Immersion baptism (also known as baptism by immersion or baptism by submersion) is a method of baptism that is distinguished from baptism by affusion (pouring) and by aspersion (sprinkling), sometimes without specifying whether the immersion is total or partial, but very commonly with the indication that the person baptized is immersed in water completely. The term is also, though less commonly, applied exclusively to modes of baptism that involve only partial immersion (see Terminology, below).
Still others use the term "immersion baptism" to mean a merely partial immersion by dipping the head in the water or by pouring water over the head of a person standing in a baptismal pool, and use instead for baptism that involves total immersion of the body beneath the water the term "submersion baptism".
Scholars generally agree that the early church baptized by immersion. It also used other forms. Immersion was probably the norm, but at various times and places immersion, whether full or partial, and also affusion were probably in use. Baptism of the sick or dying was usually by means other than even partial immersion and was still considered valid.
Some writers speak of early Christians baptizing by total immersion (i.e., submerging the person being baptized), or say only that total immersion was preferred. Others speak of early Christians as baptizing either by submersion or by immersion. In one form of early Christian baptism, the candidate stood in water and water was poured over the upper body, and the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says that at least from the 2nd century baptism was administered by a method "whereby part of the candidate's body was submerged in the baptismal water which was poured over the remainder".
William Sanford La Sor, Lothar Heiser, Jean-Charles Picard, Malka Ben Pechat, and Everett Ferguson agree that early Christian baptism was normally by total immersion. Sanford La Sor (1987) considers it likely that the archaeological evidence favours total immersion. Lothar Heiser (1986), likewise understands the literary and pictorial evidence to indicate total immersion. Jean-Charles Picard (1989), reaches the same conclusion, and so does Malka Ben Pechat (1989). The study by Everett Ferguson (2009) supports the view of La Sor, Heiser, Picard, and Pechat. Frank K. Flinn also says that the immersion was total, saying that the preference of the Early Church was total immersion in a stream or the sea or, if these were not available, in a fountain or bath-sized tank,
Commenting on early church practice, other reference works speak of immersion without specifying whether it was total or partial. A recent Bible encyclopedia speaks of the "consensus of scholarly opinion" that the baptismal practice of John the Baptist and the apostles was by immersion. A standard Bible dictionary says that baptism was normally by immersion. Among other sources, Old says that immersion (though not the only form), was normally used, Grimes says "There is little doubt that early Christian baptism was adult baptism by immersion.", Howard Marshall says that immersion was the general rule, but affusion and even sprinkling were also practiced, since "archaeological evidence supports the view that in some areas Christian baptism was administered by affusion". His presentation of this view has been described by Porter and Cross as "a compelling argument". Laurie Guy says immersion was probably the norm, but that at various times and places full immersion, partial immersion and affusion were probably in use. Tischler says that total immersion seems to have been most commonly used. Stander and Louw argue that immersion was the prevailing practice of the Early Church. Grenz says that the New Testament does not state specifically what action the baptizer did to the person baptized, when both were in the water, but adds: "Nevertheless, we conclude that of the three modes immersion carries the strongest case – exegetically, historically, and theologically. Therefore, under normal circumstances it ought to be the preferred, even the sole, practice of the church." Most scholars agree that immersion was the practice of the New Testament church.
The Oxford Dictionary of the Bible (2004) says "Archaeological evidence from the early centuries shows that baptism was sometimes administered by submersion or immersion… but also by affusion from a vessel when water was poured on the candidate's head…"
The Cambridge History of Christianity (2006) also concludes from the archaeological evidence that pouring water three times over the head was a frequent arrangement.
Robin Jensen writes: "Historians have sometimes assumed that baptism was usually accomplished by full immersion – or submersion – of the body (dunking). However, the archaeological and iconographic evidence is ambiguous on this point. Many – if not most – surviving baptismal fonts are too shallow to have allowed submersion. In addition, a significant number of depictions show baptismal water being poured over the candidate's head (affusion), either from a waterfall, an orb or some kind of liturgical vessel." Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, also casts doubt on "the usual assumption that all NT baptisms were by immersion", stating that some early baptisteries were deep enough to stand in but not broad enough to lie down in, and mentioning that ancient representation of Christ at his baptism show him standing in waist-deep water. The immersion used by early Christians in baptizing "need not have meant full submersion in the water" and, while it may have been normal practice, it was not seen as a necessary mode of baptism, so that other modes also may have been used. Submersion, as opposed to partial immersion, may even have been a minority practice in early Christianity.
Earliest description of Christian baptism outside the New Testament
The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, an anonymous book of 16 short chapters, is probably the earliest known written instructions, outside of the Bible, for administering baptism. The first version of it was written c. 60–80 AD. The second, with insertions and additions, was written c. 100–150 AD. This work, rediscovered in the 19th century, provides a unique look at Christianity in the Apostolic Age. Its instructions on baptism are as follows:
Now about baptism: this is how to baptize. Give public instruction on all these points, and then baptize in running water, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… If you do not have running water, baptize in some other. If you cannot in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, then pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Before the baptism, moreover, the one who baptizes and the one being baptized must fast, and any others who can. And you must tell the one being baptized to fast for one or two days beforehand.
Commentaries, including those that distinguish immersion from submersion, typically understand that the Didache indicates a preference for baptizing by immersion, in "living water" (i.e., running water, seen as symbolic of life). Barclay observes that the Didache shows that baptism in the early church was by total immersion, if possible, Barton describes the immersion of the Didache as "ideally by total immersion", and Welch says it was by "complete immersion". In cases of insufficient water it permits pouring (affusion), which it differentiates from immersion, using the Greek word ekcheō, ("pour", in the English translation) and not baptizō ("baptize", in the English translation), but which it still considers to be a form of baptism (baptisma).
Martin and Davids say the Didache envisages "some form of immersion", and the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church refers its readers to its entry on immersion, which it distinguishes from submersion and affusion.
The Didache gives "the first explicit reference to baptism by pouring, although the New Testament does not exclude the possibility of this practice" Brownson says that the Didache does not state whether pouring or immersion was recommended when using running water, and Sinclair B. Ferguson argues that the only mode that the Didache mentions is affusion. Lane says that "it is probable that immersion was in fact the normal practice of baptism in the early church, but it was not regarded as an important issue", and states that the Didache does not suggest that the pouring of water was any less valid than immersion.
New Testament studies
|Look up βαπτίζω in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
1) The meaning of the word baptizo in Greek is essentially "dip" or "immerse," not sprinkle, 2) The descriptions of baptisms in the New Testament suggest that people went down into the water to be immersed rather than having water brought to them in a container to be poured or sprinkled (Matthew 3:6, "in the Jordan;" 3:16, "he went up out of the water;" John 3:23, "much water there;" Acts 8:38, "went down into the water"). 3) Immersion fits the symbolism of being buried with Christ (Romans 6:1–4; Colossians 2:12).
Piper asserts that baptism refers to the physical lowering into the water and rising in faith in part because of the reflection of this symbol in Colossians 2:12 which says "having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Others hold that there is no evidence in the New Testament that any one mode of baptism was used.
