Like Paul
by Timothy A. Southall

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Some people claim, "I'm like Paul. I don't baptize." Then they quote 1 Corinthians 1:17 where Paul states he wasn't sent to baptize but to preach. These individuals who claim to be like Paul preach the word of God and no one is baptized as a result of their preaching, thus not fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

I will agree that Paul may not have baptized many, but when he preached, people who believed were baptized. Paul always had a companion or helper who baptized individuals. Let's look further into Paul's conversion and some of those he helped to convert.

Paul's conversion. Paul was struck blind by the Lord on the road to Damascus while he was on his way to persecute Christians. He was blind three days and did not eat or drink anything. Christ sent Ananias to Paul and when Ananias placed his hands on Paul, something like scales fell from Paul's eyes. Paul then got up and was baptized. Then he ate some food. (See Acts 9:1-19.) Also note Paul was baptized before he ate, even though he hadn't eaten for three days. This shows how important baptism is. Another account of Paul's conversion is found in Acts 22:8-16. Here, Paul states he was told to get up, be baptized, and wash his sins away, calling on His name. Paul himself was baptized and knew it was vital.

Lydia and household's conversion. When Paul and Timothy got to Philippi, they spoke the word of God. Lydia responded to Paul's message. She and her household were baptized (Acts 16:11-15):

One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.--Acts 16:14-15 (NIV)
The Jailer. When Paul and Silas were severely flogged and thrown into jail, they got a chance to speak the word of God to the jailer and all the others in his household. The jailer and his family were baptized that very hour of the night (Acts 16:16-34):
They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. --Acts 16:31-33 (NIV)
At Corinth. When Paul and Silas got to Corinth, they spoke the word of God to the Corinthians. Here again, many of those who heard them believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8):
Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.--Acts 18:8 (NIV)
In Ephesus. While Paul was in Ephesus, he found some disciples who had been baptized with John the baptist's baptism of repentance. Here, Paul felt it was important enough for them to be baptized again, but into the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:1-7):
On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.--Acts 19:5 (NIV)
Conclusion. As you can see, Paul might not have been the one who literally did the baptizing, but when he spoke the word of God and they believed, they were immediately baptized, day or night. That is how important baptism is. So, if you are like Paul, people who listen to you speak the word of God will be baptized when they believe.

Copyright © 2000 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.