Baptism in the New Testament: Origins, Formulas, and Metaphors

Arland J. Hultgren

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 1/1/1994

Issue: Baptism (Vol. 14, No 1, Winter, 1994)

The writers of the New Testament, it is often said, assume that all Christians have been baptized. Baptism is the rite of initiation into the Christian community, and everywhere the New Testament seems to take it for granted that those who belong to the community have been baptized. Questions arise, however, when we encounter the various formulas and metaphors for baptism—and when we ask about the actual origins, or at least the possible theological and cultic backgrounds, of Christian baptism. This essay is an attempt at a brief survey of the issues.

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