What is Christian baptism?

Christian baptism is a voluntary ceremony whereby a person publically declares he or she has come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Christian baptism is performed by dipping the believer under water and lifting him or her up again, symbolically representing the believer's acceptance of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection for their sins. Paul explained this in Romans 6:3-4: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Baptism doesn't save; it isn't required for salvation. Although some denominations require a believer to be baptized before they can participate in church ministries or government, it is not biblically required.

But, Christian baptism is an act of obedience. As Jesus was baptized in obedience (Matthew 3:15), so we should be as well. It is also part of the great commission—"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Publically confessing one's faith, whether by word (Romans 10:9-10) or action (Acts 2:38), while not required for salvation, is a way of acknowledging the Father and a sign of a saving faith (Matthew 10:32-33).

The biblical requirements for baptism are simple: have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and understand what baptism means. The Bible adds no requirements for age, the length of time someone has been a believer (Acts 8:34-38), or informational classes—as long as the person understands what baptism means. Baptism can be performed in a church's baptismal, a swimming pool, the ocean, or other water source. And the participants can wear robes, waders, jeans, swimsuits, or other clothing. The only requirements are that the person being baptized is a Christian and is willing to obey God by publically declaring their relationship with Him.

Copyright 2011-2022 Got Questions Ministries - All Rights Reserved.