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The Bible and Baptism

The Fountain of Salvation

series: Catholic Biblical Theology of the Sacraments, A

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This addition to A Catholic Biblical Theology of the Sacraments series provides readers with a deeper appreciation of God's gifts and call in the Sacraments through a renewed encounter with God's Word

New Testament scholar Isaac Morales, OP, offers a biblical theology of the initiatory rite of baptism that will be interesting and informative to the church catholic. Morales provides a synthetic biblical account of the sacrament of baptism, rooted in the rich water symbolism of the Old Testament and finding its full flourishing in baptismal participation in the saving events of Christ's passion, death, and resurrection as described in the New Testament. The book includes illustrations and sidebars.

The Catholic Biblical Theology of the Sacraments series is designed to complement the popular Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. Series volumes provide lay teachers with background and depth on the seven sacraments, making them suitable for classroom use and parish ministry. Series editors Timothy C. Gray and John Sehorn both teach at the Augustine Institute Graduate School of Theology, which equips leaders for the New Evangelization and prepares students for Christian mission. The Institute serves more than five hundred students through both on-campus and distance education programs. Gray is also president of the Augustine Institute, which has one million subscribers to its online content channel,


Series Preface
Introduction: The Fountain of Salvation
Part 1: Written for Our Instruction: Water in the Old Testament
1. The Waters of Life
2. The Waters of Death
3. The Waters of Freedom
4. The Waters of Purity
Part 2: The Substance Belongs to Christ: Baptism in the New Testament
5. Christ, the Model of Baptism
6. Christ, the Source of Baptism
7. Baptism "in the Name"
8. Dying and Rising with Christ
9. Being Clothed with Christ
10. Baptism and New Birth
11. Baptismal Purity
12. Baptismal Unity
Conclusion: Salvation through Worship
Appendix: Infant Baptism
Suggested Resources


"In The Bible and Baptism, Isaac Morales offers a sparklingly clear account of the baptismal imagery that ripples throughout Scripture. Particularly impressive is his exposition of the significance of water as a poetic figure of life, death, freedom, and purity in the Old Testament. Equally compelling is his close reading of the way in which the New Testament interprets baptism as a pointer to Christ's death and resurrection. This book not only enriches our understanding of baptism but also illuminates the way in which early Christian interpreters understood the unity of the biblical story. This is a book that deserves to be read and pondered by church study groups, theological students, and anyone who desires a deeper understanding of the sacrament of baptism."

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Duke University

"Fr. Morales's keen and careful scholarship on the biblical understanding of baptism leads the reader to a deep appreciation of the 'pattern of dying and rising with Christ' by which the baptized 'attains to a freedom' like no other. As Fr. Morales so ably shows, it is baptism that transforms the believer 'into a temple fit for God's dwelling.'"

Peter John Cameron, OP, founding editor in chief, Magnificat

"This study is both timely and traditional. Moving deftly through Scripture and drawing on Christian thought through the ages, Morales explores how central themes of Scripture are enriched through meditation on baptism in response to perennial and contemporary challenges. Thus he demonstrates that baptism, more than an initiation rite, is a call to a lifelong journey of liberation and transformation, one that requires reckoning seriously with the limitations and inevitable distortions of human existence."

Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School

"Baptism--the central Christian sacrament and, indeed, the entrance to all the other sacraments--is nevertheless often theologically understudied, even outright neglected. But in this sweeping biblical study encompassing the Old and New Testaments, Fr. Morales establishes the scriptural roots and foundation of baptism, its utter centrality in the Christian's life with God, and the ecumenical import of a biblically grounded understanding of baptism. Sound exegesis, solid theological interpretation, and salutary application make this lucidly written book a must-read for seminarians, deacons, priests, and all Christians eager to rediscover and reclaim the meaning of their own baptism. Tolle lege--take and read!"

Reinhard Hütter, Ordinarius Professor of Fundamental and Dogmatic Theology, The Catholic University of America

Praise for the Catholic Biblical Theology of the Sacraments series

"Sacraments are at the heart of Catholic spirituality and liturgical life. They are celebrated in the context of the proclamation of God's Word. This excellent series will help Catholics appreciate more and more both the relationship between Word and Sacrament and how the sacraments are grounded in the riches of Scripture."

Thomas D. Stegman†, SJ, dean and professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

"This series shows tremendous promise and ambition in laying out the multiple living connections between the Scriptures and the sacramental life of the Church. Taken together, these books could accomplish what Jean Daniélou's The Bible and the Liturgy accomplished for a previous generation of biblical and theological scholarship. And like that work, this series gives to students of the Bible a deeply enriched view of the mesh of relationships within and between biblical texts that are brought to light by the liturgy of the sacraments."

Jennifer Grillo, Tisch Family Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

"In recent years, theological exegesis--biblical commentary by theologians--has made a significant contribution. This series turns the tables: explicitly theological reflection by biblical scholars. The result is a breakthrough. Theologically trained, exegetically astute biblical scholars here explore the foundations of Catholic sacramental theology, along paths that will change the theological conversation. This series points the way to the theological and exegetical future."

Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"The sacraments come to us clothed in images that carry their mystery and propose it to our hearts. These images come from Scripture and are inspired by the Holy Spirit, who wills to transfigure us each into the full measure of Christ. The books in this series, by situating the sacraments within the scriptural imagery proper to each, will over time surely prove themselves to be agents in this work of the Spirit."

John C. Cavadini, professor of theology, McGrath-Cavadini Director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame

The Author

  1. Isaac Augustine Morales OP
    Jaclyn Lippelmann

    Isaac Augustine Morales OP

    Isaac Augustine Morales, OP (PhD, Duke University), is associate professor of theology at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. He previously taught at Marquette University and at Duke Divinity School. Morales is the author of The Spirit and the...

    Continue reading about Isaac Augustine Morales OP