Acts 2: Were the Apostles Baptized in Water? Part 1

Jerry asked,

What I was taught growing up in the Churches of Christ (1940′s & 50′s) was that the apostles were baptized by John, who taught men to believe on the one who was to come. There is presumptive evidence of this in two things: (1) Peter and Andrew met Jesus at John’s revival and (2) Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, his chosen 12 doing the actual baptizing.

As always, I’m glad to offer an opinion or two.
Were the apostles water baptized? There are four theories of which I’m aware —

* Many argue that the 120 were baptized at Pentecost, the argument being that because water baptism is essential to salvation, and because the apostles are obviously saved, they must have been water baptized.

The argument is, of course, entirely circular — it assumes the necessity of water baptism in all cases, and then “proves” the apostles were water baptism based on its assumption.

Moreover, the text plainly indicates the apostles — and the rest of the 120 — were not water baptized, at least, not at Pentecost.

(Act 2:41 NIV)  Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Those who were baptized were added to the 120. If they were all baptized at once, there’d have been no one to be added to.

There’s no place in Acts 1 for a baptism to occur. The disciples were to told to wait, not to go be water baptized. And it’s hard to imagine that Jesus told them to all be baptized and yet Luke found that event too trivial to record.

* Some argue the 120 were baptized by Jesus. Maybe, but there’s no record of such a thing. Indeed, we’re told the disciples baptized others

(John 4:1-3 ESV) Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John  2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),  3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.

Again, how could it be important enough to mention that Jesus’ disciples baptized others but not that they were themselves baptized? It just defies all reason to imagine that the apostles would be damned unless water baptized and yet the Gospel writers never bothered to mention the fact when they discussed so many other baptisms.

And even if it’s so, should we imagine that pre-Pentecost baptisms by Jesus or John somehow became effective post-Pentecost? If so, why weren’t there some people at Pentecost who didn’t need to be rebaptized? Surely there were some disciples of Jesus or John present in Jerusalem (commentators say there may have been around 200,000 present for Pentecost) who’d been baptized by Jesus or John but who weren’t part of the 120 there. But it was only those baptized who were added to the 120.

* Many hold that the 120 were baptized by John. And, of course, nothing says they weren’t baptized by John. But neither is there any evidence that all were baptized by John. As Jerry points out, we know that two of the 120 had been to visit John, and likely had been baptized by him, but we don’t really even know that they were immersed by John. And so it’s an unsustainable stretch of the evidence to presume that all had been baptized by John.

But even if it could be proved, Acts 19 plainly teaches that John’s baptism was inadequate to provide the Spirit and so salvation —

(Act 19:1 ESV) 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.

Now, in Church of Christ argumentation, it’s often assumed that John’s baptism wasn’t for remission of sins, but it was.

(Mar 1:4 ESV) John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

(Luk 3:3 ESV) And [John] went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

The phrase in both verses is grammatically identical to Acts 2:38! What John’s baptism didn’t provide is the Spirit, as John himself said,

(Mar 1:8 ESV) “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

(John 1:33 ESV) “I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'”

We are all baptized with the Spirit

Now, again in Church of Christ argumentation, we get off track by insisting that baptism with the Spirit is an event reserved solely for the 120 and Cornelius and his household — which would mean that John’s audience would have had no idea what he was talking about because “you” in Mark 1:9 would mean “120 Jews and a Gentile centurion” as opposed to “those who repent.” (Remembering that “repent” includes turning to God by believing in the Messiah whom John would soon point out!)

Moreover, John’s audience would have heard in “immerses with the Spirit” a reference to the prophecies of the outpouring of the Spirit that would water the land (Isa 32:15; Isa 44:3). You can’t  hear “immerse” and not think of water, and you can’t hear “Spirit” and “water” together and not think of the Prophets — if you’ve read Isaiah.

And “baptizes” in John 1:33 is in the present tense, indicating a continuous or repeating pattern of baptizing n the Spirit, not a once or twice giving.

