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Scripture and Readings to Accompany Baptism- An Overview

The word of God is the most fitting accompaniment to the baptism ceremony. Holy words, whether spoken by a priest or pastor, recited aloud by the congregation or read by a friend or family member speak volumes at a special event like a baptism ceremony. There are also some secular works that appropriately complement the rite, but we’ll start with scripture.

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Bible Verses for Baptism

Baptism is a theme discussed throughout the bible. We get to read about Christ’s baptism in the Jordan by John and experience the immersion of other believers throughout the text. As you would expect, there is a vast array of scripture devoted to the subject. Here are a few examples:

Matthew 3:13-17 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:9-11 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Luke 3:21, 22 “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”

To read other examples, visit What Christians want to Know.

Poetry

Poetry is another beautiful and lyrical way to express the holiness of baptism. Some churches may allow poems to be ready during the ceremony itself, but if your parish doesn’t, you can always present a poem to the family of the baptized as a token of the special day. Here’s an example of a poem I wrote to commemorate the sanctity of baptism:

Pure of heart and pure of faith,

You gave it all to light my way,

Cleanse my spirit, speak your truth,

Fill my heart with praise for You.

Each step I walk and breath I take,

I strive to do so for your sake,

Lord my God, please make me whole,

Lead me and inspire my soul.

 

This piece is perfect for the baptism of an adult or older child who understands the holy significance of what they’re undertaking.

This excerpt from the secular poem Higher Meaning by Russell Sivey speaks to the beauty of nature, especially water, and may also tie in to a baptism.

 

Crystal clear teal, it foams at its edges

The lake holds creativity within

Nothing about it looks like the forest

The light from the waning sun captivates

 

No meaning is greater than the sun’s rays

It brought me the mauve colors before me

The water, that lovely water, is blue

Colorful only by the sun’s bright light

 

May I always enjoy my forest here

And the water, the crystal clear water

 

I will forever be inspired from this

To write lovely words of great tenderness

Saving my heart, leaving me with true joy

I will always feel the pure wonderment

During the Ceremony

Each church will interpret the baptism ceremony in a slightly different fashion. Remember, some ceremonies are private, held inside a church, and unique to the congregation and family being honored. Other parishes choose to hold ceremonies outdoors, using a lake, river or community pool as a baptismal. These ceremonies are often public and sometimes attended by members of a community outside the church family.

Just to give you an idea of what to expect, here is an excerpt from a sample ceremony template. Some of it is specific to the baptism of a child. You can read the full outline here.

  • It is important to note that this person is not being baptized into any specific Church Denomination, however Churches recognize the Baptism Certificate.
  • The family of the supplicant would like each of you to share their joy on this happy occasion, and they also look forward to your continuing friendship, interest and involvement in the years ahead.
  • [Dad] and [Mom], will you as parents care for [Child], keep her/him clothed, sheltered and protect her/him, for as long as she needs you as best you can?
(Answer) We will.
  • (Question) Will you comfort [Child] when she/he is distressed and laugh with her/him when she's/he's happy?
(Answer) We will.
  • (Question) Will you as parents try in every way possible to raise [Child] in such a way that she/he will feel loved and secure? (Answer) We will.
  • I baptize you in the name of The Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  • To your extended family and friends, may you contribute to making this world a better and happier place for all of us, and may the Lord bless you and make your life a blessing to the world. Amen.

Here’s a video example of a ceremony where you can hear both the priest’s recitation and the congregation’s response.