Criticism of the total immersion (submersion) view
As criticism of the claim that, in Acts 8:38–39, which is the only reference in the New Testament to Christian baptism being administered in the open, the actions of "going down into the water" and "coming up out of the water" indicate that this baptism was by immersion, it is pointed out that "going down into" and "coming up out of" a river or a store of still water, actions there ascribed to both the baptizer and the baptized, do not necessarily involve immersion in the water. In the nineteenth century, anti-immersionist Rev. W. A. McKay wrote a polemic work against immersion baptism, arguing that it was a theological invention of the Roman Catholic Church. Differentiating between immersion and affusion, McKay held that βαπτίζω referred to affusion (which McKay understood as standing in water and having water poured over the head), as opposed to immersion. Challenging immersion baptism, he wrote:
Where is the evidence that the eunuch was dipped? "Why," cries the Baptist, "he went with Philip into the water and came out again." But is not such reasoning trifling with common sense? Do not thousands go into the water and come out again without going under the water? Is it not said that Philip went into the water and came out of it as well as the eunuch? They "both" went. If then they prove that the eunuch was immersed they prove also that Philip was immersed.
In the same passage the act of baptizing is distinguished from the going down into the water: "They both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water…"
|Look up εἰς or ἐκ in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
As McKay and others also pointed out, the Greek preposition εἰς, here translated as "into", is the same as is used when Peter is told to go to the sea and take the first fish that came up (Matthew 17:27) and in other passages where it obviously did not imply entry of the kind that submersion involves. In fact, in the same chapter 8 of the Acts of the Apostles, the preposition εἰς appears 11 times, but only once is it commonly translated as "into"; in the other verses in which it appears it is best translated as "to". The same ambiguity pertains to the preposition ἐκ.
John Calvin (1509–1564) wrote that "it is evident that the term baptise means to immerse, and that this was the form used by the primitive Church", but in the same context (Institutes of the Christian Religion IV, xv, 19), using the same verb "immerse", but indicating that it does not necessarily mean immersing "wholly", he also wrote: "Whether the person who is baptised be wholly immersed, and whether thrice or once, or whether water be only poured or sprinkled upon him, is of no importance; Churches ought to be left at liberty in this respect, to act according to the difference of countries." Modern, professional lexicography defines βαπτίζω as dip, plunge or immerse, while giving examples of its use for merely partial immersion.
Mark 7:3–4 and Luke 11:38 are two instances of New Testament uses of the verb baptizo outside the context of Christian baptism. One speaks of how the Pharisees do not eat unless they "wash their hands" thoroughly (nipto, the ordinary word for washing something), and, after coming from the market place, do not eat unless they "wash themselves" (literally, "baptize themselves", passive or middle voice of baptizo). The other tells how a Pharisee, at whose house Jesus ate, "was astonished to see that he did not first "wash himself" (literally, "baptize himself", aorist passive of baptizo) before dinner". Some commentaries claim that these two passages show that the word baptizo in the New Testament cannot be assumed to have the meaning "immerse".
In the first of the two passages, it is actually the hands that are specifically identified as "washed" (Mark 7:3), not the entire persons, who are described as having (literally) "baptized themselves" – Mark 7:4–5). Zodhiates identifies the meaning of baptizo here as 'immerse', even if not totally ("wash part of the body such as the hands"). but the word is rendered "wash themselves" or "purify themselves", not "baptize themselves" or "immerse themselves", by modern English Bible translations, professional commentaries, and translation guides. For the same reason, the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek–English Lexicon (1996) cites the other passage (Luke 11:38) as an instance of the use of the word baptizo to mean "perform ablutions", not "baptize", "dip", "plunge", "immerse", and the standard lexicon of Bauer and Danker treats it as an instance of a derived meaning, "wash ceremonially for the purpose of purification", distinct from the basic meaning ("immerse") of the verb baptizo, in line with the view that Luke 11:38 cannot refer to a total immersion of the person. References to the cleaning of vessels which use baptizo also refer to immersion,.
The burial symbolism of Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 is seen by some Christians as a reference not to the manner of baptism in water but to "a spiritual death, burial, resurrection, and new life".
Views within Christianity
Forms of baptismal immersion differ widely between Christian groups. In the view of many, baptismal immersion can be either complete or partial, and adjectives such as "full", and "partial" serve to differentiate between immersion of the whole body or only of a part.
The Eastern Orthodox hold that baptism has always been by immersion and it is not proper to perform baptism by way of sprinkling of water. The immersion is done three times and is referred to as "total" or "full". Modern practice may vary within the Eastern Rite; Everett Ferguson cites Lothar Heiser as acknowledging: "In the present practice of infant baptism in the Greek church the priest holds the child as far under the water as possible and scoops water over the head so as to be fully covered with water", and the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church states that the rite "whereby part of the candidate's body was submerged in the baptismal water which was poured over the remainder ... is still found in the Eastern Church". Eastern Orthodox consider the form of baptism in which the person is placed in water as normative; only in exceptional circumstances, such as if a child is in imminent danger of death, may they baptize by affusion or, since there is always some moisture in air, perform "air baptism".
Baptism by partial immersion, a mode of baptism that, according to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church is still found in the Eastern Church, is also the form presented in the Key of Truth, the text described as the manual of the old Armenian Baptists, which lays down that the person to be baptized "shall come on his knees into the midst of the water" and there make a profession of faith to "the elect one", who "instantly takes the water into his hands, and ... shall directly or indirectly empty out the water over the head".
Saint Thomas Christians
The Syro Malabar Catholic sect of the Saint Thomas Christians, who trace their origin to Thomas the Apostle, have always practised pouring rather than any form of immersion. However the Malankara Church follows child immersion baptism in Baptismal font.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
- "Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate's head"
Normative full-immersion baptism
Complete submersion of the person being baptized is the custom only among some denominations that have arisen in the second millennium, but, since the form of immersion that is in use in the Eastern Orthodox Church is referred to as "full immersion", that church is included in this section.
Anabaptists were given that name because of performing baptism on people whom others, but not the Anabaptists, considered to be already baptized. They did not accept infant baptism as true baptism.
Anabaptists perform baptisms indoors in a baptismal font or baptistry, a swimming pool, or a bathtub, or outdoors in a creek or river. Baptism memorializes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.[Rom 6] Baptism, they believe, does not accomplish anything in itself, but is an outward personal sign or testimony that the person's sins have already been washed away by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. It is considered a covenantal act, signifying entrance into the New Covenant of Christ.
Immersion baptism, understood as demanding total submersion of the body, is required by Baptists, as enunciated in the 1689 Baptist Catechism: "Baptism is rightly administered by immersion, or dipping the whole body of the person in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", indicating that the whole body must be immersed, not just the head.
Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ
Baptism by submersion is practised by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), but most of them do not suggest rebaptism of those who have undergone a baptism of a different Christian tradition. Baptism in Churches of Christ, which also have roots in the Restoration Movement, is performed only by bodily immersion.: p.107 : 124 This is based on their understanding of the meaning of the word baptizo as used in the New Testament, a belief that it more closely conforms to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and that historically immersion was the mode used in the 1st century, and that pouring and sprinkling later emerged as secondary modes when immersion was not possible.: 139–40
Seventh-day Adventists believe that "baptism symbolizes dying to self and coming alive in Jesus." Seventh-day Adventists teach that it symbolizes and declares a member's new faith in Christ and trust in His forgiveness. Buried in the water, the member arises to a new life in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Adventists practice full immersion baptism. In full immersion, baptism is representative of a death to self and a rise into new life in Christ[Romans 6:3-4] and a cleansing from sin.[Acts 22:16] It is a public declaration of a changed life, a relationship with Jesus, and a desire to follow Him fully.
Sabbath Rest Adventists
Optional immersion baptism
Major Protestant groups in which baptism by total or partial immersion is optional, although not typical, include Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and the Church of the Nazarene.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Official explanations concerning baptism state: “we are baptized by being lowered under water and raised back up by a person who has authority from God to do so. This action symbolizes Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and it also represents the end of our old lives and beginning a new life as His disciples.” Doctrine and Covenants 20:72-74) gives the authoritative declaration on mode:
72 Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent–
73 The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
74 Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
Baptism by immersion is the only way to be completely accepted as a member, either converted to or raised in the church; no other form is accepted in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Baptism for the dead is also performed in their temples, to provide this ordinance to those who did not have the opportunity in life, or were physically unable, post mortem, for them to accept as they will. It is performed the same way there.
The Community of Christ
The Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, practices baptism by submersion.
Mandaeans revere John the Baptist and practice frequent baptism (masbuta) as a ritual of purification, not of initiation. They are possibly the earliest people to practice baptism. Mandaeans undergo baptism on Sundays (Habshaba), wearing a white sacral robe (rasta) and consists of a triple full immersion in water, a triple signing of the forehead with water and a triple drinking of water. The priest (Rabbi) then removes a ring made of myrtle worn by the baptized and places it on his/her forehead. This is then followed by a handshake (kushta-hand of truth) with the priest. Living water is a requirement for baptism, therefore can only take place in rivers. All rivers are named Yardena (Jordan) and are believed to be nourished by the World of Light. By the river bank, a Mandaean's forehead is anointed with sesame oil and partakes in a communion of bread and water. Baptism for Mandaeans allows for salvation by connecting with the World of Light and for forgiveness of sins.
Immersion in other religious groups
- In Judaism, self-administered immersion is used for ritual cleansing, and as a rite of passage for proselytes.
- McKim, Donald K. (1996), Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 25, ISBN 9780664255114,
Baptism (Gr. baptizein, 'to dip in water') Initiation into the Christian faith through a worship ceremony in which water is applied by sprinkling (aspersion), pouring (affusion), or immersion while the Trinitarian formula is spoken… Main modes of baptism are immersion (dipping or plunging), pouring (affusion), and sprinkling (aspersion)..
- "Baptism. The practice of sprinkling with, pouring on or immersing in water as an act of Christian initiation and obedience to Christ’s own command." – Grenz, Guretzki & Nordling (eds.), Pocket dictionary of theological terms (Intervarsity Press 1999), p. 18.
- "In Christianity, baptism—either by plunging in water or by sprinkling with it—represents the first act of incorporation 'into Christ' and into the fellowship of the church." – Fahlbusch & Bromiley (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Christianity, volume 1, (Eerdmans, 1999–2003), p. 183
- "The word baptism is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo which means to plunge, to dip, or to immerse… In New Testament times baptism was by a single immersion, with triple immersions appearing only later; occasionally, in cases of sickness or lack of water, affusion was practiced" – Myers, A.C., The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Eerdmans 1987), p. 123
- "Some form of immersion is envisaged, although affusion is allowed if running or standing water is lacking: 'If you do not have either, pour water three times on the head'." – Martin, R.P., & Davids, P.H. (2000). Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments (electronic ed.).
- "Immersion, Baptism by (BAP-tih-zuhm bai ih-MER-shuhn): A method of baptizing whereby the whole person is submerged in water three times while the Trinitarian formula is pronounced. In the Rite of Baptism, immersion is indicated as the first way to baptize. For immersion, the candidate steps down or into a pool of water at waist height." – Stravinskas, Catholic Dictionary (Our Sunday Visitor 1993, 2002), p. 402
- ""While much debate has focused on the varying interpretations of the forms of baptism, each form (immersion, sprinkling, or pouring) is clearly associated with the concept of cleansing and identification, which are the two integral parts of Spirit baptism. Immersion, however, depicts more clearly the symbolic aspect of baptism since its three steps—immersion (going into the water), submersion (going under the water), and emersion (coming out of the water)—more closely parallel the concept of entering into the death of Christ, experiencing the forgiveness of sins, and rising to walk in the newness of Christ’s resurrected life (Rom 6:4)." – Douglas, & Tenney (eds.), New International Bible Dictionary (Zondervan 1987), p. 124
- "According to the rules of by far the largest portion of the Christian Church the water may be used in any one of three ways: immersion, where the recipient enters bodily into the water, and where, during the action, the head is plunged either once or three times beneath the surface; affusion, where water is poured upon the head of the recipient who stands either in water or on dry ground; and aspersion, where water is sprinkled on the head or on the face.
1. Immersion It has frequently been argued that the word baptízein invariably means 'to dip' or 'immerse' and that therefore Christian baptism must have been performed originally by immersion only, and that the other two forms, infusion and aspersion, are invalid – that there can be no real baptism unless the method of immersion be used. But the word that invariably means 'to dip' is not baptízein but báptein; baptízein has a wider signification; and its use to denote the Jewish ceremonial of pouring water on the hands (Lk. 11:38; Mk. 7:4), as has already been said, shows that it is impossible to conclude from the word itself that immersion is the only valid method of performing the rite… When immersion was used the head of the recipient was plunged thrice beneath the surface at the mention of each name of the trinity; when the mode was by affusion the same reference to the trinity was kept by pouring water thrice upon the head. The two usages that were recognized and prescribed by the beginning of the 2nd cent. may have been in use throughout the apostolic period, although definitive information is lacking." T.M. Lindsay, Baptism. Reformed View, in Bromiley (ed.) 'The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised', volume 1, page 419 (1988; 2002)
- 'One of their strongest arguments revolves around the Greek word for baptism in the New Testament. Its predominant meaning is "to immerse" or "to dip," implying that the candidate was plunged beneath the water.', Youngblood, R.F., Bruce, F.F., Harrison, R.K., & Thomas Nelson. (1995). Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary
- 'The baptism of John did have certain similarities to the ritual washings at Qumran: both involved withdrawal to the desert to await the lord; both were linked to an ascetic lifestyle; both included total immersion in water; and both had an eschatological context.' (Maxwell E. Johnson, 'Living Water, Sealing Spirit: Readings on Christian Initiation', 1995), p. 41.
- "Immersion, however, depicts more clearly the symbolic aspect of baptism since its three steps—immersion (going into the water), submersion (going under the water), and emersion (coming out of the water)—more closely parallel the concept of entering into the death of Christ, experiencing the forgiveness of sins, and rising to walk in the newness of Christ’s resurrected life (Rom 6:4).' (Douglas, & Tenney (eds.)., 'New International Bible Dictionary ', 1987), p. 124.
