Why Do You Baptize By Immersion Instead of Some Other Method?
The New Testament was originally written in Greek and the English word “baptize” itself is simply a transliteration of the original Greek verb. In Greek, the word “baptize” means “to dip” or “to immerse.” Its meaning in the Bible, then, is tied not to later traditions or practices such as sprinkling but to the original meaning of the word. The writers of the New Testament and the first Christians called what they were doing “baptism” because that was the Greek word for “immersion.”
That this was the original, ancient understanding of baptism can be seen in the story of Philip the evangelist and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. In verse 36 the eunuch says to Philip, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” The text then says in verse 38 that “they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.” The presence of both men in the water is indicative of the original practice of immersing people for the forgiveness of their sins.