Mikveh, the Jewish ritual bath, renders Greek loutron, “washing,” found in the New Testament only here and at Ep 5:26&N. The reference is clearly to immersion (baptism); see Mt 3:1N.
David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary  : A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament, electronic ed., Tit 3:5 (Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996, c1992).


LAVER [Heb kiyyôr (כִּיֹּור); Gk loutron (λουτρον)]. Bronze washbasin situated in both the tabernacle and temple courtyards. Although situated in the cultic precincts, the laver itself was not a ritual object. The tabernacle laver (Exod 30:18, 29; 31:9; 35:16; 38:8; 39:39; 40:7, 11, 30; Lev 8:11) was filled with water for the priests to use in washing their hands and feet (Exod 30:17–21). Made of the mirrors of the “women who ministered at the door of the tent of meeting” (Exod 38:8), it was placed on a bronze base between the altar and the entrance to the tabernacle.


The lavers were essential for priestly purification, and they may also have had symbolic value. The Hebrew word has been related to the Akkadian kiuri, or ki-ùr, meaning “copper caldron.” This term may go back to a Sumerian term meaning “foundation of the earth” (ARI, 152–54). If so, the lavers participated in the cosmic terminology that characterizes many aspects of the vocabulary used for the Jerusalem temple.
The NT word loutron is translated “washing.” It is the same as the LXX word for “lavers” and is used metaphorically in relation to baptism (Titus 3:5; Eph 5:26).


BAPTISM. A rite of incorporation employing water as a symbol of religious purification.

A. Introductory

1. Greek Terminology. The Gk verb for “baptize, ” baptizein, is formed from baptein, “dip, ” and means “dip frequently or intensively, plunge, immerse.” By Plato’s time and onwards it is often used in a figurative sense (e.g., in the passive, “soaked” in wine, Plato Symp. 176 B). It appears 4 times in the LXX: 4 Kgdms 5:14 (Naaman in the Jordan), Jdt 12:7 (purification), Sir 34:30—Eng 34:25 (purification after touching a corpse), Isa 21:4 (figuratively of lawlessness). The noun baptisma is only used in Christian literature, where it refers to the baptism of John or to Christian baptism. The word baptismos is used in a wider sense for dipping, washing (of dishes Mark 7:4), of ritual washings (Heb 9:10; John’s baptism, Joseph. Ant. 18.117; Christian baptism, Col 2:12 [variant]. A synonymous noun is loutron “bath” used of both ordinary and ceremonial baths, but in the NT only with reference to baptism. The corresponding verb louein “wash, bathe” is encountered in its everyday use in, e.g., 2 Pet 2:22 and John 13:10. It refers to ceremonial baths in Lev 15:11 and to Christian baptism (probably) in the compound form apolouein in 1 Cor 6:11.
David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, 4:242 (New York: Doubleday, 1996, c1992).


through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,—the word paliggenesia signifies new birth (“birth again”), i.e., spiritual regeneration. This involves the impartation of a new life, and the operating powers which effect this are “the word of truth,” James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23, and the Holy Spirit, John 3:5, 6. The “washing” does not refer to baptism; it is explained in Ephesians 5:26, “by the washing of water with the word” (loutron is rendered “laver” in the r.v. marg., but loutron is not used of the laver in connection with the tabernacle; the word for laver is loutēr, e.g. Ex. 30:18, 28, LXX; loutron is found twice in the LXX of the Old Testament, in Song 4:2 and 6:6, where it denotes “washing”). The Word of God, received by faith at conversion, is the means, by the Spirit’s operation in the heart, of the remission of sins and therefore, of the removal of their defilement.

The new birth and regeneration do not represent successive stages in spiritual experience; they refer to the same event but view it in different ways. The new birth stresses the communication of the spiritual life in contrast to antecedent spiritual death; regeneration stresses the inception of a new stage of things in contrast with the old. Hence the connection of the word in its application to Israel in Matthew 19:28.

With the new birth, or regeneration, comes the washing away of sin.

Some regard the kai, “and,” in this verse in Titus, as meaning “even,” but as Scripture elsewhere speaks of the two distinct yet associated operating powers, there is not sufficient ground for this interpretation.

The mercy of God is seen, therefore, also in “renewing of the Holy Ghost.” This is not a fresh bestowment of the Spirit, but a revival of His power, developing the Christian life. It indicates the constant operation of the Spirit (cp. Rom. 12:2, which stresses the willing response on the part of the believer in adjusting his moral and spiritual thinking to the mind of God, with the consequent transforming effect upon his life).
W.E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1996).