- "Immersion, Baptism by (BAP-tih-zuhm bai ih-MER-shuhn): A method of baptizing whereby the whole person is submerged in water three times while the Trinitarian formula is pronounced. In the Rite of Baptism, immersion is indicated as the first way to baptize. For immersion, the candidate steps down or into a pool of water at waist height." (Stravinskas, ‘Catholic Dictionary’, 2002), p. 402.
- "As to the method of baptism, it is probable that the original form was by immersion, complete or partial" (Williston Walker, A History of the Christian Church, quoted in Saint John's Seminary, Course Lectures, Early Church History to 1500, Baptism).
- "Total or partial immersion of the candidate seems to be the form best grounded in the Tradition, and to be acceptable to most churches" (Jeffrey Gros, Thomas F. Best, Lorelei F. Fuchs, Growth in Agreement III, Eerdmans 2008 ISBN 978-0-8028-6229-7), p. 567.
- "Baptism can be administered by total or partial immersion" (John Renard, The Handy Religion Answer Book (Barnes and Nobles 2004 ISBN 978-0-7607-5768-0). p. 183).
- Lynn Bridgers, The American Religious Experience: A Concise History (Rowman & Littlefield 2006), p. 158.
- Shelly O'Foran, Little Zion: A Church Baptized by Fire (University of North Carolina Press 2006), p. 183.
- Ralph E. Bass, Jr., What about Baptism: A Discussion on the Mode, Candidate and Purpose of Christian Baptism (Nicene Press 1999), p. 4.
- Mark Earey, Connecting with Baptism: A Practical Guide to Christian Initiation Today (Church House Publishing 2007), p. 149.
- "If the baptism be given by immersion, the priest dips the back part of the head (of the child) three times into the water in the form of a cross, pronouncing the sacramental words" (William Fanning, "Baptism" in The Catholic Encyclopedia). Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "In the early Church baptism was by one of four methods: complete submersion of the entire body, immersion of the head, affusion or pouring, or aspersion or sprinkling" (Steven J. Schloeder, Architecture in Communion. Ignatius Press 1998 ISBN 0-89870-631-9. p. 113).
- "There are four principal methods of baptizing: (1) submersion (or total immersion) ; (2) immersion, when the head is dipped with or without the candidate standing in the water; (3) affusion, when water is poured over the head and (4) …" (John Gordon Davies, The Architectural Setting of Baptism. Barrie and Rockliff 1962. p. 23).
- "J.G. Davies has carefully set these out; and because they are relevant to an archaeological enquiry, we must distinguish them with the same care. The four principal modes are: 1. Submersion; or total immersion, where the candidate goes briefly but entirely below the water, on the model of those baptised by John in the River Jordan; 2. Immersion; where the head, as the prime seat of Man's rational and spiritual being, is in some way submerged, with or without the candidate having to stand in the same container of water; 3. Affusion; …" (Charles Thomas, Christianity in Roman Britain to A.D. 500. University of California Press 1981 ISBN 0-520-04392-8. p, 204).
- "A method of Baptism, employed at least from the 2nd cent., whereby part of the candidate's body was submerged in the baptismal water which was poured over the remainder. The rite is still found in the E. Church. In the W. it began to be replaced from c. the 8th cent. by the method of affusion, though its use was still being encouraged in the 16th cent., as it still is in the Anglican and RC Churches. The term is occasionally loosely used to include *submersion, from which it is strictly to be distinguished" (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3, art. immersion).
- Peter M. Doll (ed.), Anglicanism and Orthodoxy 300 Years after the "Greek College" in Oxford (Peter Lang 2005 ISBN 978-3-03910-580-9), p. 244
- "New Testament scholars generally agree that the early church baptized by immersion.", Wiersbe, 'Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament', pp. 466–67 (1997).
- Bowker, John (1999). The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866242-4. OCLC 60181672.
- "We imagine that immersion was used normally, but on the basis of the New Testament it is hard to insist that immersion was the only form used.", Old, "The Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite in the Sixteenth Century", p. 268 (1992).
- Howard Marshall, "The Meaning of the Verb "Baptize", in Porter, Cross (editors), Dimensions of Baptism: Biblical and Theological Studies (Sheffield Academic Press 2002 ISBN 0-8264-6203-0, pp. 18, 23), a presentation described by Porter and Cross in Dimensions of Baptism (2002), p. 2 as "a compelling argument".
- Laurie Guy, Introducing Early Christianity: A Topical Survey of Its Life, Beliefs, and Practices (2004), pp. 224–25.
- Dau, W. H. T. (1995). "Baptism". In Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (ed.). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: A–D. Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 419. ISBN 0-8028-3781-6.
This seems to say that to baptize by immersion was the practice recommended for general use, but that the mode of affusion was also valid and enjoined on occasions
- Fanning, William (1907). "Baptism". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York City: Robert Appleton Co. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Tischler, ‘All Things in the Bible: An Encyclopedia of the Biblical World’, volume 1, 2006
- "Submersion under the water in baptism – which is in Jesus' name – indicates that the persons have experienced God's judgment in Christ.", Thomas Schreiner, "Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ", p. 82 (2007).
- "The New Testament descriptions of baptism imply a full bath.", Everett Ferguson, "The church of Christ: a biblical ecclesiology for today", p. 202 (1996).
- "It seems also that the profession was articulated in responses that the one being baptized made to the questions of the one baptizing during the baptismal rite, which in general was required to take place through total immersion, in total nudity, in running water.", Di Berardino, "We Believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church", p. 88 (2009).
- "Baptism in the Bible was by immersion, that is, the person went fully under the waters, usually in a river or lake (harking back to the practice of John in the Jordan River)." Lang, "Everyday biblical literacy: the essential guide to biblical allusions in art, literature, and life", p. 47 (2007).
- "The earliest preference was for baptism in running streams or in the sea (Mark 1:9; Acts 8:36; Didache 7). Next in preference was total immersion in a fountain or bath-sized tank (Tertullian, Baptism 4). Total immersion recalled the abyss of the Flood or the Red Sea, and reemergence into the light of day reenacted the death and resurrection of Jesus (Rom. 6:1-5)." (Flinn, ‘Encyclopedia of Catholicism’, article "Baptism", Encyclopedia of World Religions, 2007), p. 52
- "The earliest preference was for baptism in running streams or in the sea (Mark 1:9; Acts 8:36; Didache 7). Next in preference was total immersion in a fountain or bath-sized tank (Tertullian, Baptism 4). Total immersion recalled the abyss of the Flood or the Red Sea, and reemergence into the light of day reenacted the death and resurrection of Jesus (Rom. 6:1-5). Here the covered and ornamented baptistery at Dura Europos takes pride of place.", Flinn, ‘Encyclopedia of Catholicism’, article "Baptism", Encyclopedia of World Religions, 2007), p. 52
- "Archaeological evidence from the early centuries shows that baptism was sometimes administered by submersion or immersion… but also by affusion from a vessel when water was poured on the candidate's head". Bowker, John (1999). The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866242-4. OCLC 60181672.
