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Scripture-Study List: Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Jesus Christ Himself was baptized to serve as an example for His followers. He told His cousin John that baptism was essential in order to “fulfil all righteousness.”
- Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
- But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
- And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
Christ gave His gospel to the prophets and apostles, teaching them among other things that baptism was required for salvation. These were then given the responsibility to relay Christ’s teachings to all of God’s children, a perfect example of the role of prophets and apostles: to receive God’s word and then to act as His spokesmen.
- And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
- He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
- And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
- They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
- So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
- And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Christ explained both baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost (i.e. rebirth by water and by spirit) are required for entrance into God’s kingdom.
- There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
- The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
- Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
- Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
- Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
- That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
- The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The apostle Peter taught the “First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel,” including repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Peter explained elsewhere the same principle: baptism is required for salvation from sin.
1 Peter 3:21:
- The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
After Christ was baptized, the apostle Matthew reported that He came up out of the water, showing that He was baptized by immersion.
- And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mark of the New Testament reported the same thing: after His baptism Jesus Christ came up out of the water, suggesting a baptism by immersion.
- And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
- And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
- And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
The apostle John reported that John the Baptist baptized in locations “with much water.” Baptism by sprinkling does not require “much water,” suggesting the early Christians instead baptized by immersion.
- And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
When Philip baptized the eunuch, they went down into the water, also suggesting a baptism by immersion as opposed to sprinkling.
- And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
In His epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul explained the symbolism of baptism. We are immersed in the water, symbolic of the burial of our old, sinful ways. When we come out of the water, we are resurrected to a new life as a disciple of Christ.
- Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
- Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Paul explained elsewhere the same principle: baptism is like a burial, strongly suggesting baptism by immersion.
- Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Aside from teaching the importance of baptism, the apostle Paul also taught the importance of the gift of the Holy Ghost. He gave the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
- And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
- He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
- And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
- Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
- When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
- And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Aside from giving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, the apostle Paul had initially received the gift of the Holy Ghost in the same way.
- And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
- And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Luke also explained how one receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. The apostles Peter and John were sent to Samaria to give the Samaritans the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.
- Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
- Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
- (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
- Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.