Baptism does not make one a disciple of Christ.  In John 4:1-3, we see that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John.  Note that the verse does not say that Jesus made disciples by baptizing them.

In Matthew 28:19, we are commanded first to make disciples (KJV mistakenly translates this teach) and then we are commanded to baptize them.  Who are the ‘them’ but “them disciples?”  Luke 6:40 tells us we make disciples by converting them to want to be like the one Master—Jesus Christ.



Borrowed from the Visual Thesaurus

NT:907 baptizo (bap-tid’-zo); from a derivative of NT:911; to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the N. T.) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism: KJV – Baptist, baptize, wash.

NT:908 baptisma (bap’-tis-mah); from NT:907; immersion, baptism (technically or figuratively): KJV – baptism.

NT:909 baptismos (bap-tis-mos’); from NT:907; ablution (ceremonial or Christian):

NT:910 Baptistes (bap-tis-tace’); from NT:907; a baptizer, as an epithet of Christ’s forerunner: KJV – Baptist.

NT:911 bapto (bap’-to); a primary verb; to overwhelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid; in the N. T. only in a qualified or specially, sense, i.e. (literally) to moisten (a part of one’s person), or (by implication) to stain (as with dye): KJV – dip.

(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

If we follow Strong’s ‘rule,’ and take the primary word as the definition, we have the word that proceeded out of the mouth of God.

If we accept “anything” after the “i.e.,” we will come out with possible uses of the word.

The next word has 2 “i.e.”s, which makes it doubly suspect.

No doubt someone used the word figuratively somewhere at sometime in the Greek culture, which supposedly makes it a ‘possible’ meaning of the word.

Even the washing of cups, etc., refers to covering with water.

NT:911 bapto (bap’-to); a primary verb; to overwhelm, i.e. cover wholly with a fluid; in the N. T. only in a qualified or specially, sense, i.e. (literally) to moisten (a part of one’s person), or (by implication) to stain (as with dye):

Who knows if the following exerpt from an article is right or not, but Webster’s Dictionary says it was first used in the 1200’s.

Origin and Etymology of baptize
Middle English, from Anglo-French baptiser, from Late Latin baptizare, from Greek baptizein to dip, baptize, from baptein to dip, dye; akin to Old Norse kvefja to quench

First Known Use: 13th century

Semantical Relationship of “Baptism” to the KJV Translators

In semantics, which is the study of the significance of words and the concepts to which they refer, there is a basic principle that what a word means to its users is determined by what its users do with that word. (55) For the purpose of this study, this principle may be formulated as a question: ‘Did the words ‘baptism’ and “to baptize’ mean” “immersion” and “to immerse” to the KJV’s translators, that is, were they synonymous with each other?” There are three key sources of evidence, which practically demand an affirmative answer to this question.

Other English Bibles

The first of these decisive factors is that every Bible, from the very first English Bible written by John Wycliffe (c. 1384) to the last Bible in English prior to the KJV, the Rheims New Testament (1582), uses either the exact words “baptism” and “to baptize” or their contemporary English equivalents in their original texts. (56, 57, 58) What did the users of these Bibles take those words to mean? The study of the baptismal mode in England indicates that they understood those words to mean “immersion” and ‘to immerse.”

I tried to check on Wycliffe’s translation, and apparently he included the word baptism instead of immersion. Supposedly the entire Roman Catholic Church believed that sprinkling (pouring at that time) was OK. Whether that is right or not, I have not been able to confirm.

I also can’t confirm whether the KJV translators made any changes in that pattern.

In this article, rather than label a specific group with the charge of transliterating the word, I have found it is better to refer to ‘translators’ in general.

If the word baptism itself were in use in the 1200’s, that would predate Wycliffe.

More ideas about immerse may be found here.


I know you like a little history so here is something that you may find interesting. King James II of England had about 50-60 or so scholars who translated the Bible from its original text to the King’s English. What’s important to realize here is that King James was Catholic. Of course, you know that Catholics have totally different beliefs than Protestant Christians so I won’t delve into specifics here.



“Go therefore and teach (make disciples of) all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

The above statement was made by Jesus to His apostles shortly before He ascended to heaven. Commonly called “The Great Commission,” notice the main thought of Jesus’ command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” To “make disciples,” therefore, is the GOAL of evangelizing the world for Christ.

