Q. Thanks again for your amazing work for the Lord. I have a question regarding 1 Corinthians 15:29. I’ve read three different versions (NIV, KJV, NLT) and they all say the same thing, that people were being baptized for the dead. It doesn’t appear that Paul was in any way chastising this practice. What is your take on this? My NIV says that there is no further reference to this practice in the bible.
A. There is no Scriptural justification for baptizing dead people. Hebrews 9:27 says that we’re given one life and after that it’s judgment time. This means that we only have the duration of this life to decide our eternal destiny.
Paul’s comment about baptizing for the dead was satirical, because the people doing it didn’t believe in the resurrection. Jesus didn’t teach baptism for the dead, the Gospels don’t contain it and the Apostles didn’t practice it. These are the three criteria by which church doctrine is determined to be sound.
Baptism alone will not even save a living person. Their conscious confession of faith is what saves them. How can it possibly save a dead person who can no longer make such a confession?