Acts 19:4
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
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(4) John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance.—The words may fairly be regarded as giving the summary of what was actually a fuller teaching. The distinctive point in it was that the baptism of John was, by his own declaration, simply provisional and preparatory. He taught his disciples to believe in Jesus, and belief implied obedience, and obedience baptism in His name. It is not without significance that the list of elementary doctrines in Hebrews 6:1-4, addressed, we may believe, by Apollos to those who had once been his disciples, includes what those who are now before us might have learnt from him in their spiritual childhood, and that he then passes on to describe the higher state of those who had been “illumined,” and had “tasted of the heavenly gift,” and been made “partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Hebrews 6:4-6).

19:1-7 Paul, at Ephesus, found some religious persons, who looked to Jesus as the Messiah. They had not been led to expect the miraculous powers of the Holy Ghost, nor were they informed that the gospel was especially the ministration of the Spirit. But they spake as ready to welcome the notice of it. Paul shows them that John never design that those he baptized should rest there, but told them that they should believe on Him who should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. They thankfully accepted the discovery, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. The Holy Ghost came upon them in a surprising, overpowering manner; they spake with tongues, and prophesied, as the apostles and the first Gentile coverts did. Though we do not now expect miraculous powers, yet all who profess to be disciples of Christ, should be called on to examine whether they have received the seal of the Holy Ghost, in his sanctifying influences, to the sincerity of their faith. Many seem not to have heard that there is a Holy Ghost, and many deem all that is spoken concerning his graces and comforts, to be delusion. Of such it may properly be inquired, Unto what, then, were ye baptized? for they evidently know not the meaning of that outward sign on which they place great dependence.John verily baptized - John did indeed baptize.

With the baptism of repentance - Having special reference to repentance, or as a profession that they did repent of their sins. See the notes on Matthew 3:6.

Saying unto the people - The design of his preaching was to tarn the people from their sins, and to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. He therefore directed their attention principally to him that was to come, John 1:15, John 1:22-27.

That is, on Christ Jesus - These are the words of Paul, explaining what John taught. John taught them to believe in the Messiah, and Paul now showed them that the Messiah was Jesus of Nazareth. The argument of Paul is, that it was highly proper for them now to profess publicly that Saviour to whom John had borne such explicit testimony. "Jesus is the Messiah for whom John came to prepare the way; and as you have em braced John's doctrine, you ought now publicly to acknowledge that Redeemer by baptism in his name.

4. Then said Paul, John … baptized with the baptism of repentance—water unto repentance.

saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him—that is, who should baptize with the Holy Ghost. The point of contrast is not between John and Christ personally, but between the water baptism of John unto repentance, and the promised baptism of the Spirit from the hands of his coming Master unto new life. As to all the facts, or at least the significancy, of this baptism, which made the whole life and work of Christ another thing from what it was conceived to be before it was vouchsafed, these simple disciples were unenlightened.

The baptism of repentance; at which the Baptist did exhort them to repentance, and they by it were obliged to repent; by which is manifest, that the baptism of John and of Christ (which he commanded) are one and the same. John’s baptism did respect Christ, and oblige the baptized to believe in him, as also to repent; and more, it was a seal unto them of the remission of their sins, as is expressly observed, Mark 1:4: so that the baptism of John, and the baptism of the apostles afterward, had the same sign and the same thing signified in them both (the inward and outward part, the heavenly and earthly part, were the same in both); as also they had both the same end; and therefore they were both the same. Add to this, that unless the Baptist’s and the apostles’ baptism were the same, Christ and his members (the church) are not baptized with the same baptism. It must be acknowledged that there are some circumstances in which they differ; John’s baptism respected Christ to come; that is, in the exercise of his ministry (which was not so fully exercised till after John’s death); but especially, those great things (his death, resurrection, and ascension, &c.) were to come after John’s time, which now are accomplished.

On Christ Jesus; including the Father and the Holy Ghost, and mentioning Christ, to difference his baptisms from the several baptizings and washings then in use.

