Here is #10 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To learn more about this 31 Day series, just search “31 Questions” in the search bar above or click here!
Q #10: Do you have to be completely submerged to be baptized?
This question touches on a number of questions relating to baptism and our church. In the most simplistic way to answer, YES, baptism involves being immersed in water. The meaning of the word baptizo from Greek, the original language of the New Testament, means “dip, plunge or immerse”. That’s where we get our English word “baptism”. The word is not limited to this use in Greek, but this is its meaning in the New Testament text. It can also mean “go under”, for example.
That’s why many Christian traditions baptize through immersion–we believe it most clearly reflects the pattern found in the New Testament. If Jesus was baptized in this way, and he commands that all his followers be baptized, we want to do our best to follow through as completely as possible on this command.
Beyond this, immersion helps to bring alive one of the meanings of baptism. Namely, baptism is a picture of being buried with Christ and risen to a new life with him. See Romans 6:3-4:
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
This passage also seems to suggest that baptism is a means of putting to death “the old man”. That is to say, baptism is a way of burying the person you were in favor of the new person you are in Christ.
Finally, the New Testament pattern of water baptism is that it also follows faith in Christ. I want to encourage you to follow Christ in water baptism, even if you were baptized as a baby. I’ve never met anyone who found that being re-baptized was somehow without value.
I hope this post helps to bring more understanding to your life about the meaning of water baptism!