The word Baptism means “immersion, dipping, or submerging.” The command to be baptized is immersion in water. (See John 1:26, 31, 33; 3:23). The verb baptizw has one meaning, not several. The meaning of baptism is immersion. Anything other than immersion cannot be the baptism found in the word of God.
A simple rule of language is that a word describing a specific action is never used in different senses or of different actions. To illustrate this, consider the action described in the verb “walking.” To say one walks clearly means he is not running. So it is with the verb baptize. Immersion is not done by sprinkling a few drops of water on someone.
When someone is immersed there is a totally different act than when one is “sprinkled.” When one “sprinkles” water on a candidate for water baptism, he does not pour water. When water is poured on one being baptized, the candidate is not immersed. Baptism in the Bible is immersion in water. Therefore when water is sprinkled on a candidate for baptism there is no baptism at all.
Instances of Bible baptism harmonize with immersion for baptism.
“And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him” (Matt. 3:16).
When one is baptized he comes up straightway from the water. This is not true of one being sprinkled. Read the following example of water baptism.
“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:38-39).
Baptism is called a “burial.” In the great epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul wrote, “Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). A burial in baptism can only be done by immersion as one is put beneath the water.
Those who are baptized have their bodies “washed in pure water.” “let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22). Washing away dirt from clothing cannot be done by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. Sprinkling a few drops of water on a person cannot “wash away sins” (Read Acts 22:16).
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