Water Baptism: Understanding It


“Repent and be baptized.” Acts 2:38

Water Baptism (PDF)
(Duplication encouraged. An open Bible should accompany your study of this topic. Study each verse given in order to answer each question correctly. Print this document out and pencil in the answers in the blanks provided. It may be best to cut and paste it to your word processing software and then print it out. Your life in Christ will be enriched forever as you embrace and put into practice His Word.)

Raised to New Life with Christ

Note in this passage below that no water is even mentioned and yet this is exactly what water baptism is symbolic of:

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4

—- WATER BAPTISM: What it is and what it’s not.  In some cases, water baptism has become a ritual among those who are apart of the visible, apostate church world. In those circles, water baptism seems to be a type of right of passage in a fleshly way. Water baptism is useless unless it’s connected with Christ, that is, in His redemption – death, burial and resurrection and being done to an already born again soul, which has nothing to do with physical water – and being done to an already born again soul, which has nothing to do with physical water. Jesus alone redeemed us and yet, He calls us to deny self, and allow He who is the resurrection and the life to raise us upward (John 11:25; Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12, etc.). Water baptism – going down under that water – is meant to be the symbolism of dying, being buried, and being raised up into a new life with Christ who is “the life.” (John 14:6) H2O saves no one. The old man is dead and buried! (Colossians 3:3) Read Romans 6:3-4. Water baptism was never intended to become a ritual but rather the symbol of that which begun at the instant Christ saved us.  The crucified, dead, buried, and raised up – life comes at the moment Jesus saves us, We are dead and He now lives in us as Redeemer, Ruler and King, Savior, and Friend.  The life of the crucified believe is symbolized at water baptism (Galatians 2:20). Water baptism is a representation of what is to be a life lived allowing Christ to reign in place. It’s symbolic of the daily cross! – Where Christ alone reigns supreme! Water baptism is not essential to salvation but rather is something done by the already saved soul in obedience to Christ.

“Water baptism symbolizes your spiritual identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.  The water does not itself join you to or identify you with Christ.  It is only a symbol.  It’s not even a requirement yet important due to the importance of what it is representative of. Water baptism is not a law like circumcision was. It is not essential. The thief on cross next to Christ was never water baptized but he was baptized in spiritual fact.” Travis Bryan III

Water baptism is to be understood as a spiritual baptism for sure. In fact, it’s of no value outside of this cross relationship of death, burial, resurrection.

The only value that water baptism has is in identifying you with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

“The only way to promotion is by demotion.  Are you today seeking a demotion?  Do you want Self to be advanced, enhanced, prominent, recognized, satisfied, aggrandized, indulged, promoted, noticed, or applauded?  Or do you want self demoted, crucified, and killed to all these worldly things?” Travis Bryan III

Perhaps loving obedience and gratitude to the Lord should be the foundational motives for the believer being water baptized. When a person genuinely repents of his sins and receives Jesus Christ, He is then under the command of a new Master. He is no longer a member of Satan’s kingdom, but rather has been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into God’s kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). His past sins have been completely washed away by the blood of Christ, and God has called him by name to serve Him in sincerity and in truth (Romans 3:25; 1 Cor. 5:7-8).

Jesus commands all of His disciples to be baptized in water. In demonstration of our love for Him, every believer should obey and follow the LORD in water baptism. He says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

1. As seen in Scripture, what does the actual act of being water baptized consist of – in the literal sense? Acts 8:38 Please read this verse in the King James Bible and check one of the following.

_____ splashing with water

_____ sprinkling with water as an infant

_____ fully submerging the body under water

Notice that Philip and the eunuch “went down both into the water.” (Acts 8:38). The English word “baptize” comes from the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to dip, submerge; to make whelmed, fully wet. Baptism is a burial.

2. Read 1 Peter 3:21 closely. Note here that water baptism does not cleanse one from the “filth of the flesh (sin)”. Trust in that which baptism is a “figure” of, does cleanse from sin and save the soul. The word “figure” is the key to understanding this verse. Read it again. Being dipped in water does not save the soul. What saves the soul is faith in what water baptism is figurative or symbolic of – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Water baptism merely answers to the already blood-washed conscience of the Believer. It is anoutward testimony of the inward work of God in making the repentant person completely new from the inside out (2 Cor. 5:17-18).

