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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 19 - Verse 5

Verse 5. When they heard this. When they heard what Paul had said respecting the nature of John's baptism.

They were baptized, etc. As there is no other instance in the New Testament of any persons having been rebaptized, it has been made a question by some critics whether it was done here; and they have supposed that all this is the narrative of Luke respecting what took place under the ministry of John; to wit, that he told them to believe on Christ Jesus, and then baptized them in his name. But this is a most forced construction; and it is evident that these persons were rebaptized by the direction of Paul. For,

(1.) this is the obvious interpretation of the passage—that which would strike all persons as correct, unless there were some previous theory to support.

(2.) It was not a matter of fact that John baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. His was the baptism of repentance; and there is not the slightest evidence that he ever used the name of Jesus in the form of baptism.

(3.) If this be the sense of the passage, that John baptized them in the name of Jesus, then this verse is a mere repetition of Ac 19:4—a tautology of which the sacred writers would not be guilty.

(4.) It is evident that the persons on whom Paul laid his hands, Ac 19:6, and those who were baptized, were the same. But these were the persons who heard Ac 19:5 what was said. The narrative is continuous, all parts of it cohering together as relating to a transaction that occurred at the same time. If the obvious interpretation of the passage be the true one, it follows that the baptism of John was not strictly Christian baptism. It was the baptism of repentance; a baptism designed to prepare the way for the introduction of the kingdom of the Messiah. It will not follow however, from this, that Christian baptism is now ever to be repeated. For this there is no warrant, no example in the New Testament. There is no command to repeat it, as in the case of the Lord's Supper; and the nature and design of the ordinance evidently supposes that it is to be performed but once. The disciples of John were rebaptized, not because baptism is designed to be repeated, but because they never had been, in fact, baptized in the manner prescribed by the Lord Jesus.

In the name of the Lord Jesus. See Barnes "Ac 2:38".

 

{|} "Unto" "into" {i} "name of the Lord Jesus" 1 Co 1:13

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