And so, if John meant to be understood, baptism with the Spirit refers to the outpouring of the Spirit that was for “all flesh” (Joel 2:28, quoted by Peter at Acts 2:17).

Now, other than on the lips of John, the receipt of the Spirit is referred to as “baptism with the Spirit” only in Acts 2 and Acts 10, referencing Pentecost and Cornelius, but the same is also true of the phrase “outpouring” of the Spirit. But Paul claims the prophesied outpouring is for all Christians —

(Tit 3:5-6 ESV)  5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

And don’t imagine that Paul wasn’t referencing Joel and the other prophets when he used their own language about the Spirit. And so we all receive the prophesied outpouring of the Spirit.

And Peter declares that the baptism of the Spirit witnessed on Pentecost was in fact the outpouring —

(Act 2:16-17 ESV) 16 But this [baptism of the Spirit you see] is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:  17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams …”

And, finally, Peter is plain that the outpoured Spirit is not a one-generation event —

(Act 2:38-39 ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

“Promise” is a reference back to “promise of the Spirit” in Acts 2:33 —

(Act 2:33 ESV)  33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Peter says that the “promise” of the Spirit is the outpoured Spirit, which is the baptism of the Spirit. These are different word pictures but the same thing.

The inadequacy of John’s baptism

Therefore, at its core, John’s baptism could only grant a one-time forgiveness because it did not provide the indwelling Spirit. It’s by the Spirit that we receive ongoing forgiveness.

(Tit 3:5 ESV) 5 he saved us … by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit

I covered the grammar in great detail before. I take “regeneration and renewal” to be a phrase –both are “of the Holy Spirit” and both are part of the washing process. After all, washing and the Spirit go together; they aren’t two entirely different things.

(1Co 6:11 ESV)  11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

(2Th 2:13 ESV) 13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Now, that being the case, Acts 19 makes perfect sense. Although the Ephesians had been baptized in John’s baptism, they’d not yet received the Spirit and so had to be rebaptized in the name of Jesus — to receive the Spirit and so be saved!

That being the case, how on earth could we argue that the 120 had received Christian baptism because they were baptized by John?

Jesus’ baptism

This also means that Jesus baptisms pre-Pentecost weren’t effective to save because the Spirit had not yet been outpoured or given (John 7:39). Sins could be forgiven by baptism, because of repentance, just as in John’s case, but without the Spirit, forgiveness was a one-time event, not a lifetime indwelling and relationship, welling up to continuous forgiveness.

* Some argue that Pentecost made pre-Pentecost baptisms by John (or Jesus) effective but not post-Pentecost baptisms.

To reconcile Acts 19 with the theory that John’s baptisms became effective at Pentecost, the point is made that John pointed to the Messiah who was to come. Once he arrived, an effective baptism must be in the name of Jesus.

But, of course, Jesus was the Messiah long before Pentecost. Why make Pentecost the moment when John’s baptism becomes effective — other than to justify a dispensational theory or defend the absolute necessity of water baptism? No, once John announced that Jesus is the Messiah (John 1:29) — once Jesus was baptized by John — it’s hard to argue that John’s baptism was ineffective because the Messiah had not yet come and so couldn’t yet be believed in.

No, John’s baptism was incomplete because it didn’t bring the outpoured Spirit, as John himself said. And so to imagine that those baptized by John became saved at Pentecost is to imagine that they received the Spirit, wherever they were, at Pentecost — that is, that the Spirit was outpoured on John’s disciples all over the Mediterranean concurrently with Peter’s sermon — a very odd theory that has no support in scripture or history.

There’s no record of Mary being baptized by John, no record of disciples of John suddenly receiving the Spirit across the Judean countryside at 33 AD, no record of the apostles being immersed, no record of any of this. It’s a theory built on wishful thinking and therefore not serious theology — unless we surmise that God didn’t give us enough in the scriptures and we should fill in the silences with speculation.

But it’s not our place to build doctrine on silences. Rather, we should build our teachings on God’s word itself.

