9 Different Baptisms


There are at least 9 different baptism’s referred to in the Bible. 5 of which are non water and 4 which involve water. Before we look at any of these baptism’s it is important to note 2 Greek words.

1: BAPTO – To dip.

2: BAPTIZO – To immerse.

A simple analogy is given to explain the difference.

In making pickles, firstly the pickle is “DIPPED” into boiling water then it is “IMMERSED” into the vinegar. The first being an example of the word “BAPTO” to dip, and the second a reference to the word “BAPTIZO” to immerse.

Baptize in classical Greek meant to identify one thing with another so that it was changed into the characteristics of the thing it was identified with. IE: A sword being dipped into blood served as a picture of its becoming a battle spear. A hot sword being immersed into water to make the soft metal hard,(tempering). It is important to note that in each of these two examples in the first, a real change takes place in the sword being tempered IE the soft metal into hard metal but in the dipping of the sword into blood, it is only a ritual or a representation of something.

So we have two types of baptism. One REAL and one RITUAL or REPRESENTATIVE.

As we will see in our study, in the five non water baptisms a REAL change takes place and in the four water baptisms no change takes place but a representation of something takes place.

When we think of baptism, the first thing most people think about is water, either poured, sprinkled or dipped in it. However, as we shall see, the Bible speaks about 9 different baptisms.

Non water baptisms

1: Baptism of Moses: 1 Cor 10: 1-2

2: Baptism of the cup/cross: Luke 12:50, 2 Cor 5:21, Mat 20:22, 1 Pet 2:24

3: Baptism of the Holy Spirit: 1 Cor 12:13, Gal 3:27

4: Baptism of Jesus with Holy Spirit: Acts 1:4-8, Ep 1:13-14

5: Baptism of Fire: Mat 3:11, Luke 3:16, Ezek 20:34-38, Mat 25:31-46

Water baptisms

1: Baptism of John: Mat 3:11, Acts 19:3

2: Baptism of Christ: Mat 3:13

3: Baptism of believers: Mat 28:19-20, Acts 16:13, 1 Cor 1:17

4: Baptism for dead: 1 Cor 15:29. (Not for today!)

Let’s take a look at each one of these in turn and explain them.

1: Baptism of Moses (Real)

1 Cor 10 v 1-2, For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea…..

In the Baptism of Moses, Moses is identified with the cloud and the children of Israel were identified with Moses. The cloud is Jesus Christ in His Shekina Glory. The Red Sea crossing was a crossing from slavery into freedom. No one got wet but an actual change took place; the children of Israel went from being slaves to being free! The slaves were identified with Gods deliverer and became free men. In contrast, the Egyptians got wet and they died!

2: Baptism of the cup/cross (Real)

Luke 12v50: But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I distressed till it be accomplished!

Matthew 20v22:But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

In the baptism of the cup/cross it is Christ’s identification with sin that is the issue. All the sins of men, past present and future were poured out onto Christ for 3 hours as he hung on the cross.

2 Cor 5v21:For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

While Jesus Christ never sinned once, God the Father imputed every sin to Him as He, Christ, was the substitute for everyone of us. He alone could satisfy the righteousness of the Father.

On the cross, Jesus was identified with our sins. He became sin for us. 2Cor 5 v21. For 3 hours, God the Father turned his back on Jesus Christ while every sin was poured out and paid for by Christ, thus propitiating the Father. When the last sin was paid for, the relationship was restored when Jesus said, Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit. Luke 23 v 46.

No water is involved in this baptism but the real change that takes place is Christ becoming sin for us.

3: Baptism of church believer by the Holy Spirit (Real)

1 Cor 12 v 13 – we are all baptized into one body….

Gal 3 v 27 – for all of you who were baptized into Christ….

The baptism of the Holy Spirit in this instance occurs at the moment of time when a person believes in Christ for their Salvation. At this moment, the Holy Spirit takes us out of Adam and places us, “IN CHRIST”. 1 Cor 15 v 22 – as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall live.

