A Beginner's Guide to Baptism

Who Should Be Baptized?

Those who have made a profession of faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This will also be accompanied by confession of their sin, and the accepting of God’s forgiveness.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized...” (Acts 2:41).

When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12).

Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47).

How Should We Be Baptised?

We believe Scripture teaches baptism by immersion. The Greek verb (the New Testament was written in Greek) for baptize is best translated as “immerse” or “submerge. In Mark 1:5 many were baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Mark 1:10 reveals that Jesus came up out of the water after his baptism. John 3:23 explains that the John the Baptist baptized near Salim because “there was much water there” hinting that folk were immersed when baptized. Given that baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:12), it would seem fitting that immersion would be the best representation of such a sign.

Is Baptism Necessary to Be Saved?

Baptism is not necessary to be saved, but it is something that Jesus commanded for those who would follow him.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him” (John 3:13).

Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).

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 you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2.28)

What Does Baptism (Not) Mean?

As has been already stated, baptism symbolizes Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. By means of our baptism, we are confessing outwardly that we now belong to Christ, and have identified with his saving work… So what does baptism not mean? There are no magical or mystical powers invested in baptism… no actual power to cleanse, or bring life. It is a powerful outward symbol of inner new life.

A Sample Guideline for a Personal Baptism Experience


(Spoken by the baptizer)

Hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always,
to the end of the age.” (from Matt. 28:18-20)

Hear also these words from Holy Scripture:
“All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (from Rom. 6:3-4)

Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s promises to his people.
In baptism, we are reminded that God has promised:
to forgive our sins,
to adopt us into the body of Christ, the church,
to send the Holy Spirit daily to renew and cleanse us, and
to resurrect us to eternal life.

These promises are made visible in the water of baptism.

[Water may be poured into the bath/tub at this time]
Water cleanses,
Jesus Christ is living water.
Through baptism Christ calls us to new obedience:
to love and trust God completely,
to forsake the evil of the world, and
to live a new and holy life.
Yet, when we fall into sin,
we must not despair of God’s mercy,
nor continue in sin,
for baptism is the sign and seal
of God’s eternal covenant of grace with us.

The Covenant of Baptism

[Name/s] comes before us to make public profession of their faith and to receive the sacrament of baptism.

[Addressing the person being baptized:]
Beloved of God,
I ask you before God and Christ’s church…

Have you received Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
Jesus Christ is our/my Lord and Saviour.

Have you renounced sin and the power of evil in your life and in the world?
We/I renounce them.

Do you affirm today, this this act of baptism is your means of identifying yourself with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus?

I do

Do you commit, as best you know how,

to study and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ,
to accept the leadership of God in your life by His Spirit,
to walk in a spirit of Christian love with all people
to seek those things that make for unity, purity, and peace?

We/I do, God helping us/me.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give you thanks,
O holy and gracious God,
that by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Living Water,
we are forgiven.
He frees us from sin and death, and opens the way to life everlasting.
We thank you, O God, for the gift of baptism.
In this water you confirm to us that we are buried with Christ in his death, are raised to share in his resurrection, are being renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and are united to Christ in mission.

To you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God,
be all praise, honour, and glory, now and forever. Amen.

The Baptism

[Standing at the font, the baptizer addresses the person professing faith. If the person is able, she or he is invited to kneel. The baptizer then immerses the individual at the declaration of each name of the three persons of the Trinity, saying:]

I baptize you
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face to you and give you peace.