The Truth About Water Baptism
Q: What about sprinkling? Infant baptism?
A: These are both traditions of man, not commandments of God.
Regarding infant baptism, the Bible states:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
Baptism without belief in Jesus is just getting wet. How can a child who cannot comprehend Jesus' sacrifice believe in it? How can children repent if they do not realize they are in need of forgiveness?
The word "baptism" or "baptizo" in Greek - the common language in the land during the days of the New Testament - means to immerse. The word "rantizo" means to sprinkle. These words were never interchangeable. Each had a totally different meaning. If the scriptures would have meant rantizo (sprinkling) they would have said so. It is evident that immersion was meant in every scripture dealing with baptism, because, in every instance, the original Greek word from which the word baptism was translated is "baptizo" not "rantizo." Jesus himself gave us an example of this in Matthew 3:16.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Remember that baptism is for the remission of sins: a new birth, a new start. Jesus had no sin and so didn't have to be baptized, but was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He was baptized to be our perfect example in all things or, in other words, He would not ask us to do something he had not done himself.
John was the one who saw the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus like a dove. That was a vision to assure him that this was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. We also see that Jesus came "up straightway out of the water." Why would He have been in so much water if He had only to be sprinkled? Following are authoritative references, including some from Greek texts:
Greek-English Lexicon by Liddel, Scott & Thayer
Baptism taken from Greek word Baptizo-to dip, immerse.
Greek-English Dictionary by Divry's
Greek word Baptize-to immerse. Emphatic
Diaglott, contains original Greek text
in every instance the Greek word baptize is translated immerse.
The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (with Lexicon & Synonyms)
of the Christian ordinance, to immerse, submerge, to baptize
Unger's Bible Dictionary
The word "baptism" is the English form of the Greek baptismos. The verb from which this noun is derived - baptizo - is held by some scholars to mean "to dip, immerse."
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (Greek dictionary, Reference #907)
baptizo, bap-tid'zo; from a derivative of 911; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: baptist, baptize, wash.
Encyclopaedia of the Lutheran Church (Volume I, Pg. 118)
Martin Luther preferred immersion as more true to original practice.
Catholic Biblical Encyclopaedia (Pg. 61 Paragraph 2)
Immersion was oldest method employed. Buried in baptism. Romans 6:4.
World Book Encyclopaedia (Volume II, Pg. 70)
The early church practiced immersion or submerging under the water.
New Catholic Encyclopaedia (Volume II, Pg. 54, 62)
Terminology. The name baptism came from the Greek noun (Lapa, "the dipping, washing, less commonly (Luµo~, stemming from the verb Bantw, "to dip" or "immerse."
The word "baptism" is derived from the Greek, meaning "plunge" or "dip" (as in St. John 13:26. Our word "baptism" has come to mean "purify" or "cleanse:" it is helpful, in seeking an understanding of the mystery of Baptism to recall the original meaning of the term.
It is important to know that the meaning of baptism has remained the same over the centuries. To purify is the description of the effect of baptism; it is not the definition of the word baptism itself. Paul speaks of immersion in his letter to the Romans, Romans 6:3-5. He defines purification for us as he speaks of walking in the newness of life... after we are baptized.
3 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.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Romans 6:3-5)
These scriptures clearly support baptism by immersion under water as being buried with Christ by baptism, being planted with Him in the likeness of His death. Colossians 2:12 also refers to this:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.