Acts 19:5
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
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(5) They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.—On the use of this formula in connection with the baptism of Jewish converts, see Notes on Acts 2:38; Matthew 28:19.

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.When they heard this - When they heard what Paul had said respecting the nature of John's baptism.

They were baptized ... - As there is no other instance in the New Testament of any persons having been rebaptized, it has been made a question by some critics whether it was done here; and they have supposed that all this is the narrative of Luke respecting what took place under the ministry of John: to wit, that he told them to believe on Christ Jesus, and then baptized them in his name. But this is a most forced construction; and it is evident that these persons were rebaptized by the direction of Paul. For:

(1) This is the obvious interpretation of the passage - what would strike all persons as correct, unless there were some previous theory to support.

(2) it was not a matter of fact that John baptized in the name of Christ Jesus. His was the baptism of repentance; and there is not the slightest evidence that he ever used the name of Jesus in the form of baptism.

(3) if it be the sense of the passage that John baptized them in the name of Jesus, then this verse is a mere repetition of Acts . Acts 19:4; a tautology of which the sacred writers would not be guilty.

(4) it is evident that the persons on whom Paul laid his hands Acts . Acts 19:6, and those who were baptized, were the same. But these were the persons who heard Acts . Acts 19:5 what was said. The narrative is continuous, all parts of it cohering together as relating to a transaction that occurred at the same time. If the obvious interpretation of the passage be the true one, it follows that the baptism of John was not strictly Christian baptism. It was the baptism of repentance; a baptism designed to prepare the way for the introduction of the kingdom of the Messiah. It will not follow, however, from this that Christian baptism is now ever to be repeated. For this there is no warrant in the New Testament. There is no command to repeat it, as in the case of the Lord's Supper; and the nature and design of the ordinance evidently supposes that it is to be performed but once. The disciples of John were rebaptized, not because baptism is designed to be repeated, but because they never had been, in fact, baptized in the manner prescribed by the Lord Jesus.

In the name of the Lord Jesus - See the notes on Acts 2:38.

5-7. When they heard this—not the mere words reported in Ac 19:4, but the subject expounded according to the tenor of those words.

they were baptized—not however by Paul himself (1Co 1:14).

in the name of the Lord Jesus—into the whole fulness of the new economy, as now opened up to their believing minds.

The disciples, or those that John preached to, (for these Ephesians were not amongst those few that Paul baptized, 1 Corinthians 1:14), who when they heard what the Baptist said in the foregoing verse, they were baptized; as in the same terms it is said, Acts 2:37,

when they heard what St. Peter had said, they were pricked in their heart, & c., and were baptized. As for Paul’s imposing his hands upon them that are said here to be baptized, it might very well be, that the twelve disciples, Acts 19:7, might have been baptized by John, and now receive the Holy Ghost in those extraordinary gifts by the laying on of the hands of St. Paul: for to what end should these disciples, who were baptized with St. John’s baptism, be again baptized by Paul? It is true, they had further manifestations of the mystery of the gospel brought unto them; but if men should be baptized for every degree of knowledge or grace which they do acquire, how many baptisms had they need to have, who ought daily to grow in grace and in knowledge! It is evident, that the apostles themselves were only baptized with the baptism of John, for there were none else to baptize them. And baptism being an ordinance for our regeneration and new birth, as we can be born but once in the flesh, we can be but once also born in the Spirit; and no more may Christians be baptized twice, than the Jews could be twice circumcised.

When they heard this,.... That is, the people to whom John preached, his hearers; when they heard of the Messiah, and that Jesus was he, and that it became them to believe in him:

they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; not the disciples that Paul found at Ephesus, but the hearers of John; for these are the words of the Apostle Paul, giving an account of John's baptism, and of the success of his ministry, showing, that his baptism was administered in the name of the Lord Jesus; and not the words of Luke the Evangelist, recording what followed upon his account of John's baptism; for then he would have made mention of the apostle's name, as he does in the next verse; and have said, when they heard this account, they were baptized by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus: the historian reports two things, first what Paul said, which lies in Acts 19:4 then what he did, Acts 19:6 where he repeats his name, as was necessary; as that he laid his hands upon them, which was all that was needful to their receiving the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, having been already baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus: which sense is the more confirmed by the particles and which answer to one another in verses 4 and 5, and show the words to be a continuation of the apostle's speech, and not the words of the historian, which begin in the next verse. Beza's ancient copy adds, "for the remission of sins".

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 19:5. Εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τ. Κυρ. .] on the name of the Lord Jesus, which they were to confess, namely, as that of the Messiah. Comp. on Matthew 28:19.