- "The philological evidence is technical and inconclusive. But the archaeological and Mishnaic evidence seems to support the argument for immersion. That is clearly what occurred in the contemporaneous Jewish miqva’ot, so that is probably what happened in early Jewish Christian baptism", Sanford La Sor, 'Discovering What Jewish Miqva’ot Can Tell Us About Christian Baptism', Biblical Archaeology Review, (1987), 13.01
- Die Taufe in der orthdoxen Kirche: Geschicte, Spendung, und Symbolik nach der Lehre der Vater (Trier, Paulinus, 1987), pp. 101–102
- "The conclusions of Lothar Heiser on the administration of baptism after examining the literary and pictorial evidence accord with mine: the water customarily reached the hips of the baptizand; after calling on the triune God, the priest bent the baptizand under so as to dip him in water over the head; in the cases of pouring in the Didache and in sickbed baptism the baptized did not stand in the font." Ferguson, Baptism in the early church: history, theology, and liturgy in the first five centuries (Eerdmans 2009 ISBN 978-0-8028-2748-7), p. 860
- Actes du Xie Congres International d'Archeologie Chretienne, Lyone, Vienne, Grenoble, Geneve et Aoste, 21-28 septembre 1986 (Vatican, 1989), Vol. 2, pp. 1451–68 (1455, 1457, 1459, 1462–63)
- "Jean-Charles Picard, working with the literary texts but correlating them with archaeological sources for southern France and northern Italy, concludes that the authors who furnish details of the baptismal rite speak only of immersion. Tinguere, merreger, and submergere seem to imply a total immersion, and he notes that there is no ancient representation where the celebrant pours water on the head of the baptized.", Ferguson, Baptism in the early church: history, theology, and liturgy in the first five centuries (Eerdmans 2009 ISBN 978-0-8028-2748-7), p. 852.
- "Consequently, I have come to the conclusion that an adult of average height should have adapted himself, helped by the priest, to the dimensions of the font and to its internal design by taking an appropriate position which would have enabled him to dip and rise [sic] his head without losing his balance. Either bending his knees, kneeling, or sitting, an adult could have been totally immersed as required in fonts from 1.30m to 60cm deep.", Ferguson, Baptism in the early church: history, theology, and liturgy in the first five centuries (Eerdmans 2009 ISBN 978-0-8028-2748-7), p. 852
- "The Christian literary sources, backed by secular word usage and Jewish religious immersions, give an overwhelming support for full immersion as the normal action. Exceptions in cases of lack of water and especially of sickbed baptism were made. Submersion was undoubtedly the case for the fourth and fifth centuries in the Greek East, and only slightly less certain for the Latin West." Ferguson, Baptism in the early church: history, theology, and liturgy in the first five centuries (Eerdmans 2009 ISBN 978-0-8028-2748-7), p. 891.
- "The express statements in the literary sources, supported by other hints, the depictions in art, and the very presence of specially built baptismal fonts, along with their size and shape, indicate that the normal procedure was for the administrator with his head on the baptizand's head to bend the upper part of the body forward and dip the head under the water." Ferguson, Baptism in the early church: history, theology, and liturgy in the first five centuries (Eerdmans 2009 ISBN 978-0-8028-2748-7), pp. 857–58.
- "The earliest preference was for baptism in running streams or in the sea (Mark 1:9; Acts 8:36; Didache 7). Next in preference was total immersion in a fountain or bath-sized tank (Tertullian, Baptism 4). Total immersion recalled the abyss of the Flood or the Red Sea, and reemergence into the light of day reenacted the death and resurrection of Jesus (Rom. 6:1–5). Here the covered and ornamented baptistery at Dura Europos takes pride of place (see ARCHAEOLOGY).’, Flinn, ‘Encyclopedia of Catholicism’, article "Baptism", Encyclopedia of World Religions, 2007), p. 52
- "Lexicographers universally agree that the primary meaning of baptizo G966 is 'to dip' or 'to immerse", and there is a similar consensus of scholarly opinion that both the baptism of John and of the apostles was by immersion", Jewett, "Baptism", in Murray (ed.), "Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, volume 1, p. 466 (rev. ed. 2009).
- "Baptism was normally by immersion either in the river or in the bath-house of a large house", Dowley (ed.), "Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity", p. 10 (1977).
- Grimes, "Deeply Into the Bone: Re-Inventing Rites of Passage", p. 50 (2002).
- "Our study has not attempted to demonstrate that affusion rather than immersion was the practice in New Testament times, since it is clear that immersion was the general rule; rather it has shown that there are a variety of points which indicate that affusion (and even sprinkling, Did. 7.3) was also practised" (Howard Marshall, "The Meaning of the Verb "Baptize", in Porter, Cross (ed.), Dimensions of Baptism: Biblical and Theological Studies (Sheffield Academic Press 2002 ISBN 0-8264-6203-0), p. 23).
- Dimensions of Baptism (2002), p. 18
- Dimensions of Baptism (2002), p. 2.
- "We can be fairly sure that early baptism was not normally by sprinkling. Other possible alternatives were pouring (affusion) and immersion. Probably immersion was the norm.… The church most likely practiced full immersion, partial immersion and affusion at various times and places in the early centuries, with sprinkling being practiced rarely (and probably only for medical reasons) during that time period" (Laurie Guy, Introducing Early Christianity: A Topical Survey of Its Life, Beliefs, and Practices (2004), pp. 224–25.
- "In the early days of the Church, total immersion, often in streams or rivers, seems to have been most commonly used (Mark 1:9; Acts 8:3). It is not clear whether all baptism was through total immersion.", Tischler, "All Things in the Bible: A–L", p. 59 (2006).
- "Saunder and Louw comment, 'Obviously the phrases "going down" and "coming up" are used to focus on the two processes involved in immersion.'… (They) argue similarly for understanding the prevailing practice of the early church to be that of immersion from several other citations of various church fathers and documents, included among them Aristides of Athens, Clement of Alexandria (p. 31), Tertullian (pp. 36–37), Hippolytus (p. 42) and Basil the Great (who practiced tri-immersion, p. 82)." Ware, "Believers' Baptism View", in Wright (ed.), "Baptism: Three Views", p. 22 (2009).
- "Although the descriptions of New Testament baptisms indicate that baptism occurred with both the officiator and the candidate standing in water, they do not state specifically what happened in the act", Grenz, 'Theology for the Community of God', p. 530 (1994).
- Grenz, 'Theology for the Community of God', p. 530 (1994).
- "Most scholars agree that immersion was practiced in the NT, and it is likely that both of these texts allude to the practice, even though baptism is not the main point of either text.", Schreiner, "Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ", p. 81 (2007).
- "Most scholars in the world will admit, regardless of his denomination, that New Testament baptism was by immersion.", Bisagno, "The Power of Positive Preaching to the Saved", p. 106 (1971).
