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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

trin tri'-un i-mur'-shun:


1. Immersion

2. Triple Action



1. The Jews

2. John the Baptist

3. The Didache

4. Justin Martyr

5. Tertullian

6. Eunomius

7. Greek Church


I. Linguistic Basis.

1. Immersion:

The meaning of the word baptizo, is "to dip repeatedly," "to sub-merge" (Thayer, Greek Lexicon of the New Testament). It is probably the frequentative of bapto, "to dip," meaning "to dip repeatedly." The word baptizo (and baptisma) in the New Testament is "used absolutely, `to administer the rite of ablution,' `to baptize' " (same place). It is "an immersion in water, performed as a sign of the removal of sin," etc. (same place); "Baptizo, to dip in or under water" (Liddell and Scott, Greek Lexicon).

2. Triple Action:

The threefold immersion is based upon the Trinity into which the believer is to be baptized "into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (eis to onoma tou patros kal tou huiou kai tou hagiou pneumatos, Matthew 28:19). (On the genuineness of this passage see Plummer, Commentary on Matthew.)

II. Doctrinal Argument.

Whether Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 28:19 as a baptismal formula or not does not affect the question. The passages in Acts, "in the name of Jesus Christ" (2:38; 10:48), and "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (8:16; 19:5), are not baptismal formulas, but mean the confession of Christ with all that Christ stands for, namely, the fullness of God and His salvation. The idea of the Trinity pervades the New Testament and many of the earliest writings (compare 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:14-17; 4:4-6 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; Hebrews 6:4-6 1 John 3:23, 24; 1 John 4:2 Jude 1:20, 21 Revelation 1:4, 5). "Baptized into Christ" has the same religious content as Matthew 28:19. Triune immersion is the symbol of baptism into the Triune God. All believers in the Trinity should see the consistency of this symbol. Baptism is the symbol

(1) of a complete cleansing,

(2) of death,

(3) of burial,

(4) of resurrection, and

(5) of entering into full union and fellowship with the Triune God as revealed by Christ.

Triune immersion is the only symbol that symbolizes all that baptism stands for. Note the words of Sanday on Romans 6:1-14 (comm. on Rom, ICC, 153): "Baptism has a double function:

(1) It brings the Christian into personal contact with Christ, so close that it may fitly be described as personal union with Him.

(2) It expresses symbolically a series of acts corresponding to the redeeming acts of Christ. Immersion = Death. Submersion = Burial (the ratification of Death). Emergence = Resurrection. All these the Christian has to undergo in a moral and spiritual sense, and by means of his union with Christ." Hence, the psychological need of a true symbol, triune immersion, to teach and impress the significance of the new life.

III. Historical Practice.

1. The Jews: The Jews received proselytes by circumcision, baptism (complete immersion) and sacrifice (Schurer, HJP, II, 2, pp. 319 f; Edersheim, LTJM, II, 745, and I, 273). John the Baptist, baptized "in the river Jordan" (Matthew 3:6) and "in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there" (John 3:23).

2. John the Baptist:

Philip and the eunuch "both went down into the water" and they "came up out of the water." All New Testament baptisms were by immersion (see also Romans 6:1-11).

3. The Didache:

The Didache (100-150 A.D.) chapter vii: "Baptize into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. But if they have not living water, baptize into other water; and if thou canst not in cold, in warm" (baptisate eis to onoma tou patos kai tou huiou kai tou hagiou pneumatos en hudati zonti). "But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice (tris) upon the head into the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit." Here the triple action is maintained throughout, even in clinical baptism, while immersion is the rule.

Justin Martyr (Apology i.61) describes baptism which can only be understood as triune immersion.

4. Justin Martyr:

Tertullian (De Corona, iii) says, "Hereupon we are thrice immersed" (dehinc ter mergitamur). Again (Ad Praxeam, xxvi), "And lastly he commands them to baptize into the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, not into a unipersonal God.

5. Tertullian:

And indeed it is not only once but three times that we are immersed into the Three Persons, at each several mention of their names" (nam nec semel, sed ter, ad singula nomina, in personas singulos, tinguimur).

6. Eunomius:

Eunomius (circa 360) introduced single immersion "into the death of Christ." This innovation was condemned. Apostolical Constitutions, 50, says, "If any presbyter or bishop does not perform the one initiation with three immersions, but with giving one immersion only into the death of the Lord, let him be deposed." Single immersion was allowed by Gregory the Great (circa 691) to the church in Spain in opposition to the Arians who used a trine (not triune) immersion (Epis., i.43). This was exceptional.

7. Greek Church:

The Greek church has always baptized by triune immersion. The historical practice of the Christian church may well be summed up in the words of Dean Stanley: "There can be no question that the original form of baptism-the very meaning of the word-was complete immersion in the deep baptismal waters; and that for at least four centuries, any other form was either unknown, or regarded, unless in the case of dangerous illness, as an exceptional, almost monstrous case..... A few drops of water are now the western substitute for the threefold plunge into the rushing river or the wide baptisteries of the East" (History of Eastern Church, 28). "For the first three centuries the most universal practice of baptism was.... that those who were baptized, were plunged, submerged, immersed into the water" (Christian Institutions, p. 21).



James Quinter, Triune Immersion as the Apostolic Form of Christian Baptism; C. F. Yoder, God's Means of Grace, Brethren Pub. House, Elgin, Ill., U.S.A.; Smith, Dict. of Christian Antiquities; Hastings, ERE; Bible Dicts.; Church Fathers; Church Histories, and Histories of Baptism.

