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What Does the Bible Say About..How to Be Baptized?

I was baptized when I was an infant but I am now learning that I need to be baptized through full immersion in water. Can you please tell me What is the correct way to have this done, i.e. Who? Where? Why? Etc.?

Answer

How? The correct way to be baptized is immersion in water, because that is what the word originally meant. Paul emphasizes that it is a burial in Romans 6. Other passages show that it requires much water. As long as you are completely immersed, it doesn’t matter if you go in backwards, frontward, straight down, or by diving in.

Who should baptize you? It really doesn’t matter, because the important person in the process is you. You are most likely to find someone who will immerse you if you ask at a church of Christ, Christian Church, a Baptist congregation, or some Pentecostal congregations. But if you wanted to drag someone in off the street just to witness that you were totally immersed, there is no scripture to forbid that.

Where? Essentially, anywhere there is enough water in which to be fully covered. On U.S. Navy ships we baptized in the whirlpool bath in the Medical Department because that was the only place we could get enough water without actually throwing the person overboard (they would have frowned on that). I saw a video recently of people being baptized in an oil drum full of water. Many people have been baptized in rivers. However, most congregations that practice immersion have a place to do it. Again, that would most likely be churches of Christ, Christian Churches, Baptists, and some Pentecostals, as well as Orthodox and some Conservative Jewish synagogues (although they might not be willing for you to be baptized into Christ there).

Why? “Then Peter said to them, Repent and be immersed every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins.” (Acts 2:38) “And now what are you waiting for? Arise, and be immersed and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) “The like figure whereunto immersion also now saves us by the resurrection of Christ (not washing away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God). (1 Peter 3:21) Baptism, then is for the purpose of forgiveness of sins. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 7:3-4) Baptism is the point at which we begin a new life. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Baptism is when we put on Christ, when we become his people. Please see http://www.minuteswithmessiah.com/question/alpha.html and look up the topic “baptism” for my previous answers about the purpose of baptism.

When? As soon as possible. We are not guaranteed another day, or even another breath. If baptism is for the forgiveness of sins, and if sinners cannot be with God, then it makes sense to make sure of your salvation as soon as you can. Why risk dying before your sins are forgiven? One example from the book of Acts show how important it was to some people. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately.” Now it may not be possible to arrange to be baptized immediately. Some churches wait until Sunday to do it. Most people I know in the churches of Christ will baptize someone immediately, delayed only by the time needed to find out whether you understand the purpose of baptism. As soon as they understand that you know that Jesus is the Christ, that he died for your sins, and that you understand that those sins will be taken away when you are immersed, then they will baptize you as soon as possible.