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Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
Source of this article is https://carm.org/is-baptism-necessary-salvation by Matt Slick
One of the most nagging questions in Christianity is whether or not baptism is necessary for salvation. The answer is a simple, "No, water baptism is not necessary for salvation."
1 Pet. 3:21, "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
This is the only verse that says that baptism saves, but the NIV translation of the verse is unfortunate. A better translation is found in the NASB which says, "and corresponding to that, baptism now saves you."
The key word in this section is the Greek antitupon. It means "copy," "type," "corresponding to," "a thing resembling another," "its counterpart," etc. Baptism is a representation, a copy, a type of something else. The question is "Of what is it a type?" or "Baptism corresponds to what?" The answer is found in the previous verse, verse 20: "who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you." (NASB).
Some think that the baptism corresponds to the Ark because it was the Ark that saved them--not the floodwaters. This is a possibility, but one of the problems is that this interpretation does not seem to stand grammatically since the antecedent of Baptism is most probably in reference to the water--not the Ark.