Whilst watching the movie Mary, Mother of Jesus and seeing baptism depicted as sprinkling, I suddenly wondered, Where did baptism come from in the first place? As I understand it, the Jewish people did not go in for baptism -- or did they? The first time baptism comes up in my concordance is in Matthew 3:6. Also, where does it say in the Bible that one must be completely immersed? -- Helen (Johannesburg)

Really, these are two separate questions. Baptism "comes from" the many ablutions and washings of the OT law, although it is not urged on the people until the time of John the Baptizer. You are right: Most Jewish people did not go for baptism--though many did (Luke 7:29)--as it rigorously required repentance. For the same reason, most people do not go for baptism today. As for total immersion, this is the semantic meaning of baptism. The Greek baptisma means immersion, nothing less. That is its definition.

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only.