Pouring and Sprinkling versus Immersion
Ezek. 36:25 – Ezekiel prophesies that God “will ‘sprinkle’ clean water on you and you shall be clean.” The word for “sprinkle” is “rhaino” which means what it says, sprinkle (not immersion). (“Kai rhaino eph hymas hydor katharon.”)
2 Kings 5:14 – Namaan went down and dipped himself in the Jordan. The Greek word for “dipped” is “baptizo.” Here, baptizo means immersion. But many Protestant churches argue that “baptizo” and related tenses of the Greek word always mean immersion, and therefore the Catholic baptisms of pouring or sprinkling water over the head are invalid. The Scriptures disprove their claim.
Num. 19:18 – here, the verbs for dipping (“baptisantes”) and sprinkled (“bapsei”) refers to affusion (pouring) and sprinkling (aspersion), not immersion.
Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16 -John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus will baptize (“baptisei”) with the Holy Spirit and fire. In this case, “baptisei” refers to a “pouring” out over the head. This is confirmed by Matt. 3:16 where the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus’ head like a dove and Acts 2:3-4 where the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the apostles’ heads in the form of tongues of fire. In each case, in fulfilling John the Baptist’s prophecy, the Lord baptized (“baptizo”) in the form of pouring out His Spirit upon the head, not immersing the person.
Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39; Luke 12:50 – Jesus also talks about His baptism (from “baptizo”) of blood, which was shed and sprinkled in His passion. But this baptism does not (and cannot) mean immersion.
Mark 7:3 – the Pharisees do not eat unless they wash (“baptizo” ) their hands. This demonstrates that “baptizo” does not always mean immersion. It can mean pouring water over something (in this case, over their hands).
Mark 7:4 – we see that the Jews washed (“bapto” from baptizo) cups, pitchers and vessels, but this does not mean that they actually immersed these items. Also, some manuscripts say the Jews also washed (bapto) couches, yet they did not immerse the couches, they only sprinkled them.
Luke 11:38 – Jesus had not washed (“ebaptisthe”) His hands before dinner. Here, the derivative of “baptizo” just means washing up, not immersing.
Acts 2:41 – at Peter’s first sermon, 3,000 were baptized. There is archeological proof that immersion would have been impossible in this area. Instead, these 3,000 people had to be sprinkled in water baptism.
Acts 9:18; 22:16 – Paul is baptized while standing up in the house of Judas. There is no hot tub or swimming pool for immersion. This demonstrates that Paul was sprinkled.
Acts 10:47-48 – Peter baptized in the house of Cornelius, even though hot tubs and swimming pools were not part of homes. Those in the house had to be sprinkled.
Acts 16:33 – the baptism of the jailer and his household appears to be in the house, so immersion is not possible.
Acts 2:17,18,33 – the pouring of water is like the “pouring” out of the Holy Spirit. Pouring is also called “infusion” (of grace).
1 Cor. 10:2 – Paul says that the Israelites were baptized (“baptizo”) in the cloud and in the sea. But they could not have been immersed because Exodus 14:22 and 15:9 say that they went dry shod. Thus, “baptizo” does not mean immersed in these verses.
Eph. 4:5 – there is only one baptism, just as there is only one Lord and one faith. Once a person is validly baptized by water and the Spirit in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the intention of the Church (whether by pouring or immersion), there is no longer a need to rebaptize the person.
Titus 3:6 – the “washing of regeneration” (baptism) is “poured out” upon us. This “pouring out” generally refers to the pouring of baptismal waters over the head of the newly baptized.