Acts 2:38 and Baptismal Regeneration

HomeChristianity and the BibleActs 2:38 and Baptismal Regeneration

One of the hottest topics at GodWords is whether one needs to be baptized to become a Christian. This post is actually a comment…I replied to a commenter, and thought it would be useful to post it here as well.

Acts 2:38 says to be baptized for the remission of sins.

Anonymous GodWords Reader

Nope. Acts 2:38 clearly says to REPENT and be baptized…for the remission of sins. It’s important to read what’s actually there: Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

There are two ways to read this:

  1. Repent and be baptized (because without both your sins won’t be remitted).
  2. Repent for the remission of sins (and don’t forget to be baptized while you’re at it).

Acts 2:38 can be legitimately read in both ways, linguistically. Theologically, not so much. In light of the rest of Scripture – especially Acts 10 – it’s clear that baptism better fits the #2 reading. Were baptism part of regeneration, Paul would not have said “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel”. He would have said “For Christ sent me to preach and baptize”.

You questioned me on what “for” means. You can see the definition here. It can mean into, unto, to, towards, for, or among. Greek prepositions are notoriously tricky things. There are lots of them, and they’re pretty complex. It’s always a GOOD idea to do what you’ve done, and compare one usage with another. I applaud you. However: in light of the accepted definitions of EIS (“for”), I see no conflict. The only conflict I see is the one where baptism is NOT necessary for salvation in most passages, but is presumed to be necessary in others.

Because I don’t believe that Scripture contradicts itself, I’m forced to rule out your interpretation of Acts 2:38. It’s not a dogmatic position that I prefer…it’s a reasoned position, arrived at in light of the whole of Scripture.


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Lawrence
Lawrence
August 15, 2017 9:14 am

Baptism of Water is not required! We must be born of water( the word) and accept Jesus as your lord and savior. Then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the Baptism of Fire. Now you are born again, and ready to go! Grow your faith and reap your rewards!

Jerry L Price
Jerry L Price
September 23, 2017 8:19 pm
Reply to  Lawrence

You need to read the definition of WATER. And there again who made the water. And how much of our bodies are made up of water.

Jerry L Price
Jerry L Price
September 23, 2017 8:27 pm
Reply to  Jerry L Price

Also you are not to add to or take away from God’s Word. So do as He says and repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins. Wasn’t Jesus baptized when he came upon John the Baptist and asked John to baptize Him? Read your Bible folks.

lawrence hobson
lawrence hobson
September 29, 2017 2:09 pm
Reply to  Jerry L Price

Jesus aloud himself to be baptized to complete the law. To be baptized by water is a church ritual. The water Jesus spoke of is the word, Jesus is the word, the truth and light!

Jerry L Price
Jerry L Price
September 26, 2017 12:32 pm

Read Matthew chapter 28 verses 16-20 and Mark chapter 1 verses 1-12 and Acts chapter 2 verses 38-41

lawrence hobson
lawrence hobson
September 29, 2017 11:52 am

The water Jesus refer to and the Holy spirit are one and the same. Once you are born again his word will flow out you like running water.

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