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Lesson #16 – Should People Ever Be Rebaptized?

Series: Baptism 101 - What The Bible Says About Baptism

Lesson #16 – Should People Ever Be Rebaptized?


The only New Testament example of a call for re-baptism is found in ? Acts 19:1-7.

  In Ephesus Paul encountered twelve men who were disciples.

  When asked by Paul if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed they said to Paul,

No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.

  Paul asked, “into what where you baptized?” and they replied, “into John’s baptism.”

  Subsequently they were re-baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus”. – vs.5 

To best understand the background to this account we need to revisit Acts 18:24-28.

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandria by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus;

And he was mighty in the Scriptures.  This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord;

and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,

being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue.

But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

  After Apollos headed on to Corinth, Paul arrived in Ephesus and met these twelve men.

  After receiving more accurate instruction from Priscilla & Aquila, Apollos continued to teach in Corinth and played an important role in leading others to Christ. – cf. 1Cor.1:12;  3:4-5 & 21-22 and 4:6.

? ? Yet those whom Apollos had previously taught in Ephesus needed to be re-baptized.  Why?

This passage seems to indicate that the time of John’s baptism had ended.

  John’s baptism had been part of God’s plan while John was preaching and for a while thereafter, but after the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus, John’s baptism was no longer suitable nor efficacious.

  Not everyone who was baptized into John’s baptism, had to be rebaptized --

only those who were baptized into John after the crucifixion of Christ.

This passage also teaches that the purpose of our baptism matters to God!

  Apparently Apollos himself was baptized into John’s baptism prior to the Lord’s crucifixion,

but later on he came to “grow in the grace & knowledge of the Lord Jesus”.

  We have no Scriptural evidence that the twelve apostles were required to be re-baptized.

All baptisms are not the same.  You would do well to consider re-baptism if …

1) Your baptism was sprinkling rather than an immersion or burial (cf. Jn.3:23; Rom.6:4 and Col.2:12).

2) Your baptism took place when you were an infant and incapable of professing belief (Heb.11:6).

3) Your baptism was viewed as a mere symbol rather than an action resulting in “forgiveness of sin” (Acts 2:38).

4) Your baptism resulted from peer pressure and was not a willful surrender to Christ on your part (Acts 8:37).

5) Your baptism was not entered into with an express focus on being clothed with Christ (Gal.3:26-27 & 2Cor.5:21).

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