He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

This salvation is then accomplished “through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” There has been considerable discussion in scholarly circles of this last phrase due to some grammatical ambiguities. If the word “through” (διά, dia) had been repeated with the second phrase, “renewal by the Holy Spirit,” interpretation would have been relatively easy. Paul would then have been referring to two events: a “washing of rebirth” and a “renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

Since, however, the word “through” does not appear before renewal of the Holy Spirit, two options exist. (1) Paul may be saying that God has saved us “through the washing,” which is characterized by “rebirth and renewal,” a washing which is accomplished “by the Holy Spirit.” (2) Or, Paul may be understood as saying that God has saved us through an event that can be described both as “the washing characterized by rebirth” and as “renewal” either “characterized by or given by the Holy Spirit.” The second option does have a sense of balance in its favor—two genitive words or phrases understood together before “and” (washing; rebirth) and two after (renewal; the Holy Spirit). The first option has much to be said in its favor. “Rebirth” is clearly dependent upon “washing.” Considerable debate has occurred over whether “washing” (λουτρόν, loutron) should be seen as a reference to baptism or merely a metaphor for the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. If “washing” is seen as a clear reference to baptism, then it is relatively easy to argue that “rebirth” and “renewal” are accomplished at that point. If, however, “washing” is taken as initial cleansing from sin and “renewal” as sanctification which can be deemed progressive, then the second option above is more reasonable. Since “washing,” even understood metaphorically, would have been seen by Paul as connected to baptism, it seems reasonable to assume that Paul had baptism in mind.

Since the word “rebirth” (παλιγγενεσία, palingenesia and not ἀναγέννησις, anagennēsis) really does not convey the idea of birth, but rather of a “new genesis,” Knight has suggested that the phrase should be translated “the washing of a new beginning” or “the washing of conversion.” The word “renewal” (ἀνακαίνωσις, anakainōsis) need not be seen as a process; it rather indicates “a making new.” “Rebirth” and “renewal” are thus “nearly synonymous metaphors.” However one understands “washing, rebirth, and renewal,” emphasis clearly falls on the Holy Spirit as the source of the new life God has made available to believers.
C. Michael Moss, 1, 2 Timothy & Titus, The College Press NIV commentary, Tit 3:6 (Joplin, Mo.: College Press, 1994).


LAVER (Heb. kîyôr; Gk. loutrón). A large basin Yahweh instructed Moses to make a large bronze laver and place it between the tent of meeting and the altar to hold the water Aaron and his sons would use to wash their hands and feet (Exod. 30:17–21; 38:8). The priests were to wash themselves as they approached the tabernacle and before making offerings on the altar. ….

The ritual purity called for by the precepts concerning the laver came to represent God’s abhorrence of sin (cf. Isa. 52:11) and was the basis for the development of the Jewish practice of handwashing before certain prayers and before meals (cf. Mark 7:3–4; John 2:6). In New Testament usage the Greek term (RSV “washing”) is used metaphorically for the Christian’s spiritual cleansing through the word (Eph. 5:26) and “the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit” (Tit. 3:5).
Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Rev., augm. translation of: Bijbelse encyclopedie. Rev. ed. 1975., 644 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1987).


3067 λουτρόν [loutron /loo·tron/] n n. From 3068; TDNT 4:295; TDNTA 538; GK 3373; Two occurrences; AV translates as “washing” twice.  1 bathing, bath, the act of bathing.
James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible  : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order., electronic ed., G3067 (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996).


Washing. Gr. loutron, “bath,” “bathing place,” or “bathing.” The word occurs elsewhere in the NT only in Titus 3:5, where it appears in the expression “washing of regeneration.” Since the context is that of marriage, there is probably an allusion to the ancient custom of the purifying bath of the bride before marriage. Or the reference may be to baptism. In either case, the idea is that Christ has purified the church. Christ gave Himself for the church that she might become a pure church, and so abide with Him forever.
Francis D. Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary : The Holy Bible With Exegetical and Expository Comment., Commentary Reference Series, Eph 5:27 (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978).


