There are very few occasions in the New Testament where the Greek word “bapto” appears. This means to dip and it is used in a small number of verses, mainly around the partaking of the last supper that Jesus shared with His disciples. Let us note two occasions.
Firstly, in John 13:26 we read:
“Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”
It also is used in Luke 16:24 about the story of the beggar Lazarus:
“The he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.”
In this second reference it is interesting to see that the word “bapto” was used. It was used to describe a quick dip, a very brief contact with something, the tip of a finger in Lazarus’s case.
Perhaps the word “bapto” is used so that we can see the difference here by contrast. “Baptizo” is the word almost universally used. This word would be used when describing the drawing of water by dipping of one vessel into another, a common picture then of everyday life in Israel. Perhaps two other pictures will help us most.
Firstly, it was used to describe the act of dyeing a garment. Ladies would take a white piece of muslin cloth, and soak it in the dyeing agent, perhaps the greatly valuable purple dye, referred to in the story of Lydia in Acts 16:14. It would be left for many hours and when the lady returned to it the cloth would be entirely purple in colour. The cloth then had been completely altered and the dye had thoroughly been absorbed into the cloth forever altering it.
A second common use of the word “baptizo” would be in cooking. Vegetables would often be blanched. That is, they would be plunged into hot water by dipping them in a pan, quickly withdrawing them. A process we might describe by the word “bapto.”
However, a more wonderful meal would be achieved if the whole cooking process with all the ingredients were marinated over a long period of time, allowing for all the various and contrasting flavours to be appreciated. This would be “baptizo”.
This is an amazing picture of Spirit baptism. When a believer turns to the Lord and believes he/she is immersed into the Lord, into His death, burial and resurrection. He is utterly and completely changed. This is not a quick dip, this is an eternal re-constitution.