This is one of the most controversial and misunderstood baptism’s in the Church today, with many false doctrines and  false experiences stemming from it.

Its is a real baptism, irreversible and our eternal security stems from it. When we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, our position changes, ie we are no longer in Adam , but “IN CHRIST.” This is vital to understand because in no other dispensation or any dispensation to come is any human being ever said to be “IN CHRIST.” This is a unique position held only by Church age believers. Jesus, in the upper room discourse, John 13 -17, anticipated this new position that believers would have and from Pentecost, every person who trust’s Christ as Saviour is now classed as, “IN CHRIST.”

4: Baptism of Jesus with Holy Spirit (Real)

Mat 3 v 11 -He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit

Acts 1 v 5 – you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit

This baptism occurs at the moment of Salvation, and is accomplished by Jesus Christ giving us the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Again, as in the previous baptism, this is a unique feature of the Church age Believer and never before or after will any human being be permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

At this point it is important to make a few comments on these last two baptism’s as much confusion is wrought over many different churches and denominations and many people’s interpretations of Scripture.

These two separate and distinct baptism’s are often termed together as, “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

However as we have seen, in one we have the Holy Spirit doing the baptizing and Jesus Christ doing the baptizing in the other. It is vital to understand the difference.

The whole charismatic and pentecostal movement has gone crazy with this, due to lack of dispensationaly, rightly dividing the Scripture 2 Tim 2 v 15.

It is not the purpose of this document to explore this in detail however the following points should be noted:

What the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” is NOT:

1: an experience that is felt

2: emotional activity or ecstatics

3: speaking in tongues (all forms of tongues ceased at 70 A.D.)

4: related to human feelings

5: progressive or nor can it be improved on (your receive as much of the Spirit at Salvation as you will ever have)

6: related to human merit or works

7: a matter of believer’s volition (you do not chose to be baptized with the Spirit. It happens regardless)

8: a second blessing

What the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” is:

1: a real identification by Jesus with the Holy Spirit.

2: obtained “en Toto” at the moment of Salvation

3: eternal in nature and cannot be canceled

4: known through the perception and metabolizing of the mystery doctrine of the church age, therefore it cannot be applied in a state of ignorance.

IMPORTANT POINT: while many of the so called “Experiences” people are having all over the world, and ascribing it to the work of the Holy Spirit it is important to note that; “Everything that is real is not from God!”. ie Gossip is real, it is not from God!

5: Baptism of fire (Real)

Mat 3 v 11 – He will baptize you with the Holy Spirt and fire

Luke 3 v 16

In the coming future an event called the “Baptism of Fire” will take place. This will happen just ater the time of the second coming of Christ. All unbelievers will be judged by fire and removed from the earth and sent to hell. 2 Thes 1 v 7-9.

Other passages relating to this: Isa 1 v 25-27, Eze 20 v 34-38, Mal 3 v 1-6, Mat 25 v 31-46 deals with the Baptism of Fire for Gentile unbelievers.

So as we have seen in each of these five Baptism’s a real change has taken place in that the person being baptized is changed into something different.

1: B.O. Moses: Slavery to Freedom

2: B.O. cup/cross: Christ became sin

3: B.O. Holy Spirit: from Adam into Christ

4: B.O. Jesus: permanent indwelling of Holy Spirit

5: B.O. Fire: unbeliever’s die and go to hell.

Next we will look at the four water baptism’s

Four Water (Ritual) Baptisms

1.     Baptism of John:

Matthew 3:6

6      and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.   (NAS)

Acts 19:2

2      and he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they {said} to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”   (NAS)

The water baptism that John offered to Jewish believers was a picture of their identification with the kingdom.

2.     Baptism of Jesus:

Matthew 3:13-17

13      Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan {coming} to John, to be baptized by him.

14      But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”

15      But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit {it} at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.