Tomorrow, a better theory.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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34 Responses to Acts 2: Were the Apostles Baptized in Water? Part 1

  1. Jerry says:

    While these are good comments, they do not really address my basic question about assertions that the apostles (and the rest of the 120) were not baptized in water prior to Pentecost. While we do not have specific accounts of such baptisms, in view of their involvement with John and with Jesus in their activity in baptizing multitudes, I believe there is reason to believe that they were themselves baptized – if it even makes any difference. Certainly whether they were or were not baptized in water does not affect any command for us to be baptized today, so in one way the question is moot.

  2. I think it a shame that Jay insists on claiming falsely that more than the 12 were baptized in the Spirit. There’s absolutely no textual reason to think so. Nor to imagine as Jay does that God’s pouring out His Spirit is fulfilling the promise made by John the Baptist that Jesus would baptize in the Spirit. How foolish it is indeed to try to make the baptism in the Spirit, which definitely did include SIGNS of something unusual happening be equal to receiving the gift of the Spirit which is promised to all who repent and are baptized in water. At the time of baptism in water, we all receive a gift of the Spirit. There’s nothing to see to prove the gift was given. But God keeps His promises. So we know that the gift IS given.

    The only two times in recorded history when anyone received baptism in the Spirit, it was accompanied by signs to prove the event had happened. Both times were not in any way associated with water baptism. BUT THE GIFT which is given AT baptism is clearly promised to follow repenting based on faith in Jesus, and baptism INTO His body which is the church.

    Jerry asked a good question. Jay’s answer is not helpful in answering the question.

  3. Norton says:

    The thing that happened to the household of Cornelius is described as having the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on them in Acts 10:45, And Peter said they had received the Holy Spirit in Acts 10:47. I would not know how to distinguish that from Peter’s promise, “and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” of Acts 2:38. Peter probably was not promising, in Acts 2:38, that everyone who repented and was baptized would receive the signs that sometimes accompanied receiving the Spirit, but I think it clear that he was promising that they would be baptized with the Spirit as were those on Pentecost and at Cornelius’ house. “Baptized with/in the Spirit seems to be one of several metaphors in the Bible that mean the same thing as “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.

  4. Jerry says:

    Ray wrote,

    How foolish it is indeed to try to make the baptism in the Spirit, which definitely did include SIGNS of something unusual happening be equal to receiving the gift of the Spirit which is promised to all who repent and are baptized in water….

    The only two times in recorded history when anyone received baptism in the Spirit, it was accompanied by signs to prove the event had happened.

    He continues to ignore 1 Corinthians 12:13, which states “…in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body” (ASV). This is in a context where Paul clearly says there is one Spirit who gives different gifts “according to His will.” The chapter goes on to indicate that not all who receive the Spirit receive the visible signs, though all receive the Spirit.

    Ray and I have had quite an email discussion about this text and my conviction that “one Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12 means the Holy Spirit throughout while he wants it to be a spirit of humility and submission in v. 13. While there certainly is humility and submission in those who have the Holy Spirit, there is no reason to believe that “Spirit” in v. 13 is different from “Spirit” in the rest of the chapter.

    The problem is two-fold: (1) He allows Pentecostals to define what it means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. In this, he is like most in the Stone-Campbell tradition. (2) He refuses to admit the possibility that the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4 is in two elements – water and Spirit (cf. Jesus on the new birth in John 3:3, 5). In order to reconcile 1 Cor 12:13 with Eph 4:4-6, he – again in keeping with the majority of those in the Stone-Campbell tradition – denies that the one Spirit in which we are baptized into one body is the Holy Spirit.

    The “gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2 is the Holy Spirit Himself. The Holy Spirit also gives visible gifts to some, not all to whom He is given. In the Old Testament, the Spirit gave such gifts – though the Spirit Himself was not generally given until Pentecost. Indeed, the twelve and the seventy had gifts from the Spirit while on the limited commission. What happened at Pentecost (and what happens when penitent believers are baptized today) is something different; the Spirit Himself is given. Jesus spoke of this difference, I believe, in John 14:17.

