Word and Wind
Written By: Bishop G.T. Haywood
Published By: Voice In The Wilderness (1924)
I his effort to offset Water baptism as Biblical means whereby one is prepared to receive the Holy Ghost, a brother says that John 3:5 means to be born of the “word and wind” instead of “water and Spirit” as it is translated. His reason for so saying is that the word “wind” and “spirit” are the same word in Greek (pneuma). But this is a mistake. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance the word “wind” occurs but 25 times in the New Testament. Twenty-two times it is translated from the Greek word “anemos”, and three times from the word “pneo”, which means “a breeze”. Thus we have in John 3:8, “The wind (pneo, not pneuma) bloweth where it listeth”.
The word Spirit is recorded in the New Testament 198 times, and of this number it is translated 196 times from the word “pneuma,” which means a “spectre” (Mat. 14:12; Mar. 6:49). The word “pneuma” is invariably translated “spirit” and not wind”.
The word water is translated from the word ‘hudor‘, which means “water” literally, or figuratively. There is no place in the New Testament where “water” means the “word” . In Eph. 5:26 where the two expressions are together we find that “water” is translated from the Greek term “hudor”, while “word” is translated from the word “rhema”, which literally means “utterance, narration, command, saying, or word”.
To say that to be born of water and spirit means to be born of “word and wind” is far-fetched. If “water” means word, and “Spirit” does not mean Spirit, but wind instead, then to be born of water and Spirit means to receive the word and then to get out into the wind. If that were true we would find ourselves depending on natural elements (the wind) in this instance as well as when we use literal water in baptism. The argument of the opposition is that we who take John 3:5 to mean literal water are “depending on natural elements to obtain spiritual life”.
If you will notice closely you will see that after Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born of “water and spirit” , He is next found in Judea baptizing His disciples (John 3:22, 23), This, evidently being done to confirm what He had commanded of the ruler of the Jews.
According to the book of Acts of the Apostles those who were with Jesus both before and after his crucifixion understood Him to mean literal water and failed not to administer the same, even though one should receive the Holy Spirit before being baptized. See Acts 8:12-17, 27-39; 10:43-48.
We would not hold that water alone is sufficient, but rather, according to the command of God, it is a part of God’s command, and is included in the thundering ultimatum of the King of kings to the people of the kingdom of darkness, “Ye MUST BE BORN AGAIN”.
Did the Apostles baptize in water? Was Jesus Christ, our pattern and example, baptized in water? Does not the Word of God show that baptism in water was administered all through the early church? Then why should all this confusion, debate, and strife arise over a thing so plainly seen and taught in the Holy Scriptures? Somebody is utterly at fault. Somebody will have to give an account to God for their actions this day.
To teach that one has nothing to do to be saved in unscriptural. At Pentecost they cried, “Men and brethren, what must we do?” Peter’s reply was “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”. There is no one who would say that Peter meant for them to be baptized in order to merit their salvation. NEVER!! Yet this one thing they did, and God filled them with the Holy Ghost. There was no work on the part of the one baptized. All he did was to surrender and submit himself for a burial by baptism.
As soon as one repents of his sins, according to the word of God, he is ready for baptism. Why should one be accused of heresy who practices thus? Let us look the matter squarely in the face! Is it wrong to baptize a person after this manner? Is so, what scripture is there against it? How can we say we are “earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” when we ourselves have not the faith to baptize one “for the remission of sins” as they did in those days? They believed God, and had faith in the operation of God. But when the Son of Man cometh will He find faith on earth? It is written, “The just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him”.