Before we answer that question, it is important to see that there are two kinds of baptism mentioned in the New Testament. The first one is mentioned in Matthew 3:11 where John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance.” Many responded to John as we see in verses 5-6, “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (NKJV). John’s baptism was meant to make men see their sinful condition and thus to prepare their hearts to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. All who were baptized by John became his disciples and thus they sat under his teaching until Christ was revealed and then men would follow Him and become His disciples.

The second one is seen in Matthew 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” This is what we call “Christian baptism” where one who has believed on the Lord Jesus becomes an official disciple of Jesus Christ. They willingly sit under the teachings of Christ with a desire to obey whatever He has commanded them. There are also some deep spiritual truths symbolized in this baptism as we see in passages such as Romans 6:3-5: “Are you ignorant that we, as many as have been baptized unto Christ Jesus, have been baptized unto His death? We have been BURIED THEREFORE WITH HIM BY BAPTISM UNTO DEATH, in order that, even as Christ has been raised up from among the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we are become identified with Him in the likeness of His death, so also we shall be of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin” (DARBY). We saw that John’s baptism was “unto repentance” (a confession that we are sinners) and here we learn the Christian baptism is “unto death” (a confession that we were identified with Christ in His death and resurrection).

Now for your question, “Can a person be baptized twice?” The fact is there were people who lived back in Jesus’ day who were baptized twice. They were first “baptized unto repentance” and later baptized “unto Christ Jesus” (i.e. “unto death”). We read of them in Acts 19:1-5, “And it came to pass, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper districts, came to Ephesus, and finding certain disciples, he said to them, Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye had believed? And they said to him, We did not even hear if the Holy Spirit was come. And he said, To what then were ye baptized? And they said, To the baptism of John. And Paul said, John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on him that was coming after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they heard that, there were baptized to the name of the Lord Jesus.” This is only case that we read of where some were BAPTIZED TWICE. Of course, it’s very likely that many others, who had been baptized by John and later came to believe on Christ, also submitted to Christian baptism and were “baptized unto Christ.” This would be the only reason for being baptized twice and it was only true of those who lived in the days of John the Baptist.

Today there are those who were baptized “unto Christ” BEFORE they were saved and AFTER coming to faith in Christ desire to be baptized again to show they are now willing to truly identify with Christ as their Lord and Savior. There are no examples of this in Scripture yet I would not fault one for having this desire. Yet it does beg the question, “If one is baptized according to Matthew 28:18-20, is he/she a DISCIPLE OF CHRIST even if they haven’t been saved?” Some say “no”; others say “yes.” Those who say yes point to John 6:66 where we read, “From that time many of HIS (Jesus’) DISCIPLES went away back and walked no more with Him.” These are called “His disciples” but they were obviously not saved. This leads me to believe that if one is baptized “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” they are looked upon as disciples, though they are not “genuine disciples.” Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you abide (i.e. continue) in My word, you are My disciples INDEED.”  (389.3)  (DO)