    The Spirit had been “with them” in the person of Jesus; after Pentecost, He was “in them” and in all believers.


  5. Jay Guin says:

    Ray wrote,

    I think it a shame that Jay insists on claiming falsely that more than the 12 were baptized in the Spirit. There’s absolutely no textual reason to think so. Nor to imagine as Jay does that God’s pouring out His Spirit is fulfilling the promise made by John the Baptist that Jesus would baptize in the Spirit. How foolish it is indeed to try to make the baptism in the Spirit, which definitely did include SIGNS of something unusual happening be equal to receiving the gift of the Spirit which is promised to all who repent and are baptized in water.

    I remind you of blog policy —

    (2Ti 2:24-25 ESV) 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

    I don’t mind being disagreed with. I don’t mind being disagreed with strongly. But let’s try to keep our words less strident. It’s not that it bothers me personally, so much, as things get out of hand if I don’t throw a penalty flag when language becomes unbecoming.

  6. laymond says:

    Ray, you don’t know what you are up against, good luck and may God help you.
    As far as I can discern people as old as 45 years, were not brought up in a church of Christ that taught , God is constructed of “three persons” nor that Christians became indwelled by the “holy Ghost” at baptism. as far as I can tell this “New Church” came into existence around 1980 and has struggled to become the prevailing branch and are still struggling to do so, but they are persistent. And don’t expect them to give up soon.

    The Gift
    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.

    Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    5:15 But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
    But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

    The Promise
    Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
    Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
    Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

    Does this really sound like what happened on the day of Pentecost ?

  7. Charles McLean says:

    Ray, there is an important difference between saying, “It ain’t so!” and saying, “Ain’t nobody proved it to MY satisfaction!” The latter is a personal statement which you are welcome to make without qualification. The former is a statement of fact which requires proofs.

    I am willing to acknowledge that you do not agree with Jay (et al) about who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. You both read the same text and come to different conclusions. It seems to me that you might well state it this way, instead of accusing others of “false claims”. After all, I cannot find scriptural basis for limiting the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the Twelve and have given clear prophetic evidence to the contrary from John, which you have yet to rebut.

    Perhaps, since you are not convinced, you might explain why I should not believe John’s prophesy about our being baptized with the Holy Spirit by Jesus, a prophetic promise made clearly and repeatedly to many, many people besides the Twelve. If you continue to ignore this bit of textual evidence, your insistence that you have not SEEN any textual evidence will continue to smack more of willful blindness than of substantive interpretive disagreement.

  8. Charles McLean says:

    Jerry notes about another poster’s position: “He allows Pentecostals to define what it means to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. In this, he is like most in the Stone-Campbell tradition.”
    This is an important and unfortunate problem. We as believers often tend to look at people instead of scripture, or at least to look at certain scriptures through the filter of people. We may hold to an untenable doctrine because people we loved and respected held to this doctrine. Conversely, we might see another person whose practices do not precisely track with scripture and feel free to throw out those scriptures entirely. Thus we find ourselves arguing with one another’s positions, both sides flailing away with their pet passages and no real interest in finding out where the reality lies. It is proof enough for us to reject a doctrine that the fellow who holds it is behaving incorrectly. No, this is not rational, but it is traditional, and not limited any one Christian sect.

  9. Austin says:

    Here’s what I believe: I believe we are to be baptized in water into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of our sins. I believe that when we do this, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, meaning that we receive the Holy Spirit within us (He dwells in us). I believe this all happens at the same time, not different times, for there is one baptism. The apostles were most likely already baptized the way John taught (just as Jesus was), and then received the gift of the Holy Spirit afterwards, but they are the exception to the rule, not the rule itself (just like a lot of people believe you don’t need to be baptized because the thief on the cross was not baptized – this is the exception, not the rule). It’s not so much that the water itself does something to us, but that God chose water as what we should be immersed in and by doing that, He cleanses us spiritually through His Son’s blood.

