Jesus has commanded to baptize everyone (those obey the good news) to whom the Gospel is preached in Matthew 28:19. Then why did Paul say that Christ had not sent him to baptize?
1 Corinthians 1:14 - 17
ESV - 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius. 15 So that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.
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The Apostle Paul is concerned with baptizing believers. Paul himself was baptized upon coming to faith in Christ (Act 9:18). It is furthermore clear in Acts that Paul baptized others when they came to faith in Christ: Paul baptized Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue and his household in Acts 18:8, Paul baptized the jailer in Act 16:33; Paul baptized followers of John the Baptist in Act 19:3-4. He also holds a high view of baptism 1Co 12:13, "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (ESV). With that in view we come to the passage above. The context of the passage show that Paul is speaking about the unity of the Church. (Read vs 10 - 17 as a whole.) Verse 11 is the key, Paul was informed that people were arguing and being divisive in the Church about the issue of baptism (among other things). To put this in context today it would be someone arguing, "I am greater than you because Billy Graham baptized me, while only your local pastor baptized you." So when Paul writes, "I thank God that I baptized none of you..." it isn't because he doesn't value baptism. He says it because he knows no one can 'gloat' / be divisive because of it. Finally, when Paul says "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel..." he is stating that his primary goal is to preach the gospel to believers. However, based on his activity in Acts, certainly does have believers baptized. APPLICATION: A believer who goes out and proclaims the gospel which results in people coming to faith isn't obligated to be the person who baptized the new believer. New Testament scriptures do however indicated that baptism is a necessary step after faith. Early Christians also held to the belief that a person is being baptized 'into Christ' as well as being baptized into a local community of faith believers--what we call the Church. For in the Church Christian grow occurs.
When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are automatically baptized. Here why Paul was not advocating baptism because his primary concern was to inculcate and spread the gospel of truth about resurrected Christ. At the time of Jesus, He was under the law and wanted to revolutionize. Jesus came to end the law, fulfilling the law, and to start the new era of grace.
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