λουτρόν, οῦ, τό   loutron   bath, washing*

Used in the NT in reference to baptism. Greek and Jewish usage also resonates with the sense of purificatory washings (see A. Oepke, TDNT IV, 302–7). Eph 5:26, of the Church, which Christ has saved and purified “through the bath of water in the word” (τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος ἐν ῥήματι), in order that he might present it to himself in splendor (v. 27). Baptism (in connection with the word) is understood here as the purificatory bath of a bride, who is then presented to her husband (cf. also 2 Cor 11:2; H. Schlier, Eph [1963] ad loc.). According to Titus 3:5 baptism is effective as a λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου, a salvation given by God, for rebirth and new life come from the forgiveness of sins (not from one’s own righteousness). A. Oepke, TDNT IV, 300–307; D. L. Norbie, EvQ 34 (1962) 36–38; G. R. Beasley-Murray, DNTT I, 150–53; Spicq, Notes I, 506–10; → λούω 2.
Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament., 2:361 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990-c1993).


As Christ earned our salvation for us, the Holy Spirit delivered it. He did this by washing us—he gave us a bath. Just as sometimes baptizo can be used for routine washing (Mark 7:4); so loutron, a routine bath can be used for Baptism (see also Ephesians 5:26). This washing is the way the Holy Spirit gives us a new life; that is, he regenerates us. By the washing he renews himself in us; that is, gives us a new life. When God created us he breathed his Spirit into us to give us life. Despite our rejection of him, he now renews that life in us.
Eldon Weisheit, Homiletic Help!, Copyright 1998 by Concordia Publishing House., electronic ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1998).


The Greek word ([λουτρόν, loutron]) occurs twice in the New Testament. In Ephesians 5:26, Paul says that Christ gave Himself for the church “that he might sanctify it having cleansed it by the washing (Greek “laver”) of water with the word”; and in Titus 3:5 he says that we are saved “through the washing (Greek “laver”) of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” In these passages the reference is to the constant physical purity demanded of the Jewish priests when in attendance upon the temple. Christians are “a holy priesthood,” and are cleansed not by water only, but, in the former passage, “with the word” (compare John 15:3); in the latter, by the “renewing of the Holy Spirit” (compare Ezekiel 36:25; John 3:5). The feet-washing mentioned by Jesus is emblematic of the same thing (John 13:10).
James Orr, M.A., D.D., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia  : 1915 Edition, ed. James Orr (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1999).


Washing of Regeneration: Greek loutron palingenesias—3:5—this word for “washing” can signify the receptacle of washing itself. In Ephesians 5:26, the only other NT occurrence of this word, the natural meaning is washing. Here the action of washing is also presented. Quite simply, the text says that regeneration is characterized by or accompanied by the action of washing. The regenerative activity of the Holy Spirit is characterized elsewhere in Scripture as cleansing and purifying (see Ezek. 36:25–27; John 3:5). The Greek term for regeneration literally means “being born again”—indicating the new birth put in effect by the Holy Spirit (see John 3:6; Rom. 8:16; Gal. 4:6). Thus God saved us through one process with two aspects: the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Handbook, "Published in association with the literary agency of Wolgemuth & Associates, Inc."--T.p. verso.; Includes index., 452 (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003).


“by the washing of regeneration” This is literally “through the bath of regeneration.” The term washing ( loutron ) is used only twice in the NT (Eph. 5:26 and here). It was rarely used in the Septuagint. It can refer to (1) the place of bathing, (2) the water of bathing, or (3) the act of bathing. In Leviticus washings were a symbol of cleansing or purifying persons or things (cf. Dead Sea Scrolls).

The term “regeneration” ( palingenesia ) is also a rare term, found only in Matt. 19:28 and here. It is a compound from “again” ( palin ) and “birth” ( genesis ). Therefore, it refers to the new birth brought about by the finished work of Christ and the wooing of the Spirit. The occasion of the new birth is water baptism, the agent is the Holy Spirit (cf. vv. 5–6), the means is the death and resurrection of Christ (cf. v. 6), and the basis of it all is the love and mercy of the Father (cf. v. 4). This is not a text that supports baptismal regeneration. Baptism was the occasion for the public confession/profession (cf. Acts 2:38) and the symbol of the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ in symbolic action (cf. Rom. 6:3–9; Col. 2:12). In the early church baptism was the opportunity of a person’s public profession of faith (“Jesus is Lord” cf. Rom. 10:13). The focus is the action of the Holy Spirit (i.e. birthing and renewing).

  “renewing” This is also a rare term used only twice in the NT, here and Rom. 12:2. It means to cause someone or something to become new. A related term is found in Col. 3:10. Grammatically it is synonymous with “rebirth.” There is only one PREPOSITION ( dia ) for both of them. Therefore, this is not two works of grace, but two aspects of one work. This implies they are one event administered by the Holy Spirit. This would be similar to John 3:5–8 and I Pet. 1:23.