  10. Larry Cheek says:

    Charles Mclean,
    He gave them more than you have shown. He gave them power over forgiveness of sins, something that has never been given to anyone else. We should notice that this gift that he gave to the ten (Thomas was not with them and Matthias had not been selected to replace Judas)
    by breathing on them, this was after his death and after he had returned to his father. Notice the text, he told Mary not to touch him because he had not returned to the father, later when the disciples were gathered he gave this gift of the Holy spirit to the ten, one week later Jesus came again while Thomas was there, he told Thomas to touch him. Conclusion would be in the time between the two meetings Jesus had returned to the father. Another conclusion follows, Thomas was not given this measure of the Holy Spirit. But, sometime within the 40 days prior to his ascension he told them not to leave Jerusalem until they had been baptized with The Holy Spirit, notice Acts 1 in the following. If he had given them the Holy Spirit by breathing on them, then baptized them in The Holy Spirit later were both events the same Spirit?

    (John 20:17 NIV) Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    (Acts 1:1 NIV) In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
    Secondary note, did Jesus just make a overall statement about John’s baptism being water or is he really identifying that they were baptized by John in water? Then telling them, “in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”.

  11. Larry opined, “Conclusion would be in the time between the two meetings Jesus had returned to the father.” This is very interesting! Jesus returned to the Father sometime in the first week after his resurrection while continuing to appear to hundreds of people for another month or so. On the surface, this seems very odd, this unreported “returning” as opposed to the ascension, which would NOT be Jesus returning to the Father, but something else. It could have happened as Larry suggests, but perhaps not.

    Here we find the limitations of inductive reasoning, Larry. Jesus told Mary not to touch him, for he had not yet returned to the Father. You induce that this means nobody could touch Jesus until he returned to the Father. But this is not said directly, and we do not really know what Jesus MEANT by his words to Mary, that is, what touching Jesus had to do with his return to the Father. Induction without all the salient facts is not something upon which we can depend. Even with the facts, this method of reasoning is not very helpful. The very same set of facts could cause us to induce that only men could touch Jesus before he returned to the Father, or only apostles, or only Thomas. Or that Jesus knew Thomas wouldn’t actually touch Him, so his invitation was rhetorical. Induction is a VERY limited tool.

  12. BigDrG says:

    I didn’t read the entire article because it’s just too long of an answer for a simple question that deserves a simple question not the constructing and deconstructing of prooftexts on all sides. It’s real easy. The disciples were followers of Jesus; that’s what disciple means: follower. Jesus was baptized so his disciples followed their rabboni and were baptized. Scripture doesn’t say so in the very specific terms you want?… Psssshhh… it doesn’t need to. Just like if the Bible says Jesus went to Capernaum, it doesn’t have to follow with the phrase “and the disciples went there too” because we all know that a disciple would have followed anywhere and everywhere and they also followed the example of their leader and copied into their own lives what he taught and mimicked the things they saw him, Jesus was baptized so his disciples were too, plain and simple. Jesus baptized people like John did; actually He baptized more than John, but wait! Jesus didn’t actually do any baptizing; his disciples did. So closely were his disciples aligned to him that when they baptized someone it was the same thing as if Jesus Himself had. They told people they needed to be baptized because that’s what Jesus said to teach and that’s what they had done themselves. They wouldn’t have been preaching some kind of exceptional that makes no sense at all of you (the general Hebrew populace) need to be baptized but I (the 12 or the 120 if you like) don’t have to be baptized because Jesus is gonna appear to me later and institute it. (Uh, he didn’t appear later institute (institutionalize?) it; He put it in place right then.) This is all easily understood in the first few verses of John 4.

    Why do we have to get all wrapped up in this versus that? Just stick with the simple words of the Bible. God didn’t make this stuff as hard as so many of us seem to want to make it.

  13. Jo-Ann says:

    There are too many ‘I think’s’, ‘probably’, assumptions, how we feel, in our arguments.

