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Baptism in John 3:5?

Baptism in John 3:5?

Excerpt
Could the text of 3:5 then possibly refer to Christian baptism? The answer is certainly not a simple one. Birth from above for John was the equivalent of salvation or eternal life. Such birth, as some scholars have noted, is in John similar to being children of God in the Synoptic Gospels (e.g., Matt 18:3Mark 10:15).78 In the early church baptismal language could be used in contexts that refer to the salvation process. Examples are numerous, but a few will suffice, such as being buried and raised (e.g., Rom 6:1–11), or the putting off of the old way and the putting on of the new (e.g., Col 3:1–17), or in the commission to evangelize (e.g., Matt 28:10).
In such contexts, baptism and salvation were clearly linked to the thinking of early Christians. Was the same true for John, who later in the first century was writing reflectively on the significance of the Nicodemus story for his community of believers? In trying to answer this question, we are trying to make silence speak. Yet when we remember that the purpose of the Gospel is not simply to provide a newspaper report of the life of Jesus but to direct the reader’s attention to life in Christ, such a deeper level of application may not be impossible. That the early Christian readers at least would have seen in the Nicodemus story a symbolic reference to the whole process of salvation is quite probable.79
But a word of extreme caution needs to be added here lest the reader interprets the text in terms of the later doctrines of sacrament or ordinance. There is nothing of such doctrinal development here. R. Brown, a Roman… More
Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11. Vol. 25A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996. Print. The New American Commentary.
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