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Wordwise Insight, Issue #081
May 14, 2011

WORDWISE INSIGHT is the free monthly newsletter of


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Salvation and Water Baptism

WORDWISE HYMNS: My Blog called Wordwise Hymns for you to check out!

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Salvation and Baptism

(Is water baptism necessary for salvation?)

QUESTION: What is the meaning of the words of Ananias to Paul, after the latter met with Christ on the Damascus Road: "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Does this means that water baptism cleanses away sin?

ANSWER: Though Paul's conversion is described first in Acts 9:1-19, this (i.e. Acts 22:16) is the only place where these words of Ananias are recorded. Various attempts have been made to explain the seeming implication that water baptism effectually cleanses sins. But the New Testament makes it clear that it is the blood of Christ that does that (I Jn. 1:7; Rev. 1:5). What then is the meaning here?

1) Some (Charles Ryrie and others) try to avoid the problem by re-translating–"having arisen, be baptized; and wash away your sins, having called on the name of the Lord." However, though this accurately reflects the meaning of the Greek original, it does not explain why baptism precedes cleansing–especially when there are other indications that Paul was saved (and cleansed) before this.

Paul (then called Saul) had already demonstrated faith in, and submission to Christ, on the Damascus Road (22:10). And he was filled with the Spirit before he was baptized (9:17-18). Further, Paul heard the gospel not from Ananias first, but from Christ Himself (Gal. 1:11-12). In other words, there is every indication that Paul received Christ as Saviour and was filled with the Spirit and cleansed of his sins before his water baptism.

2) It may be helpful to consider his baptism as being more Jewish than Christian. Water baptism was used by the Jews to initiate proselytes to Judaism, and John the Baptist used it as a symbol of repentance, in preparation for Christ's coming. The church, thoroughly ...

For the rest of this article, click on Salvation and Baptism.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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