    I would advise that we pray to God as a unit to open up our eyes to see things as is. To look at scripture through the eyes of the author and not through our human eyes.

    So easily our level of intellect CAN hinder us from totally submitting under God’s way of doing and seeing things because we then tend to try and figure out matters based on our intellect.

    Much love,
    Jo-Ann Philander

  14. Ray Downen says:

    I appreciate the many comments on this topic, especially the remarks by Austin, with whom I’m in complete agreement so far as I know. He is kind and courteous. That’s a good example for me! But whether or not the apostles themselves needed to be baptized, they were clearly told by Jesus that their CONVERTS needed to be baptized INTO HIM. Baptized by human hands. And some seem to doubt the need.

    Only the apostles (12 in number on Pentecost) were baptized in the Spirit. They then baptized in water the 3,000 who turned to Jesus that day as a result of the apostles’ pleading and invitation, and those 3,000 received the GIFT of the Spirit which is NOT baptism in the Spirit. But beginning that day, the Spirit-gift is poured out by the Father and Jesus on EVERY convert to Christ.

    That means WE have received the Spirit! In a spirit of humility and repentance we were immersed in water as Jesus commanded. Paul pleads with brethren in Corinth (and now wherever we are) to love one another and act in the same spirit of humility with which we obeyed the gospel. Only those who turned to Jesus as Lord (we repented) and were baptized as He had commanded for all new believers are IN CHRIST (the apostles point out that baptism, not faith or repentance, is INTO CHRIST).

    Apostles were uniquely selected and trained and empowered by being baptized with the Spirit by Jesus. We are not apostles. None of us are apostles. But when we learned of Jesus and His offer of salvation, we gladly turned to HIM and now obey Him and seek to learn more and more of what He taught and caused His apostles to teach.

  15. Dwight says:

    Ray, I agree…we are not apostles. But this doesn’t stop many of us from pretending to be apostolic.
    In fact when we say, “I know the truth.”, we are really saying, “I know what I believe of the truth, which is the scripture.”
    I know too many people that take up I Peter 4:11 “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.” to mean that they when they speak they are speaking as a voice of God.
    The word “oracle” means “utterance, or little or brief words”.
    So the message is if you speak, speak briefly of God or in other words don’t spend a lot of time talk a lot…be brief with what you know.
    So what do we do… we talk a lot as if we are filled with the Holy Spirit as the apostles were.
    We are to teach the truth, which is scripture, but once we get into explaining the scripture, then we are giving our commentary.

  16. Jay Guin says:

    Ray D,

    It’s been a while since you posted. I just wanted to say, “Hi.” And “Glad you’re still hanging around.”

  17. Austin says:

    Wow there are a lot of us still around and new people commenting also! I can’t believe its been over a year since I posted here. It’s good that this conversation is still goimg, as it encourages each of us to continually seek God’s truth and will. I’ve created a blog where, Lord willing, I will be posting about related topics and would love everyone’s thoughts once I start posting there. God bless you all!

  18. David ruiz says:

    Just wanted to comment an early post implying that one baptism is found in born again discourse of John about water and spirit. I do not think Jesus was speaking of water baptism, for that was not the norm for being born of the spirit in the OT . Nicodemus was criticized by the Lord for not knowing what was supposed to be obvious to a OT teacher. Baptismal regeneration is NT(symbolic in my view). That is not say some folks were not born of the spirit associated with John’s baptism(though not in dwelt) as some suggest but that it was not the norm. I would think that Nicodemus knew of John’s baptizing and perhaps Jesus also implied a rebuke for not partaking/believing but that baptism was not stated as primarily regenerative, for I do not believe any work of righteousness (circumcision bar mitzvah, baptism) does that except as a sign of an already internal working.

    So do not think that water speaks of baptism but perhaps of washing by the Word, or perhaps the simultaneous acknowledgement and correction of Nicodemus’s blind and whimsical remark of re-entering the womb and coming forth from water(amniotic fluid). Jesus turned the table and with a precise economy of words graciously uses Nicodemus’s partial truth of water accompanying our first birth but still requiring a spiritual birth thereafter. Hence what is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.


