Paul’s own Teaching on Water Baptism

Paul’s own Teaching on Water Baptism
By O. F. Fauss

It will be well for us to consider the life and doctrine of the Apostle Paul, even on the subject of water baptism.

His statement to the Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 1:5), “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but. . .in much assurance,” should encourage us to look into what and how he preached the gospel.

His challenge to the angels to contradict his message makes it all the more important that we believe and preach accordingly. “But though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you [See Acts 19:1-6], let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).

He informed the Corinthians that what he preached unto them, he had also received himself first before delivering it unto them. (See I Corinthians 15:1-4.) The Scriptures further indicate that Paul preached the same thing everywhere he went in every church. (See Colossians 1:23.) (See also I Corinthians 4:17.)

It cannot be denied that Paul was baptized in water in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 22:16), and that he practiced baptizing his converts, even though they had formerly been baptized in water, unto John’s baptism.

(See Acts 19:1-6).

Paul goes so far as to say that water baptism in the name of Jesus is necessary to put you into Christ. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized unto his death?” (Romans 6:3). Some try to make you think he was talking about the baptism of the Spirit here, but the following verse shows plainly that he was talking of water baptism, and that in the (singular) name of Him who died for us. “Therefore we are buried with him [not them] in baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life [the baptism of the Spirit]. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death [Who died for us?], we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4, 5).

The same term, “buried with him in baptism,” is used in Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians (2:12), for he had already informed them that Jesus was (in His earthly life) the “image of the invisible God, the first-born [resurrected and glorified] of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body of the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him shall all fullness dwell. . .For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 1:15-19; 2:9).

Paul said to the Galatians, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). This is fulfilled in Acts 2:38, the authority of the entrance into the body of Christ.

Let us notice the record of Paul’s experience and what took place at Philippi. His vision of a man calling for help over in Macedonia, made him to know the Spirit of God had called him there to preach the gospel. (See Acts 16:6-10.)

His first service was held out of the city by the river side. (See Acts 16:12, 13.) His first convert was a certain woman named Lydia. She was baptized and her household. (See verse 15.)

After a number of days, Paul cast out an unclean spirit from a girl, which resulted in both he and Silas being placed in jail. (See Acts 16:16-24.)

The miracle that took place that night, and resulted in the conversion of the jailer and his family, will surely prove the essentially of baptism as we read: “And he took them [Paul and Silas] the same hour of the night [midnight], . . and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33). It is certain they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, due to the wonderful exaltation of Jesus in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Jesus], and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).