16      And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, {and} coming upon Him,

17      and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”   (NAS)

The baptism that Jesus received from John was unique in its significance and purpose. It could not be like that which John administered to others, for Jesus did not make confession; He had no occasion to repent. Neither was it Christian baptism, the significance of which we shall consider later. Jesus Himself declared the main purpose and meaning of this event in His words “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” <Matt. 3:15>.  It was an act of ceremonial righteousness appropriate to His public entrance upon His mission as the Christ, which included His threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King, especially the second, for the essence of His redemptive work lies in His consecration as a Priest, the Great High Priest. In this office He offered not “the blood of goats and bulls,” but Himself to put away sin <Heb. 9:13-26>. It is this consecration to His redemptive priesthood that comes into clearest view in His baptism in the Jordan. By “fulfilling all righteousness” our Lord meant the righteousness of obedience to the Mosaic law. The Levitical law required all priests to be consecrated when they began to be about thirty years of age <Num. 4:3; Luke 3:23>. The consecration was twofold– first the washing (baptism), then the anointing <Exo. 29:4-7; Lev. 8:6-36>. When John on the Jordan’s bank “washed” (baptized) Jesus, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him. This was the priestly anointing of Him who was not only a Priest by divine appointment but an eternal Priest <Ps. 110:4> who was thus divinely consecrated for the work of redemption <Matt. 3:16; Acts 4:27; 10:38>.

(from New Unger’s Bible Dictionary)

(originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois.  Copyright (C) 1988.)

3.     Baptism of the Church Age Believer:

Matthew 28: 19-20

19      “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20      teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”   (NAS)

Acts 16:33

33      And he took them that {very} hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his {household.}   (NAS)

1 Corinthians 1:17

17      For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void.   (NAS)

This may be considered under two viewpoints: Baptist and non-Baptist views.

Baptist Views.

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water as a sign of his previous entrance into the communion of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In other words, baptism is a token of the regenerated soul’s union with Christ.

Obligation. Baptism is an ordinance instituted by Christ <Matt. 28:19>, practiced by the apostles <Acts 2:38>, submitted to by members of NT churches <Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:11-12>, and subsequently practiced as a rite in Christian churches. No church hierarchy has the right to modify or dispense with this command of Christ because only the local church (no other visible church of Christ) is known in the NT, and it is purely an executive, not a legislative body.

Significance. Symbolizing regeneration through union with Christ, baptism portrays not only Christ’s death and resurrection and their purpose in atoning for sin in delivering sinners from sin’s penalty and power, but also betokens the accomplishment of that purpose in the person baptized <Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27; Col. 3:3>. By that external rite the believer professes his death to sin and resurrection to spiritual life. He also gives witness to the method by which God’s purpose has been wrought for him, namely, by union with Christ. The rite sets forth the fact that the believer has received Christ and in faith given himself to Him <Rom. 6:5; Col. 2:12>.

Proper Subjects of Baptism. Only those who give credible evidence of regeneration, and who thus by faith have entered into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection, are considered proper candidates for the rite. Biblical authority for this view is given in the command of Christ that those are to be baptized who have previously been made disciples <Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:41>, or previously repented and believed <2:37-38; 8:12; 18:8>. It is also proved from the nature of the church as a company of regenerated believers <John 3:5; Rom. 6:13> and the symbolism of the ordinance itself <Acts 10:47; Rom. 6:2-5; Gal. 3:26-27>. Since it is intended only for the regenerate, baptism can never be the means of regeneration. It is the appointed sign, but never the condition, of forgiveness of sins.

Mode. This is immersion only as confirmed from the meaning of the original Greek word baptizo in Greek writers and church Fathers, and in the NT. Immersion was a doctrine and practice of the Greek church.

Administration. Many Baptists, and others practicing believer’s baptism, require the rite to be performed properly as a prerequisite to membership in the local church and participation in the Lord’s Supper.

Non-Baptist Views.

The views of other Christian groups on the subject of baptism vary from those like most Quakers, who deny the present-day validity of the rite at all, to Roman Catholics and others who attach to it regenerating efficacy.

