Jesus gave the first command to baptize to His disciples in Matthew 28:16, 18-19, “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee…and Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). We know that they obeyed this command, for in Acts 2:38 we read, “Then Peter said to them (his fellow Jews who were assembled at the Feast of Pentecost), ‘Repent, and let every one of you BE BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.’” Verse 41 goes on to say, “Then those who gladly received his word WERE BAPTIZED.” As we read on in the book of Acts we read that at least Peter continued to baptize those had believed on Christ (see Acts 10:47-48).

One might conclude that the twelve apostles were the only ones permitted to baptize, but the scripture you referred to teaches us that others also baptized. Let’s read Acts 8:35-38, “And Philip, opening his mouth and beginning from that scripture, announced the glad tidings of Jesus to him. And as they went along the way, they came upon a certain water, and the eunuch says, Behold water; what hinders my being baptized? And he commanded the chariot to stop. And they went down both to the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and HE BAPTISED HIM” (DARBY). Here we are taught that Philip had the privilege of baptizing a new believer. Was Philip an apostle? No, he wasn’t. We learn in different passages of Scripture that Philip was first chosen to help meet the temporal needs of the church in Jerusalem (see Acts 6:1-5). In our present chapter we see that a great persecution broke out and that “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.” This teaches us that the Lord gave him a gift to preach the gospel and this is confirmed later in Acts 21:8 where he is called, “Philip the evangelist.” The word “evangelist” refers to “one who preaches the good news of Jesus Christ.” We read earlier that as soon as one becomes a believer in Jesus Christ they should be baptized in order to officially become His disciple, so it is fitting that the one who leads someone to Christ is given the privilege of baptizing the new convert. We saw that Peter was privileged to baptize new believers both on the Day of Pentecost and then later in the home of a Gentile named Cornelius, and thus we can surely conclude that all believers who lead souls to Christ are permitted to baptize them.

We know that the apostle Paul also baptized people for we read In 1st Corinthians 1:14 & 16, “….I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius…I also baptized the household of Stephanus.” This is quite instructive, for Paul could only recall baptizing Crispus, Gaius and the household of Stephanus out of the many souls who were saved in the city of Corinth. Acts 18:8 states, “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed, and were baptized.” This begs the question, “Who baptized the majority of the believers at Corinth?” It is likely that some of Paul’s traveling companions did the baptizing. We learn from verse 1 that Paul “went to Corinth” alone but verse 5 we see that he was joined by “Silas and Timothy,” so one could assume Paul had most of the Corinthians baptized by them. Silas and Timothy often accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys but we aren’t told what their specific gift was. We do know at the end of Paul’s life he told Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” (2nd Timothy 4:5). We can’t be sure if Timothy was actually an evangelist (like Philip was), but he was still encouraged to tell sinners the good news of Jesus Christ.

In closing, I believe we can state emphatically that all who lead souls to Christ also have the PRIVILEGE and RESPONSIBILITY to baptize them. And there may be cases (as we saw with Paul in Corinth) where one who leads a soul to Christ with other believers doing the baptizing. There is not a word in Scripture about a so-called “pastor” being the one who must baptize new believers. (326.5) (DO)