Instructions about Baptisms

3. Instructions about Baptisms

When Jesus gave the great command of the great commission He said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Here the Scriptures cannot be clearer. 

1. Go make disciples. 

2. Baptizing them (disciples) 

3. Teaching them (disciples). 

The disciples were to make more disciples by preaching the gospel, baptizing those who believed it, and then teaching them to obey all that Jesus had commanded. We are commanded to preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) in the power of the Holy Spirit, baptize those who believe, and then teach them to be obedient to all Christ taught.

The third basic doctrine is biblical teachings about baptisms. The Greek word for ‘baptize’ is baptizó (bap-TID-zoh), which means “overwhelmed, covered or submerged.” It was used in reference to being “baptized” by debts in ancient times. 


The noun form is in the plural in Hebrews 6:2 because there are three baptisms in Christianity. Most Christians only know about water baptism. Every believer should experience all the three baptisms, but the first one must be experienced to be a Christian. 

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).

“Those who received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41).

“When they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:12–13).

Types of baptisms are:

Baptism into the word of God

Water baptism.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

Baptism of Suffering

Let’s address these:

Baptism into word of God

Baptism into the word of God is very important because it is only those who accepted to follow Jesus can be baptized. They are baptized for the decision they have made to follow and do what God required from them on daily basis.

From the scriptures below we can understand that people are declared cleaned when they have heard the word of God and believe it

John 15:3

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

John 17:17

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Ephesians 5:26

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

The gospel begins with the preaching of the word of God to the unbeliever and anyone who does not believed will not be baptized, because he has no faith. This is clear from the book of Romans 10:14-17 that says faith come through hearing of the word of Christ. And someone has to tell them about the word which they will believe and based on their believe to the word of God their heart will be cleansed from their sinful thought and they will embrace the gospel through the word they heard and believed.

This refers to being spiritually born-again through the word of God. Notice what the Scriptures say about this baptism:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, (27) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Galatians 3:26-27

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit Titus 3:5

The reason the baptism into Christ is a foundational doctrine is because it’s impossible to be a Christian apart from this new spiritual birth. If someone says they’re a believer, but aren’t spiritually regenerated then they’re a Christian in name only and aren’t genuinely saved.

If you come across any minister or group that says people don’t have to be spiritually reborn to be a Christian, as Jesus stressed in John 3:3,6, they should be rejected as false teachers. As Jesus said about the false teachers of his day: “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14).

Water Baptism

Baptism in water is simply a public testimony of the believer’s baptism into Christ. Acts 10:47-48 is a good example. Here are five things about water baptism you should know:

  1. It is an outward expression of a personal decision already made.
  2. It symbolizes death to the sin nature.
  3. Being lifted out of the water symbolizes resurrection to a new life (Romans 6:1-4).
  4. In addition, the water obviously represents the “washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
  5. Believers are to be baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

I’m sure you see why water baptism is as important as the baptism into the word of God since water baptism is merely the symbolic testimony of what has already taken place spiritually through the baptism into Christ. 

We are not literally dying when we go under the water, we are symbolically dying. We are “baptized into His death” in a figurative way, we are not literally dead as He was. We are symbolizing our death to self and sin and our being raised to live the new life He gives. Thus it was necessary for Paul to say right after he talked about being “baptized into His death”, “reckon yourselves to be dead” (Romans 6:11). We are baptized “for the remission of our sins” by submitting to immersion in the watery grave of baptism.

 Just as Adam was our head before we became Christians so now Christ is the “new Adam”, our federal head. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all live (1 Corinthians 15:22). Because Christ is now our representative, when He died we died with Him (2 Timothy 2:11), and when He was raised we were raised with Him. Baptism is a beautiful and holy reenactment of those truths. Thus our eternal salvation was completed before we were born, completely outside of us or our abilities. “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him,We shall also live with Him.”(2 Timothy 2:11)



Baptism performed by submerging an individual in water is called baptism by immersion. Eastern Orthodox churches and some Protestant denominations practice this method of baptism. They conduct baptism in this way to imitate early church practice, which many theologians believe predominately practiced baptism by submerging individuals in moving bodies of water.