- "Most commentaries just assume immersion to be the original mode, as all Christianity did until after the Reformation.", Moody, "The Broadman Bible Commentary: Acts. Romans. 1 Corinthians", volume 10, p. 198 (1970).
- Oxford Dictionary of the Bible
- "The Didache, representing practice perhaps as early as the beginning of the second century, probably in Syria, also assumes immersion to be normal, but it allows that if sufficient water for immersion is not at hand, water may be poured three times over the head. The latter must have been a frequent arrangement, for it corresponds with most early artistic depictions of baptism, in Roman catacombs and on sarcophagi of the third century and later. The earliest identifiable Christian meeting house known to us, at Dura Europos on the Euphrates, contained a baptismal basin too shallow for immersion. Obviously local practice varied, and practicality will often have trumped whatever desire leaders may have felt to make action mime metaphor" (Margaret Mary Mitchell, Frances Margaret Young, K. Scott Bowie, Cambridge History of Christianity, Vol. 1, Origins to Constantine (Cambridge University Press 2006 ISBN 978-0-521-81239-9), pp. 160-161).
- Robin Jensen, Living Water (Brill 2010 ISBN 978-9-00418898-3), p. 137.
- David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers (eds.), Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Amsterdam University Press 2000), p. 148.
- Peter C. Bower, ed. (2003). Companion to the Book of Common Worship. Geneva Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-66450232-4. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- David Hellholm et al., Ablution, Initiation and Baptism (Walter de Gruyter 2011 ISBN 978-3-11024751-0), pp. 682, 699, 1397.
- William A. Dyrness, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (editors), Global Dictionary of Theology (Intervarsity Press 2009 ISBN 978-0-8308-2454-0), p. 101.
- Laurie Guy, Introducing Early Christianity (InterVarsity Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-83083942-1), p. 225.
- Pastoral Answers (Our Sunday Visitor 2002 ISBN 978-0-87973725-2), p. 99).
- Funk, Robert Walter; Hoover, Roy W. (1993). "Stages in the Development of Early Christian Tradition". The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus : New Translation and Commentary. New York City: Macmillan Publishers. p. 128. ISBN 0-02-541949-8. OCLC 28421734.
- Didache, 7, translation by Cyril C. Richardson.
- A more literal translation is: "Now concerning baptism, baptize thus: Having first taught all these things, baptize ye into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. And if thou hast not living water, baptize into other water; and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm (water). But if thou hast neither, pour [water] thrice upon the head in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. But before Baptism let the baptizer and the baptized fast, and any others who can; but thou shalt command the baptized to fast for one or two days before" (Philip Schaff's translation). Other translations are given at Early Christian Writings.
- "Baptism is by *immersion if possible" (Cross & Livingstone (eds.), 'The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church', 3rd ed. rev. 2005), p. 482.
- "One witnesses the fasting and the solemn rite of baptism, preferably by immersion in flowing water.", Milavec, "Didache", p. ix (2003).
- Lacoste, Jean-Yves (2005). Encyclopedia of Christian Theology: G – O. Milton Park: Routledge. p. 1607. ISBN 1-579-58250-8.
According to the Didache (1st century), baptism should be done by a triple immersion in running water.
- "It contains details of the church life of the earliest Christians, their preference for baptism by immersion, their fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, the forms of their eucharistic prayers.", Manion & Mudge, "The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church", pp. 42–43 (2008).
- Strang, Veronica (1997). "Water in the Church". The Meaning of Water. Berg Publishers. p. 91. ISBN 1-85973-753-6.
Fonts and baptisteries were constructed with taps and channels to ensure that they were supplied with moving water,which, as Schmemann points out, is symbolically crucial: 'The early Christian prescription is to baptize in living water. This is not merely a technical term denoting running water as distinct from standing water… it is this understanding that determined the form and theology of the baptismal font… The characteristic feature of the "baptistery" was that water was carried into it by a conduit, thus remaining "living water".'
- "It shows that baptism in the early Church was, if possible, by total immersion.", Barclay, 'The Letter to the Hebrews', p. 64 (2002).
- "Chs. 7–15 give instruction on baptism (ideally by total immersion but also by affusion), fasting (on Wednesdays and Fridays), prayer, and eucharist.", Barton, "The Oxford Bible commentary", p. 1309 (2001).
- "Although the meaning of this instruction is not very clear, the point may be that once a person has been fully bathed (that is, baptized by complete immersion)", Welch, "The Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple", p. 142 (2009).
- "Baptism is by immersion in the threefold name, but sprinkling three times on the head is allowed in an emergency.", Vokes, "Life and Order In An Early Church: The Didache", in Haase (ed.), "Aufstieg Und Niedergang Der Romischen Welt", volume 2, p. 221 (1993).
- "According to the Didache baptism was preferably to be in living, that is running, water, by immersion although, if running water was not at hand, other water could be used; if however neither was available then affusion could be used as second best.", Barnard, "Justin Martyr: his life and thought", p. 139 (1967)
- "Cold running water was preferred, and immersion is probably the assumed mode. An alternate mode was pouring (7.3)." (Silva & Tenney (eds.) 'The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2, D-G, 2009), p. 139>
- Metzger, Marcel (1997). "The Order of Baptism in the Didache". History of the Liturgy: The Major Stages. Collegeville Township, Minnesota: Liturgical Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 0-8146-2433-2.
The Didache recognizes the superior value of running water for the baptismal immersion but does not impose it as a necessary condition… The regulations of the Didache also foresee the case in which immersion is impossible for lack of water and prescribe baptism by pouring water three times on the candidate's head.
- "In the Didache 7 (a.d. 100–60), the oldest baptismal manual extant, triple immersion is assumed, and pouring is allowed if there is an insufficient amount of water (the word used for pouring is ekcheō G1772)." Silva & Tenney (eds.), 'The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 1, A–C, rev., full-color ed. 2009, pp. 494–95.
- "It is lexically significant that, in this document, first- (or early second-) century Greek-speaking Christians could refer to ἔκχεον as a βαπτίσματος (baptism)" (Mark E. Dever, "The Church", in Daniel A. Akin, A Theology for the Church (B&H Publishing Group 2007 ISBN 978-0-8054-2640-3), p. 786).
- "Some form of immersion is envisaged" (Martin & Davids (eds.), "Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments", unpaginated electronic ed., 2000)
- "Baptism is by *immersion if possible, otherwise by threefold *affusion." (Cross & Livingstone (eds.), 'The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church', 3rd ed. rev. 2005), p. 482
- Paul Turner, Hallelujah Highway (Liturgy Training Publications 2000 ISBN 978-1-56854-320-8), p. 16
- James V. Brownson, The Promise of Baptism (Eerdmans 2006 ISBN 978-0-8028-3307-5), p. 75
- Sinclair B. Ferguson, "Infant Baptism Response" in David F. Wright (ed.), Baptism: Three Views (InterVarsity Press 2009 ISBN 978-0-8308-3856-1), p. 52.
- William A. Dyrness (ed.), Global Dictionary of Theology (Intervarsity Press 2008 ISBN 978-0-8308-2454-0), p. 101
- Klijn, A.F.J.; Reinink, G.J. (1973). Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects. Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN 978-9-00403763-2. OCLC 1076236746., citing Epiphanius (Anacephalaiosis 30.2.5.)
