By Robert L. Goldsby


Why Practice Water Baptism


  1. Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus, our example, preceded us in the baptism appropriate for Him.
  2. Matthew 28:16-20 This passage is the marching order of the disciples. We are commanded to practice water baptism as a part of the discipleship process. The translation sometimes used, "teach all nations" (e.g. kjv verse 19) misses the force and intent of the Greek word which means " to train as a disciple". Discipleship is a process which begins with the covenant seal of baptism and continues with "...teaching them to obey all things..." (verse 20). The Greek word "teach" in verse 20 is a completely different Greek word than is translated teach by the KJV in verse 19.
  3. Mark 16:16 This passage is considered by many scholars to be an addition to the original text by a 2nd century scribe because it is not found in many of the older manuscripts and so is missing from many of the modern translations. Whether one considers this passage to be inspired or not, it is evidence that the 2nd century church associated baptism and salvation together just as in the following verses.
  4. Matthew 28:18 We see that baptism is commanded as a part of discipleship and associated with the new birth experience. It does not say disciple then baptize. In this text, baptism is a present active participle. It is part of the discipleship process, not following it. Teaching is concurrent with and continues after baptism.
  5. Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21
    Water baptism saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is even referred to as a cleansing from sin, not by removal of the dirt of outward washing but the an inward washing which gives a good conscience toward God. The only thing that can give us a good conscience is to be cleansed from our sin.
  6. John 14:15 Love for Jesus causes us to keep His commands. Be baptized is one of His commands (Matthew 28:18) and so love obeys it.
  7. Acts 2:37-42; Peter preaches, the Holy Spirit falls, and the people are baptized in water. Peter says "...be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." The reason? For the remission of sins.
    In Acts 10:44-48 we see Gentiles baptized in Jesus name by Peter, evidently for the same effect - forgiveness of sins.
  8. James 2:17-18: Why be baptized? What does genuine faith do? It works, i.e. it responds to Jesus and does what He commands. Faith without works is dead. Genuine faith obeys God in baptism.

The document was written by Robert L. Goldsby (5101 NE 121st Ave #140, Vancouver, WA 98682-2121) and is the sole property of the author. It may be used for personal and group Bible study but may not be used for any commercial or publishing purposes without the express written consent of the author.
Last Updated on: January 17, 1998