Are you a disciple of Jesus? More than likely you believe in Jesus. You might even be one to attend church services regularly. But is that what it means to be His disciple?

The purpose in this study is to make clear what is involved in being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. To begin, let’s define the word “disciple.”  The word “disciple” literally means A LEARNER, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. It denotes “one who follows another’s teaching.” But a disciple was not only a learner, he was also AN ADHERENT. For this reason disciples were spoken of as IMITATORS of their teachers.

So what is the goal in being a disciple?  As stated by Jesus himself: discipleship is to be like the teacher (Luke 6:40). “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.”  To be Christ’s disciple, then, is to strive to be like Him!

According to the apostle Paul, this coincides with God’s goal in the redemption of mankind, that they be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Do you have a strong desire to follow Jesus and become like Him? Unless you have that goal, it cannot be said that you are truly His disciple! There are also some “identifying marks” of discipleship given by Jesus which can help us to further identify a true disciple of Jesus.

What are the marks of a disciple? A disciple is “one who abides in Jesus’ words” (John 8:31).  This would imply being a diligent student of the teachings of Christ. It also requires one to be a “doer” of the Word (Matt. 7:21-27; James 1:21-25). In view of this, a true disciple would not fail to study the Bible diligently or willingly refrain from opportunities to study with others (e.g. Bible classes, church services, gospel meetings).

A disciple is also “one who loves the brethren” (John 13:34-35) with a love patterned after the love of Jesus (“as I have loved you”). A disciple would love the brethren with a love that is visible to the world (“by this all will know”). Therefore, a true disciple would make every effort to get to know his brethren, take advantage of occasions to encourage and grow closer to them (e.g., attending services on Sunday and Wednesday nights). Remember, a disciple is one who wants to become like his teacher. Was Jesus willing to sacrifice time and effort for His brethren? Of course, and so will we… IF we are truly HIS disciples!

A true disciple is also “one who bears much fruit” (John 15:8). Notice the word “much” (also found in verse 5). Jesus is not talking about an occasional good deed, but a lifestyle which prompts people to glorify God! (Matt. 5:16). This is so important, that failure to bear much fruit will result in being severed from Christ (John 15:1-2). How can one be a disciple if he or she is cut off from Christ? The point should be clear: to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means more than just a casual church member. It requires COMMITMENT, especially in regards to: the teachings of Christ, the love of brethren and bearing fruit to the glory of God.

The kind of commitment involved is seen further when we consider the “high cost” of discipleship demanded by Jesus in (Luke 14:25-33). Jesus must come first (Luke 14:26). Jesus must come before anyone or anything else, including members of our own family (Matt. 10:34-37). Jesus must come first—before one’s own self. (Luke 9:23-25).

We must be willing to suffer for Christ. (Luke 14:27). Trying to live godly lives in an ungodly world, we may find that following Christ sometimes involves enduring ridicule and persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). Even if we are blessed to escape such things, we must still be willing to expend time and effort in promoting the cause of Christ in positive ways.  Putting it simply, we must forsake all to follow Christ. (Luke 14:33). In other words, Jesus must be KING and LORD of our lives. Nothing can take precedent over Christ and His Will for us. This kind of “high cost” of discipleship demanded by Jesus caused many people to turn away from following Him. But Jesus wasn’t trying to attract large crowds, He wanted disciples!

Is the COST worth it? I believe so, for consider some of the REWARDS of discipleship. There is the promise of “future blessings.” We shall be saved from the wrath of God which is yet to come upon the world for its sins (Rom. 5:9). We can look forward with joyful anticipation of eternity with God, free from sorrow, pain and death (Rev. 21:1-8).

Not only do we have these to look forward to, but there are also “present blessings.” Jesus offers a PEACE the world cannot give to calm the troubled heart (John 14:27). His words inspire JOY to lift our spirits out of any depression (John 15:11). He also offers to those who follow Him the ABIDING LOVE OF GOD, which can cast out fear (John 15:9; 1 John 4:18). And he makes it possible for us to be members of the family of God, which is able, if need be, to replace our physical family (Mark 10:28-30). There are many other blessings we could mention that are enjoyed by disciples of Jesus; but these suffice to demonstrate that though discipleship is costly, the rewards far exceed the cost!

