By Robert L. Goldsby
The author to the
Hebrews has established as
basic (beginning), elementary or foundational teaching, doctrines which are accepted by nearly all Christian churches, at least Bible believing churches. These are teachings which should be established in the beginning of the Christian's life, the first things learned. The author to the Hebrews identifies them as things which, having been established in the believers life, should not be constantly revisited. The Holy Spirit talks about these beginning things as
As you look at the text and the list of beginning things, ask yourself if they are so well established in your life that you can go on to perfection. I am persuaded these must be laid as a foundation for maturity.
Among these is the doctrine of "baptisms". The Greek word is genitive plural and may be properly rendered "kinds of baptisms". Most Christians are aware of only one kind and reference
Ephesians 4:5 "...one baptism..." in an attempt to prove that there is only one. That passage, however, is speaking about salvation whereas Hebrews 6 is speaking about foundational
teachings/experience in the Christian life.
As one studies the word "BAPTISM" you find that there are eight specific kinds of baptisms mentioned in the New Testament, not all of them Christian of course.
- Ceremonial Baptism of the Jews:
Leviticus 8:6; Exodus 19:10-14; Mark 7:3,4; Hebrews 9:10.
These are not a part of Christian practice since they are a
part of the former covenant and no longer applicable.
- Baptism for the dead:
1 Corinthians 15:29 Paul is
teaching on the resurrection. His opponents claim not to believe there is a
resurrection yet have begun a practice of baptizing people for the dead. Paul
mentions it to show the hypocrisy of their position. Again, this is not a
Christian baptism and is not a practice of Paul. He is referring to 'others'
who do it. He says "..else why do THEY..." not WE.
- Baptism unto Repentance (John the Baptizer):
Mark 1:4, et al. This was a Jewish baptism
unto repentance. It fits in well with the ceremonial baptisms above except
that John wanted it to reflect genuine repentance, not outward washing.
- Baptism "to fulfill righteousness" - Jesus' Baptism:
Matthew 3:13-17; et al. This was not
the baptism of John for Jesus had nothing of which to repent! Furthermore,
Jesus Himself refers to it as "..to fulfill all righteousness".
- Water Baptism:
Matthew 28:18-19, Titus 3:5; et al. This is the baptism for those who by faith have acknowledged and received Jesus the Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is the Holy Spirit baptizing the believer into Jesus.
[NOTE: A series of studies on water baptism is available on this site.]
- Baptism in/with the Holy Spirit: Matthew 3:9-12; et al. John declares this baptism as a future event and states that it is Jesus baptizing the believer in/with the Holy Spirit.
[NOTE: An introductory look at the background of the Charismatic Renewal is available on this site.]
- Baptism in/with fire: Matthew 3:9-12, et al. Revealed at the
same time as #6 above, John shows that Jesus will baptize believers in His
(purifying) fire. This occurs, to some extent in both #5 and #6 and also in
the troubles of this life (James 1) but will only be thoroughly accomplished
at the last day when all believers will be thoroughly cleansed.
- Baptism of suffering: Matthew 20:22; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 The Lord's revelation that
"..you must through much tribulation (trouble) enter the kingdom of God..." is
reiterated in these passages. As surely as He suffered in this world at the
hands of wicked men, so also will all who own Him.
The document was written by Robert L. Goldsby (5101 NE 121st Ave #140, Vancouver, WA 98682-2121) and is the sole property of the author. It may be used for personal and group Bible study but may not be used for any commercial or publishing purposes without the express written consent of the author.
Last Updated June 19, 2014