Bible Answer

Does baptism require immersion under water?

I was baptized as an infant, and later as a young adult I was confirmed and made a profession of faith.  Was my baptism as an infant sufficient or do I need to be baptized again by immersion under water?

First, we recommend reading this background article on baptism (both water baptism and baptism of the Spirit).

Secondly, the command of scripture concerning water baptism is always the same: believe and be that order.  Water baptism is an act of obedience that only a believer can take. An unbeliever (or someone too young to profess faith publicly) simply cannot fulfill the Biblical command to be baptized. They cannot obey Christ until they are able to profess faith and choose to be baptized.

See the following example verses:

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “ Repent, and each of you be  baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand   souls.
Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed  signs and  great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
Acts 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;
Acts 10:47 “ Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who  have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”
Acts 10:48 And he  ordered them to be baptized  in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Acts 18:8  Crispus,  the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord  with all his household, and many of the  Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.
Acts 22:16 ‘Now why do you delay?  Get up and be baptized, and  wash away your sins,  calling on His name.’

The Biblical form of baptism is for a professing believer to voluntarily enter a body of water so as to be immersed (for the reasons mentioned in our article referenced above). The form of baptism practiced by some denominations in which a baby is sprinkled with water is not Biblical baptism because it precedes saving faith and is not a conscience choice of the one being baptized. Therefore, it carries no spiritual significance according to scripture. It is a man-made ritual.

If you have come to faith in Jesus Christ but have never stepped into the water to receive baptism as a public display of obedience to Christ, then we strongly urge you to take this step. We believe you have brought this question to our attention because the Holy Spirit is prompting you to take this step, and we know from experience He will bless your obedience. (By the way, scripture permits any believer who has been baptized by immersion to then baptize another believer…pastor not required!)

Family and church traditions (like infant baptism) can be difficult to set aside in our walk of faith, but our allegiance must be to scripture and to the Spirit of the Lord and not to rituals or tradition.  We pray our words will be encouraging and ring true in your heart.