A baptism conducted by sprinkling holy water onto someone’s head is called baptism by aspersion. The method of baptism is practiced by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. Proponents of the method argue that the Greek word “baptizo” can mean “to put an element or liquid on or above.” Though theologians recognize that baptism by immersion is the typical way baptism was administered, historical practice recognizes aspersion as a common alternative for sick people, children and individuals in prison. People who practice this type of baptism do not deny the validity of baptism by immersion. Instead, they view their practice as also valid and more practical in modern circumstances.

Affusion (Penuangan)

Baptism performed by pouring water onto someone’s head is called baptism by affusion. About the 10th century, affusion became the predominant method of baptism. Today, the Roman Catholic Church believes that baptism is valid only if the water that a person touches is moving. Thus, immersion in stagnant bodies of water and sprinkling water onto someone’s head do not adequately demonstrate an individual’s old life being washed away and are considered invalid practices by the Roman Catholic Church.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Being baptized into Christ is essentially one-in-the-same as being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:3,6), but being born of the Spirit is distinct from the baptism of the Spirit, although they can occasionally happen at the same time. When you’re born of the Spirit, the Spirit is in you (Romans 8:9 & 1 Corinthians 6:19), whereas when you’re baptized in the Spirit, the Spirit is all over you because you’re covered or overwhelmed by the Spirit. 

Speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While speaking in tongues is not the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not speaking in tongues, they go hand in hand. Here are five scriptural examples of people receiving this baptism:

  1. The believers in Jerusalem, as shown in Acts 2:1-4. All of them spoke in tongues.
  2. The Samaritans, as shown in Acts 8:12-19. The Samaritans were part Jew and part Gentile. Verse 18 shows that Simon the sorcerer “saw” that the Spirit was given to the Samaritans when the apostles laid their hands on them. In other words, he saw evidence that they received the Holy Spirit. What did he see? We must interpret Scripture with Scripture, which is a hermeneutical rule. Since the rest of the New Testament shows that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this must’ve been what Simon saw—people speaking in languages they didn’t know.
  1. Saul in Damascus, as shown in Acts 9:17-18. Although speaking in tongues is not mentioned in this passage, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, and we observe scriptural evidence elsewhere that Saul (Paul) spoke in tongues on a regular basis, which is praying in the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:18-19).
  1. Cornelius’ household in Caesarea, as shown in Acts 10:44-48. This refers to the first Gentile believers. Verses 45-46 state that “The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” Since believers who are not baptized in the spirit can and do praise God, the evidence of the baptism is obviously speaking in tongues.
  1. The Ephesians, as shown in Acts 19:5-7. This passage shows that all twelve spoke in tongues as a result of receiving the baptism, not just a select few.

As already noted every Christian can and should receive this baptism and pray in the spirit to supplement prayer in his or her everyday language. This can be observed in 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, 18-19 and Ephesians 6:18. I have to emphasize this because there’s this idea rampant in the body of Christ that speaking in tongues was done away with once the biblical canon was completed. Don’t believe it; it’s a colossal lie that has allowed the enemy to keep multitudes of sincere believers from the full empowerment and help of the Holy Spirit.

Praying in the spirit is important because it edifies us by building us up in faith and empowers us to witness, to love people and to walk free from sin, which we’ll look at momentarily.

Before we do, there are a few things about the baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues that should be stressed and clarified:

Just because a Christian is baptized in the Spirit and can speak in tongues it does not mean that he or she is walking in the spirit; that is, bearing fruit of the spirit, like love, joy, peace, kindness, faith, humility and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Putting it another way, to be spirit-controlled is synonymous with bearing fruit of the spirit but just because a believer is baptized in the Spirit and can speak in tongues doesn’t mean that he or she is participating in the divine nature, i.e. walking in the spirit and producing the fruit thereof (2 Peter 1:4).

If a Christian can walk in the spirit to a good degree without the baptism of the Holy Spirit, how much more so if they are baptized in the Holy Spirit! In other words, just because you’re doing well spiritually without speaking in tongues, don’t let it rob you of this wonderful gift that God has provided for all believers!

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is usually transferred through physical contact via the ministry of the laying on of hands, but not always. Although the gift can be received in this manner through someone who already has it, as shown in some of the above examples, a believer can also receive it simply through faith (Luke 11:9-13). In fact, everything in our covenant is by faith.

If any believer has hands laid on them for this baptism and they don’t speak in tongues it doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t receive the baptism. They may have received it, but they simply have yet to speak in tongues. We have to understand that speaking in tongues—praying in the spirit—are something that the believer does by his or her volition and is not something the Holy Spirit makes people do. Remember what Paul said: “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind” (1 Corinthians 14:15). Just as praying in a language you understand is an act of your own will, so is praying in the spirit. With this understanding, if I chose to I could theoretically not pray in the spirit the rest of my life even though I’m baptized in the Spirit.

On that note, there are too many Christians who are baptized in the Spirit and yet rarely if ever pray in the spirit and therefore lack the empowerment the Holy Spirit wants to give them. Speaking of which…

The Empowerment and Help of the Holy Spirit

The reason I’m going into so much detail about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and praying in the spirit is because they are God-given sources of great empowerment for the believer to walk in newness of life and victory. Unfortunately, many believers settle for less than God’s best and they go through life struggling with things they don’t need to struggle with because the LORD has provided them the power and help they need—if only they knew of these truths and implemented them! This is the very reason God detailed these truths in His Word and it’s why I’m stressing them here.

With this understanding, notice the power that Paul said was available for his protégé Timothy:

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of hands. (7) For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

What gift was Paul talking about? He doesn’t say, but there are clues: The gift was given through the laying on of hands and it is linked to the spirit or Spirit.* Since Scripture interprets Scripture we must conclude that Paul was referring to the baptism of the Spirit because 

1. This gift involves the Spirit and 

2. there’s repeated evidence that this gift is typically transferred through the laying on of hands. As such, the baptism of the Spirit is the obvious answer.

Keeping in mind that there was no capitalization in the original Greek and so translators have to determine whether the Greek word for ‘spirit’—pneuma (NYOO-ma)—refers to the human spirit (un-capitalized) or the Holy Spirit (capitalized).

By instructing Timothy to “fan into flame” this gift he was simply encouraging him to pray in the spirit more often, which is actually the seventh piece of the armor of God (Ephesians 6:18). What does he mean by fan it into flame? Speaking from experience, (Luke 5:16)

Power, love and self-discipline.

Power. The Greek word for ‘power’ is dunamis (DOO-nah-miss) and it’s where we get the English word dynamite. When you pray in the spirit you’re building yourself up in dynamite power! The more you pray in the spirit the more you’ll be empowered—anointed—to fulfill whatever mission the LORD gives you. As you grow you’ll kiss timidity goodbye!

Love. As you pray in the spirit you’ll build yourself up in agape (ah-GAH-pay) love, which is simply practical love. Hence, you’ll be able to practically love people whom you don’t even like, including enemies. Put another way, you’ll be empowered to love people for whom you don’t have loving feelings. By doing this you’ll fulfill the biblical instruction to love your enemies (Luke 6:35), which—I always stress—includes tough love when appropriate.

Self-Discipline. As you pray in the spirit you’ll also be built up in self-discipline, which means self-control. You’ll find yourself being able to do things you never had the discipline to do previously. You’ll be empowered to quit negative behaviors or addictions that you’ve struggled with for years. 

In short, it’ll give you the edge to win spiritually. I’m sure you see why the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a foundational doctrine. Christians who write off this incredible gift due to the false doctrine that charismatic gifts passed away with the last of the original apostles are robbing themselves. And believers who have the gift but don’t “fan it into flame” are wasting it and robbing themselves of great power and anointing that would enable them to walk in newness of life.


Baptism of Suffering – Jesus (and the disciples). Although this baptism is not described, we can get the general picture from these verses…. Luke 12: 49,50 I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! (“submerged in a sea” of opposition, suffering and hatred) Matthew 20: 22,23 (also Mark 10: 38-40) But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

John 21:18-19 Truly, truly, I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself and walked where you wanted; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after He had said this, He told him, “Follow Me.”

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