[B-Greek] No mode in BAPTIZW

Charles Rempel CharlesR at mygalaxyexpress.com
Wed Mar 8 10:05:46 EST 2006

Here are a few notes on baptism which you may find of interrest.

Baptism as a sign of identification is the most common usage not only in
scripture but also in Greek/Roman Culture. The Zoarastrian cult of Rome
practiced baptism by having a "convert stand underneath a large grating
where a bull was cut open, allowing the entrails to "baptize the convert."
The person was said to be "born again" into the cult after being "washed in
the blood."  God took the ancient Jewish rite of ritual cleansing and took
it a step deeper when He initiated John's baptism, a baptism of repentance
(lit. Greek "a repentance kind of baptism") which did not "repent" the
person but did symbolize a new commitment to change and repentance. This
example of baptism is also the first argument against baptismal regeneration
in the NT.  Christ was baptized by John. Christ was not repenting of
anything, but was identifying Himself with this holy lifestyle John was
proclaiming. In fact he was/is the perfect example of godly living.

I observe a number of uses of the word which all spring from water baptism
by immersion as the central metaphor. Baptism like marriage is a well-worn
metaphor with quite a few uses.
1. To immerse (general Gk. meaning) often with cleansing in view
2. To immerse in water as an act of repentance ala John's baptism.
3. To immerse in the Holy Spirit e.g. Pentecost and Acts 19:1-6
4. To initiate into the Kingdom - baptism was seen as the initiatory act and
came to stand for initiation itself into the Kingdom and into the body of
Christ. ( 1 Cor 12:13)
5. To be converted, instead of saying "at your conversion" Paul says "at
your baptism" this is an extension of the "to initiate" meaning.
6. To deeply experience and appropriate. Just as water baptism is a deep
experience of our conversion and initiation so we are "baptized into his
death". This is a puzzling expression because unlike water or the Holy
Spirit the death of Jesus cannot be poured out on someone, rather it is
participated in. (Romans 6) baptisms of fire and of suffering seem to fall
under this use of the baptism metaphor as well.
7. A cleansing break with the past resulting in a renewal into the future
under a new regime. Baptism meant this in Greek culture where disciples of
philosophers were baptized into the teachings and lifestyle of the
philosopher. It was a step of radical discipleship.

A clean break, a washing away of the "delusions" of common folk and an
entrance into the mysteries and teachings of the truth. There may be some
reflections of this in Peter's baptismal terminology.

But the Greek poet and physician, Nicander, in 200 B.C. described the
process of making pickles.  He used one word to described dipping the
pickles in water, and taking them out, and he used baptizing them when you
placed them in the salt solution that would forever change them. In his
recipe for making pickles he used both baptizw and baptw. He said the
vegetable should first be dipped (baptw) into boiling water and then
baptized (baptizw) in the vinegar solution.  Both were concerned immersing
the vegetable in a solution, but the first would be temporary. The act of
baptizing produced the permanent change.

Baptism is such a large and well used metaphor that it covers great chunks
of the doctrine of salvation. What it never implies though is that baptism
operates "ex opere operato" that it is sufficient as an act by itself to
ensure salvation. Neither is washing with water essential to salvation. What
is essential for salvation is experience of all that this complex metaphor
contains - repentance and moral cleansing, conversion, identification with
Christ, a clean break with the past, a renewal into a new regime and
immersion into the Holy Spirit. There are people who get wet in a font
without experiencing any of these realities and there are people who are dry
as a bone and who know them all. Its not the water that does the trick but
God - the water is a wonderful metaphor to be used in a very sacred way but
it cannot do anything of itself  - only God through grace and faith does all
that baptism involves.

The baptism administered by John was the ritual of cleansing through the
application of water, dependent upon the confession of sins, in anticipation
of the coming of the Messiah, administered by one born in the priestly line.
J. Dwight Pentecost

“the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or
into union with something else so as to alter its condition or its
relationship to its previous environment or condition.”	Wuest


(Believers) therefore receive holy baptism as a token of obedience which
proceeds from faith, an evidence before God and His church that they firmly
believe in the remission of sins through Christ Jesus, as has been preached
and taught them from the Word of God.
This is the very least of all the commandments. It is a much greater
commandment to love your enemies, to do good to those who do evil to you, to
pray in spirit and in truth for those who persecute you, to subjugate the
flesh under God’s word, to tread under your feet all pride, covetousness,
impurity, hate, envy and intemperance, to serve your neighbor with gold,
silver, with house and possessions, with your hard labor, with counsel and
deed, with life and death, nay to be free from all evil desire, and to bear
the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ with a joyous heart. 
 But as long as he
has not the inward work, he may well say, what can water avail me!