  19. David Ruiz says:

    Hello again,

    It seems some here are advocating for baptismal regeneration. I would agree first that we should be obedient to that command,as well as His other commands, such as believe, repent, etc..I also am to understand that a few scriptures seem to imply effectual baptism. Certainly the first Christians were almost immediately baptized making the sign/rite and regeneration seem to be one and the same. Where I have a problem is understanding how one can believe, make a proclamation of faith in a saving Christ, and still be dead in your sins, or still in the flesh and dead in your spirit. Apparently something good can dwell in my flesh and unregenerate do spirit? I mean only a believer is to be baptized. How can one declare such righteousness except by the power of the spirit? I have not heard of any testimonies of folks who say they were blind but could then see after water baptism or that behold all things became new, after baptism. Yes God does draw us while we were spiritually dead, and He draws to His well. Just don’t think we then drink to become a new creature but drink because He has already quickened us


  20. Dwight says:

    David, I think the answer comes in the opposite type. If we think sinful things we will do sinful things, but God in his mercy doesn’t count our thinking against us, but rather what we produce. What is brought to fruition. God didn’t jump on Eve or Adam the moment they were tempted, but allowed her to take to the next level. Who know they might have changed their mind at the last minute.

    In the same regard, we might have faith, but God ask us to make it perfect in works or in response at least, because in reality baptism is a response and very little work is required of the one willing to be saved. There is a submission and turning one over to another and being buried by another…just like Jesus was. Just think of all of the heroes of faith that did, not just thought about it, but did the will of God and how this showed their faithfulness. Baptism is a small requirement, but it has so much meaning behind it on many levels. Zwingili brought in the division between faith and baptism that really didn’t exist before him, as they were considered tied together or one was an extension of the other. I don’t think we should think of these as steps, but rather knots on a string where if we follow the string we will come naturally to the other. Yes, it is string theory.

  21. Ray Downen says:

    Apostolic teaching always reflects need to believe in Jesus. Not once is it implied that salvation is by faith ALONE as David suggests “must be true.” Many today do teach salvation by faith alone. But since it’s JESUS who saves, unless you find proof that JESUS saves by way of faith ALONE, there is no reason why those who love Jesus would believe in salvation by faith ALONE. The apostles spoke of baptism as being INTO CHRIST. Those who are saved surely are in Christ, but no apostolic teaching says such a thing as that salvation is by faith ALONE. The promise of remission of sin is that it follows obeying the gospel. We obey the gospel by turning to JESUS as LORD and being baptized AS HE COMMANDS.

  22. Boon Lee says:

    I find it interesting that there are so many different takes about whether the apostles were baptized. And some find that this is not an issue at all. What I find incredulous is that Jesus said “I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of Israel..”, and that is very clear proclamation that is non negotiable.
    No matter what Jesus do, he can do anything because he is exceptional but that doesn’t mean he don’t mean what he has proclaimed. Jesus died for the JEWS only. He never rescind that statement he made openly to his disciples and there everything the Bible says after His resurrection must be read at to the JEWS only. Paul was wrong and Luke was wrong and the prove is obvious! There were no blessings at all for any of us who are not Jews. The church and all the priest and preachers are liars as Jesus said “snakes and brood of vipers “.

  23. Dwight says:

    “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,…”
    This was the word of Jesus to His disciples.
    This was the promise to Abraham that “all nations shall be blessed.”
    Pretty clear that the gentiles by God was to be included in the promise as well.
    “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.”
    Again very clear.

