There are several examples in the Bible of men and women being baptised and in every case the record describes or implies that each person was completely covered in water. The original word for baptism in the New Testament means just that, to be fully immersed. There are no examples where water was just sprinkled on the person. In Acts 8 a eunuch was baptised by Philip.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptised?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptised him.
These verses from Acts illustrate another principle about baptism in the Bible – it is a response to having heard and believed the gospel relating to Jesus Christ. Every occasion we find baptism in the Bible the person being baptism is at an age to understand all about Jesus.
Baptism is so important that Jesus himself was baptised as recorded in Matthew chapter 3 verse 13. Before his ascension this was the work that Jesus gave his disciples to do.
And he [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Jesus says that baptism is necessary to be saved. In Acts 2 verse 38 Peter tells us that we are baptised in the name of Jesus for the remission (forgiveness) of our sins. After our baptism we start a new life where we try our hardest to follow the teachings of Jesus.
Paul in Romans 6 likens baptism to the death and resurrection of Jesus. In effect our old way of life dies and we are raised from the water to this new life following Jesus.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Further reading on this and other topics is available on the website of the Christadelphian Office: