QAWhy must baptism be performed with head bowed and face downward?
In Romans 6:3-4, Paul states that believers are “buried with Christ through baptism into death.” We are “united together in the likeness of His death,” so that we have the assurance that we shall also be united “in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom 6:5). The manner of baptism during biblical times was in the likeness of the Lord’s death. Paul uses this physical likeness in baptism to discuss the spiritual likeness that believers carry.
John 19:30 describes the physical likeness of Jesus’ death: “bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” It is on this basis that we understand to what the physical likeness of the Lord’s death refers.
In the Bible, bowing one’s head expresses the disgrace and heaviness of sin (Ps 40:12; Lk 18:13; Job 10:15). Just as Christ died to sin once for all, we also die to sin so that sin should no longer have power over us (Rom 6:2,10). As we bow our heads and are immersed in water, our sinful self dies and is buried with Christ. As we rise from the water, we are raised with Christ and receive a new life in Him (Rom 6:4; Col 2:12).