Daniel Webster Kurtz

907. baptizo -- to dip, sink
... 907 -- properly, "submerge" (Souter); hence, , to immerse (literally, "dip "). 907 ()
implies submersion ("immersion"), in contrast to 472 ("sprinkle"). ...
// - 9k

Whether Trine Immersion is Essential to Baptism?
... OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM (TWELVE ARTICLES) Whether trine immersion is essential
to Baptism? ... Therefore it seems that trine immersion is essential to Baptism. ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether trine immersion is essential.htm

Whether Immersion in Water is Necessary for Baptism?
... OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM (TWELVE ARTICLES) Whether immersion in water is
necessary for Baptism? Objection 1: It seems that immersion ...
/.../aquinas/summa theologica/whether immersion in water is.htm

Eunomius and his Teacher Aetius, their Affairs and Doctrines. They ...
... Book VI. Chapter XXVI."Eunomius and his Teacher Aëtius, their Affairs and Doctrines.
They were the first who broached One Immersion for the Baptism. ...
/.../chapter xxvi eunomius and his teacher.htm

But the Descent into the Water, and the Trine Immersion of the ...
... But the descent into the water, and the trine immersion of the person in it� ... This
may be pressed to imply that immersion was not absolutely necessary. ...
/.../gregory of nyssa dogmatic treatises etc/chapter xxxv but the descent.htm

Acts XIX
... (3) He said to them, Into what, then, were you immersed? They said, Into
John's immersion. (4) Then Paul said, John indeed immersed ...
/.../mcgarvey/a commentary on acts of the apostles/acts xix.htm

... (See Mark 7:4. Heb.9:10.). None of the accounts of baptism, which are given in the
New Testament, necessarily imply that it was performed by immersion. ...
// book of religions/pedobaptists.htm

False Teachings of the Apostasy.
... To give this a true literal translation, we have: "I indeed immerse you in water."
Immersion is a mode of baptism, and the only Scriptural one. ...
// gospel day /chapter iii false teachings of.htm

How we May Become Hidden Sons of God, and Attain to the God-Seeing ...
... the simple ray of the Splendour of God, in which we are grounded, and which draws
us out of ourselves into the superessence, and into the immersion of love. ...
/.../john/the adornment of the spritual marriage/chapter ix how we may.htm

Free Communion Baptists.
... This denomination of Christians dissent from the regular Baptists on the point that
immersion is a prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation, and ...
/.../hayward/the book of religions/free communion baptists.htm

... Campbell (founder of the Church of the Disciples, who teach that baptism by immersion
is regeneration): Christian Baptism, with its Antecedents and Consequents ...
/.../schaff/history of the christian church volume i/section 54 baptism.htm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Submersion in water; a dipping; as, the immersion of Achilles in the Styx.

2. (n.) Submersion in water for the purpose of Christian baptism, as, practiced by the Baptists.

3. (n.) The state of being overwhelmed or deeply absorbed; deep engagedness.

4. (n.) The disappearance of a celestial body, by passing either behind another, as in the occultation of a star, or into its shadow, as in the eclipse of a satellite; -- opposed to emersion.

... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (n.) Submersion in water; a dipping; as, the immersion
of Achilles in the Styx. ... TRINE IMMERSION; TRIUNE IMMERSION. ...
/i/immersion.htm - 14k

... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. TRINE IMMERSION; TRIUNE IMMERSION. trin tri'-un
i-mur'-shun: I. LINGUISTIC BASIS 1. Immersion 2. Triple Action II. ...
/t/triune.htm - 13k

... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. TRINE IMMERSION; TRIUNE IMMERSION. trin tri'-un
i-mur'-shun: I. LINGUISTIC BASIS 1. Immersion 2. Triple Action II. ...
/t/trine.htm - 14k

... CHRISTIAN BAPTISM 1. The administration of the Rite 2. The Mode of Using the Water
(1) Immersion (2) Affusion (3) Aspersion 3. Who May Perform Baptism 4. Who ...
/n/nonimmersionist.htm - 38k

... CHRISTIAN BAPTISM 1. The administration of the Rite 2. The Mode of Using the Water
(1) Immersion (2) Affusion (3) Aspersion 3. Who May Perform Baptism 4. Who ...
/n/non-immersionist.htm - 38k

View (86 Occurrences)
... CHRISTIAN BAPTISM 1. The administration of the Rite 2. The Mode of Using the Water
(1) Immersion (2) Affusion (3) Aspersion 3. Who May Perform Baptism 4. Who ...
/v/view.htm - 81k

Baptist (16 Occurrences)
... who deny the validity of infant baptism and of sprinkling, and maintain that baptism
should be administered to believers alone, and should be by immersion. ...
/b/baptist.htm - 56k

Interpretation (45 Occurrences)
... There are, indeed, figurative or metaphorical uses of the word as of other words,
but the figurative is that of immersion, like our "immersed in cares ...
/i/interpretation.htm - 57k

Bathe (35 Occurrences)
... 1. (vt) To wash by immersion, as in a bath; to subject to a bath. ... 9. (n.) The
immersion of the body in water; as to take one's usual bathe. ...
/b/bathe.htm - 18k

... 5). Three kinds of washing are recognized in Biblical and rabbinical law: (1) washing
of the hands, (2) washing of the hands and feet, and (3) immersion of the ...
/a/ablution.htm - 18k



Related Terms





View (86 Occurrences)

Baptist (16 Occurrences)

Interpretation (45 Occurrences)

Bathe (35 Occurrences)


Immer (10 Occurrences)



Immigrants (1 Occurrence)

Drown (5 Occurrences)

Dip (17 Occurrences)

Plunge (4 Occurrences)

Christian (41 Occurrences)

Baptism (76 Occurrences)

Feet (2931 Occurrences)

Washing (56 Occurrences)

Proselyte (2 Occurrences)

Literature (2 Occurrences)

Ethiopia (26 Occurrences)

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