  24. Dwight says:

    Boone, Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John, “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
    “God so loved the world that he have his only begotten son”

  25. Gwen Kircher says:

    Very interesting discussion! According to what some of you have written and what I was taught as a child in the 50s only the 12 received the power and authority given to believers spoken by Jesus in Mark 16:17-18. But if that is the case why did Jesus say these signs shall follow believers. If it was only for the 12 why did he say believers and not just you 12. I have since had my eyes opened and now understand and use the gifts given to believers for edification of the church. I did experience the Baptism of the Holy Ghost in the 70s (note I was saved in the 50s but my church taught against all Jesus said I as a believer would do in His name. When I accepted Christ and was Baptized I received His Spirit which is not the same as being Baptized in the Spirit. Remember what Paul said about having more gifts than the ones he was speaking to who were not the 12. I was very upset with the church I grew up in because of their teaching limiting the power that is given to every believer until G_D reminded me I was saved there; I repented. Most of us believe we are in the last days and if that is so our sons and daughters …… Then you would either believe these gifts were for the 12 and only people alive at the end or that they have been here for all. If you believe they are not for us today WHY. Had the Holy Ghost not led me to a church that believed in the authority Jesus gave in Mark I would be bound still and in a mental hospital. I know now and understand that I a believer have the right to use the authority Jesus gave by the power of the Holy Ghost and as Paul said I can ask G_D for the gifts in Corinthians. I know that people really get hung up on casting out devils, laying hands on the sick etc. But that is what the Word says we will do. I do not understand why people Deny these gifts and say they are not for us today. I have seen many miracles since the 70s. So all that the Word says is for believers is mine I claim. Oh by the way Father, Son, Holy Ghost was added and many Bibles tell you it was not part of the original text but was changed by the Catholic Church. Most believers know that G_D is one so I never knew people believed in 3separate gods until recently and that it was instill by that denomination.

  26. + Boon Lee
    // “I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of Israel..”, and that is very clear proclamation that is non negotiable. //

    and proves only that you know (or more likely have been taught) how to take a single line of text in the bible out of context and use it as a filter – in this case you want to filter out Luke and Pauls writings…

    you perhaps do not realise that Jesus ascension to His Father is ONLY recorded by Luke in the book of Acts?

    You do not realise that all of the early church history, including the outpouring of Spirit and the mode of Baptism is ONLY recorded in the book of Acts?

    You do not realise that if Luke was wrong you need to discard His gospel, so now you have only 2 synoptic gospels and a couple of epistles remaining?

    You do not realise that Jesus saying He was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel is not the only time that Jesus mentioned sheep? i.e. “I have OTHER sheep”

    You do not realise that Jesus acknowledged there was more faith in certain Gentiles than in ALL Israel? and He responded to their plea’s based on their measure of faith> If what you claim is true, He wouldn’t have bothered.

    You do not realise that Jesus said their (the Jews) “House” was ABANDONED to them?

    And assuming you believe you are a Jew, then you do not seem to realise that the Old Testament clearly states God would draw the Gentiles to Him in His servant. Isaiah 49:

    He says:
    “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob
    and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
    I will make you as a light for the nations,
    that MY SALVATION may reach to THE END OF THE EARTH.”

    Here is a CLEAR contrast in the Old Testament between the tribes of Jacob AND the “preserved” of Israel vs “the nations” – and further a CLEAR identification of the instrument, the “light” for the nations and the extent of it. Your “God only loves Jews” doctrine falls flat on its face in the OT where even though His focus is very much the nation of Israel, God expresses His love for people of the nations multiple times.

    In addition, Job was not a Jew, Abel was not a Jew, Enoch was not a Jew, Abraham was not a Jew, neither were Joseph or Isaac, nor was Noah, nor Lot nor many many others. God CHOSE the descendants of Israel “as a nation” for His name at a point in time, but it is silly to try and claim this was the only means of salvation.

    In fact, try to find a good Jewish commentary on the song of Moses and the meaning of “I will make YOU jealous by them which are NOT A PEOPLE, by a FOOLISH NATION”. I have yet to find one, but if you have one I would be intrigued to read it.

  27. Barbara says:

    Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
    The apostles were right in their teaching, if not God would not have put their names on the foundation of heaven

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