Water baptism has something to do with water, right? Some believe water baptism is just getting wet (“sprinkling”) while other Christians insist one isn’t baptized unless the individual is completely submerged in water. In fact, Dictionary.com defines it as, “a ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church” while Thesaurus.com includes both immersion and sprinkling in a list of the most relevant synonyms. Can it really be both?
Without getting into deeper questions about baptism’s purpose or its connection to forgiveness of sins, let’s see what can we learn from God’s inspired Word about what water baptism is by the way Scripture talks about it.
How Scripture answers "What is water baptism?"
Water1,2,6,7 baptism (as opposed to being “baptized with the Holy Spirit”) is a burial in water1,2,3,4,7,8 that comes in response to hearing the word of God preached1,2,7. Additionally, we see metaphors used3,5 that perfectly align with submersion. And finally, as a footnote, the word for baptism that is consistently used in the New Testament means to submerge or overwhelm in water8.
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