Is baptism a requirement for salvation?

What must we do to be saved?



This question, or some variation, is frequently asked in the book of Acts.



This first time it is asked is in Acts 2:37. After having been told they had recently killed the Messiah, the crowd is cut to the heart, convinced of their great sin. Peter had stood up and preached to them that the Messiah, who was to bring them salvation, had been killed on the cross by their rejection of Him. They realize that having murdered the Messiah, their salvation was in jeopardy:


Acts 2:37

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"


They were asking what they must do to be saved


Peter gives them the answer:


"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. –Acts 2:38



Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, asked the same question. Saul had been persecuting the church of Christ and was confronted by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus. When Saul realizes the trouble he is in, probably understanding he is headed for destruction, he asks Jesus, “Lord, what must I do?” Jesus tells him to go into the city and wait to be told what to do. Ananias eventually arrives in Damascus and tells him:


“What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” –Acts 22:16




When Paul and Silas were in Jail at night, the jailer asked them the same question:


He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" –Acts 16:30


Notice what happens next. Jesus had told the disciples in Mark 16:16 that “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” And this is exactly what we see happening with the Jailer. He asks what he has to do to be saved. He is told he must first believe. Then he is immediately baptized! The jailer is a perfect example of Mark 16:16 in action:


They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. -Acts 16:31-33


So in conclusion, we can see in the book of Acts that whenever someone asks the question “what must we do to be saved” the answer and example set forth in Scripture is that we must: believe, repent, and be baptized!


Q: “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

A: “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins…” (Acts 2:38)


Q: “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10)

A: “…Get up be baptized and wash your sins away…” (Acts 22:16)


Q: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

A: “Believe in the Lord Jesus… then immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:31-33;See also Mark 16:16)


That’s three examples. How many times must God tell us something before we will believe Him?




This page added: June 26, 2003