Masaccio (1425–1426), Baptism of the Neophytes [it], Brancacci Chapel, Florence. This painting depicts baptism by affusion. The artist may have chosen an archaic form for this depiction of baptism by St. Peter.

Baptism (from the Greek noun βάπτισμα baptisma; see below) is a Christian rite of admission and adoption,[1] almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity.[2][3] The synoptic gospels recount that John the Baptist baptised Jesus.[4][5][6][7] Baptism is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. Baptism is also called christening,[8][9] although some reserve the word "christening" for the baptism of infants.[10] It has also given its name to the Baptist churches and denominations.

The usual form of baptism among the earliest Christians involved the candidate's immersion, either totally (submerged completely under the water) or partially (standing or kneeling in water while water was poured on him or her).[a] John the Baptist's use of a deep river for his baptising suggests immersion:

The fact that he chose a permanent and deep river suggests that more than a token quantity of water was needed, and both the preposition 'in' (the Jordan) and the basic meaning of the verb 'baptize' probably indicate immersion. In v. 16, Matthew will speak of Jesus 'coming up out of the water'. Phillip and the Eunuch also went down and came up out of water (Acts 8:38–39). Baptism is likened unto a burial in Romans 6:3. "Dip" is translated from baptō (βάπτω). The traditional depiction in Christian art of John the Baptist pouring water over Jesus' head may therefore be based on later Christian practice.[17]

Pictorial and archaeological evidence of Christian baptism from the 3rd century onward indicates that a normal form was to have the candidate stand in water while water was poured over the upper body.[18][19] Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead, a method called affusion.

Martyrdom was identified early in Church history as "baptism by blood",[20] enabling the salvation of martyrs who had not been baptized by water. Later, the Catholic Church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism who die before actually receiving the sacrament are considered saved.[21] As evidenced also in the common Christian practice of infant baptism, Christians universally regarded baptism as in some sense necessary for salvation, until Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) denied its necessity in the 16th century.[22]

Quakers and the Salvation Army do not practice baptism with water.[23] Among denominations that practice baptism by water, differences occur in the manner and mode of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance of the rite. Most Christians baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"[24] (following the Great Commission), but some baptize in Jesus' name only. Much more than half of all Christians baptize infants;[b] many others regard only believer's baptism as true baptism.

The term "baptism" has also been used metaphorically to refer to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which a person is initiated, purified, or given a name.[29]


Catacombs of San Callisto: baptism in a 3rd-century painting

The English word baptism is derived indirectly through Latin from the neuter Greek concept noun baptisma (Greek βάπτισμα, "washing-ism"),[c][30] which is a neologism in the New Testament derived from the masculine Greek noun baptismos (βαπτισμός), a term for ritual washing in Greek language texts of Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period, such as the Septuagint.[31][32] Both of these nouns are derived from the verb baptizō (βαπτίζω, "I wash" transitive verb), which is used in Jewish texts for ritual washing, and in the New Testament both for ritual washing and also for the apparently new rite of baptisma. The Greek verb baptō (βάπτω), "dip", from which the verb baptizo is derived, is in turn hypothetically traced to a reconstructed Indo-European root *gʷabh-, "dip".[33][34][35] The Greek words are used in a great variety of meanings.[36]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Doop
العربية: معمودية
aragonés: Baptismo
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܡܥܡܘܕܝܬܐ
asturianu: Bautismu
azərbaycanca: Vəftiz
беларуская: Хрышчэнне
Bislama: Baptaes
български: Кръщение
brezhoneg: Badeziant
català: Baptisme
Чӑвашла: Тĕне кĕртни
Cebuano: Bunyag
čeština: Křest
chiShona: Kubhabhatidza
Cymraeg: Bedydd
dansk: Dåb
Deutsch: Taufe
eesti: Ristimine
español: Bautismo
Esperanto: Bapto
euskara: Bataio
فارسی: غسل تعمید
føroyskt: Dópur
français: Baptême
Frysk: Doop
Gàidhlig: Baisteadh
galego: Bautismo
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sé-lî
한국어: 세례
հայերեն: Մկրտություն
हिन्दी: बपतिस्मा
hornjoserbsce: Křćeńca
hrvatski: Krštenje
Bahasa Indonesia: Baptisan
interlingua: Baptismo
Ирон: Аргъуыд
íslenska: Skírn
italiano: Battesimo
Kiswahili: Ubatizo
Latina: Baptismus
latviešu: Kristības
lietuvių: Krikštas
Limburgs: Duip
lingála: Batísimo
lumbaart: Battesim
magyar: Keresztség
македонски: Крштевање
Malagasy: Batisa
مصرى: تعميد
Bahasa Melayu: Pembaptisan
Dorerin Naoero: Ebaptizo
Nederlands: Doop (sacrament)
नेपाली: बप्तिस्मा
日本語: 洗礼
norsk: Dåp
norsk nynorsk: Dåp
occitan: Baptisme
Plattdüütsch: Dööp
polski: Chrzest
português: Batismo
română: Botez
rumantsch: Battaisem
Runa Simi: Unuchay
русиньскый: Крещѣня
русский: Крещение
shqip: Pagëzimi
sicilianu: Vattìu
Simple English: Baptism
سنڌي: بپتسمو
slovenčina: Sviatosť krstu
slovenščina: Krst
ślůnski: Krzest
српски / srpski: Крштење
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Krštenje
Basa Sunda: Baptis
suomi: Kaste
svenska: Dop
Tagalog: Bautismo
татарча/tatarça: Чумылдыру
Türkçe: Vaftiz
українська: Хрещення
اردو: بپتسمہ
vèneto: Batedo
Tiếng Việt: Thanh tẩy
walon: Bateme
Winaray: Bunyág
吴语: 洗礼
粵語: 浸禮
中文: 洗禮