Baptism in the Gospels
“Baptism in the Gospels,” in Believers Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Shawn D. Wright; Nashville: B & H, 2007), 11-34.
The purpose of the present chapter is to investigate the material on baptism in the four canonical Gospels. This will
take on the form of a narrative analysis of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. In this way the Gospels themselves will be allowed to determine the parameters for our discussion of baptism, in particular the activity of John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism by him, and the literal and figurative baptisms administered, or undergone, by Jesus and his followers. As a brief prolegomenon, it will be helpful to look first at Jewish proselyte baptism, which, together with Jewish ritual washings and immersion practices, forms an important backdrop to our discussion of the material on baptism in the Gospels. The essay concludes with several important implications for our understanding of baptism today.