Religious rite involving water. The term is derived from a Greek word meaning “to immerse in or wash with water” (Mark 7:4). In the NT, John’s baptism is offered along with a prophetic call to repentance and forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4). The baptism of Jesus by John, however, is understood differently: it is a theophany (i.e., a self-revealing of God) in which Jesus is identified as God’s beloved Son. Christian baptism of converts retained the sense of Jewish rites of purification (1Pet 3:21) as well as conveying adoption as God’s children. Paul speaks of God pouring the Holy Spirit into converts’ hearts, enabling them to say “Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15-17). Thus, baptism was in some sense to Christianity what circumcision was to Judaism. Baptism is compared with Noah’s escape from God’s wrath (1Pet 3:21) and to Israel’s exodus through the sea (1Cor 10:1-4). Paul also likens baptism to Jesus’s death and resurrection: Christians symbolically die to their sins and former lives, a death they share with Christ, and are buried with him; as they rise from baptism in purity, they share the new life brought by Jesus’s resurrection (Rom 6:1-4).