3:6 “poured out” This could refer to the Father (cf. v. 4) or the Holy Spirit (cf. v. 5). The same verb with the same ambiguity is used in Acts 2:17–18, 33; 10:45, which is taken from Joel 2:28–30.

  “through Jesus Christ our Savior” The title “Savior” applied to God the Father in v. 4 is now applied to God the Son. This same interchange of titles is found in Titus 1:3 and 4; and 2:10 and 13.
Robert James Dr. Utley, vol. Volume 9, Paul's Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy, Study Guide Commentary Series, 125 (Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International, 2000).


d. The means of salvation

In order to clarify what the main verb is, on which this long sentence depends, the niv repeats it in verse 5 (he saved us … he saved us … ), although it occurs only once in the Greek text. On the one hand, he saved us … because of his mercy, that is, because of his merciful deed (the ground of our salvation); on the other, he saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (the means of our salvation). Here is a composite expression containing four nouns—washing, rebirth, renewal and the Holy Spirit. What do they mean?

Washing (loutron) is almost certainly a reference to water baptism. All the early church fathers took it in this way. This does not mean that they (or Paul) taught baptismal regeneration, any more than Ananias did when he said to Saul of Tarsus, ‘Get up, be baptised and wash your sin away, calling on his name.’ Most Protestant churches think of baptism as ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace’, namely of the washing away of sins, and of new birth by the Holy Spirit. But they do not confuse the sign (baptism) with the thing signified (salvation).

The next two nouns (rebirth and renewal) are variously understood. ‘Rebirth’ translates palingenesia, which Jesus used of the final renewal of all things, and which the Stoics used for the periodical restoration of the world, in which they believed. Here, however, the new birth envisaged is individual (like the ‘new creation’ of 2 Cor. 5:17) rather than cosmic. It speaks of a radical new beginning, since ‘God has not repaired us, but has made us all new’.23 The other noun, ‘renewal’, translates anakainōsis. It may be synonymous with ‘rebirth’, the repetition being used for rhetorical effect. Or it may refer to the process of moral renovation or transformation which follows the new birth.

The Holy Spirit is of course the agent through whom we are reborn and renewed, and whom God poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour (6b). The use of both the verb ‘pour out’ (ekcheō) and the aorist tense suggests that the reference is to the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and the statement that he was poured out on us denotes our personal share in the Pentecostal gift.

The question which perplexes all commentators is how these four nouns, which have been called a ‘string of genitives’, are meant to be related to one another. The av deliberately places a comma in the middle of them and translates: ‘by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost’. The value of this rendering is that it distinguishes between the outward washing of baptism and the inward renewal of the Holy Spirit. But it also has the disadvantage of separating the Holy Spirit from the regeneration he brings about.

So other versions delete the comma and understand the expression as a single, complex phrase, not least because none of the nouns is preceded by the definite article. It could then be paraphrased that ‘God saved us through a rebirth and renewal which were outwardly dramatized in our baptism but inwardly effected by the Holy Spirit’. Or, reversing the order, ‘God generously poured the Holy Spirit upon us; this outpoured Spirit has inwardly regenerated and renewed us (or has regenerated us and is renewing us); and all this was outwardly and visibly signified and sealed to us in our baptism.’

Salvation means more than an inward rebirth and renewal, however. It also includes having been justified by his grace. We must decisively reject the rsv and jb version, which says that God saved us through rebirth ‘so that we might be justified by his grace’. For justification is emphatically not the result, still less the object, of our regeneration. These two works of God are rather parallel and concurrent. Salvation includes both. Justification means that God declares us righteous through the sin-bearing death of his Son; regeneration means that he makes us righteous through the indwelling power of his Spirit. So we must never confuse justification and regeneration, our new status and our new birth. Nor should we ever attempt to separate them. For God always does both together. He never justifies people without at the same time regenerating them, and he never regenerates them without justifying them. The work of Christ in justification and the work of the Spirit in regeneration are simultaneous.
John R. W. Stott, Guard the Truth : The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus, Includes study guide: p. [215]-232., The Bible speaks today, 204 (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996).


loúō [to wash, bathe], apoloúō [to wash oneself, loutrón [bath, place for bathing]

A. The Terms in Hellenlsm.

1. General Usage. Bathing in Antiquity and the Church’s Attitude. loúein normally refers to washing or bathing the body, middle “to take a bath.” A loutrón is a place for bathing. From early days the Greeks bathe in the sea, in rivers, and in swimming pools. Baths are an established feature, more for nursing and strengthening than for cleansing. The Romans adopt the Greek habit and make bathing a luxury with their heating systems. Bathing includes successive warm and cold baths and various anointings. The church does not oppose the practice but protests against its excesses.

2. Sacral Baths and Purifications. In primitive times such processes as birth and death are thought to involve impurity through demonic action or a material míasma. Those affected are a danger to themselves and others and thus need purification. At first the notions are purely physical, but moral judgments develop too. Cultic purifications play a big part in religious life in Egypt, Greece, etc. Lustrations are important in cases of birth, marriage, madness, homicide, death, cultic participation, and private devotion. Even the gods need purification; cf. the washing of idols, and in Egypt the idea that the progress of the sun through the ocean is a purifying and vivifying bath. Later there is a growing demand for moral purity rather than external purification, but this can easily fall into the error of moralization.

B. The Group in the OT and Judaism.

1. In the OT loúein is commonly the rendering of Heb. rāḥas, which means “to wash,” “to bathe.” Bodily care is the first reference, but ritual purification is also important (cf. Lev. 11:40; Dt. 23:12, etc.). In the OT, however, recognition of the moral element rules out purification for, e.g., intentional homicide. The prophets make it plain that there can be no easy washing away of guilt. Hence purifications for moral faults are given figurative significance. True washing is by repentance (Is. 1:16). It is the promised, saving act of God himself (Is. 4:4; Ps. 51:7). This act embraces human repentance even as it transcends it (cf. Is. 43:25). The prophets thus maintain the moral demand and yet avoid moralization.

2. Judaism lays stress on ritual washings but uses other terms. It remains aware that washing with water does not result in remission. Yet concern for the law brings great scrupulosity, so much so that even God is said to bathe after burying Moses, not, of course, because he contracts impurity, but because he observes the law. Philo uses the group in the everyday sense, but also uses it for both OT and Gentile purifications. He allegorizes outward washing as inward cleansing. The latter is a favorite theme, and he distinguishes those who are being purified from those who are fully purified.

C. The Group in the NT.

1. The Secular Sense. Only loúein bears the secular sense in the NT, e.g., in Acts 9:37 (semi-sacral?) and Acts 16:33. The use in 2 Pet. 2:22 is figurative. All the other references are to freeing from sin (in baptism) (cf. loutrón in Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5).

2. Theological Reflection. Jesus protests sharply against confusing ritual and moral purify and against trust in external observances (Mk. 7). The rest of the NT develops this insight. Even a moral break with the past does not itself purify. The proper starting point is the forgiveness of sins by a merciful God. If full cleansing comes only with the consummation, eschatological fulfilment is already a reality in Christ (1 Pet. 1:2). Entrance into this is at baptism, which is thus a loutrón, not in the old sense of a ritual cleansing, but in a new and distinctive sense that derives its content from the saving work of Christ.

3. Pertinent Passages.

a. If loúsanti is the correct reading in Rev. 1:5, this gives a true NT thought indirectly related to baptism. But lýsanti (“freed”) is better attested.

b. In many verses there is a clear reference to baptism. In Acts 22:16 Ananias tells Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins. In 1 Cor. 6:11 Paul reminds his readers that, being washed, they are to avoid fresh defilement. In Eph. 5:26 Christ purifies the church for bridal union by the washing of water with the word (i.e., the divine word of the gospel). In Heb. 10:22 the outward washing is related to the inner purifying. In Tit. 3:5 the washing of regeneration is on the basis, not of our own works, but of God’s mercy. In 2 Pet. 2:22 the point of the proverb (Prov. 26:11) is that the false teachers, after baptism, return to sin and incur unforgivable guilt (Heb. 6:4ff.; 1 Jn. 5:16).

c. The reference to baptism is less clear in Jn. 13:10. The story of the foot-washing has two points, i.e., cleansing by Jesus and the example of ministering love. In view of the distinction between total and partial washing, the former (leloumémos) probably refers to the baptismal cleansing and the latter (toús pódas nípsasthai) to the renewed cleansing of daily forgiveness. The relation between cleansing and service is that the love of Jesus which covers forgiveness is the source of power for the disciple’s own ministry of love.