Christ must reign in the daily life of every believer and He is “Holy, holy, holy” and so sinfulness must be put away so that the believer can spring forth into the fullness of Christ’s resurrection life (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Baptism in water is the figure of this process. It’s a death, burial, and resurrection. Water baptism is symbolic of death to the sinful nature and resurrection into a life lived in the nature of Jesus and out of God’s abundant grace which fills the believer’s heart.

3. Did Jesus submit Himself to the ordinance of water baptism? Matthew 3:13-16



Water baptism was instituted and practiced by the Son of God.

4. How old was Jesus when He was baptized? Luke 3:21-23


Notice here that Jesus was a full grown adult when water baptized. Only those who are of age to understand and partake of the salvation of God are candidates for water baptism. Infant baptism or sprinkling is un-scriptural.

5. Did Jesus’ disciples practice water baptism in their ministry? John 4:1, 2



Jesus’ disciples and the early Church believers administered the ordinance of water baptism. His disciples today are commanded to do the same.

6. Jesus sent His disciples forth to “teach all nations.” What else did He command them to do? Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16

7. In what names did Jesus command His disciples to baptize? Matthew 28:19


Here Jesus authorized baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When scripture speaks of baptism in Jesus’ name, it is referring to baptism by His authority.

8. What were the three fundamental New Testament experiences preached and practiced by the early Church? Acts 2:38




9. Has God changed since Acts 2:38? Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8



Note that God, by the mouth of Peter, commanded the new believers to “Repent and be baptized every one of you.” Acts 2:38

10. What experience did the three thousand new converts partake of when they received the Word of God that Peter preached? Acts 2:41


As was clearly understood by the early followers of Jesus, the first step in discipling a new convert is to baptize him in water. This is the Lord’s first commandment to new believers. God seals the faith of the new convert at the time of water baptism. The new believer makes a statement of trust toward God in his water baptism experience and is confirmed in the faith by the Holy Spirit through this New Testament practice.

11. After Phillip preached the Gospel, what did the believers at Samaria do to openly declare their faith in Jesus? Acts 8:12


12. After Philip preached Jesus, what was the Ethiopian eunuch’s immediate question? Acts 8:35, 36


The Ethiopian eunuch had obviously made a heart-felt decision to believe on Jesus. He instantly desired to be baptized in water to exhibit his new found faith.

13. What did Philip tell the eunuch that he must do before he could be water baptized? Acts 8:37


The Bible only authorizes water baptism after the born again experience. Philip told the eunuch that the prerequisite for water baptism is to be born into the kingdom of God by personally receiving Jesus Christ. Here is another proof that the early Church disciples only baptized those who had already received Jesus.

God set forth as a pattern in the first century Church, believers who were zealous to baptize new converts in water. This solidifies the new converts’ faith in Jesus. Water baptism is the first command given to the new believer, and is therefore the responsibility of the members of the Body of Christ to see that every new believer is baptized.

Repentance and faith are what required for salvation, not water baptism: “IF thou believest with all thine heart” – “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. ” Acts 8:36-37 
Anybody see any water in this biblical equation?
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:30-31

14. What did the apostle Peter “command” the new Gentile converts to do after they had believed on Jesus and also received the gift of the Holy Ghost? Acts 10:43-48

v48 _____________________________________________________________________________

15. What did Paul and Silas do to the Philippian jailor who believed on the Lord after the jailbreak? Acts 16:25-34

v33 _____________________________________________________________________________

Note that Paul and Silas baptized these new believers without delay and in the middle of the night. This very act makes two authoritative statements: (1) If at all possible, disciples should water baptize new converts immediately following their salvation experience, and (2) The apostles counted water baptism very important, it was an integral part of the Gospel they preached and administered.

16. When “many” of the Corinthian’s “believed”, what followed? Acts 18:8


17. As followers of Jesus what are we baptized into? Romans 6:3


To the believer the water grave signifies that the time of living after the sinful nature of the flesh is over. This burial represents death to the nature of sin and resurrection into the life of God. Jesus Himself was baptized to signify His own death, burial, and resurrection. The follower of Jesus in like manner is to be baptized, signifying death to the old man and resurrection into the new nature of God resident within him. Sin lost its power at Calvary, and loses its dominion over the believer when he identifies with Christ in water baptism. In water baptism, the believer identifies with Jesus. All true disciples are crucified with Christ and water baptism is the marked beginning of this state of existence – Gal. 2:20, 5:24; Rom. 6:11. It is his announcement to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus.

