“Christ Did Not Send Me to Baptize”

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:17

One of the notable points of disagreement we have with the religious world is over baptism. We teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. In general, the “Christian” religious world rejects this. Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17 is often used to say that baptism is not necessary. We need to understand what this verse means and what the Scriptures teach about baptism so we can defend the truth and lead others to understand the gospel.

Scripture Harmonizes

  • Fundamental principle of Bible interpretation – the Bible will not contradict itself (John 10:35)
  • The Bible is the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) – it is right and cannot be wrong (Proverbs 30:5-6)
  • Paul is not contradicting other passages that teach the role of baptism in salvation – words of Paul and others (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4); actions of Paul (Acts 16:15,33; 19:4-5; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:14,16)
  • Paul’s words do not contradict these passages – man’s interpretation of Paul’s words contradicts these passages

Preaching and Results

  • Paul’s purpose was to preach, not to baptize – what does that mean?
  • Difference between an action and the potential results of that action – we are in control of one (preaching), but not the other (the response of the hearers)
  • We plant and water; God causes the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6) – different people will respond differently (Luke 8:11-15)
  • We must simply preach the gospel – without it, no one will be saved (Romans 1:16)
  • Trust in God that His word is able to pierce to the heart (Acts 2:37) and accomplish His work (Isaiah 55:11)

Why People Reject the Gospel

  • We know that the gospel is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16) – naturally, we want people to be saved; but not all will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14)
  • Why do people reject the gospel, and how should this affect our teaching efforts?
  • Some do not understand the gospel – so we need to speak plainly (2 Corinthians 3:12)
  • Some do not believe the gospel – so we must provide reason and evidence (Acts 17:2-3; Hebrews 11:1)
  • Some do not want to obey God – so we must persuade (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)
  • In all of these efforts, we must not stop preaching the gospel

Do Not Compromise the Truth

  • Too many people, in order to convert more, compromise the truth – they act as if their purpose is to baptize; so if compromising leads to more baptisms, they will do that
  • Preaching a different gospel helps no one (Galatians 1:6-7) – also results in the condemnation of the one who teaches the different gospel (Galatians 1:8-9)
  • Baptism alone does not save – to be “born again” through a different “seed” is useless (1 Peter 1:23); baptism that is not preceded by repentance is not effective (Acts 2:38)
  • Jesus commissioned His apostles to “make disciples,” then baptize them (Matthew 28:19) – unless one commits to being a disciple, baptism is meaningless


  • Paul’s statement about preaching and baptizing is important – but we must appreciate the context
  • People must be baptized in order to be saved
  • But we cannot compromise the truth to make more “converts” – preaching the gospel; make disciples

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