Then said Paul,.... In reply to their answer, understanding them that they were baptized by John, he takes it up, and gives an account of John's baptism: showing how agreeable it was, and that it was the same baptism with the baptism of Christ, being administered in his name:

John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance; which required repentance antecedent to it, and was a fruit and effect, and so an evidence of it:

saying unto the people; the people of the Jews, the common people, the multitude that attended on his ministry:

that they should believe on him, which should come after him, that is, on Jesus Christ; so that he preached faith in Christ, as well as repentance towards God; and made the one as well as the other a necessary prerequisite unto baptism; which shows, that his baptism and Christian baptism are the same.

Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Acts 19:4. Μέν] See on Acts 1:1. Instead of following it up by an apodosis, such as: “but Jesus is the coming One, on whom John by his baptism bound men to believe,” Paul already inserts this idea by τοῦτ. ἔστιν εἰς τ. . into the sentence begun by μέν, and, abandoning the μέν, entirely omits to continue the construction by δέ.

ἐβάπτ. βάπτ. μεταν.] he baptized (administered) a baptism (which obliged) to repentance. See Mark 1:4. On the combination of βαπτίζω with a cognate noun, comp. Luke 7:29; Luke 12:50; Mark 10:38.

εἰς τ. ἐρχ.] is with great emphasis prefixed to the ἴνα. Comp. on Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 3:18.

ἵνα πιστ.] is to be understood purely in the sense of design; saying to the people: (that he administered a baptism of repentance) in order that they should believe on Him who was to come after him, i.e. on Jesus. This terse information concerning the connection of the baptism of John, which they had received, with Jesus, decided these disciples to receive Christian baptism. The determining element lay in τοῦτʼ ἔστιν εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, which Paul must have more precisely explained to them, and by which they were transplanted from their hitherto indistinct and non-living faith into the condition of a full fides explicita—from the morning dawn of faith to the bright daylight of the same.

Acts 19:4. εἰς τὸν ἐρχ: placed first before ἵνα, perhaps for emphasis. The phrase had been a favourite one with the Baptist (cf. Matthew 3:1). John’s own words showed that his Baptism was insufficient. ἵνα may express both the purport and the purpose (so Alford).

4. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance] More simply, And Paul said. The best MSS. omit the word for “verily.” Such was John’s description of his own baptism (Matthew 3:11), but after the day of Pentecost the language of the Christian preacher (Acts 2:38) is, “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” These Ephesian disciples knew nothing of baptism for the remission of sins, or of the other sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, nor of the gift of the Spirit to the church, nor of the doctrines of faith in Christ and salvation by grace through faith.

saying unto the people, that they should believe] The demand for faith makes the difference between the preaching of Christ and the preaching of John. The latter said “Prepare by repentance for the coming King,” Christ says (and John also spake of this) “Believe on me, for I am He that should come.”

on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus] The oldest MSS. omit “Christ.” In his preaching John had constantly used the phrase “He that cometh after me.” This was the stage of instruction at which these disciples had arrived. They knew that John spake of one who was to come. St Paul’s teaching made clear to them that this was Jesus. The closing words of the sentence are a condensation of all the explanations by which the Apostle convinced them, that Jesus, whom he preached, was the prophet whom John announced. St Luke does not anywhere give speeches or arguments in extenso, but only so much as is needed to explain the results which he describes

Acts 19:4. Ἰωάννης, John) After this passage, no mention occurs of John the Baptist in the New Testament. Here at last (at this particular point) he wholly gives place to Christ. This was a great performance of Paul.—μετʼ αὐτὸν) after him.—τουτέστιν εἰς τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν, that is, on Christ Jesus[111]) So Paul explained the testimony of John the Baptist.

[111] The word Χοιστὸν, according to the margin of both Editions and the Germ. Vers., ought to be omitted.—E. B.

The word is omitted by ABE Vulg. Memph. and later Syr. Dd read Χριστὸν alone. Rec. Text, without very ancient authority, joins the the two, Χριστὸν Ιησοῦν.—E. and T.

Verse 4. - And Paul said for then said Paul, A.V.; John for John verily, A.V. and T.R.; Jesus for Christ Jesus, A.V. and T.R. The baptism of repentance. See Luke 3:3, etc., and for the difference between John's baptism and that of Christ, Luke 3:16. Him which should some after him (Luke 3:16; John 3:28; Mark 1:7). Acts 19:4
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