The New Testament speaks of many different baptisms (the most common, and best known, being baptisms by John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism by John, water baptism for believers, and Spirit baptism). When we read a passage referencing baptism, we need to ask “to what baptism is the writer referring?” The baptisms performed by John the Baptist were for Jews identifying themselves with a “righteous remnant” within Israel, awaiting the Messiah. Neither his baptism nor message (“repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”) apply to believers today. Most passages with no mention of water in the context speak of “Spirit baptism,” which happens to every believer the moment they believe (1 Corinthians 12:13). This baptism does not occur at a later time in the believer’s experience!

Baptism is a symbolic, public, and outward expression of the salvation Jesus has provided. After you have put your trust in Jesus for your salvation, baptism is a great next step. It is important to remember that baptism is not a requirement for your salvation. Water baptism is Christ’s command for every disciple.

Baptism is an illustration of how our sins have been washed away. Immersion in the water represents our renewal and cleansing through what Jesus did on the cross. It also pictures the death of our old self and how we are raised into new life, following the order of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

For each passage below, ask as you study:

  • Who is being baptized?
  • Why are they being baptized?
  • What kind of baptism is this (water, Spirit, other)?
  • When are they being baptized?

Scriptures to Read & Study

  • Matthew 3:11-17
  • Matthew 28:18-20
  • Acts 8:26-38
  • Acts 16:25-33
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13
  • Romans 6:1-4
  • Galatians 3:26-27
  • Ephesians 4:1-6

Discussion & Thought Questions

  • Have you been baptized? Why or why not?
  • How would you describe or explain baptism to someone else?
  • What is baptism all about?
  • What are several good reasons to be baptized?
  • What are some bad reasons?
  • What Biblical text above best helps you understand baptism?

Next Steps

At Burleson Bible Church, we host baptisms several times throughout the year. If you are interested in being baptized, please contact the pastoral staff.