and baptism are mentioned together.
6. The response later (Acts 2:41) describes what they thought Peter meant. By receiving the word they believed and were saved. The baptism followed upon saved people. cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19 Acts 22:16
1. A more literal translation would be: "And now, what are you about to do? Arise, and baptize yourself, even washing away your sins, having called on the name of the Lord."
2. The basis for this exhortation is the fact that Paul has already called upon the name of the Lord (cf. 22:10, 13 with Rom. 10:13).
3. Since the act of baptism and washing are acts of obedience, it therefore follows that they are not efficacious in themselves, but are symbols of what happened.
4. Both "baptize" and "wash away" are in the middle voice, bringing out more clearly the responsibility of obedience.
5. "Baptize" describes the form; "wash away" the result, picturing in symbol union with Christ. Rom. 6:3-4. The aorist tense of both these verbs points to simultaneous action.
6. The word washed is used of the whole person figuratively pointing to salvation. John 13:10-11.
-In Lev. 15:11 three words for wash are used: "Pluno" to wash things; "Nipto" to wash parts of a person; "Louo" to wash the entire person.
2c. It is a symbolical ordinance, and nothing more.
ld. It was symbolical in the Old Testament dispensation.
le. This was true of Jewish Baptism. Mark 7:4, 8 and Luke 11:38 (Best) John 3:22, 26; 4:1-2; Heb. 6:2; 9:10 cf. vs. 9 "figure" Grk. parabole. (Good)
2e. This was true of John's baptism. Matt. 3:6-11; Luke 3:3, 7-16; John 1:31, 33; Matt. 3:11
3e. This was true of Jesus' Baptism. Matt. 3:13-17 "In the same manner".
4e. These were shadows, and not efficacious, only symbolical or types. Heb. 10:1
2d. It is symbolical in the New Testament dispensation.
le. It is an act on the part of the individual 1 Cor. 6:11; Acts 22:16 (Middle voice)
2e. It is a work of righteousness and no more. Matt. 3:13-15,
3e. It is the answer of a good conscience (if this is water baptism) 1 Pet. 3:21
4e. It is not efficacious and therefore can only be symbolical.
-1 Pet. 3:21 Saves only as a figure saves. This is defined in the passage - answer of a good conscience.
3d. It symbolizes a number of things (Must be delayed for a special section).le. The experiences of the believer in salvation.
2e. The saving work of the trine God.
3b. The Form of Baptism: is it sprinkling, single, or trine immersion?
lc. Sprinkling or affusion is wholly untenable as a possible interpretation.
ld. The meaning of the word "baptidso" in the original language will not permit such interpretation. Every competent lexicographer defines the word as meaning dip or immerse.
2d. The usage or the word in the New Testament will not permit this sort of interpretation. Matt. 3:6, 16; Mark 10:38, 39; John 3:23; Acts 8:38, 39.
2c. Single immersion does not fulfill the requirements for Christian Baptism.
1d. It does not satisfy the requirements of the Biblical language. Robert. I.S.B.E. 385.
-The verb "baptize" is a frequentative; The preposition "eis" means into, or in, as determined by the context.
-The two placed together in construction call for thrice repeated action in Matt. 28:19.
2d. It does not satisfy the requirements of Biblical history...
-Two references to Matt. 28:19.
Paul and Barnabas refer to this passage (rather Luke) in Acts 14:21. Paul refers to this passage in Acts 19:3, suggesting trine action.
3d. It does not satisfy all the requirements of Biblical doctrine. It makes no provision for two members of the Trinity, the Father and the Spirit.
3c. Triune immersion does satisfy all the requirements for Christian Baptism.
ld. It satisfies the requirements of the Biblical language.
le. The verb "baptidzo" signifies repeated dipping. All reputable lexicographers indicate that the primary meaning of the word is this. And they say that is what it means in the New Testament. Any other meanings are derived. Cf. Robert. Gram. 149.
-There are other such verbs in the New Testament: Sprinkle "rantizousa" Heb. 9:13, 19, 21. Green's Grammar, Page 148 is an intensive form. Numerals with it determine the repetition merely refers to the entire event without specifying the number of dips.
2e. The preposition "eis" with the accusative means into.
-Being used with the accusative it marks how far the motion should proceed. The context makes it clear that the idea is motion or mode. "Into" signifies motion from certain limits outside to a place within certain limits.
3e. The construction calls for motion recognizing three persons. The single name is all that dare be used. The plural would call for more than three actions (cf. Meyer on Matt. 28:19 and Yoder, pages 177-178).
cf. John 19:20 for a similar illustration.
2d. It satisfies the requirements of Biblical History.1e. The verb "teach" or "make disciples" in the original appears again in the book of Acts. (Matheteuo - Acts 14:21). There are some who maintain that Matt. 28:19 does not appear again in the book of Acts. But this verse indicates apostles knew it.
2e. The preposition "eis" used in the baptismal formula is purposely used by the apostle Paul in Acts 19:3.
-Disciples: "Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given". (vs. 2)
-Paul probes deeper - "Into what then were ye baptized" (vs. 3). If they had received Christian baptism they would have known about the Holy Ghost, for Matt. 28:19 makes provisions for the Spirit both by name and action. And it is clear that Paul meant form or action, for that is precisely the way they answer him in the next statement.
3d. It satisfies all the requirements of Biblical doctrine. Treated more fully later.
le. It symbolizes the full experience of the believer in the union with Christ.
2e. It symbolizes the three persons of the Godhead and their relation to the believer.
4d. It provides a basis for the solution of apparent difficulties raised by other passages.
le. Passages meaning on the authority of the name of Christ.
-Acts 2:38 "epi" and "en" are variants. One has almost as good authority as the other. They are used with the locative case.
-Acts 10:48 "en" with the locative.
In each of the above cases, the description of mode is not in view. Rather the authority of Christ is in view, the authority which he asserted when giving the command for baptism Matt. 28:18-19).
2e. Passages mean into the doctrine or joined to the person of Christ.
-Acts 8:16 and 19:5 "eis" with the accusative.
Samaritans: In this case, it is the purpose of the writer to show that the Samaritans (who have no dealing with Jews‑
-John 4:9) had gone so far as not only to believe upon Christ but to be baptized upon the authority and into all that the name of Christ stood for.
Ephesians: in this case, these Ephesian’s were converts to John the Baptist, and had not yet believed upon Christ.
But once they heard the full message, they also went so far as to believe into all that the name of Christ signified.
-1 Cor. 1:13, 15 - "eis" with Acc. Means the same as above.
Paul was glad it was not so, for Christ is all. (Read Robertson Acts-Word Pict. Pages 35,150,313.)