The Old Testament Roots of Baptism: Part 1

This article does not necessarily reflect the options and beliefs of Grace Lutheran PSL but is listed to help us grow in our faith in Jesus the King.


Baptism isn't a new teaching. The past three to four hundred years have seen an increase in churchly debates about Baptism, but it isn't a new teaching. It wasn’t in Jesus' day, either. In fact, neither Jesus nor John the Baptist introduced baptism. It goes much further back.

To baptize literally means in Greek “to wash with water.” Such washing has deep roots in the Bible. The basic stuff can be found all the way back at the beginning of everything. This explains why Jesus - The Word of God in the flesh - made so much of Baptism being about water, Word, and Spirit.

The roots of Baptism begin in Genesis 1, when the Spirit of God overshadowed the waters, and the Word of God spoke creation up from the waters. At the beginning of everything the Trinity, the Father and the Word and the Spirit, are there in and with the water.

Jump ahead thousands of years and the Trinity shows up again at Jesus' baptism in the Jordan. At the beginning of his ministry we read about the Father, and the Word, and the Spirit in and with the water. Only at that time, Jesus comes not to create, but recreate. Jesus' Baptism is for "the fulfilling of all righteousness." It's a washing of regeneration and renewal, a new beginning, done to us by God's Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is at Jesus' baptism in the Jordan, and so it will be with all baptisms until the Last Day. Creation and recreation. Genesis and regeneration through water, God's Word, and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism comes up again in the story of the Flood (Genesis 6-9). Cain's children had practically ruined the world since "every thought of their hearts was evil every day of their lives." But God's Word, water, and the Holy Spirit (the breath of Life) brought about a regeneration and renewal of the world. Noah and his family, eight people in all, were saved from judgment by water, God's Word, and the Spirit..............................

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