Monday, March 28, 2016

Paul's Baptism

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He [said,] "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one. And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Behold, here am I, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Thy name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
(Acts 9:1-22)
Study this passage closely and take note of the circumstantial evidence surrounding Paul's baptism. Verse 9 of this chapter says "he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank." Obviously Paul's physical condition would have been weak. According to verse 19, what happened? "And he took food and was strengthened." If Paul was in great physical weakness, and you were planning to immerse him, when would the best time for doing so be? Clearly, as soon as he regained his strength. Would you have set off on foot immediately to look for a place to immerse him, or would you have given him some food to strengthen him first? According to Scripture, when did Paul's baptism take place relative to when he ate?
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. (v. 18-19)
If one reads this passage in the original Greek, one will see even more clearly the circumstantial evidence mounted against the assumed speculation of immersion. This passage is especially in favour of sprinkling or pouring.

Furthermore, in every account (that of Luke, and those of Paul), we find Ananias saying, "Stand up and be baptized" or the statement, "he stood up and was baptized." The literal translation is: "standing up, he was baptized" (see Acts 22:12-16 and Acts 9:17-18). How could Paul have possibly been baptized by immersion if he was baptized on the spot as he stood up?