The Bible says in Ephesians 4 … “one hope, one faith, one baptism…”.  Yet we read in the New Testament about water baptism (Mark 16:16), Spirit baptism (1 Cor. 12:13), baptism into Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:3), and “the doctrine of baptisms” in Hebrews 6:2.  Which one of these is the “one baptism” spoken of in Ephesians?  Or are they all interrelated to make up that one baptism?



Hello Jason,

Thank you for your question pertaining to “which…baptism?” Ultimately, we will see an interrelation between several of the aspects you mention.   

To begin with, sometimes there is confusion primarily regarding whether a passage is referring to water baptism or Spirit baptism. If the one doing the baptizing is human and if the element being baptized into is water, then the reference is water baptism. If the one doing the baptizing is deity or the element being baptized into is deity, then the reference is Spirit baptism.

Water baptism pictures Spirit baptism. John the Baptist explained that he baptized with water, but that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). As one is immersed into water and simultaneously inundated with water, likewise, as you are immersed into Christ, you are inundated with Christ.

At salvation the Spirit baptizes you into Christ (Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13a; Gal. 3:27a) and Christ baptizes you with the Spirit (Acts 11:12-18; 1 Cor. 12:13b; Gal. 3:27b). This is a matter of fact. Faith must access this provision as a matter of function (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:6, 11-13).

The big deal is Spirit baptism. That’s why the picture, water baptism, is the first step of obedience for a new believer. As a sponge is immersed in water, it is inundated as the water moves into it. Similarly, as you are immersed into Christ, you are inundated with Christ as His Spirit moves into you.

The context of the text you mentioned is Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

“One Lord [Jesus Christ], one faith [in Christ], one baptism [into Christ].” The Scripture confirms, “Christ…For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…and have been all made to drink into [with] one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

All of this shows that the “one baptism” is Spirit baptism of which water baptism is the picture.


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