I believe that today
there is only one literal baptism usually referred to as
Christian baptism or "baptism into
is only one.
1. Ephesians 4: 4-6 - "There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one
Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all,
who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
The question is asked: "If there is only one baptism, why
does the writer of Hebrews refer to "baptisms"? Hebrews
6:1, 2 - "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the
elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to
perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance
from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of
baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the
dead, and of eternal judgment." (NKJV)
There are several baptisms mentioned in the Bible, but
discounting those that were only symbolic and those that
were temporary, there remains only one baptism practiced in
the church today. It is immersion in water in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of the sins of those who
come to Jesus, repentant of their sins and trusting in His
death on the cross to take away their sins.
Various Baptisms in the Bible
Baptism of John
Mark 1:4 - "John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness
preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of
Acts 18:25 - "This man had been instructed in the way of
the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and
teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being
acquainted only with the baptism of John."
Acts 19:4 - "And Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism
of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was
coming after him, that is, in Jesus.'"
The baptism of John was temporary and no longer to be
practiced after Christ gave his life on the cross.
Baptism in Fire
Matthew 3:7-12 - "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and
Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, 'You brood
of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and
do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have
Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that God is able
from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And the
axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree
therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and
thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water
for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier
than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His
winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear
His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the
barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable
The baptism in fire is symbolic of God's judgment on the
Baptism into Moses
1 Corinthians 10:1-2 - "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."
When Israel left Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, they were
encompassed by water - the cloud over them and the Red Sea
around them. This is a symbolic use of the word "baptism"
in several details, not only them being surrounded by water
(though passing on dry land). It is indeed a prophetic type
of our experience. As they were freed from their slavery
and came into the relationship with Moses as their leader,
so we, in baptism, are freed from the bondage of sin and
come into a relationship with Jesus as our Lord.
Baptism of Suffering
Matthew 20:20-23 - "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee
came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a
request of Him. And he said to her, 'What do you wish?' She
said to him 'Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of
mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left.' But
Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you are
asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about
to drink?' They said to Him, 'We are able.' He said to
them, 'My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and
on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those
for whom it has been prepared by My Father.'"
In Matt. 26:39 - He prays to the Father to "let this cup
pass from me; yet not as I will, but as thou wilt." In John
18:11: "the cup which the Father has given me, shall I not
drink it?" The "cup" and "baptism" Jesus spoke of here was
a symbolic way of talking about the terrible things he
would soon suffer as he offered himself as our sin
sacrifice. It is symbolic language.
In Acts 1:5, Jesus said to them "For John baptized with
water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not
many days from now."
The baptism in the Holy Spirit was what Jesus did with the
Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
John 15:26 - "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send
to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who
proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me."
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured the Spirit out on
"all flesh" (see Acts 2:17). The baptism in the Holy Spirit
was a once for all time historical event. The effects
remain but the Spirit has already been poured out on all
Baptism into Christ
Mark 16:16 - "He who has believed and has been baptized
shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be
Gal. 3:27 - "For all of you who were baptized into Christ
have clothed yourselves with Christ."
Romans 6: 3 - "Or do you not know that all of us who have
been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His
There is now one baptism. All the others are either
symbolic uses of the word meaning "immersion" or historical
events that do not need to be repeated.