9 Baptism Symbols and Their Meanings | LoveToKnow (2023)

9 Baptism Symbols and Their Meanings | LoveToKnow (1)

As your child or a close family member prepares for an upcoming baptism, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the most common baptism symbols. This way you can celebrate the baptism, choose a fitting gift, and help older children understand the symbolism surrounding the items.

Familiar Symbols Used in Baptism

There are five universal symbols of baptism: the cross, a white garment, oil, water, and light. Other familiar symbols include the baptismal font, scriptural readings and prayers, and godparents. These symbols represent the philosophies and teachings of the Christian religion and the traditions and rituals of an individual church and its congregation. Baptism is one of the sacraments of the church, and babies being baptized are welcomed as members of the Christian community. It is part of the Christian faith that once a baby has been baptized, he or she becomes a member of the family of God.

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The Cross

The cross is a universal symbol of Christianity. Making the sign of the cross over a child during the baptism invokes God's protection and asks for entrance into the body of the Christian church. You will find this symbol in many Christian rituals as well as in Christian churches. The cross is also a symbol of Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus' death was his sacrifice to clear the sins of all mankind. The cross is one of the most familiar of all Christian symbols.

White Clothing

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White is the color of purity and wearing a white garment during baptism symbolizes that the person being baptized now has a clean slate in the eyes of God. Christians believe everyone is born with "original sin" which is only washed away through baptism. The white garment symbolizes that the baptized person is now clothed in the mantle of God and will start a clean life in His eyes and in the eyes of the church.

(Video) Baptism Explained, Video 6: The Symbolism in Baptism

The Oil

Oil is another baptismal symbol of the Holy Spirit. Of course, oil also symbolizes the Holy Spirit during other sacraments and religious gatherings. During a baptism, the baby is anointed with oil, and oil is mentioned several times in the Bible as a symbol of bringing the person and the Holy Spirit together. Holy oils are used during baptism to strengthen the faith of the anointed. They also symbolize the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism Water

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Water is the Christian symbol of divine life as well as a sign of purity and cleansing from sin. The outward sign of baptism is the actual pouring of the water on the head while reciting the words, "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." The cleansing quality of water is considered something that can purify a person from the outside. The holy water signifies that life is given to man by God and is a symbol of His grace. Water also recalls the gospel, John 3: this 1-6, "... unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God..."

The Baptism Light

Light as a symbol of baptism is represented by the passing of a lighted candle from the celebrant to the godparents. The candle represents moving from death to life in Christ. Light, like water, is essential to the survival of life because, without the light of the sun, nothing would exist on earth. In addition to being a symbol of the genesis and vitality of life, the candle is a symbol of Christ as "the light of the world" and the Christian faith. When this candle is burning, religious faith is present.

The Dove

In baptism, dove symbolism depicts the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, when Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened, God spoke and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove. The dove affirmed Jesus as the Chosen One. This miraculous event demonstrates the loving union between the three aspects of the Christian Trinity: God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. The dove symbolizes peace between God and human beings as well. When the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove at Jesus' baptism, this showed that God (through Jesus) would pay the price for the sins of humanity so humanity could ultimately be reconciled with God.

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Other Symbolism in Baptismal Ceremonies

Baptismal ceremonies are not identical from one church to another. For example, the symbols and procedures are not the same in a Lutheran church as in a Catholic church. The ceremony is generally full of symbolism, regardless of the denomination.

The Baptismal Font

The traditional baptismal font holds the water used for the baptism. It symbolizes the baptismal streams, rivers, or pools of water in centuries past, like the River of Jordan where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. According to a particular denomination's tradition, the child is either immersed or dipped in the water in the font or water from the font is sprinkled or poured over the baby's head. Baptismal fonts are made of stone, metal, wood, or marble and have usually been present in the church for generations.

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(Video) Baptism: Signs and Symbols

Scriptural Readings and Prayers

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The scriptural readings during a baptism are taken from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. They celebrate God's word and call for a renewal and profession of faith. The readings also recall Christ's baptism and the symbolic meaning of this which is to die to self and be raised from this death as Christ was raised after the crucifixion.

The prayers during the baptismal ceremony beg freedom from sin for the child and ask for Christ's protection, blessings, mercy and grace on the child, the parents, the godparents, the family, and the congregation.

Membership Into the Church Community

A baptism represents a rebirth and union with Christ and through this, the child gains entrance into the membership of the church. The church community's members represent the holy body of Christ. The congregation gathered bears witness to the child's baptism and welcomes the baptized into Christ's holy church and the company of God.

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The Godparents

The tradition of godparents is to help the parents raise the godchild in the Christian faith. The godparents are chosen by the parents, and their role in a baptism ceremony varies. In some churches, a godparent will hold the baby during the baptismal rite, but in others, godparents stand with the parents to support them and bear witness to the ceremony. For some cultures, godparents hold an honorary title, while in others, godparents take their roles seriously and involve themselves in many aspects of the child's life.

Using Symbols in Baptism

All the symbols are important to traditional church baptism ceremonies although the details of their use may vary. The only symbol that a parent or relative is responsible for is dressing the child in a white garment before the baptism or providing such a garment for use after the baptismal sacrament. Of course, your child may receive several cross ornaments or jewelry items from family and friends, but you may want to have one for your baby to wear during the religious ceremony itself.

