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What is Baptism?

Christians practice baptism, a Greek word that means to go into water. When a person believed in Jesus in the New Testament, the person would be baptized in front of other people to show he or she was a follower of Jesus.

Over time, different churches have chosen to baptize in different ways. However, the first person to baptize people in the New Testament was John the Baptist (His story is found in John 1:1-51). His name shows that he was known for baptizing people who believed his message about the coming Messiah (Jesus). He would baptize people in the Jordan River where there was a lot of water.

The Bible teaches that baptism is very important:

  • Jesus was baptized as an example for us (Matthew 3:13-17)
  • The disciples of Jesus were baptized (John 3:22)
  • Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize other people who believed in Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Other people who believed in Jesus in the early church were baptized (Acts 2:41)

Baptism is important, but baptism does not make a person a Christian. A person becomes a Christian by believing in Jesus by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Baptism is called a “the pledge of a clear conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). It is a symbol or commitment to show other people we believe in Jesus.

Should you be baptized? If you have not already been baptized in water since you have believed in Jesus, it is important to do so. Usually, a pastor or other church leader will oversee baptism, but this is not required in the Bible.

You can talk with another Christian or church leader near you for more information or contact us with questions you have about baptism. We would also love to know about your baptism and rejoice with you.

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Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.

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