Is baptism required before a person can partake of Communion?
It is not directly stated in the New Testament that a person must be baptized before taking Communion. However, both baptism and Communion require that a person has received salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16).
Communion (also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist) was instituted on the night Jesus was betrayed, the evening before His crucifixion. In Luke 22:19, Jesus "took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it [His disciples], saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'" Communion was designed as a way to remember the death and sufferings of Christ on our behalf.
Baptism was designed as a way to publicly express one's commitment to Jesus as Lord. It was to be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit (Matthew 28:19) and was a one-time event to mark a person's new life in Christ.
The natural order presented in Scripture is that a person becomes a believer in Jesus, receives baptism, and then regularly begins taking Communion with other believers as a follower of Christ. Taking Communion before being baptized would appear to be an exception to the rule, since the New Testament pattern involved being baptized right after believing in Jesus.
As a result, many churches and denominations today require baptism in order to take Communion in their church. Even many churches that allow non-members to participate in Communion request only baptized believers in Christ to take part in their Communion service. This is done in order to take the Lord's Supper in a worthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
Beyond these guidelines, Scripture provides no exact details regarding the order of baptism and Communion. Instead, those involved in either practice are to be those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ.
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