How Did They Baptize In The First Century?
Did they sprinkle, (rhantizo)? Did they pour, (cheo)? Or did they
immerse, (baptizo)? You can quickly research these words from
http://www.blueletterbible.org I suggest you type in sprinking,
pour, and baptize. Or you can look them up in Greek Dictionaries
like Strong's or Vine's. Public libraries and Bible bookstores often
have those or similar books.
In the baptisms in the New Testament there was: water -
Acts 8:36, much water - John 3:23 a going into water - Acts 8:38,
a coming out of water - Matthew 3:16, a burial - Romans 6:4,
a resurrection - Romans 6:4-5, and a washing - Acts 22:16.
Only in immersion do you have all the above.
By the way, by Wayne Mckellips. Last updated 17 May 2002.
Please copy and share but don't sell for profit. You do not have
permission to mirror this article or site on the Internet.
The Greeks had a word for dip or immerse (baptizo), one for sprinkle
(rhantizo), and one for pour (cheo). Jesus used the Greek word
baptizo. Why? Because he didn't want his disciples to sprinkle or
pour, he wanted them to immerse.
From dictionaries we find that our English word baptize is derived
from the Greek word baptizein which meant to immerse.
HOWEVER: Today in the 20th century the word baptize has changed to
include sprinkling and pouring, as well as immersion.
The following is when and how sprinkling became substituted for
The practice of pouring instead of immersing appears to have started
as early as the second century. Occasionally water was poured over a
sick person instead of immersing them into water. Gradually pouring
gained more acceptance until in the Roman Catholic Church (but not
the Greek Orthodox Church) the pouring of water replaced immersion
in the 14th century. ("Christian Baptism" by Alec Gilmore 1959.
"Did Jesus Command Immersion?" College Press. "Encyclopedia
When the Bible began to be translated into English a number of the
translators like Tyndale 1534 A.D. and the scholars who worked on
the King James Bible 1611 A.D. chose to use the English word baptize
whenever they came across the Greek word baptizo in the Biblical text,
whenever it had to do with belief, repentance, or Christian immersion.
However, these same scholars decided to translate baptizo "dip" or
"dippeth" when it had nothing to do with repentance or belief. Thus,
they all translated Mark 14:20 as "dip" or "dippeth" or a very similar
word. Contary to what I thought, the reason they did this was because,
at that time, the English word, baptize, signified Christian immersion.
Apparently, this word started out in the Greek langauge as baptizo. It
then appeared spelled a little differently in the Latin language. It
then migrated into the French language, and then into the English
language. During the time the King James Bible was translated the
English words baptize, and baptism, both referred to Christian
immersion. It was a few years after this that the English word baptism
came to include sprinkling and pouring. Paul Kirkpatrick has written a
very informative article detailing the etymology of the English word
baptism and showing that King James and the Church of England in 1611
believed in and practiced immersion for Christian baptism.
Most, but not all, modern scholars have chosen to continue the practice
of translating bapto in Mark 14:20 as dip or a similiar word, while
using the now incorrect word baptize in places like Acts 2:38. I say
"now incorrect word baptize" because the English word baptize, no
longer only means Christian immersion. It now includes sprinkling and
pouring. However, the Greek word baptizo, still means "to immerse,"
not "to sprinkle," nor "to pour."
Maldonatus and Arnoldi (both Catholic scholars), plus Luther, Calvin,
and Zwingli all wrote that the Greek word baptizo meant to dip or
immerse. "The Meaning And Use Of Baptizein" by Conant 1864 later
"Baptizein" 1977 Kregel Publishing.
Luther in his 1534 German Bible translated baptizo as (taufen)
meaning "to dip."
Almost all, if not all, ancient and modern Greek Dictionaries
including W.E. Vine's define baptize (baptizo) as meaning to dip
or to immerse from the Greek word bapto.
If you are trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Boss and you haven't been
immersed yet why not follow Jesus' example and obey him in being
immersed? It's Your Decision!