Important Questions

What is the Meaning, Importance of, and Procedure for Christian Baptism?
(Part 2)

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Part 2 of this study will address some specific questions and/or objections concerning baptism. If you have not already completed part one of this study, it is strongly recommended that you begin there first.

  1. I was sprinkled as a child, so wasn’t I already baptized?
    1. Acts 2:38 - What has to accompany baptism to be valid?
    2. Mark 16:16 - What has to accompany baptism to be valid?
    3. Can a baby or small child do these things?
    4. Note: Keep in mind that the word “baptism” means immersion. It wasn’t until later centuries that man substituted the practice of sprinkling and called it baptism. (See Lev 10:1-3 as an example of how God views substitutions to what he expressly has instructed)
  2. The thief on the cross was saved without baptism, why can’t I be saved like the thief on the cross?
    1. Mark 16:15-16
      1. What did Jesus tell his disciples to preach?
      2. What has to accompany baptism?
      3. Why is important to believe the Gospel? (see next passage...)
    2. Romans 1:16 - What is significant about the Gospel?
    3. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 - What specifically is the Gospel?
    4. 1 Peter 3:21 - We are saved by baptism through what?
    5. Note: If belief in the Gospel has to accompany baptism in order for it to be Christian baptism, and if the death burial and resurrection had not happened yet, then it was not even possible for the thief to have received Christian baptism because it was not in effect yet. The thief cannot be an example of salvation for us today.
    6. Matthew 9:6 - Since the resurrection had not happened yet, what was the basis of the salvation of the thief on the cross?
  3. Romans 4:3-5 and 5:1 says that we are saved by faith and not by works. Therefore, baptism is not necessary for salvation.
    1. Since repentance is not mentioned here, does this mean it is not necessary? If repentance, mentioned elsewhere in places like Acts 2:38, is necessary, then wouldn’t baptism be as well?
    2. Rom 4:19-22 - Was Abraham’s faith purely mental, or was it accompanied by performance?
    3. James 2:19-23 - Are works separate from faith, or an integral and necessary part of true faith?
    4. John 6:28-29 - Is faith a work?
    5. Note: Faith and works are not mutually exclusive. The “works” we are not saved by are not works of faith, but works of the old law (Rom 3:27), which we are now released from (Rom 7:6).
  4. In Acts 16:30-31, the jailer is simply told that he must believe in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved, not be baptized.
    1. Since repentance is not mentioned, does this mean that the jailer did not need to repent? If repentance, mentioned elsewhere in places like Acts 2:38 is necessary, then wouldn’t baptism be as well?
    2. Acts 16:27-34 - Read more of the story in context
      1. What did Paul and Silas do right after telling the jailer he needed to believe in Christ?
      2. After teaching, what did Paul and Silas do next?
      3. Did the jailer rejoice before or after baptism?
    3. Mark 16:16; Acts 8:35-38
      1. What is a prerequisite for baptism?
      2. Does it make sense why Paul and Silas did not simply respond to his question with, “be baptized,” but instead began with faith in Christ, which is to precede baptism?
  5. Romans 10:9 says we are saved by confession. So why do I need to be baptized?
    1. What about repentance? It is commanded elsewhere in places like Acts 2:38, as is baptism. One should not pit one scripture against another, but read them together
    2. Note: Bible verses should always be taken in context
      1. Romans 9:31-10:4 - Note that the discussion in this passage is the salvation of Israel, not a generic discussion of salvation for all people.
      2. Romans 10:16, 21 - Israel rejected Christ
      3. Repentance and Baptism are not under discussion in this verse, because Israel’s barrier to salvation at this point was not baptism but acceptance of Christ. Baptism without faith in Christ and his resurrection would be useless.
  6. Romans 10:13 says that if we call on the name of the Lord, we will be saved. So why do I need to be baptized?
