Why did Paul say he was not sent to baptize people but to preach gospel? Doesn’t preaching the gospel include baptism, too?


1 Corinthians 1:17

ESV - 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Clarify Share Report Asked September 10 2021 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that Paul was referring to the fact that, even though he (by his own account) had indeed baptized some individuals, his PRIMARY calling from God was not to baptize, but to preach. I would say that this was in view of his extensive prior religious training as a Pharisee, and was further reinforced by the three years of spiritual instruction that Paul received directly from the Holy Spirit in the desert after his conversion, before going to Jerusalem and meeting with the apostles (Galatians 1:15-18).

The glorified Christ Himself confirmed this in His calling of Ananias of Damascus to go and baptize Paul (after Paul's encounter with Christ on the Damascus road) when He said to Ananias, "This man is My chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel."

Even to this day, any Christian can perform a baptism, but Paul's specific qualifications prepared him for a preaching ministry for which he was particularly and uniquely qualified.

September 10 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James Kraft 74 year old retired pipeline worker
The second we trust Jesus as the only way of salvation apart from any works, Romans 4:5, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how He said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit. 

Ephesians 1:13-14 Our guarantee of eternal life Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit in whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. The rapture of the church. John 3:18. First John 5:13 John 10:28-29.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, physical death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

October 02 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Zachary Campbell
## Paul's Statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17: Understanding the Context

In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul states: "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." This statement can be interpreted in several ways, requiring some exploration of the wider context:

**1. Focus on Preaching, not Practice:**

* Some argue that Paul emphasizes his primary mission: proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ through preaching. While baptism was an important practice, it shouldn't overshadow the gospel message itself. 
* This interpretation suggests that Paul wasn't diminishing baptism's importance, but rather highlighting his unique calling as a preacher.

**2. Addressing Divisions:**

* The Corinthian church faced divisions, partly due to boasting about their baptizers (1 Corinthians 1:12-15). By saying "not to baptize," Paul might be distancing himself from being associated with any particular faction.
* This interpretation emphasizes the focus on unity within the church, regardless of who performed the baptism.

**3. The Power of the Cross, not Performance:**

* The final part of the verse clarifies Paul's concern: "lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." He emphasizes that salvation and transformation come through faith in the cross, not through rituals or performances like baptism.
* This interpretation suggests that relying solely on baptism for salvation could diminish the power of the cross and its transformative work.

**Does Preaching the Gospel Include Baptism?**

While Paul distinguishes his primary calling as preaching, it doesn't imply excluding baptism from the gospel message. Baptism, as an outward sign of inward faith and identification with Christ, often accompanied the conversion experience in early Christianity.

However, Paul's emphasis on the power of the cross reminds us that **baptism is a symbolic act, not a source of salvation itself**. Salvation comes through faith in Christ, and baptism serves as a response to that faith.

**Significance of Paul's Distinction:**

Understanding Paul's statement helps us navigate potential misunderstandings:

* It emphasizes the centrality of the gospel message in Christian faith and mission.
* It reminds us that rituals like baptism are meaningful responses to faith, not substitutes for it.
* It encourages unity within the church, focusing on shared faith in Christ rather than divisions based on practices.


Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17 is not a dismissal of baptism but a reminder of its proper place within the larger message of the gospel. The focus remains on the transformative power of faith in Christ, with baptism serving as a symbolic act of commitment and belonging within the Christian community.

**Disclaimer:** It is important to acknowledge that different Christian denominations interpret this verse and the role of baptism in diverse ways. This response offers a general understanding based on biblical scholarship and theological perspectives.

February 23 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Peter Vuzi
Paul did not baptize with water but by the Holy Spirit according to verses like Acts 19:1-6. It is normal for Christians therefore to want the baptism minus the gospel, yet the main reason why he was sent was to preach the gospel and not to baptize.

June 02 2024 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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