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Two Baptisms, One Greek Word
Preface for Baptisms Article Series
Baptisms: Introduction and Historical
Original Proclamations about Baptism
Two Baptisms Occurring Separately
Baptizo: Two Baptisms, One Greek
Synonymous Phrases: Baptism in the
Water Baptism in Jesus' Name
No Record of Paul's Water Baptism
Is Baptism Essential to Salvation?
Acts 1: Parallel Account of the Great
Necessity of Water Baptism: 3 Common
Survey 1: Baptisms in Acts
The Baptism of Crispus (and Assuming
Survey 2: Baptism from Romans to
Baptism and Hebrews 10:22
Conclusions: When and How Are We
Survey 3: Baptism and the Ante-Nicene
Closing: Water Baptism for the Right Reasons
It is very important to take note that the Greek word translated
as "baptize" (as well as the related words) are NOT exclusively
used only for water baptism. The exact same Greek word is
used for both forms of baptism, both water and the Holy Spirit.
In fact, this usage of the same Greek word to refer to both
forms of baptism comes right at the very beginning of New
Testament revelation and teaching about baptism.
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize  you with water
unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than
I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize
 you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized  you with water:
but he shall baptize  you with the Holy Ghost.
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed
baptize  you with water; but one mightier than
I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose:
he shall baptize  you with the Holy Ghost and
John 1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize
 with water: but there standeth one among you, whom
ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred
before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose...31
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to
Israel, therefore am I come baptizing  with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending
from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew
him not: but he that sent me to baptize  with water,
the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit
descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth
 with the Holy Ghost.
In fact, not only did John the Baptist use the same Greek
word for both forms of baptism from the onset of his ministry,
but Jesus Christ and Peter likewise copied John's equal application
of that Greek word to both forms of baptism. (Acts 1 below
records the words of Jesus Christ. Acts 11 records the words
Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized  with water;
but ye shall be baptized  with the Holy Ghost
not many days hence.
Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord,
how that he said, John indeed baptized  with water;
but ye shall be baptized  with the Holy Ghost.
Lastly, we can also establish that Paul used the same Greek
word for both forms of baptism.
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath
many members, and all the members of that one body, being
many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by 
one Spirit are we all baptized  into one body, whether
we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have
been all made to drink into one Spirit.
What is so interesting about this statement by Paul in 1 Corinthians
12 is that the Greek word translated "by" is "en" (Strong's
No. 1722.) This Greek word "en" is the same word used in all
four of the Gospels in the passages we've already discussed.
Matthew 3:11 he shall baptize  you with 
the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mark 1:8 he shall baptize  you with 
the Holy Ghost.
Luke 3:16 he shall baptize  you with 
the Holy Ghost and with fire:
John 1:26 he which baptizeth  with  the
Then, in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says, "For by  one
Spirit are we all baptized  into one body." Because
the word "en" is the same word in these four Gospel passages
as it is in 1 Corinthians 12, we can see that Paul is saying
that we are baptized "en"  the Holy Spirit into the
body of Christ. Paul is clearly referring back to and repeating
the original teaching of John the Baptist regarding baptism,
teaching that was also upheld by both Jesus and Peter. (We
will examine 1 Corinthians 12 in more detail later on in our
What all this tells us is that as a matter of New Testament
usage, the same Greek word was used with regard to both forms
of baptism by John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul. And
because the same Greek word is used for both forms of baptism,
when we read the word "baptize" in the New Testament we cannot
simply assume that it refers to water baptism. Likewise, we
cannot simply assume it refers to baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Instead, we have to look to the immediate context and, if
necessary, to the scriptural precedent to determine which
form of baptism is being indicated.