    1. See previous question. Romans 10:9 says that Israel needed to confess Jesus as Lord. “Lord” refers to Jesus. Instead of rejecting Jesus, they needed to call on his name. Baptism without this would be useless and meaningless
    2. Note: Keep in mind, one should not pit one scripture against another, but read them together
    3. Acts 22:16 - Here is an example of “calling on the name of the Lord.” What did Paul need to do in order to be washed from his sins?
  7. In Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius received the Spirit before he was baptized, which indicates he was saved before he was baptized. Therefore I don’t need to be baptized to be saved.
    1. Acts 11:1-18; 15:7-8 - Explanation of this occurrence
      1. v.3 - Why did Jewish Christians take issue with Peter?
      2. v.17 - By falling on Cornelius and his household, what did the Spirit indicate to Peter and everyone about Cornelius?
      3. v.18 - What was the purpose of this unusual receiving of the Spirit? Does it appear Peter would have baptized these Gentiles it not for this unusual action of the Spirit?
    2. Acts 8:14-17 - Another unusual receiving of the Spirit
      1. John 4:9 - What was the typical relationship between Jews and Samaritans?
      2. Note: This unusual receiving of the Spirit by those whom the Jews typically rejected affirmed to all people everywhere that they were now acceptable by God when they accepted Christ.
    3. When there is an unusual exception to the rule, do we live by the exception, or continue to live by the rule?
      1. If a person survived a fall from an airplane without a parachute, do we count that as an exception, or to we make a rule of it and cease using parachutes to jump out of an airplane?
      2. Acts 2:38 - Since Peter stated the rule that we must repent and be baptized for the remission of our sins and then we will receive the Holy Spirit, should we set aside this rule because of an exception in the case of Cornelius?
  8. 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 says that Paul did not come to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. Therefore baptism is not necessary.
    1. What was the reason Paul gave that he was thankful he did not personally baptize very many in Corinth?
    2. When Paul preached the Gospel, was it necessary for him to do the baptizing, or could someone else do the baptizing?
    3. Did Paul do any baptizing himself?
    4. Was baptism part of Paul’s ministry? (See Acts 16:15,33; 18:8; 19:1-5)
    5. Matthew 28:18-20 - What did Jesus command his disciples?
    6. Mark 16:15-16 - After hearing and believing the Gospel, what is it necessary to do in order to be saved?
    7. Acts 2:38 - What two things did they need to do in order to receive forgiveness of sins?
    8. Rom 6:3-7
      1. What happens to your sin when baptized?
      2. Who are you baptized into?
    9. In light of these passages, is Paul saying that baptism is not necessary, or simply that he was glad he didn’t personally baptize people so that they would not claim to be his followers?
  9. Mark 1:9 says Jesus was baptized, but was without sin. Therefore, baptism is not necessary for forgiveness of sins.
    1. Mark 1:4 - Was John preaching a baptism based on the death and resurrection of Christ, or a baptism of repentance?
    2. Matthew 3:13-15
      1. For what apparent reason did John initially object to him baptizing Jesus?
      2. Why did Jesus ask John to be baptized?
      3. Note: Jesus fulfilled all righteousness in his baptism, showing that this was right and that no one was exempt from submission to God’s will. Jesus received John’s baptism, not Christian baptism as we do today.
    3. Acts 19:1-5
      1. Was the initial baptism these disciples received Christian baptism, or the baptism of John?
      2. What was deficient about their faith when they had received John’s baptism?
      3. Note: The first baptism they received was the baptism of John and not Christian baptism, which is what they needed. Jesus’ baptism was not Christian baptism, but the baptism of John.
  10. I was saved by saying a sinner’s prayer and inviting Jesus into my heart. Why do I need to be baptized?
  11. Baptism has nothing to do with salvation, it is merely an outward sign of an inward grace.
  12. I have loved God all my life. Why do I need to be baptized?


Compiled by
John Telgren
Nebraska City Church of Christ,
1102 S 10th St, Nebraska City, NE 68410
(402) 873-7241 - www.ncncocorg -
June 7, 2016