22 Mar 06

At What Age Should A Child Be Baptized?


Hello Mr. Waddey:
How old must a child be before he is saved and baptized?
--Malissa

Dear Malissa:
While no specific age for baptism is stated in the Bible, we can draw some pretty definite conclusions by considering the requirements for baptism.
  • Jesus said, "Go preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). To be a candidate for baptism one must be old enough to be taught or instructed in the gospel. This means infants are not subjects for baptism.
  • He continued, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Thus to be baptized one must be old enough to have personal faith in Christ.
  • On the Day of Pentecost, sinners asked the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter's response was "Repent ye and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus for the remission of your sins..." (Acts 2:37-38). Thus to be baptized one must be old enough to have sinned and need forgiveness. He must be mature enough to realize his sins and be truly sorry for them.
  • Paul wrote, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved..." (Romans 10:9). This means the person must be old enough to make his own confession of his faith if he is to be united with Christ.
Putting all of this together we can reach the following conclusion:
  • Babies and small children are not sinners since they are not mature enough to know to do good or evil (James 4:17).
  • A person generally reaches that level of maturity about the same time he or she reaches puberty which in most cases is from 10-13 years old.
  • At that point the person realizes her wrongs and feels guilt.
  • She is old enough to understand that Jesus loves her and died for her.
  • She can believe in Christ and make her own decision about following him.
  • She can make her own confession of her personal faith.
  • She can of her own will request to be buried with Christ in baptism (Acts 8:36; Rom. 6:3-4).
  • When she is baptized her sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; I John 1:7).
I hope this information answers your question. If you meet the conditions set forth by Christ and have not yet confessed your faith in Christ and been baptized according to his will, I urge you to do that right away. If I can be of any further help to you, please let me hear.



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