Baptism Baptism is a Christian ritual whereby a person demonstrates their faith and acceptance of the doctrines of the Christian religion. The immersing, pouring or sprinkling of water on the person is central to the baptismal ceremony. This act symbolizes purification of the soul as the baptized person acknowledges the teachings and resurrection of Christ. It is, in effect, an initiation into the Christian religion. This discussion examines the history of Baptism as referenced in the Bible, the various ways the ritual is practiced by differing sects of the Christian Church and provides an explanation of its significance in contemporary times.
In addition, the paper analyses the differing nuances of its meaning within the Christian religion. The Old Testament does not specifically reference Baptism. The ritual is explicitly of New Testament origin. However, there are mentions of water being used in purification of soul ceremonies which became inserted in the Christian Baptism ceremony. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean” (Ezekiel 36:25). Baptism in the New Testament was introduced by John the Baptist who was an undetermined relative of Jesus.
John practiced Baptism for people who wished to repent their sins and receive forgiveness by fully immersing them in the Jordan River. This practice of absolving sin by water would become the founding concept for the baptismal ritual and a significant, though not only, component of modern baptism. John baptized his relative Jesus in the Jordan River as he had many others even though, according to the Bible, Jesus was without sin. This act would become a principal aspect of Jesus’ ministry therefore a principal part of the Christian religion.
This occurrence also marks the emergence of another aspect of the Christian religion, the Holy Trinity. The son, Christ, heard the Father’s (God’s) voice while the Holy Spirit “descend[ed] on him like a dove” (Mark 1:10). There does not exist specific instructions on how Christians should practice baptism in The New Testament, but within its pages are insights regarding how Jesus and his disciples perceived the act. Christians may only utilise conjecture regarding the suitable method of procedure and connotation of the baptism ritual by examining the numerous Biblical verses which refer to this sacrament.
The interpretation of the verses related to baptism, as do all other verses of the Bible, vary widely, person to person, and sect to sect and are subject to modification throughout the years and continue to be disputed.
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