D. loúein in the Early Church. In the apostolic fathers we find only loúesthai in the sense “to bathe” (Hermas Visions 1.1.2; 1 Clem. 8.4). The group is uncommon in the Apologists but is favored by Justin, who quotes Is. 1:16 in Apology 1.44.3, refers to pagan washings in 1.62.1, and has direct references to baptism in 1.61.7; Dialogue 12.3, etc. Later, although the church resists the idea that bodily washing is of value without inner cleansing, sacral washing finds a place, e.g., in washing the hands before prayer and the liturgical use of consecrated water.
Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Translation of: Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament., 538 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995, c1985).



1. baptismos (βαπτισμός, 909) denotes “the act of washing, ablution,” with special reference to purification, Mark 7:4 (in some texts, v. 8); Heb. 6:2, “baptisms”; 9:10, “washings.” See baptism.¶  

2. loutron (λουτρόν, 3067), “a bath, a laver” (akin to louo, see above), is used metaphorically of the Word of God, as the instrument of spiritual cleansing, Eph. 5:26; in Titus 3:5, of “the washing of regeneration” (see regeneration).¶ In the Sept., Song of Sol. 4:2; 6:6.¶  
W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 2:667 (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1996).


for (gar) as many as were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.” This text is significant. It not only affirms the Christian’s sonship through union with Christ the Son (4:4–6) by faith but it also does so by chiastically paralleling baptism with faith as the instrument of clothing with Christ/installing as sons.27

(2) Regeneration and baptism. The close connection between baptism and regeneration receives indirect witness in the concern of the Reformed churches to clearly reject the notion of “baptismal regeneration.” The only reason the notion of “baptismal regeneration” has enough of a degree of plausibility to be a problem is that baptism is a sign and seal of regeneration. The word “regeneration” (palingenesia) occurs only twice in the NT and in only one of these instances with reference to the transforming act of God upon an individual which it has come to denote in subsequent theological discussion. In Tit 3:5 Paul reminded Titus that God saved us through the “washing [loutrou] of regeneration.” Although Paul does not say “through the baptism” the water allusion is clear enough. This conclusion is in keeping with Paul’s use of loutron in Eph 5:26 where Christ is said to cleanse his church “by the washing of water with the word.” Similarly Paul reported the exhortation of Ananias, “Get up, be baptized [baptisai] and wash away [apolousai] your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). These latter two texts indicate that Paul could refer to baptism by using both a form of baptizō and loutron or only one of them. The above mentioned Tit 3:5 is an instance in which loutron is used alone in an allusion to baptism which focuses on its “washing” aspect. For the purpose of this article the significant factor is that this “washing” is
Westminster Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Journal Volume 49, 49:47 (Westminster Theological Seminary, 1987; 2002).


water (τῳ λουτρῳ του ὑδατος [tōi loutrōi tou hudatos]). If λουτρον [loutron] only means bath or bathing-place (=λουτρον [loutron]), then λουτρῳ [loutrōi] is in the locative.  If it can mean bathing or washing, it is in the instrumental case. The usual meaning from Homer to the papyri is the bath or bathing-place, though some examples seem to mean bathing or washing. Salmond doubts if there are any clear instances. The only other N.T. example of λουτρον [loutron] is in Titus 3:5. The reference here seems to be to the baptismal bath (immersion) of water, “in the bath of water.” See I Cor. 6:11 for the bringing together of ἀπελουσασθε [apelousasthe] and ἡγιασθητε [hēgiasthēte].  Neither there nor here does Paul mean that the cleansing or sanctification took place in the bath save in a symbolic fashion as in Rom. 6:4–6. Some think that Paul has also a reference to the bath of the bride before marriage. Still more difficult is the phrase “with the word” (ἐν ρηματι [en rēmati]). In John 17:17 Jesus connected “truth” with “sanctify.” That is possible here, though it may also be connected with καθαρισας [katharisas] (having cleansed). Some take it to mean the baptismal formula.
A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol.V c1932, Vol.VI c1933 by Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention., Eph 5:26 (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997).


By the washing of regeneration. In order to a correct understanding of this important passage, it is necessary to ascertain whether the phrase here used refers to baptism, and whether anything different is intended by it from what is meant by the succeeding phrase--" renewing of the Holy Ghost."--The word rendered washing (loutron) occurs in the New Testament only in this place and in Eph 5:26, where also it is rendered washing--" That he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word." The word properly means a bath; then water.for bathing; then the act of bathing, washing, ablution. Passow and Robinson. It is used by Homer to denote a warm or cold bath; then a washing away, and is thus applied to the drink-offerings in sacrifice, which were supposed to purify or wash away sin.
Albert Barnes, Barnes NT Commentary, Tit 3:5 (Joseph Kreifels).