When it comes to baptism, there are many diverse beliefs. What we should make a decision to do is believe based on the facts in the scriptures. They have never been proven wrong. So, as Jesus asked, “what does the scripture say,” about the mode of baptism.
What effect if any does baptism provide? Is it simply symbolic Is it always by immersion? The scriptures are very clear.
There is one effect 1 Corinthians 12:13 says we are sealed by the Spirit in baptism. We receive a seal of authenticity in our salvation, we have the stamp of acceptance. Other passages that discuss baptism by the spirit are directed at those present when Christ personally baptized them. It does not discuss believers in general (John 20:22; Acts 1:4-2:4).
Baptism is symbolic in its direct identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as stated in the scriptures (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21). This is a public symbol that is attested to the local church for direct testimony and to place one under the proper accountability of other believers (Ephesians 5:15-21).
Baptism is always and has always been through immersion. There are many (maybe hundreds) mikveh’s (small alcoves about 4 feet deep that water flows through) surrounding the temple mount for ceremonial baptism. The word baptize has always meant immersion. Ships are baptized to the bottom of the sea. The scripture speaks of going into the coming out of the water (Mark 1:5, 10; Matthew 3:7; John 3:23; Acts 8:38).
As you can see, the scriptures, history and archeological evidence all align and are very clear. The simplest explanation is often the truth. Baptism is an individual’s public identification to follow Jesus Christ by identifying with the confessing faith in His death burial and resurrection for the vicarious atonement of one’s sins.