I ran across a nifty little factoid while I was studying for my next sermon. This is an entry from Strong’s Lexicon for bapto. (If you’re wondering why I’m posting this, skip to the second paragraph.) It starts:
911 βάπτω, ῥαίνω [bapto /bap·to/] v. A primary word; TDNT 1:529; TDNTA 92; GK 970 and 4817; Three occurrences; AV translates as “dip” three times. 1 to dip, dip in, immerse. 2 to dip into dye, to dye, colour. Additional Information: Not to be confused with 907, baptizo.
Ok, here’s the interesting part.
The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. — Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the test of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (G911). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.
So when you’re baptized, the word itself points to a change that takes place. Neat, huh? And from a recipe for pickles! Who knew?