Updated: Sep 18, 2021
The word baptism is derived from the Greek word Baptizo which literally means to immerse.
The history of Baptism Brief
The Holy Scriptures reveal baptism to have originated from the Old Testament. As recorded in the book of 1 Peter 3:21 we see eight people being saved from flood as a symbol of baptism.
There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,(1 Peter 3:21).
While the flood brought Judgement and destroyed all mankind, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord and through baptism he was saved with the household. This was an Old Testament antitype of baptism.
Another antitype of baptism is when the nation of Israel passed through the Red Sea as recorded in the book of 1 Corinthians 10:2) All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
It is good to note that water is involved in the above examples of the Old Testament antitypes of baptism.
a) What does the bible say about baptism?
When still referring to the antitype of baptism in the Old Testament, Peter the Apostle in his letter highlights the meaning of baptism as not the removal of filthy of the flesh, but rather pledge of a good conscience toward God.
This in short means that baptism is not a ritual done to wash away our sins and bring salvation but an act to show obedience in following Jesus Christ.
During the Old Testament water was used as an outward sign of cleansing as recorded in ( Psalms 51:2, Ezekiel 36:25 and Isaiah 1:16). But come in the New Testament and the New Covenant baptism changed and became a symbol of rescue that Christ’s death provides at the cross.
b) What did Jesus Christ say about baptism?
Jesus Christ finds John the Baptist already baptizing with the baptism of repentance as a way of ushering in the New Covenant.
When Jesus Christ encounters John the Baptist at the Jordan, John declined to baptize Him. But Jesus Christ insisted as it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness.
But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. ( Mathew 3:15).
After Jesus Christ rising from the dead He insists on baptism in what has been commonly known as the Great Commission. That those who believe should be baptized.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.( Mathew 28:19-20).