Learning Activity # 77 – Baptism



NOTE: This Learning Activity uses the Revised Standard Version (RSV) translation of the Bible.

The following question has been asked of this web site and has motivated me to write this Learning Activity.

“Is there a doctrine about water baptism?”

I will attempt to answer this question by discussing the different types of baptism that appear in the Bible.

A. There is a doctrine of water baptism in the Scriptures. There are numerous sources of printed material that describe and explain this doctrine as used by the mainstream organized church. My purpose here will be to document what I have found as being the differences between my understanding and the mainstream understanding rather than to repeat material that is readily available on that particular belief.

I see water baptism as being a doctrine of the Old Covenant (see Learning Activity #27) and having nothing to do with the New Covenant (see Learning Activity #28) which has replaced the Old Covenant and is in effect today. There were some water baptisms referred to in the Scriptures that took place during the transition period (see Learning Activity #29), the period of approximately AD 30 to AD 70, however, we find that activity as having completely passed away with the final phasing out of the Old Covenant in AD 70.

  1. Luke 3:16                                                                                                                                                   2. In the verse above, what kind of baptism did John the Baptist say that he did?

3. What kind of baptism did John say that Jesus would use?

4. Matthew 3:16

5. In the verse above, why do you think Jesus allowed John the Baptist to water baptize Him?

It is interesting that although Jesus Himself was water baptized to fulfill the law, He never baptized anyone else!

6. 1 Corinthians 1:14

7. In the verse above, what does Paul say about water baptism?

8. 1 Corinthians 1:17

9. What does Paul say about water baptism in the verse above?

Due to the above material I do not see any way that I can promote the continuance of water baptism under the New Covenant. I fully understand the motivation of the man organized church in their continuance of this Old Covenant practice but to bring the practice into the New Covenant is mixing the two covenants and is also called by Paul to be Judaizing! Since the Old Covenant is a covenant of physical attributes and all of the shadows of the Old Covenant were fulfilled with the advent of the New Covenant, water baptism is therefore irrelevant in the New Covenant.

B. There also exists in the Scriptures a Spirit baptism.

10. Acts 1:5

11. What kind of baptism did Jesus say that John the Baptist practiced?

12. What kind of baptism did Jesus say those who had assembled in Jerusalem would receive?

13. How many baptisms are mentioned in the verse above?

14. 1 Corinthians 12:13

15. What kind of baptism is referred to in the verse above?

16. What does the verse above say that Spirit baptism does?

Spirit baptism is crucial to the church of the New Covenant. The 1 Corinthian 12:13 verse clearly states that the way in which a person becomes a member of the one body of Christ is by their being baptized (immersed, placed) into the body of Christ. A person does not become a member of the body of Christ (the church) by joining it, signing an agreement, nor completing some list of man made requirements of a particular group. A person becomes a member of the church by the Spirit placing, baptizing them into it when that person believes in Christ!

There are a number of Christians today who say that water baptism is an outward sign of an inner reality, but what does Jesus say about external signs?

17. Matthew 12:39

18. What did Jesus call those who asked for a physical sign?

Where then is the basis for their water baptism sign?

We also need to review what the Apostle Paul thought of this subject.

19. Colossians 2:14

Water baptism was one of the ordinances of the Old Covenant that Jesus had to go to the cross to end forever! I find it amusing that those in the man organized church today are quick to accept spiritual circumcision, but will not give up physical water baptism for spiritual baptism!

This topic will be continued in the next Learning Activity.

Click on Self-Check below to check your answers.


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