There are only about three sections in scripture that can be twisted into seemingly supporting the heresy of baptismal regeneration, but the tremendous weight of the entirety of scripture crushes the arguments based on those sections. I will go through the rest of the New Testament, as I have been doing, to demonstrate this. Keeping in mind the greater context of Acts chapter eight, please note the two instances of baptism here are preceded by faith in Jesus. The crowd of people in the first instance was comprised of men and women. The second instance was the individual Ethiopian eunuch of Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians.
In the first instance we read, “But when they believed Philip proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, both men and women.”
(Acts 8:12 Legacy Standard Bible)
12 ὅτε δὲ ἐπίστευσαν τῷ Φιλίππῳ εὐαγγελιζομένῳ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ὀνόματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἐβαπτίζοντο ἄνδρες τε καὶ γυναῖκες. Acts 8:12
You can see that they believed the good news of what Jesus had accomplished on the cross, that Philip had preached. Then they were baptized. The Greek word is the same one translated as, “faith” in other sections of scripture. The word is, “ἐπίστευσαν.”(episteusan) It means; “to believe, put one’s faith in, trust, with an implication that actions based on that trust may follow; (pass.) entrust”
In Acts 8:25-40 we read about the Ethiopian eunuch coming to the true faith. The eunuch was returning to Ethiopia after visiting Jerusalem to worship. Implying he had believed in God in some fashion, probably in Judaism. It is interesting to note that as a eunuch he would not have been allowed access to the temple, or to become a full proselyte to Judaism. This eunuch was in service to the Queen of Ethiopia as her treasurer, or minister of finance in modern terms. The Bible mentions her as being called Candace. This could very well be a title like Caesar, and not truly her name.
As a wealthy, influential, and powerful convert to Judaism, the eunuch had access to the Jewish scriptures as evidenced by him reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the middle of nowhere on his way back to Ethiopia. One has to wonder what other texts he had access to due to his position. It is also interesting that he didn’t understand what he was reading until the appointed time of God intervening by sending Philip to him via the direction of one of His angels/messengers to preach the good news of Jesus.
The portion of the scroll of Isaiah that the eunuch was reading from was Isaiah chapter fifty three. This section is a prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. We read that God extended His grace to the eunuch by directing Philip to preach the Messiah to him. Consequentially, due to his conversion he desired baptism. Then returning to Ethiopia he would have been obedient to Jesus in sharing the same life giving good news to the people he had acquaintance with. Delivering the faith to the people of Ethiopia extended God’s grace to them likewise and providentially. Historically there has been a Christian presence in Ethiopia to this day, despite the influence of the evil Roman church in Europe, and the Antiochians in the east. The eunuch believing what Philip had preached to him about Jesus from the scroll was the impetus of his desire for baptism. God sovereignly arranged for the eunuch to be truly believing, and for him to return to Ethiopia, and spread the faith.