Building Your Bible Vocabulary: “Baptize, Baptism”
[EGW editor’s note: proper viewing of the Greek vocabulary used in this article requires the true-type font “Greek” (download here)]

     When translators of the early English Bibles encountered the Greek word “
bavptizein” (baptizein), they chose to simply move into the English language by spelling it with English letters & an English-style ending.  This transliteration of that Greek word was the beginning of our English word "to baptize".  While many modern English translations continue this tradition and use the verb "baptize" and its noun form "baptism", some translations may use different words that more plainly present the meaning of the original Greek word.
     In Greek, this common word simply means “to plunge, dip, submerge, immerse” — usually in a liquid, such as water.  Listeners understood this when Jesus & Christians in the New Testament used this word to describe the religious ceremony in which a person becomes a Christian (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21).
     The apostle Paul clearly indicated this definition (of baptism being an immersion or submersion) in Romans 6:3-6 when he compared baptism into Christ with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

      Prepared by David G. Churchill; used by permission.
      Unless otherwise noted, “Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION.  Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.”
      This article's presentation in Exploring God's Word ©2002, 2017 David G. Churchill.
      For additional quality Bible-study materials, contact your local church of Christ or access Exploring God's Word at
      Send us your Bible-related questions.