Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 14, 1951

New Testament Baptism

Thomas Allen Robertson, Mclean, Texas

Who Should Be Baptized?

1. Only those who can be taught should be baptized. Christ said, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me." (John 6:44, 45) Again, he said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matt- 28:19) The same instruction is given in Mark 16:15, 16. Thus, before one can be scripturally baptized, he must he taught.

2. Only those who have faith in Christ can be baptized. Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16) It was only after the Samaritans had "believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ,' that they "were baptized, both men and women.' (Acts 8:12) When the eunuch asked Philip what hindered him to be baptized, Philip said, "if thou believeth with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:36, 37) If one is not capable of believing in Christ, he cannot be scripturally baptized.

3. Only those who can receive the word of God can be baptized. Concerning the people on Pentecost, it is said, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.' (Acts 2:41) Thus, one must have the mental ability to accept, or reject, for himself the word of God before he is a fit subject for baptism. He must have the power over his own will or volition.

For one to be a proper subject for New Testament baptism, then, he must be one who (a) can be taught, (b) can believe for himself, and (c) can exercise his power of volition. This excludes all babies and all others who cannot meet these requirements. But should one have the mental capacities set forth here, he then is capable of intelligent obedience, and should seek to learn and do God's will.

What Precedes Baptism?

1. Before one can be scripturally baptized, he must hear the gospel. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." (Matt. 28:19) "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' (Rom. 10:17)

2. Once having heard the gospel, one must have faith in it and in the Christ whom it declares. "For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.' (John 2:24) "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' (Heb. 11:6) "But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.' (John 1:12) Notice, that faith alone does not save; it only gives the privilege, or the power, to become the sons of God. Also notice that this faith is considered a work that man can do, by the word of God: (John 6:28, 29)

3. Having believed the gospel, one must repent of past sins. To those who had been "pricked in their hearts"(obviously the case because they believed what Peter preached) on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.' (Ants 2:38) So repentance follows faith and precedes baptism. Christ said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.' (Luke 13:3) And Paul adds to this that "God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.' (Acts 17:30)

4. Confession of faith in Christ before men is a part of God's plan. Christ said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will confess before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 10:32) Paul said, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.' (Rom. 10:10)

5. When one has heard the gospel, believed in Christ, repented of his sins, and confessed his faith in Chris; before men, he is then, ready to be baptized into Christ. This brings up the next question:

What Is Baptism?

1. Baptism is a form of birth. (John 3:5) It is a burial. (Col. 2:12) It is a resurrection. (Rom. 6:4) It is a planting. (Rom. 6:5) In baptism, one's body is "washed" in water. (Heb. 10:22)

2. By every reference to it in the Bible we can see that baptism is immersion, and immersion only. Immersion is the only act that fits any of the patterns. All one has to do to know what baptism is, is to study the detailed account of it found in Acts 8:38, 39. "They went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more and he went on his way rejoicing.' Can anything be plainer than that? Every scholar who has ever written on the meaning of the word "baptize' says that it is a burial, a planting, an immersion, a dipping.

What Is The Purpose Of Baptism?

Baptism is for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) It saves us. (1 Peter 3:21) It puts us into Christ. (Gal. 3:27) Hence, those who affirm that we can be saved without baptism, logically affirm that we can be saved without being in Christ. Baptism puts us into the "one body-' (1 Cot. 12:13; Eph. 1:22, 23, 4:4; Col. 1:18) Without this baptism one cannot get into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)


The man who is capable of being taught, believing in Christ, and accepting the word of God is the man who should be baptized. Before he can be scripturally baptized, however, be must hear the word of God, believe in Christ, repent of his past sins, and confess the name of Christ. Having done these things, that man must then "be buried through baptism.' He is planted, buried, immersed, and raised up again. This baptism is for the remission of sins; it saves, makes one a Christian, puts one into Christ, into his church, into the kingdom of God.

This is what the New Testament teaches on the subject; and this is true, regardless of what men' say to the contrary. Will you not read what your New Testament says, believe it, and obey it? This is your only hope for eternal salvation.