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Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Greek Word For Baptism

In a recent comment a pedobaptist who visits my sight on occasion took exception to my position concerning the Baptist view that immersion is the only valid mode for New Testament baptism. I argued briefly that our view was supported by a three-fold cord. The three-fold cord consists of 1. The pattern set forth in the New Testament of immersing believers. 2. The Greek word from which baptism is translated. 3. The fact that immersion is a more fitting picture of the gospel (death, burial, and resurrection).

He took exception to all three although allowing some credence to my third cord but it was dimissed as being unable to “carry the weight I was asking it to carry”. He pressed the issue concerning my second strand referring back to the Greek word from which we get the word baptism. I thought I would answer his pressing question here so everyone would be sure and see it.

The pedobaptist wrote:

Any comments on the baptism-as-sacrament-and-ordinance part of what I wrote earlier?

This is what he wrote earlier and I believe it was concerning this statement that he was wanting me to comment.

No, you do not have to be baptized to be saved, and that isn't just one Lutheran speaking. That is what the Lutheran Confessions teach.

A plow plows, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ saves. Therefore baptism also saves because it is an expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in water and word. And it doesn't matter that the recipient of baptism may have already trusted Christ for salvation. That recipient is saved through faith before baptism, but the plow still plows and baptism still saves because that's what the Gospel does.

I really do not have any questions about this, I am content to let it stand as written I think it speaks volumes.

He then proceeds to ask this question for the second time.

I would be curious as to what the Baptist response is to the use of the Greek word for baptism in Mark 7:4, where the immersion of couches is obviously not in view. Given the indisputable fact that the Bible uses the word to mean something other than immersion, how can you continue to argue that the only proper translation of it is immersion?

Mr 7:4 - And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

In Mark 7:4 the Greek word is baptismos bap-tis-mos’; ablution (ceremonial or Christian):— baptism, washing. This Greek word is only used three other times in the New Testament.

Mr 7:8 - For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Heb 6:2 - Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Heb 9:10 - Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

So in three of the four times the word is used it is washing/washings. One time it is translated baptisms.

The word baptize is used seven times in the New Testament.

The word baptized is used fifty one times in the New Testament.

The word baptizing is used four times in the New Testament.

The word baptizest is used once in the New Testament.

The word baptizeth is used twice in the New Testament.

The word baptism is used twenty two times in the New Testament.

The word Baptist is used fifteen times in the New Testament.

This is a total of 102 times some form of the word baptize is used.

66 of those times it is the Greek word baptizo bap-tid’-zo. It is not baptismos. The definition for baptizo is to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).

Vine’s Expository of Biblical Words, provides the following information. Noun – Batisma – Consisting of the process of immersion, submersion and emergence. Verb – Baptizo – To dip, was used among the Greeks to signify the dying of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another. Plutarchus uses it of the drawing of wine by dipping the cup into the bowl and Plato, metaphorically, of being overwhelmed with questions.

Liddell and Scott Greek Dictionary – To dip in or under water; of ships, to sink or disable them; to be drenched; soaked in wine; over the head and ears in debt; being drowned with questions, getting into deep water; to draw wine by dipping the cup into the bowl; to dip one’s self.

Thayer Greek Dictionary – To dip repeatedly; to immerse, submerge (of vessels sunk); to cleans by dipping or submerging; to wash to make clean with water, to overwhelm.

Twenty-two of those times it is the Greek word baptisma bap’-tis-mah. This is the word that is translated baptism. It means immersion.

Fourteen of those times it is the Greek word baptistes bap-tis-tace. This is the word translated Baptist. It means a baptizer. Only one time is Baptist translated from another Greek word and that is in Mark 6:14 where it is translated from the word baptizo.

There is a Greek word for sprinkle (rantidzo) it is never translated into any form of baptism. There is a Greek word for pour (keo) it is never translated into any form of baptism.

The pedobaptist wrote in an earlier comment:

The Greek word for baptism properly translated means to wash with water. This washing CAN be done by immersion, but according to scripture (Mk. 7:4) immersion is not always in view when that word is used. So that strand of your cord was created out of thin air by a mistaken understanding of the Greek language, which is even proved erroneous by scripture itself.

These comments I believe will be found hard to support in light of the foregoing information. You want to take the Greek words batizo and baptisma and change them to baptismos to suit your argument. You will probably still claim that this strand of my cord was created out of thin air but again I am more than prepared to let a candid world decide.
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