Now that we understand the nature of discipleship, its cost and rewards, I hope that we want to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. But how does one begin? For the answer we return to our beginning text—Matthew 28:19-20. According to Jesus, the beginning of a disciple involves baptism (Matt. 28:19).

Why baptism? Remember the goal of discipleship: to be like Jesus. He was holy and sinless, yet we are to be like Him. Fortunately, baptism is described as an act of faith which puts us in contact with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ so we can be forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4). It is also the means by which one “puts on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). So baptism is the logical starting place for true discipleship!

But what is baptism? It is an act of submission which must be preceded by faith in Jesus and repentance for our sins (Acts 2:36-38; 8:36-37). This precludes infant baptism, for infants are incapable of believing and repenting. It is also an act of submission which involves a burial in water, in which one then rises to walk in newness of life through the power of God (Acts 8:38; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12). This precludes sprinkling or pouring as a mode of baptism, because neither of these involves a “burial” nor an immersion (which is the meaning of the Greek word “baptidzo”). When done according to the Word of God, baptism then becomes an act of faith on our part which results in a wonderful working of God in our lives! Our sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus (Acts 22:16; Eph. 5:25-27). We are “regenerated” and “renewed” by the Spirit of God so we can now live for God! (Tit.3:5-6). It is truly a “rebirth” involving both water and the Spirit (John 3:5).

Baptism is only the beginning. Teaching and obedience must follow (Matt. 28:20). This brings us back to the very definition of discipleship, for Jesus clearly states that we are to be TAUGHT (that is, to be LEARNERS), and we are to OBSERVE (that is, to be ADHERENTS or DOERS). In this way we embark on a life devoted to learning and doing all that Jesus has commanded us to do.

In conclusion, we note that only those scripturally baptized and demonstrating the “marks” of discipleship, despite the “costs,” can truly be called disciples of Jesus! Only they can realistically look forward to the “rewards” of discipleship, and take consolation in the promise of Jesus: “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then the prospects of “A Closer Walk With God” and more fruitful service as a disciple should be of great interest to you. My prayer is that this lesson will help spark that desire in you.

CRUCIFIXION: A Very Painful Death

What is the old man, and in what sense does the old man die?  Why does he describe the death of the old man as a crucifixion?  In whatever sense we understand it, the death of the old man is very painful.  In New Testament times the cross was always death, not mere suffering without death.  Crucifixion was never an easy death.  Jesus said “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).  Many want to enter heaven but not many are willing to endure a crucifixion.  Crucifixion is a very “strait” gate.  If we do not “strive to enter in at the strait gate,” we will not be able to enter the path that leads to life.  Jesus teaches in many other ways that entering the pathway is not a simple thing.  For example, he says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).  The Lord compares the old and the new man in several different ways.  There must be a conscious decision to crucify the old man so the new man can be born.  This decision is described as a crucifixion.

The Old Man

The New Man
Saves his life

Mark 8:35

Loses his life for Christ and the gospel
Keeps all that he has

Luke 14:33

Forsakes all that he has
Under the power of darkness

Col. 1:13

Translated into the kingdom of Christ
Lives for self

2 Cor. 5:15

Lives only for Christ
Does what he wants to do

Luke 9:23

Denies himself

        Even making the decision to lose one’s life is a very painful thing. Again, he said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The decision to deny oneself is also very painful.  Similarly, the decision to forsake all but one has is quite painful, but Jesus said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Does this forsaking all that one has relate to no longer living for oneself? (2 Cor. 5:15)?  The reason that Jesus died is so that we would no longer lives as we desire to live. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).  Making the decision that we will no longer live for ourselves but will only live for Christ, is not an easy decision. Jesus purchases God’s children with his blood (Acts 20:28). He says “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:20). “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). Have we consciously made a decision that we will sell ourselves to Christ, so that he purchases us?  What does it mean that we have been purchased?  If Jesus is our new owner, then we no longer belong to ourselves for Jesus has purchased us.  If we no longer belong to ourselves we can understand why we should no longer live for ourselves.  Crucifixion of the old man is losing one’s life, no longer living for self, been willing to be purchased, and been willing to live only for Christ.  Is it possible for a soul to be buried with Christ before the old man is crucified and fully dead? The soul may be immersed in the water, but he cannot be buried with Christ in the waters of baptism until he has been crucified and is dead.