Obligation. Most Christians believe that the rite, in one form or another, for one purpose or another, is permanently obligatory and rests upon Christ’s command <Matt. 28:19> and the practice of the early church.

Significance. The Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox churches, most Lutheran bodies, and many in the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal church hold that baptism is the direct instrument of regeneration. Roman Catholics subscribe so strongly to this view that, accordingly, they also hold that all adults or infants who die unbaptized are excluded from heaven. Many evangelical churches believe that baptism is not only the rite of initiation into the church of Christ but a sign and seal of divine grace symbolizing spiritual cleansing or purification <Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4-11; Titus 3:5>. For example, the Westminster Confession, art. 28, says: “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life; which sacrament is, by Christ’s own appointment, to be continued in His Church until the end of the world.” As circumcision was the sign and seal of the Abrahamic covenant and practiced under the Mosaic covenant, so baptism is construed as the sign and seal of the New Covenant of the gospel. Baptism, under the new economy, takes the place of circumcision under the old <Col. 2:10-12>.

Proper Subjects of Baptism. In contrast to those holding Baptist views that exclude all except adult believers from the rite, many believe it should be administered to children who have believing parents or sponsors to care for their Christian nurture. This is contended to be scriptural since Paul expressly teaches that believers in Christ are under the gracious provisions of the covenant that God made with Abraham <Gal. 3:15-29>. Under the Abrahamic covenant circumcision was administered to children as a sign of their participation in the relation in which their parents stood to God. It is contended that children of Christian parentage have a similar right to the ordinance, which is construed as having replaced circumcision.

Mode. Non-Baptists deny that immersion is the only valid mode of baptism and admit sprinkling, pouring, and immersion as legitimate. All that is held essential is the application of water “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Administration. The administration of baptism is commonly regarded as exclusively a prerogative of the ministerial office. The wise and proper observance of church order has deemed this necessary, although in extreme cases it is held that a layman (or even a laywoman) can perform the rite. The same view is held among Lutherans and others who hold strongly to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

bibliography: K. Barth, The Teaching of the Church Regarding Baptism (1948); O. Cullmann, Baptism in the New Testament (1959); J. Warns, Baptism (1958); J. Jeremias, Infant Baptism in the First Four Centuries (1960); R. E. O. White, The Biblical Doctrine of Initiation (1960); G. R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament (1962); K. Aland, Did the Early Church Baptize Infants? (1963); T. J. Conant, The Meaning and Use of BAPTIZEIN (1977).

(from New Unger’s Bible Dictionary)

(originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois.  Copyright (C) 1988.)

4.     Baptism for the dead.

1 Cor. 15:29 *

29      Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?   (NAS)

Of this difficult passage there are many expositions, two of which are presented here:

1.                The Corinthians, the Marcionites, and other heretics had a custom supposed to be referred to by the apostle. Persons who had been baptized had themselves baptized again for the benefit of people who had died unbaptized but already believing, in the persuasion that this would be counted to them as their own baptism. From this the apostle drew an argument to prove their belief in the resurrection. Meyer (Com., ad loc.) believes that this is the practice to which the apostle refers. “‘For the benefit of the dead’ remains the right interpretation.”

2.                Chrysostom believed the apostle referred to the profession of faith in baptism, part of which was, “I believe in the resurrection of the dead.” The meaning, then, would be, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, why, then, art thou baptized for the dead, i.e., the body?” Whedon (Com., ad loc.) holds to this interpretation and says: “The apostolic Christians were baptized into the faith of the resurrection of the dead, and thereby they were sponsors in behalf of the dead, that the dead should rise.”

(from New Unger’s Bible Dictionary)

(originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois.  Copyright (C) 1988.)

*The Apostle Paul was critical of this practice in this passage.  It was not a valid Christian practice, and it is not a valid Christian practice today.  Any such practice of baptizing for the dead should be considered an heretical practice among Christian


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