You can use these items to teach older children about the symbolism surrounding the sacrament of baptism. A baptism symbol worksheet can be a helpful tool for this kind of lesson. Alternatively, you can make a scrapbook with all the symbols, with pictures from the baptism ceremony, to teach the child who was baptized about it several years later.

Part of the Fabric of Christian Faith

The symbols of baptism are closely interwoven into the Christian faith and rituals. Some of these symbols can also be found in many other sacraments of churches rather than just during a baptism ceremony. They are reminders of the beauty of traditions preserved through generations.

(Video) Chosen Lesson 9 Segment 3 - "The Symbols of Baptism"

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What are the symbols of baptism and their meaning? ›

Water is used in Baptism as a symbol of life. In Baptism Christ gives new life. Holy oil is a symbol of strength and healing. It a symbol that the baby has the gift of the Holy Spirit and has been made holy, a special friend of Jesus who is king.

What 3 things does water Symbolise in baptism? ›

It “symbolizes death, burial, and resurrection, and can only be done by immersion” (Bible Dictionary, “Baptism”). Going under the water represents the death and burial of Jesus Christ, but it also represents the death of our natural selves (see Romans 6:3–6).

What are the symbols of baptism in the Lutheran Church? ›

The baptismal font has a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, on the handle. The piece of metal artwork near the font also depicts a dove and is explained in detail on the explanation plaque. The three candles, lit for baptism, symbolize faith in the triune God which is kindled in baptism.

What are the 4 spiritual gifts of baptism? ›

Thomas Aquinas says that four of these gifts (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel) direct the intellect, while the other three gifts (fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) direct the will toward God.

What are the colors for baptism? ›

As a symbol of purity, white has been the standard color for baby christening and baptism clothing for centuries to honor the Holy Spirit and God.

What are the 3 rituals of baptism? ›

Aspersion is the sprinkling of water on the head, and affusion is the pouring of water over the head. Traditionally, a person is sprinkled, poured, or immersed three times for each person of the Holy Trinity, with this ancient Christian practice called trine baptism or triune baptism.

What is the symbol of baptism in the Bible? ›

Baptism is a symbol of a greater reality in the Christian life. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in Jesus Christ, our crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ.

Why is the shell a symbol of baptism? ›

A shell is a symbol that reminds us of baptism. Many early baptisms were done near lakes, rivers, seashores. A shell would be used to pour water over the head of the one being baptized. When someone is baptized, that person is marked as a child of God.

What does the dove mean in baptism? ›

The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John who had baptized Jesus to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence." (History of the Church 5:261.)

What is the symbol for Baptist religion? ›

The architecture is sober and the Latin cross is one of the only spiritual symbols that can usually be seen on the building of a Baptist church and that identifies the place where it belongs.

What animal represents baptism? ›

The fish is one of the earliest and most important of Christian symbols. The five letters of the word for fish in Greek form an acrostic, signifying Jesus, Christ, Son of God, Savior (see ichthus). The fish is used also as a symbol of Baptism and of Christ in the Eucharist.

What are the symbols in Pentecostal baptism? ›

The symbols of Pentecost are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, the breath of God and a dove.

What 7 gifts were bestowed upon you at baptism? ›

They are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

What are the 12 spiritual gifts? ›

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
  • Word of wisdom.
  • Word of knowledge.
  • Faith.
  • Gifts of healing.
  • Miracles.
  • Prophecy.
  • Distinguishing between spirits.
  • Tongues.
Aug 16, 2022

What three things do you affirm in baptism? ›

We believe that water baptism is a public declaration of three important things:
  • You are a follow of Jesus Christ;
  • You are beginning a changed life in Christ; and.
  • You are part of a new family.

Can I wear yellow to a baptism? ›

Classic baptism in the church

Since baptism is a happy occasion, guests should express this with their clothes. Dresses in bright colours such as pastel shades or white are great. But also bolder colours like yellow, orange, apricot or red are a good choice for the baptism guests.

Can I wear dark blue to baptism? ›

And, while any color of suit will do (within reason), we definitely recommend wearing a navy suit. A navy suit is a refreshing change from a black suit, and since baptisms are a cause for celebration, it's nice to wear a lighter color.

What are the holy color? ›

There is the bright red, representing the spiritual awakening of Moses as he is visited by God. There is also the blue to symbolize the hope and faith Moses had in God. Finally, there is brown, which symbolizes the earth and God's connection to man. We again see two prominent colors in Christian art: Blue and red.

What are the symbols of the 7 sacraments? ›

Each sacrament has a sign: water for baptism, bread and wine for Holy Communion, the sign of the cross on the forehead with chrism oil for Confirmation, words of forgiveness for Reconciliation, the vows that the couple address to each other for Matrimony, imposition of a bishop's hands on the head for Holy Orders and ...

What are the 4 symbols of confirmation? ›

What are the symbolic actions of Confirmation?
  • The Laying On of Hands. The bishop places his hands on the head of the candidates and prays for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. ...
  • Anointing with oil. The anointing of the candidate at Confirmation recognises that they are sealed with the Holy Spirit. ...
  • The Sign of Peace.