- John Piper, Sermon on May 25, 1997, "What Baptism Portrays"
- "The New Testament tells us very little about how baptism was administered. …We are not told what method of baptism was used, whether it was by total immersion or by some form of pouring or sprinkling. Probably each of these was used at one time or another depending on the circumstances.", Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship: Reformed according to Scripture, p. 10
- "Although the descriptions of New Testament baptisms indicate that baptism occurred with both the officiator and the candidate standing in water, they do not state specifically what happened in the act.", Stanley J. Grenz, 'Theology for the Community of God', 1994), p. 530
- "It can be questioned whether the NT proves immersion was used at all (although almost certainly it was).", Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, p.148
- "The 'narrow attitude' toward baptism that demands one mode only is a 'novelty of the modern Church'. … 'The New Testament considers it enough to establish it as the initiatory title of Christianity, outline its significance in broad touches, and let it go at that'.", Zaspel and Ferguson, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary, pp. 525–526
- That it was affusion baptism is admitted as possible by Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch and taken as certain in John R. W. Stott, The Spirit, the Church, and the World 1990, referred to in the preceding. See also William Shishko, "Is Immersion Necessary for Baptism" in IIIM Magazine Online. Volume 4, Number 28, July 17 to July 24, 2002, p. 5, reproduced from New Horizons, July–August 2000,
- W.A. McKay, Immersion proved not to be a Scriptural Mode of Baptism but a Romish Invention (Toronto: The Canada Publishing Company, 1881).
- "When a servant washes the floor she does not immerse it in water, but pours water on it" W.A. McKay, Immersion proved not to be a Scriptural Mode of Baptism but a Romish Invention (Toronto: The Canada Publishing Company, 1881), p. 21
- 'Rev. W. H. Withrow, in his recent and excellent work on the Catacombs, gives a number of these figures, and on page 535 he says : "The testimony of the Catacombs respecting the mode of baptism, as far as it extends, is strongly in favour of aspersion or affusion. All their pictured representations of the rite indicate this mode, for which alone the early fonts seem adapted ; nor is there early early art evidence of baptismal immersion. " No picture in the world older than the sixteenth century represents our Lord as being baptized by "dipping." (See pp. 44–47.)', W.A. McKay, Immersion proved not to be a Scriptural Mode of Baptism but a Romish Invention (Toronto: The Canada Publishing Company, 1881), page preceding preface
- 'Dr. Ditzler, in his recent work on Baptism, after a most thorough examination of no less than thirty-one of the best Greek lexicons and authors, says (p. 161), "every one of the thirty-one authorities sustains affusion as baptism."', ibid., p. 22
- 'It was through the influence of these pure Apostolic churches that Rome, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, was compelled to abandon her heathenish dipping, and come back to the scriptural mode of baptism, by affusion or sprinkling.', ibid., p. 58.
- W.A. McKay, Immersion proved not to be a Scriptural Mode of Baptism but a Romish Invention (Toronto: The Canada Publishing Company, 1881), p. 47.
- William Shishko, "Is Immersion Necessary for Baptism" in IIIM Magazine Online. Volume 4, Number 28, July 17 to July 24, 2002, p. 5
- Online Parallel Bible
- See page 343 of this English translation
- Liddell and Scott gives examples of the use of βαπτίζω with reference to a merely partial plunging or dipping: ξίφος εἰς σφαγήν J.BJ2.18.4; σπάθιον εἰς τὸ ἔμβρυον Sor.2.63', Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek–English lexicon (Rev. and augm. throughout) (305)
- A. A. Hodge,Outlines of Theology 1992 ISBN 0-85151-160-0 ISBN 978-0-85151-160-3
- 'Washing or ablution was frequently by immersion, indicated by either baptםzפ or nםptפ (3538), to wash. In Mark 7:3, the phrase 'wash their hands' is the translation of nםptפ (3538), to wash part of the body such as the hands. In Mark 7:4 the verb wash in 'except they wash' is baptizomai, to immerse. This indicates that the washing of the hands was done by immersing them in collected water. See Luke 11:38 which refers to washing one’s hands before the meal, with the use of baptizomai, to have the hands baptized.", Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G907). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
- "And when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash." (Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Mark 7:4)
- 'Mark’s statement that the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands has often been taken as an exaggeration, even as seriously in error. Archaeological evidence, however, indicates that many Jews of the first century CE attempted to live in a state of ritual purity.' (Collins & Attridge, "Mark : A Commentary on the Gospel of Mark", Hermeneia--a critical and historical commentary on the Bible", 2007), p. 345)
- 'Purify themselves seems somewhat preferable as a base for translating ‘wash themselves,’ since whatever water was used—whether in sprinkling or bathing—had as a primary function the ceremonial purification of the person. Purification is described in various ways, e.g. ‘to become really clean’ (Mazatec), ‘to become not mixed,’ in the sense of contaminated (Mezquital Otomi), ‘to take away pollution’ (Loma)", (Bratcher & Nida (eds.), "A handbook on the Gospel of Mark. UBS handbook series; Helps for translators", 1993), p. 223
- "The basic meaning of baptizō is 'immerse'. A derived meaning 'wash ceremonially for the purpose of purification' is given in the standard lexicon (Bauer and Danker, BDAG, 164) but documented only by Mark 7:4 and Luke 11:38" (M. Eugene Boring, Mark: A Commentary, p. 198).
- "Luke 11:38 clearly indicates 'washing' as opposed to immersion, for example: 'The Pharisee was amazed to see that [Jesus] did not first wash (literally was not first baptized) before dinner" (James V. Brownson, The Promise of Baptism, p. 74
- "It is clear that the washing spoken of (in Luke 11:38) cannot be a washing of the whole body, but a partial washing, as of the hands and feet, or a sprinkling of water on the hands" (Daniel F. N. Ritchie, The Regulative Principle of Worship, p. 301).
- 'Despite assertions to the contrary, it seems that baptizō, both in Jewish and Christian contexts, normally meant "immerse", and that even when it became a technical term for baptism, the thought of immersion remains. The use of the term for cleansing vessels (as in Lev. 6:28 Aquila [cf. 6:21]; cf. baptismos in Mk. 7:4) does not prove the contrary, since vessels were normally cleansed by immersing them in water. The metaphorical uses of the term in the NT appear to take this for granted, e.g. the prophecy that the Messiah will baptise in Spirit and fire as a liquid (Matt. 3:11), the "baptism" of the Israelites in the cloud and the sea (1 Cor. 10:2), and in the idea of Jesus’ death as a baptism (Mk. 10:38f. baptisma; Lk. 12:50; cf. Ysebaert, op. cit., 41 ff.).', Brown, C. (1986). Vol. 1: New international dictionary of New Testament theology (144)
- Leland M. Haines, Baptism
- Wendy L. Haight, African-American Children at Church: A Sociocultural Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2001), p. 159
- Stephen J. Pyne, How the Canyon Became Grand
- Alan Zeleznikar, Rome Explorations: The Early Christian Rome Walking Tour (Trafford Publishing 2005), p. 68
- Richard North Patterson, The Final Judgment (Random House 1996), p. 43
- "For this reason normative Christian Baptism has always been by immersion (baptism means 'immersion' in the Greek language) which provides both the image of burial and of resurrection.", Father Michael Shanbour, Christ the Saviour Orthodox Christian Church, article "Our Personal Resurrection".
