What does being baptized on behalf of the dead mean?

I was wondering if you could explain the passage in I Corinthians where Paul refers to people having themselves baptized for the dead? Is this practiced in any form today in the Church? Thank you,


In 1 Cor 15:29 Paul writes, “what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?”

Paul has been discussing the resurrection of the dead and he brings up this custom (of which we know little) to help make his point. The Navarre Bible (Corinthians, p. 148) explains:

[Paul] makes reference to a strange custom which implicitly indicates belief in resurrection. No other source provides information about this custom and therefore it is not possible to say exactly what it involved… The Apostle is neither approving or condemning this custom; he is simply saying that it demonstrates Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead.

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