Derek Prince - The Correct Meaning Of The Word 'Baptism'
I need to say a little first of all... Well, let me just mention briefly the three particular baptisms. Number one, John’s baptism, the baptism of John the Baptist. Number two, Christian baptism which is not the same. And number three, the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Those are three distinct baptisms all of which play an important part in the New Testament. Now I need to say something about the meaning of the word baptize. It’s not really an English word, it’s a Greek word written in English letters. What they say technically, transliteration. The word baptize is taken directly from a Greek word, baptizo, and just not translated but written over in English letters.
As to why that happened there are various possibilities. It may just be church tradition or it could be that the translators of the King James didn’t want to offend the Anglican Church by coming out with the right meaning of the word. I don’t know and I’m not asserting any particular view. But if you go back to Greek there is absolutely no question about the correct meaning of the word, it means to immerse. And, you can immerse in two ways and both of them are relevant to the New Testament. You can immerse by putting something down into the water so that it is fully covered, or you can immerse something by pouring water over it. But whichever way you do it, it’s total. It’s not partial. Baptism really is a transition. Every kind of baptism spoken of in the New Testament really represents a transition. You move out of one thing into another. The whole of you moves, not just part of you. For that reason I believe it’s important to emphasize that baptism is total immersion. It’s not just a little part of you that’s affected, it’s all of you that is affected by this process of baptism.
Now the word is used with two or three different prepositions. And so we need to just explain that. It’s used with the preposition in, and it’s used with the preposition into. Or sometimes just to. The preposition in refers to the element in which you are immersed. It may be water or it may be the Holy Spirit. The into describes the end product or result of being immersed. What do you pass into as a result of the transition of baptism? For instance, John the Baptist’s baptism was in water, into repentance or forgiveness of sins. So there’s an in and an into. The baptism in the Holy Spirit, which we will not be speaking about just yet, is in the Spirit and it’s into the body of Jesus Christ. We’ll come to that later. But when you’re considering baptism you need to ask these two questions: What is it in? And what is it into?