What does the white cloth in baptism symbolize? ›

The colour white symbolises resurrection; in dressing the newly baptised in a white garment we are acknowledging that the life of the Resurrected Jesus and that His spirit is within them. These symbolize Christ – the Light of the World.

Can you be baptized twice? ›

Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated. The baptisms of those to be received into the Catholic Church from other Christian communities are held to be valid if administered using the Trinitarian formula. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 1256.

What are the 8 stages of baptism? ›

8 Major Elements of Baptism
  • The Sign of the Cross. ...
  • Readings from Scripture. ...
  • Exorcism and Anointing. ...
  • Blessing the Baptismal Water. ...
  • Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith. ...
  • The Essential Rite of the Sacrament. ...
  • The Anointing with Sacred Chrism. ...
  • Reception of the White Garment and the Candle.

What is the main prayer for baptism? ›

Creator God, We thank you for the gift of the life of this child who is to be baptized. May your blessing of peace and joy be with them and protect them all of their days. We make this prayer in the name of your Son, Jesus.

What are the 2 types of baptism? ›

In many denominations babies are baptised, and this is known as infant baptism. For Orthodox Christians , infant baptism involves total immersion . However, other denominations make the sign of the cross on the baby's head using oil and use holy water on the forehead.

Do you have to be baptized to go to heaven? ›

While Jesus told Nicodemus, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (John 3:5), he did not set baptism as a hindrance to salvation but just the opposite. We so often judge things by human standards, but God is not restrained by our standards.

What did Jesus say about baptism? ›

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

What did Jesus say about water baptism? ›

Luke 3:16. John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but He who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

What are the 2 oils used in baptism? ›

He'll bless holy chrism, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick. The first is used in the sacraments of confirmation and holy orders. The second is used in baptism.

What is the symbol of cross in baptism? ›

The Sign of the Cross is the mark of Christians showing that Jesus died on the Cross for us. At baptism parents and grandparents trace it on the child's forehead to show that the child belongs to Christ, who now offers his help and grace always to face and overcome the sufferings and trials that life may throw at us.

What is the baptism stole symbol? ›

A white garment (or stole) is usually required as a symbol of purity and the cleansing of Baptism.

What are the 8 symbols of the Holy Spirit? ›

The symbols of the Holy Spirit are: Dove, Fire, Oil, Wind and Water. The Dove: This can be seen in the description of the baptism of Christ (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:30-34). A dove symbolises peace (Psalms 55:6; Song of Songs 2:12); purity (Song of Songs 5:2; 6:9); innocence (Matt.

What does the flame mean in baptism? ›

Understanding Baptism by Fire

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." The phrase was originally synonymous with a personal ordeal that someone went through. In Biblical and Christian references, a baptism by fire is also used to describe the martyrdom of an individual.

What does the olive branch symbolize in Christianity? ›

It is first mentioned in Scripture when the dove returned to Noah's ark carrying an olive branch in its beak (Gen. 8:11). Since that time, the olive branch has been a symbol of “peace” to the world, and we often hear the expression, “extending an olive branch” to another person as a desire for peace.

Why is a seashell a symbol of baptism? ›

A shell is a symbol that reminds us of baptism. Many early baptisms were done near lakes, rivers, seashores. A shell would be used to pour water over the head of the one being baptized. When someone is baptized, that person is marked as a child of God.

What are the symbols of spiritual baptist? ›

Candles and Candlestick: The candlestick symbolizes the Baptist Church, and the candles, the spirit of the church. The candlestick holds the candles which provide the light. The light is symbolic of the Light of the world – Jesus. Lothar: The Lothar is a vessel used in the church.

Why can't Baptists dance? ›

Various Christian groups believe that dancing is either inherently sinful or that certain forms of dancing could lead to sinful thoughts or activities, and thus proscribe it either in general or during religious services, particularly in the Anabaptist (chiefly Conservative Anabaptist and Old Order Anabaptist ...

What are the three main beliefs of Baptists? ›

Baptists are united by a belief in full-body immersion baptism, baptism of professed believers only (rather than infant baptism), the autonomy of local churches, the Bible as the ultimate religious authority, and the priesthood of all believers.

What does the white garment represent in baptism? ›

Following the Anointing with Chrism, the minister of Baptism presents the newly baptized with a white garment and a candle. The white garment shows that the newly baptized have put on Christ and have risen with him. To be clothed in the baptismal white garment is to be clothed in Christ's protective love.

What are the two oils used in baptism? ›

He'll bless holy chrism, the oil of catechumens, and the oil of the sick. The first is used in the sacraments of confirmation and holy orders. The second is used in baptism.

What is the correct way to be baptized? ›

The Correct Mode of Baptism

There is only one correct mode of baptism. Jesus revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that a person having the proper priesthood authority to baptize “shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism. …

What do you say before you get baptized? ›

5) What will the pastor say before I am baptized? Today we acknowledge your old self is buried with Christ and you have been raised to new life in Jesus! Therefore, (your name here), I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!"


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