Acts 18-20

"Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only of the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately."                   Acts 18:24-26, RSV 

I like this passage, because it encourages me to more seriously study the word of God, as opposed to just believing what I have always believed.

Take the subject of baptism: I don't know of any more divisive topic among believers of Christ today. Very few people argue about the necessity of grace, or of belief and faith. No one I know argues that the sacrifice of Jesus was not needed. Some argue about repentance, but not too many. The requirement of confession of our belief in Jesus, though mentioned only a few times in Scripture, is rarely argued. Even being faithful unto death (and the need for works that this necessarily implies) is not too terribly controversial.

But just mention baptism, and the long knives come out.

Some teach it as being of no consequence. Some teach that it's a necessary part of obedience, but not of salvation. Some say that it washes away our sins and is therefore required for salvation. Some teach baptism before belief. Others after. Some say that it can be sprinkling, our pouring. Others say it can only be immersion. Some say it's just a "spiritual" thing that no one can really understand. Others insist that it is a literal burial in water.

But one thing these teachers always seem to do, without fail, is to preach on this subject with eloquence and fervor and boldness, and at least a partial degree of accuracy.

So, what are we to think?

What does the Bible say?

Whoa... what a concept! 

"While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.

And he said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?'

And they said, 'No, we have never even heard that there was a Holy Spirit.'

And he said, 'Into what then were you baptized?'

They said to him, 'Into John's baptism."

And Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the One who was to come after him, that is Jesus.'

On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus."

Acts 19:1-5, RSV