Exegetical Consideration Of Baptism In The New Testament -- By: Paul L. Kaufman

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 003:3 (Fall 1960)
Article: Exegetical Consideration Of Baptism In The New Testament
Author: Paul L. Kaufman


Exegetical Consideration Of Baptism In The New Testament

Paul L. Kaufman

Registrar Central C. B. Seminary

Every pastor worthy of that high calling ought to be an expositor of the revelation of God which is the Holy Scripture. Part of that revelation is the Old Testament written originally in Hebrew and the other part is the New Testament written originally in Greek. It is the position of evangelical believers that the Bible is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, i.e., that in every case a portion of Scripture is to be studied on the basis of grammatical principles common to the language in which it is written and understood in the light of its contextual and historical associations.

This pattern of Biblical interpretation is most demanding, but it is also the most adequate way in which to understand revealed truth. It means that the interpreter must be equipped with the tools of language and history if he is to conduct investigation on his own and evaluate the results. It is not merely in regard to the crucial theological points that one must have recourse to the critical text of the original language, but in the area of spiritual understanding that the benefits of the study of the text in the original language becomes apparent. Some of the most thrilling results of careful exegetical study take place in the heart of the exegete in the preparation of his message, and this is the first step for the man who would perennially feed the flock over which God has made him an overseer.

Let it be understood that grammatico-historical exegesis will not finally and completely resolve every difficult passage, but the number of passages where problems are seemingly unresolved will be greatly reduced. Certainly in the great majority of cases a thorough knowledge and application of the principles of grammar, together with a careful study of the context and

the historical situation will enable the exegete to determine the intention of the Holy Spirit in the passage under examination.

Doubtless one of the most obviously controversial subjects in all of the New Testament is the mode and significance of baptism. Here certainly light from any trustworthy source will be welcome, and here as always the appeal of the expositor is to grammatico-historical exegesis. There is necessity to examine a number of passages in order to determine the teaching of the Scripture in regard to this matter. In the consideration of baptism it is advisable to begin with the baptism of John the Baptist, and while the account is given in all of the synoptics, Matthew gives us the fullest account as follows (3:1–11):

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