Bible Q&A: Were the Apostles Baptized?

Were the apostles baptized?

They were undoubtedly baptized for several reasons.  Some of them, such as Andrew and John, had been John the Baptist’s disciples before they came to Jesus (John 1:35-42).  They would have therefore been baptized with John’s baptism which was associated with repentance and for forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4).  The apostles, after they had become Jesus’ disciples, had also been baptizing when John had been baptizing (John 4:1-2), so they would have been baptized too to set the proper example.  Plus, Jesus had been baptized by John in order to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:14-15).  Thus, His disciples would have also been baptized to follow His example (Luke 6:40).

However, John’s baptism was made invalid upon Christ’s command to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19-20).  We know this because after the church began Apollos and John’s disciples, who were only familiar with John’s baptism, had to have had God’s Word explained to them more accurately and were baptized in Jesus’ name (Acts 18:24-26; 19:1-5).  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, and upon His command to be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins, it is clear that all – including the apostles – would have had to have been baptized with the “one baptism” into His death so they could be raised as He was (Mark 16:15-16; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 4:5; 1 Cor. 12:13).

Thus, we can be certain that the apostles were baptized into Christ just like every other Christian, most likely on or shortly before the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41).

4 thoughts on “Bible Q&A: Were the Apostles Baptized?

  1. It does not make sense to conclude that the other aposles, besides Paul, needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus for forgiveness, they were already clean (Joh 15:3)  You are already clean because of what I have said to you.
    (Joh 15:4)  Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me.
    The purpose of Jesus’ baptism is set here (Act 2:38)  And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    IT is more reasonable to discern that the 12 in Acts 19 were baptized when that baptism was invalid, after JESUS’ death, there is no evidence that Apolos was baptized in the name of Jesus Acts 2:38

    1. Hi, berean8. I see what you’re saying about John 15:3-4.

      However, keep in mind that between John 15:3-4 and Jesus’ command to be baptized in order to receive salvation and forgiveness (Mk. 16:16; Matt. 28:19; cf. Acts 2:38), all twelve of those apostles sinned, and sinned grievously. Specifically, while one of them was betraying Jesus, the rest of them fled instead of standing beside Him like they all promised they would, and that’s not counting Peter trying to kill someone and also lying three times, with cursing thrown in, that He didn’t even know Jesus.

      So if John 15:3-4 is meant to convey that the disciples were clean and thus didn’t need to be baptized when the new covenant started and that baptism was commanded of all, then their subsequent sins that took place before the beginning of the new covenant would make them in need of the new covenant’s baptism (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38).

      In his commentary on John’s gospel, Burton Coffman says the following about John 15:3’s “you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you”:

      “However, the idea persists that these words were spoken prophetically, the present tense being used for the future; because, actually, much pruning remained for the beloved Twelve.”

      I think this a reasonable interpretation.

      1. I am convinced that they were saved not in sin , and as to subsequent sins it is obvious that they prayed for forgiveness as taught by Jesus himself in the gospels account in short, let me put it this way considering (Mat 6:12)  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
        (1Jn 1:8)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
        DO YOU BELIEVE THAT ALL THOSE SINS commited after John’s baptism were not pardoned until the new covenant went into effect? WERE THEY IN SIN not reconciled to God? THAT’s contrary to Jesus’ words (Joh 13:10)  Jesus saith to him, He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
        (Joh 13:11)  For he knew him that should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
        God bless you!

      2. Jesus did teach Christians to pray for forgiveness (Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:7-9). Receiving forgiveness through prayer is also seen in the Old Law (cf. Ps. 51). Penitent prayers were not the only thing required for forgiveness under the Old Law; sacrifices were as well, culminating ultimately in Christ’s sacrifice (cf. Heb. 10:1-4). In like manner, under the new covenant baptism into Christ’s death is also required for forgiveness of sins. The subsequent directives to pray for forgiveness were given to those who had been baptized into Christ’s death.

        The problem with your position as I see it is that you are taking a baptism that was administered under a different covenant and for different purposes than the baptism commanded in the new covenant, and you are applying it to the new covenant’s baptism. John’s baptism did have similarities to baptism into Christ (i.e., for forgiveness of sins), but there were distinct differences too. People were confessing their sins in correlation to John’s baptism (Mark 1:4-5), whereas with baptism into Christ’s death people were confessing their faith in Christ (Acts 8:35-38). Christ had not yet died, so John’s baptism could not be a baptism into Christ’s death, with the subsequent result of being resurrected like Him to a new life as is done with the new covenant baptism (Rom. 6:3-5).

        Thus, the fact remains that the apostles, having been baptized with John’s baptism as some if not all of them were, had not been baptized into Christ’s death and thus were not buried with Him by baptism into death to then be raised like Him to a new life (Rom. 6:3-5). They taught that to others, but with John’s baptism that had not happened with them. In order for it to happen with them, they had to have been baptized into Christ’s death with the “one baptism” of the new covenant. At which point, they could then pray for forgiveness for subsequent sins as Jesus had taught them and us (cf. Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:7-9). God shows no partiality (Rom. 2:11). If baptism into Christ’s death to then be raised to a new life like He was is required of all who would be part of God’s kingdom in the new covenant, then it would have been required of the apostles as well.

        Thank you for your comments and for the discussion.

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