 They will renounce their own wisdom and willing obey the word of the Lord,
for they are led by His Spirit, and through faith, with willing obedient
hearts perform all things commanded them of the Lord.
But as long as their minds are not renewed, and they have not the mind of
Christ, Phil. 2:5; are not washed in the inner man with clean water from the
living fountain of God, Heb. 10:22, they may well say, What can water avail
us? For the whole ocean would not cleanse them as long as they are earthly
and carnally minded.
	Menno Simons

The new convert goes down into a watery grave, picturing the burial of
Christ and picturing his own death to sin, the crucifixion of the natural
man. When he rises, he should know that as he was “planted in the likeness,”
of the death of Christ, he should also be “in the likeness of His
resurrection.” At baptism, then, one professes that he believes in that old,
old story that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again! He
professes that he has had a change in his heart, that he now belongs to
Christ, that he means henceforth to live for Christ.	John R. Rice, D.D.

The apostles were made clean by the Lord before His death, through the word
which He had spoken to them (John 15:3), and so before the institution of
Christian baptism, of which the Twelve and others had no need, and to which
they never submitted.	H.A. Ironside, L.D.

Unless the candidate for baptism UNDERSTANDS the meaning of the ordinance
there can be no blessing of benefit to him. The mere application of water to
the body is not baptism. There must be an understanding of its significance,
its meaning, and its responsibilities and obligation. First then baptism is
a memorial. 
 Second, it is a confession of sin. 
 Thirdly, baptism is a
declaration of our salvation. 
 Fourth, in baptism we announce our
separation. Finally, baptism is an act of fellowship and identification 
baptism therefore, the believer entered into the fellowship of the
sufferings of Christ.	M.R. de Haan, M.D.

Child baptism is wrong because the child doesn't know what is being done to
him or her.
	Anne Hutchinson (born 1591)

Baptism was for the most part adult baptism and the adult would necessarily
have an experience a child could not have. 	Barclay

1527 - Swiss Anabaptist reformer Felix Manz, 29, was drowned in punishment
for preaching adult (re-)baptism. Manz's death made him the first Protestant
in history to be martyred at the hands of other Protestants.

In baptism I renounce myself because of the death of Christ	JB Stoney

Charles D. Rempel
30+ year student
Without Portfolio

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of George F Somsel
> Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 6:13 AM
> To: frjsilver at optonline.net
> Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] No mode in BAPTIZW
> On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 20:07:11 -0500 frjsilver at optonline.net writes:
> > Dear Friends- -
> >
> > I'm not sure just what point Tom Logan is making here, so I'll just
> > tell you what this word looks like to me.
> >
> > Chantraine doesn't (yet) include it, but has a very productive entry
> > on BAPTW, the verb of which BAPTIZW is a frequentative form.
> > Sometimes, but not always, frequentative forms suggest an
> > imperfective aspect:  the notion that the verb's concept is
> > incomplete, or repeated, or ongoing -- somehow a work in progress.
> >
> > I think that this might be true of BAPTIZW.  Rather than simply
> > 'plunge into' (active -- not middle) something liquid, BAPTIZW has
> > the flavor of 'in and out' or 'over again', something perfectly
> > consonant with the triple immersion still practiced by the orthodox,
> > faintly imaged by the triple pouring of other Christians.  As
> > described in the DIDACH, pouring and sprinkling are the least
> > desirable methods of baptism, which then becomes analogous rather
> > than actual, but still effective as a minimum when the maximum is
> > truly impossible rather than just avoided.
> __________
> I think that the practice of referring to BAPTIZW as immersion is an
> example of the "root fallacy."  While it may be (OK, is) true that the
> word originally signified an immersion into a liquid, I think this was
> fairly obviously no longer the case when the NT was written.  In 1 Cor
> 10.2 Paul wrote
> It is rather much of a stretch to call the passage through the sea
> "immersion" since according to the tradition the water stood up on either
> side and they walked on dry ground.  Furthermore, the cloud is said to
> have preceded them on their journey so they would thus not be "immersed"
> or enveloped in the cloud.
> In addition, in Mk 7.4 we read
> While these items mentioned can be immersed, it is doubtful that anyone
> would be inclined to immerse a couch.  There would soon be quite a
> collection of rather soggy couches.  It does not help to note that the
> reading is not totally sure since it is apparent that someone thought
> that BAPTIZW could be properly used with regard to couches.
> Rather, it would seem that baptism, by whatever method, was a rite of
> cleansing and / or identification.  By the ritual items could be
> ceremonially cleansed as in the cases of persons or dishware -- and, yes,
> apprently couches as well.  It furthermore seems to have involved
> identification since Paul states that they were "baptised unto Moses",
> i.e. identified with the Mosaic covenant.  Paul also notes (Rom 6.3) that
> in baptism we are *identified* with Christ, specifically in his death and
> resurrection.
> george
> gfsomsel
> ___________
> ---
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