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What Does the Bible Say About..Rebaptism?

I was baptized by immersion when I was in college. I viewed it more as an affirmation that I wanted to live my life God's way....which I felt I basically had been since a child. I knew I had to repent and confess sins but had difficulty understanding what that truly meant. I think I missed the point! Should I now be re-baptized? I've experienced the Holy Spirit in my life.....how do I know I'm being led by it?


There is never an example in the Bible of anyone being re-baptized. On the other hand, there is no specific mention of anyone who did not understand baptism. So there is no real biblical answer to your question. There are some things to consider, though.

First, did you understand baptism to be for the purpose of removing sin? Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16 give that as the purpose for baptism? In Galatians 3:27 Paul says baptism is how we get “into Christ.” In Romans 6 he says it is a death to sin and a resurrection to new life. If you did not understand what baptism was, then it is possible that you just got wet.

If you understood what you were doing, but did not fully understand repentance and confession, that may be a different matter. How much does one need to know before one is immersed? In Acts 8:37 all Philip seemed to require of the Ethiopian is, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” That is the confession that is required, not confession of all of our sins. Repentance, feeling sorry for sin and resolving not to continue in it, is a necessary prerequisite to immersion because without it one has no reason to be immersed. Confession of sin and repentance are required for continual cleansing of sin (Acts 8:22, 1 John 1:9) after baptism.

Only you know whether you understood what baptism was. If you understood the basics, then there is probably no reason to be baptized again. If you are unsure, then there is nothing in scripture that says you should not be immersed again, just to be sure.

The one passage that mentions being led by the Spirit of God is Romans 8:14. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” To understand this verse, though, you ought to start reading at Romans 6:1 and ending at the end of the eighth chapter. This whole section can be summarized this way: If we have died to sin and been raised to a new life we will not want to live the old life of sin. The Spirit of God that dwells in us leads us to want to follow God’s way. That doesn’t mean we won’t sin, but when we do we recognize it as being against our new nature. (This may be oversimplification, but you should read all three chapters together.)

How do we know when we are led by the Spirit? Since the Spirit is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17), then when we are led by what God says in the Bible, we are led by the Spirit. When we let ourselves be led by popular opinion, the words of any man, or any other thing, then we are not being led by the Spirit, unless those leaders are in accordance with what we read in scripture.

I hope this answers your questions. I know I didn’t give a clear “yes” or “no,” but if you let him, God will lead you to the truth through his word (Spirit).