These disciples of John thus received (whether from Paul himself, or from a subordinate assistant, the text leaves undetermined; but see for the latter view 1 Corinthians 1:17; comp. Acts 10:48) Christian baptism, for it had appeared that they had not yet received it. The Anabaptists have from the first wrongly appealed to this passage; for it simply represents the non-sufficiency of John’s baptism, in point of fact, for Christianity, and that purely in respect of the twelve persons, but does not exhibit the insufficiency of the Christian baptism of infants. Many, moreover, of the orthodox (comp. Beza, Calixtus, Calovius, Suicer, Glass, Buddeus, Wolf, and several of the older commentators), in a controversial interest,—both against the Roman Catholic doctrine of the distinction between the Johannean and the Christian baptism (Trident. Sess. vii. Song of Solomon 1), and also against the Anabaptists,—have wrongly attached Acts 19:5 to the address of the apostle: “but after they had heard it they were baptized (by John), etc.” But against this it may be urged, that John did not baptize in the name of Jesus, and that δέ, Acts 19:5, stands in no logical connection at all with μέν, Acts 19:4. On the other hand, Calvin and others have maintained, against the Anabaptists, that Acts 19:5 is meant not of the baptism of water, but of the baptism of the Spirit, which Acts 19:6 only more precisely explains; but this shift is just another, quite as utterly unexegetical, error of dogmatic presupposition. We may add, that it may not be inferred from our passage that the disciples of John who passed over to Christianity were uniformly rebaptized; for, in the case of the apostles who passed over from John to Jesus, this certainly did not take place (John 4:2); and even as regards Apollos, the common opinion that he was baptized by Aquila is purely arbitrary, as in Acts 18:26 his instruction in Christianity, and not his baptism, is narrated. Indeed, in the whole of the N.T., except this passage, there is no example of the rebaptism of a disciple of John. Hence the baptism of the disciples of John who passed over to Christianity was not considered as absolutely necessary; but it did or did not take place according as in the different cases, and in proportion to the differences of individuals, the desire of the persons concerned and the opinion of the teachers on the matter determined. With those twelve, for example, Paul regarded it as conducive to his object and requisite that they should be baptized, in order to raise them to the elevation of Christian spiritual life; and therefore they were baptized (evidently according to their own wish and inclination, as is implied in ἀκούσαντες δὲ ἐβαπτ.), whilst Apollos, on the other hand, could dispense with rebaptism, seeing that he with his fervid spirit, following the references of John to Christ and the instruction of his teachers, penetrated without any new baptismal consecration into the pneumatic element of life. If, however, among the three thousand who were baptized at Pentecost (Acts 2:38; Acts 2:41) there were some of John’s disciples,—which is probable,—it was their desire to be baptized, and apostolic wisdom could not leave this unfulfilled. Accordingly, the opinion of Ziegler (theol. Abh. II. p. 162), that those twelve were rebaptized, because they had been baptized by some disciple of John not unto the ἐρχόμενος, but unto John himself, and thus had not received the true Johannean baptism, is to be rejected. They did not, in fact, answer, in Acts 19:3, εἰς τὸν ʼΙωάννην!

Acts 19:5. ἀκούσαντες δὲ: neither grammatical nor in accordance with fact can these words be regarded (as by Beza and others) as part of St. Paul’s words, as if they meant, “and the people when they heard him,” i.e., John.

5. And when they heard this] The A. V. omits the conjunction which stands in the Textus Receptus. What they heard was not the mere statement that Jesus was the Messiah; but all the arguments with which St Paul demonstrated that this was so, and proved that in Him the Scriptures were fulfilled. The conviction need not have been sudden, though its description is brief.

they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus] They followed the order appointed for admission to the privileges of the Christian covenant. No argument can be drawn from this verse for a repetition of baptism. These disciples had never received such a baptism as Christ ordained. John’s baptism was but a washing symbolical of the repentance which he preached; baptism into the name of Christ is the pledge of a covenant of salvation.

Acts 19:5. Ἀκούσαντες, having heard) Luke mentions how the disciples at Ephesus obeyed Paul, receiving baptism in (into) the name of the Lord Jesus. For they had not known that they were bound by the baptism of repentance to faith in Jesus Christ: just as was the case with those who had slain Jesus, all of whom, therefore, Peter wished to “be baptized in the name of Jesus,” ch. Acts 2:38, although very many of them had not been previously baptized by John: Matthew 3:5-6. Apollos, on the other hand, who had received the baptism of John, accompanied with full instruction concerning Jesus Christ, was not re-baptized: ch. Acts 18:25. Nor were the apostles re-baptized. For in reality the baptism which is mentioned in Matthew 3, 28 was one: otherwise there would not have been the beginning of the Gospel in John (Mark 1:1-3), and the Lord’s Supper, in Matthew 26, would be older than baptism, Matthew 28. Nor in this verse is he speaking of the people baptized by John; for it was not until his last days that John pointed to Jesus: ch. Acts 13:25. Wherefore it cannot be said that he baptized them into the name of the Lord Jesus; unless you say that John baptized the people twice, first to repentance, then afterwards into the name of the Lord Jesus. Justus Jonas writes, “They were re-baptized, who had been baptized with the baptism of John, for this reason, because John was not the author of righteousness, or the giver of the Spirit, but only preached the Spirit, and grace, which was about to be conferred, a little afterwards, through Christ, who alone is the cause (source) and author of righteousness.”—ἐβαπτίσθησαν, were baptized) Paul laid his hands on them; he left the act of baptism to others.—[τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, of the Lord Jesus) In this way John at last utterly gave place to the Lord Jesus.—V. g.]

Verse 5. - And when for when, A.V.; into for in, A.V. Into the Name of the Lord Jesus (see Acts 8:16). So too Acts 10:48 of Cornelius and his company, "He commanded them to be baptized in the Name (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι) of Jesus Christ" (R.V.). The formula of baptism, as commanded by the Lord Jesus himself, was, "In [or, 'into'] the Name (αἰς τὸ ὔνομα) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:20). But the candidate always first made a profession of his faith in Jesus Christ, as in the A.V. of Acts 8:37; and the effect of baptism was an incorporation into Christ so as to partake of his death unto sin and his life unto righteousness. It was, therefore, a true and compendious description of baptism, to speak of it as a baptism in (or into) the Name of Jesus Christ. (See the Baptismal Service in the Book of Common Prayer.) There does not seem to be any difference of meaning between ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι and εἰς τὸ ὄνομα. Acts 19:5
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