Baptism isn’t a new thing. It has existed for about 3,500 years; 1500 years before Jesus. But it took on a new significance with Jesus.

Ritual immersion in water, or baptism, represented a powerful and frequently used religious symbol in ancient Israel. It was a ceremony to symbolize purification and the removal of sin and was sometimes used as an initiation rite to consecrate a change of status or a conversion.

But about 2000 years ago, baptism took on additional meaning. Jesus came to wash away our sins for us when we chose to follow Him and make Him our Lord, and Christian baptism reflects this and the decision we have made to have our sins washed away and begin a new life with Him.

The bible describes baptism like this

The Message Translation of the Bible explains more when it says:

When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!

That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country. (Romans 6:3-5)

What are some bible passages I could look at to learn more?

Here are some passages you can look at to explore baptism more fully:

  • Matthew 3:13-17, the baptism of Jesus
  • Acts 2:36-41, the call for us to repent of our sins and believe in Jesus
  • Acts 8:26-39, the response to our decision to believe
  • Romans 6:1-14, the symbolism of baptism explained (the Message Translation is helpful here)

Try reading these passages, and then for each passage:

  1. Have a go speaking out what the passage is saying to you in your own words.
  2. Next think about or discuss what you liked most about the passage.
  3. Discuss what the main lesson is that you got from the passage.
  4. Ask yourself whether there is a lesson to apply to your life or a teaching from Jesus to obey.
  5. If so, what is it and decide how will I respond?

Finding out more

If you have more questions about baptism, the following short articles may help