What Does the Bible Say About Infant Baptism?


That's right! The Bible does not mention infant baptism. There is not a single verse that commands it. Nowhere does the Bible tell us that Christ or the apostles ever baptized a baby.

Why not?

In the Bible, Christian baptism always identified a person with Christ. Do children need to be baptized to identify with Christ? Do they need this seal to show they belong to God?

The following verses show clearly what Jesus thought of children:

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me (Matthew 18:1-5).

Notice the beautiful relationship between Jesus and the children. Jesus loves children. He receives them to Himself. He sets them up as an example for us, telling us we need to become like them in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. In saying that, isn't Jesus saying that children already belong to His kingdom?

Jesus confirms this very fact in the following passage:

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily 1 say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16).

Jesus did not urge these children to be baptized. He blessed them, showing that they were innocent, pure and safe. They already belonged to His kingdom.

How do little children become part of God's kingdom? What does the Bible say?

Must they repent of their sins?

No. How can they repent if they still do not understand their guilt before God?

Must they believe the Gospel?

No. How can they believe something they do not understand?

Must they show that their lives have been changed? Must they recite a prayer? Or be blessed by the priest? Must they be baptized?

No. We find no command in the Bible that children be baptized; no command that their parents have them baptized.

However, parents are responsible for their children. They should teach them about God. They should train them and discipline them when they disobey. But they should not baptize them. Because children are responsible to their parents and not to God; they are already safe in Christ's kingdom.

But we adults are responsible to God. We are responsible because we understand our guilt before God. We understand that we are sinners. We understand that we must meet the conditions Cod has set forth to enter His kingdom.

What are these conditions? What does the Bible say?

We must: (1) repent of our sin, and (2) believe on Jesus Christ. These are the requirements God Himself established in His Word. And they are the same requirements we must meet in order to be baptized. This is what the Bible says:

(1)Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles. Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:37-38).

To receive baptism, we must repent of our sins and turn to Christ for the power to quit sinning.

(2) And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said. See, here is water: what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said. If thou believest with all thine heart (that Jesus Christ is the Son of God) thou mayest (Acts 8:36-37).

Baptism is a confession that we believe in Jesus. It is clear, then, that to receive baptism, we must believe in Jesus . . . believe with all our heart and submit to Him.

Can children repent? Can they believe in Jesus? Can they submit to Him? Can they receive baptism?

No. Children cannot understand repentance or faith in Jesus. Therefore they should not be baptized.

What, then, must little children do to enter the kingdom of God? We repeat: nothing. Little children are already in the kingdom of God—without doing anything.

Friend, do not continue in confusion about infant baptism. Jesus was not baptized as a child. And there is no evidence in the entire Bible that a baby was ever baptized. In fact, as far as we know, historical documents do not mention infant baptism until the last years of the second century. In that era of growing apostasy, a few began to depart from the apostolic pattern and started baptizing babies. They reasoned, like many do today, that this would ensure that babies would go to heaven if they died. Gradually, more and more people accepted this argument and began to baptize babies. But not every one did. In fact, from the time infant baptism was first practiced down through the centuries, many have opposed this practice. For example, Tertullian, who lived from A.D. 160 to 240, wrote:

And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children. (Quote from The Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume III, Page 678)

Today, many churches baptize babies. But loyal Christians still ask, "What does God say? What does the Bible say?" Let us believe the Bible—not what men say. Men can fail; the Bible cannot.

Look in your Bible. If you find a command to baptize little children or an example of infant baptism, please let us know by writing to the address below. If you do not find support in the Bible for this practice, why practice it?

If you have not been baptized as an adult, God's Word still speaks to you: "Repent, and be baptized ... in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38).

-Ernest Strubhar

For more literature on the parents' responsibility to their children write to the address below.

Lamp and Light Publishers, Inc.
26 Road 5577, Farmington, NM 87401

Back to Home/Table of Contents