18. What is the believer to “walk in” after God raises him from the dead? Romans 6:4


Beloved, God has called you to “walk in newness of life”. The believer must be “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 6:11. Water baptism is so very important because it introduces the new believer into the life to which God has called him – a life of death and resurrection. The old person and his deeds are dead. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3 The disciple is to live separate from sin. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God.” 2 Corinthians 5 :17,18

19. What are two reasons that we are to be “crucified” with Jesus? Romans 6:6

A. __________________________________________________________________________

B. __________________________________________________________________________

Water baptism is a public announcement of your decrease and His increase – Jn 3:30. God can only raise up those things that are dead. To resurrect is to raise to life again – to cause something or someone once alive to live again. One must die to the things of this world to live in the resurrected life of Jesus. This is a must if one will be His disciple – John 12:24-26. To live in the resurrection life of God one must be dead to the sins of the flesh. The definition of being “dead” to sin, is living life as if sin didn’t even exist in the sense that one is separate from it – you do not partake of it, spirit, soul, or body. Water baptism is the beginning of the life lived after the Spirit instead of after the flesh. It’s a heartfelt broadcast to the Lord, the world, and the devil that you are now going to be true to the Most High God by living in holy conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ. At the moment of baptism God imparts a sufficient measure of grace to enable the believer to walk out his new life in Christ.

20. Why do you personally believe that baptism in water is so important in God’s eyes?


God has saved you and has set you apart to live after His nature that He has imparted to you – Rom. 6, 8. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus and God requires that you make this known – Matthew 10:32, 33. Jesus was fearless and unashamed when He came to the earth to do His Father’s will and die for the sins of the world. He requires that His disciples be bold and unashamed in testifying of His work of redemption. Water baptism should be the first act of obedience rendered by the disciple of Jesus.

21. What does Jesus do for all who “confess” Him before men? Matthew 10:32


22. What does Jesus do to all those who deny Him before men? Matthew 10:33


Water baptism is an open declaration of one’s identification with and faith in Jesus. Water baptism is generally the new believer’s first act of confession before men. It should follow the personal testimony of the believer about to be baptized. The new convert should be given time to give account of his born again experience and God’s work presently in progress in his life.


ASSIGNMENT: In 250 words or more elaborate on the command of Jesus concerning water baptism. Also, state the divine purpose for this ordinance, and the identification aspect of it. Let God’s written Word be the basis for what you say, and list the scripture references. Begin in prayer and deep Biblical meditation. Write your essay neatly, with clarity, and in on organized manner.


It will be very advantageous for you to cross reference all of the Scriptures in this study. For example, pencil in each topically similar verse into the margin next to the corresponding verses on this same subject. Write out these verses with references on index cards – make it a priority to carry and post them where you will study and meditate upon them. These two measures will build in you a wealth of truth on this vital topic. This will help you to retain and become resourceful in the things of God – ready to be used of Him (1 Peter 3:15). Capture the knowledge that you have learned, don’t let it get away from you. Capitalize on your efforts. This is preparation in earnest (2 Timothy 2:15).

Holy Word of God
The Blood of Jesus
Holy Ghost Baptism
Water Baptism
The Believer and The Word

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Author of several enlightening and influential books on subjects ranging from false prophets, end times, the original lie of Satan to mankind, evangelism, last day / end times victory, and the daily walk of an authentic disciple. Todd’s books can be found on BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and on SafeGuardYourSoul.com. His websites include SafeGuardYourSoul.com, GreatCommissionAdventure.com. A former Marine, contracted to NASA, youth pastor, TV show host, Bible College class president, and member of numerous churches throughout the south, by the saving grace of Jesus Christ Todd has and continues to learn to set aside all that involves the philosophies and whims of mere men to follow the King of the kingdom as a simple servant. His sincerity and ability to speak on a variety of topics from a broad and edifying perspective, and with a humble candor, is refreshing. Todd has an obvious understanding that he is nothing without Jesus and yet, by the working of divine grace, his Gospel tracts, articles, Moments with My Master email devotional, and books have taught, encouraged, and inspired thousands. Todd Tomasella is the author of several Christian, non-fiction books, hundreds of articles, devotionals, audios, tracts, videos, Bible school curriculum, and study guides. No matter the format utilized, the divine mandate is simply getting people into God’s Word for themselves (Nehemiah 8:8; Habakkuk 2:2; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17).

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