Bible Question:

What type of baptismal ceremony is right? Baptizing in the name of Jesus, sprinkling, dipping, etc?

Bible Answer:

Baptism is an act of obedience that occurs after we become Christian (Acts 2:38). Baptism was an act of identification. John the Baptist’s baptism was a public demonstration that a person was repenting or turning from sin in preparation for Jesus’ coming.

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (NASB) Mark 1:4

And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” (NASB) Acts 19:4

Meaning of Baptism

Baptism is a public statement or demonstration of a change of heart. To be baptized in Jesus’ name is a public way in which a person says; “I have become a follower of Jesus Christ.”

And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (NASB) Acts 19:5

It publicly says, “I am trusting in Jesus.” It symbolizes death to ourselves and our sin. When we start trusting in God – Jesus – to forgive our sins, we have died to ourselves. Here is the meaning of baptism.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (NASB) Romans 6:3-4

Baptism does not save us. It is an act of obedience that follows our trust in Jesus.

How To Be Baptized

The Greek word for “baptize” is BAPTIZO. The word means “to dip in or under,” and “to immerse.” The word was used to refer to sinking a ship and “to drowning.” Some Christians believe that baptism should be done by sprinkling water rather by immersion into water, but that does not agree with the weight of the ancient evidence. In fact, the following New Testament passages tell us baptism was done by immersion. The first example occurs at Jesus’ baptism.

And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him . . . (NASB) Mark 1:10

The next passage states John the Baptist looked for “much water.” If John was sprinkling then why the need for “much water?”

And John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and they were coming and were being baptized. (NASB) John 3:23

Maybe the most revealing passage is the time Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:26-38). After the eunuch believed, he was baptized.

And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him. (NASB) Acts 8:38

Baptism is immersion into water. It should also be done in the name of “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

. . . baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, (NASB) Matthew 28:19


Baptism is not necessary for salvation. But we are commanded to be baptized. It is act of obedience and a public demonstration of a person’s decision to follow Jesus. Consequently, a person should share how they came to know Jesus and share the change in their life prior to being baptized – immersed into water. When they come out, it is a statement that they have died to themselves and their sin and are depending on Jesus. Baptisms should not be private. Baptism should be a public declaration of an inward decision. Private baptisms are contrary to a public demonstration of a person’s change of heart and life.

. . . having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (NASB) Col. 2:12

Suggested Links:

Baptism of Jesus
Baptism & Salvation
Is baptism (immersion) essential for salvation?
Is baptism symbolic?