Jesus taught that His disciples were to baptize others in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Yet in Acts 2:38, the apostle Peter taught that those who believed were to be baptized in Jesus' name. The apostles taught, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Which is true?
In whose name are we to be baptized – Jesus' name (Acts 2:38), or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)?
A person who is baptized in Jesus' name is someone who has believed in Jesus as Savior. This shortened version stated in Acts 2 and 4 did not negate what Jesus taught, but rather emphasized salvation exclusively in Jesus. The practice of the early church was to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit as Jesus taught, emphasizing the Triune nature of God.
Further, when the New Testament speaks of being baptized in the name of Jesus, the idea is that of being baptized in the authority of Jesus. Many passages in the New Testament speak of something done in the "name of Jesus" as a reference to the "authority of Jesus."
For example, Acts 3:6 shows Peter healing in the name of Jesus, meaning the authority of Jesus: "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!"
The apostle Paul cast out a spirit in the name of Jesus, again using the idea of the authority of Jesus: "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her" (Acts 16:18).
Second Thessalonians 3:6 even speaks of avoiding those who claim to follow Jesus yet live in sin "in the name of Jesus." Here, the idea of the authority of Jesus is also used, emphasizing that Paul's teaching is from Christ rather than His own opinion.
Being baptized in the name of Jesus clearly included a contrast to other kinds of baptism as well as baptism by the authority of Jesus. Yet these two concepts do not contradict being baptized in the name of Father, Son, and Spirit. All three Persons of the Triune God are involved in the salvation of the believer and are recognized in baptism.
What is Christian baptism?
What does water baptism symbolize?
Is there a correct mode of baptism?
Is infant baptism biblical? Is there biblical precedence for infant baptism?
Is baptism required for salvation?
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