- "According to Timothy Ware, "Orthodoxy regards immersion as essential.," Ware, The Orthodox Church, 284", Grenz, "Theology for the Community of God", p. 530 (2000).
- "After the proclamation of faith, the baptismal water is prayed over and blessed as the sign of the goodness of God's creation. The person to be baptized is also prayed over and blessed with sanctified oil as the sign that his creation by God is holy and good. And then, after the solemn proclamation of "Alleluia" (God be praised), the person is immersed three times in the water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Orthodox Church in America: Baptism). Archived October 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Greek Orthodox Church in America: The Service of Baptism
- "In the Orthodox Church we totally immerse, because such total immersion symbolizes death. What death? The death of the "old, sinful man". After Baptism we are freed from the dominion of sin, even though after Baptism we retain an inclination and tendency toward evil.", Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, article "Baptism Archived September 30, 2014, at the Wayback Machine".
- "Parients and family are advised that baptisms at St. Demetrios fully immerse the baby in the Baptismal Font three times". St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Archived November 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Greek Orthodox baptism involves full immersion of the baby.", Charitis, "Staten Island's Greek Community", p. 79 (2006).
- "Baptism is traditionally by full immersion, including for those baptized as adults.", Harris, "Contemporary religions: a world guide", p. 270 (1995).
- Everett Ferguson, Baptism in the Early Church, p. 860
- Christianity Depth Study[permanent dead link], p. 159
- "Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Holy Baptism". Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- Baptism and Emergency Baptism
- The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church by F. L. Cross (Editor), E. A. Livingstone (Editor) Oxford University Press, USA; 3 edition p.65 (March 13, 1997)
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 365. .
- The Key of Truth, a Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia (reproduction 2009 ISBN 978-1-110-36174-8), p. 97
- Randolph A. Miller, A Historical and Theological Look at the Doctrine of Christian Baptism (iUniverse 2002 ISBN 978-0-595-21531-7), p. 65)
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1239). Archived October 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- London Baptist Confession of 1644, XVII. Web: London Baptist Confession of 1644. 29 Dec 2009 Archived June 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:8–12; Romans 6
- Robert E. Johnson, A Global Introduction to Baptist Churches, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2010, p. 63
- Disciples.org, copyrighted Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Baptism. Retrieved April 8, 2009, "Just as the baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it symbolizes the death and burial of the old self of the repentant believer, and the joyous birth of a brand new being in Christ."
- Disciples.org The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): A Reformed North American Mainstream Moderate Denomination. Retrieved April 8, 2009, "Our traditions of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ecumenical. While practicing believer’s immersion, most congregations affirm the baptisms of other churches."
- Stuart M. Matlins, Arthur J. Magida, J. Magida, How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies, Wood Lake Publ., 1999, ISBN 1-896836-28-3, ISBN 978-1-896836-28-7, 426 pp, Chapter 6 – Churches of Christ
- Ron Rhodes, The Complete Guide to Christian Denominations, Harvest House Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-7369-1289-4
- Baxter, Batsell Barrett, Who are the churches of Christ and what do they believe in?, archived from the original on June 19, 2008, retrieved May 21, 2009, ,  Archived February 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) and "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Tom J. Nettles, Richard L. Pratt, Jr., John H. Armstrong, Robert Kolb, Understanding Four Views on Baptism, Zondervan, 2007, ISBN 0-310-26267-4, ISBN 978-0-310-26267-1, 222 pp.
- Keith Warrington, "Pentecostal Theology: A Theology of Encounter", A&C Black , UK, 2008, p. 164
- Mathew Clark, Pentecostals Doing Church: An Eclectic and Global Approach, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, 2019, p. 189
- "What Adventists Believe About Baptism".
- "About Adventists". St. Louis Unified School. June 18, 2009. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- "Anglican Faith: Baptism". Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- Baptism: Baptist and Lutheran Teachings Compared Archived January 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, by Marcus C. Nitz, pp1-2 & p5, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary
- "What is the meaning of the word 'baptize'? 'Baptize' means to apply water by washing, pouring, sprinkling, or immersing" – Luther's Small Catechism, par. 244
- "Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; the Baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person" – "Westminster Confession of Faith," par. 6.141
- "The real difference between Baptists and other catholic Christians (including Methodists) comes in our understanding of who is the primary actor in Baptism. Is Baptism something God does, or is it just an act of the believer? If it is God’s act of imparting Grace, then the mode of Baptism—sprinkling, pouring, or immersion—is irrelevant. If, on the other hand, it is an act of the believer—as the Baptists believe in believer’s baptism—the mode of the application of the water is of extreme importance. And this is the fundamental difference between how we understand Baptism and how our baptist brothers and sisters understand it. For them it is their act; for us it is God’s act" ([Gregory S. Neal, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism).]
- "Baptism may be administered by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, according to the choice of the applicant" – Church of the Nazarene Manual, 1972 ed., p. 33.
- Official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from subheading "Baptism and Confirmation". Retrieved Sept. 8, 2016.
- On Baptism
- "Baptism???". Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- See ref. for full context
- What Does the Bible Really Teach?. Watch Tower Society. p. 174.
- "Mandeans", US News, archived from the original on October 21, 2013
- Yamauchi, Edwin M (2004), Gnostic Ethics and Mandaean Origins, Gorgias Press, p. 20, ISBN 978-1-931956-85-7
- History, Mandean union, archived from the original on March 17, 2013
- "THE MANDAEANS: THEIR HISTORY, RELIGION AND MYTHOLOGY - Mandaean Associations Union - اتحاد الجمعيات المندائية".
- "In addition to full immersion, which requires a mikveh, handwashing is mandatory or customary in various circumstances, such as on getting up in the morning, before eating bread, after sexual intercourse and after a burial." Lange, "An introduction to Judaism", p. 94 (2000).
- "Another common practice is for converts to Judaism to immerse in a ritual bath." Cohn-Sherbok, "Messianic Judaism", p. 160. (2000).
- "Proselyte baptism was like other washings in Judaism in being a full immersion and in being self-administered." Ferguson, "Baptism in the early church: history, theology, and liturgy in the first five centuries", p. 103 (2009).
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- WELS Question & Answers: Baptism by Immersion (a Confessional Lutheran perspective)
- John Benton Briney, Joseph L. Tucker, The form of baptism: an argument designed to prove conclusively that immersion is the only baptism authorized by the Bible (Christian Publishing Company: St. Louis, MO, 1892)
- David A. Banks, The Church and Baptism – Modes and Symbolism
- C.F. Rogers, Baptism and Christian Archaeology (Gorgias Books reprint 2006 ISBN 1-59333-474-5)
- Eastern Orthodox article on baptism