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Which baptism is mentioned in Ephesians 4:5?

Submitted: 12/16/2005
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Question: In response to the question I asked you, you stated that there are three baptisms. Which one of these three baptisms is referred to in Ephesians 4:5? Thank you and God bless.

Answer: As part of a listing of seven essential spiritual doctrines, Ephesians 4:5 is referring to water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. The reason we say this is because the baptism of fire is a metaphor for fiery trials and the Spirit is already mentioned in verse 4. This means that water baptism, which is certainly an essential doctrine, is the only baptism that could be in view in verse 5.

The phrase 'baptized with the Holy Spirit' is used only once in the Bible (Acts 1:5). Most of the time we read of the gift of the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit. The term 'Spirit baptism' does not appear at all. The only time fire is connected with baptism is in Luke 12:49-50 and, as we said, is a metaphor. We never read the term 'fire baptism.' We can use the terms 'Spirit baptism' and 'fire baptism' when speaking of these concepts, but the only doctrine that consistently uses the word 'baptism' as a fundamental component of the doctrine is water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Most references to baptism in the New Testament are referring to water baptism.