“Baptize” or “Immerse” in Matthew 3:6 et al.?
"and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matthew 3:6, KJV)
Some critics charge that the Anglican KJV translators who practiced baptism by sprinkling left “βαπτίζω (baptizō)” untranslated as “baptize” instead of translating it as “immerse.” The word “baptism,” however is a term of art that refers to a very specific type of immersion. Furthermore, Luke 11:38 indicates that “βαπτίζω (εβαπτισθη)” could simply mean “wash.” An individual prior to eating would not have immersed his body fully in water. He would have washed his hands, face, etc., but not his whole body. Even some translations (e.g. Voice in the Wilderness - Edition 2008), which set themselves apart by purporting to faithfully render the word as “immerse,” render the word as “wash” in Luke 11:38. If Baptists, the denomination that immerses their converts, are comfortable calling themselves “Baptists,” then “baptism” surely is an appropriate word to refer to Christian immersion.
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