Baptism: A Historical Survey

An exhaustive treatment of the subject of baptism is not intended in this series of articles. It is desired, rather, to summarise the New Testament teaching concerning it, and then to trace the changes which have taken place in subsequent centuries, both with regard to the mode of baptism and the age of the one baptized.

The record of Luke that John “came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,” and that” the multitude… came forth to be baptized of him.”¹ suggests that the Jews were familiar with the rite of baptism. That they expected it to be associated with the work of the coming Messiah seems to be indicated by the question of the Pharisees, “Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?”² but exactly what part baptism had played in the years before Christ is difficult to determine.

We do know, however, that ceremonial washing had been an important feature in the Mosaic ritual. Such was ordered for the consecration of the priests: “And Aaron and his sons¹ thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water,”³ and for the cleansing of the lepers, “And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean.”⁴

To continue reading this Bible article, click here.

Author: N. Rodgers

Keywords: Water baptism, Baptism, Baptist, Baptized, Baptised, Baptize, Baptise, Baptizer, Baptiser, Sprinkling, Is baptism mandatory, Is baptism essential, Is baptist required, Baptism salvation, Baptized by water, Infant baptism, Infant sprinkling, Christening, Baptizing babies, Baptizing infants, Baptizing children, Baptising babies, Baptising infants, Baptising children, Immersion, Ritual bath, Water immersion, baptizo, baptisma, baptismos, Pouring, Baptism essential to salvation, Dip, Dipping, Plunge, Plunging, Dipped in water, Plunged in water

Bible reference(s): Matthew 3:6, Matthew 3:7, Matthew 3:11, Matthew 3:13, Matthew 3:14, Matthew 3:16, Matthew 11:11, Matthew 11:12, Matthew 21:25, Matthew 28:19, Mark 1:4, Mark 1:5, Mark 1:8, Mark 1:9, Mark 10:38, Mark 10:39, Mark 11:30, Mark 16:16, Luke 3:3, Luke 3:7, Luke 3:12, Luke 3:16, Luke 3:21, Luke 7:29, Luke 7:30, Luke 20:4, John 1:25, John 1:26, John 1:28, John 1:31, John 1:33, John 3:22, John 3:23, John 3:26, John 4:1, John 4:2, John 10:40, Acts 1:5, Acts 1:22, Acts 2:37-38, Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12, Acts 8:13, Acts 8:16, Acts 8:36, Acts 8:38, Acts 9:18, Acts 10:37, Acts 10:47, Acts 10:48, Acts 11:16, Acts 13:24, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33, Acts 18:8, Acts 18:25, Acts 19:3, Acts 19:4, Acts 19:5, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3, Romans 6:4, 1 Corinthians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 1:14, 1 Corinthians 1:15, 1 Corinthians 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:17, 1 Corinthians 10:2, 1 Corinthians 12:13, 1 Corinthians 15:29, Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 4:5, Colossians 2:12, 1 Peter 3:21

Source: “Baptism—A Historical Survey,” The Testimony, Vols. 23-4, Nos. 271-4, 277-8. Used with permission.

Page indexed by: inWORD Bible Software.