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Matthew 28;19

Matthew 28:19 KJV

 “Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”


However, we only find that new converts were all baptized into the name of Jesus Christ only.


So one might ask, why the apparent disobedience of the Apostles and why there is not even one person who obeyed these supposed words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 28:19. ​ Were they in rebellion or something?  Did they understand this command differently than Trinitarians do today? Or did Jesus tell them something different than what is portrayed in the above text?


Here are all the scriptures relating to baptism in the New Testament.

Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”


Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”


Acts 8:16 “For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”


Acts 10:48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”


Acts 19:5 “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”


Romans 6:3 “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”


Galatians 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

There is no record in the Bible of anyone baptizing in three separate names of three individual persons.  Lets back up for a moment and review Matthew 28:19 with more information.  Lets look at verses 16 thru 20 as well.


"v16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  v17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. v18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  v19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  v20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."


Verse 18 says “All power is given unto me in heaven and earth.”  That power is the “Authority” by God handed down to Christ as God was working thru Christ.  Refer also to John 5:27 and 43.


What people fail to see in Matthew 28:19 is that, it is not a trinity “doctrine”.  It is the mere mention of three.  There is nothing in the verse that says there are three persons in the Godhead.  The name “God” is not found in the verse.  Neither is God the Father, God the Son or God the Holy Spirit.  Does this verse tell us who the Holy Spirit is?  Does the verse tell us that God is made of three beings or persons?  Is Jesus laying out the identity of God in this verse?  Does the verse tell us anything about the nature of the three? No. Therefore, it DOES NOT support a philosophical trinity doctrine. 


The verse is not dealing with who God is.  It does not tell us the nature of the Father, Son or Holy Spirit.  However, we do know that there is a Father, and there is a Son, and there is a Holy Spirit.  But going past just these basics, and trying to teach a relationship laid out here as three persons being co-eternal and co-equal goes past what the bible tells us.


Further below, we will suggest that this text was altered by translators with a mind that was not only Trinitarian, but perhaps leaked out an agenda. Whether you see this or not, Matthew 28:19 does not teach what clergy and scholars try and get people to believe today.


If you were to slightly change the text in verse 19 to read, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them “in my Name””, it completely fits with the other verses. It completely fits as to why throughout the book of Acts they baptized only in the name of Jesus.  And verse 20 says “whatsoever I have commanded you”.  If they only baptized in the name of Jesus in Acts, then the command must have been as we are illustrating here.  Baptizing them “in my Name”, or baptizing them in the name of Jesus.  Furthermore in verse 20, Jesus says “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”.  How does he do this?  Thru the Holy Spirit.  Jesus comes to the believer thru His spirit, the Spirit of Christ.


And this fits the story and account as told by the disciple Mark.  Now lets read Mark’s account of this.  It has very revealing similarities, but something is missing from it. 

Mark 16:

"v14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. v15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. v16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

v17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; v18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."


Did Mark record that they should baptize in a trinity? No. Even Mark records Jesus declaring the power and actions should be done “in my Name”.  What name is that?  In the name of JESUS.   There is no mention of the Father, and Son and Holy Ghost (Spirit).  What does name mean?  Name cross references with “character”.  Jesus has the character of his Father because he is the only begotten Son of God.  He has the Father’s name because of His inheritance.


Lets now go to Acts 4:

"v7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?  v8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, v9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;  v10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. v11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  v12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."


In Acts 4:7, Peter is asked “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” Name and power here is the equivalent  to “Authority”.  God in heaven has given Jesus the “Authority”.  Verse 8 says, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost”, here as Jesus said that he would be with them always, Jesus comes in the Spirit upon Peter.  In Verse 10 Peter declares that “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” is who, how and why he has the power and authority to do what he is doing.  Verse 12, “there is none other name under heaven”, no other name whatsoever that is given to man in order to be saved. 

Going back to the instruction that Jesus gave, we are to go throughout the world and teach the gospel to every creature.  What is the gospel?  It starts with “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16


When Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “teach all nations” He commissioned us to teach all people that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.


This is a really big deal because this is not believed by everyone today.  And some teach that the relationship of God and His Son is a metaphor.  It is not literal.  Some have even said that the three members of a trinity are only role playing. 


We deny the divine Son-ship of Christ when we reduce it to a mere metaphor or a role-play. Christ gave a very serious and solemn warning to all those who might be tempted to question His divine Son-ship. 


“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18


“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:10-13

Nobody denies there is the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19 never says anything about their personality.


It does not say they are three beings,

it does not say they are three in one or one in three,

it does not say these three are the Godhead,

it does not say these three are a trinity,

it does not say these three are co-equal or co-eternal beings,

it does not say that these three are all God, and yet some draw the conclusion that this supports their belief in the trinity or that the Holy Spirit is another being which is clearly not so.


Is This Guaranteed Proof?

The following image is from Dr. G. Reckart, Apostolic Theological Bible College, who claims this is absolute proof of the change to Matthew 28:19. He states we now have absolute proof the Catholic Church fathers perverted the text in Matthew 28:19. We now have the Hebrew Matthew Gospel, a manuscript that was preserved by the Jews from the first century [Shem Tov's Hebrew Matthew Gospel]. In this Shem Tov MSS, the text at Matthew 28:19 does not contain the trinitarian statement.  Dr. Reckart states that he was the first to provide this evidence on the internet and wants the credit accordingly. But besides this, we have the testimony of many others.

Shem Tov's Hebrew of Matthew 28:9-20

“Go and teach them to carry out all the things which I have commanded you forever.”


Below are many historical quotes from theologians and other writers that heavily indicate that Matthew 28:19 has been altered.


It must be remembered that we have no known manuscripts that were written in the first, second or third centuries. There is a gap of over three hundred years between when Matthew wrote his epistle and our earliest manuscript copies. (It also took over three hundred years for the Catholic Church to evolve into what the “early church fathers” wanted it to become.)


Eusebius was the Bishop of Caesarea and is known as “the Father of Church History.” He wrote prolifically and his most celebrated work is his Ecclesiastical History, a history of the Church from the Apostolic period until his own time. Eusebius quotes many verses in his writings including Matthew 28:19. But he never quotes it as it appears in modern Bibles. He always finishes the verse with the words “in my name.”  "Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsover I have commanded you." That "Name" is Jesus.

Catholic Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

He makes this confession as to the origin of the chief Trinity text of Matthew 28:19. “The basic form of our (Matthew 28:19 Trinitarian) profession of faith took shape during the course of the second and third centuries in connection with the ceremony of baptism. So far as its place of origin is concerned, the text (Matthew 28:19) came from the city of Rome.” — Joseph Ratzinger (pope Benedict XVI) Introduction to Christianity: 1968 edition, pp. 82-83. The Trinity baptism and text of Matthew 28:19 therefore did not originate from the original Church that started in Jerusalem around AD 33. It was rather as the evidence proves, a later invention of Roman Catholicism completely fabricated.

Very few know about these historical facts.


Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church:

By Dr. Stuart G. Hall 1992, pages 20 and 21. Professor Stuart G. Hall was the former Chair of Ecclesiastical History at King's College, London England. Dr. Hall makes the factual statement that Catholic Trinitarian Baptism was not the original form of Christian Baptism, rather the original was Jesus name baptism. “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” although those words were not used, as they later are, as a formula. Not all baptisms fitted this rule.” Dr Hall further, states: “More common and perhaps more ancient was the simple, “In the name of the Lord Jesus or, Jesus Christ.” This practice was known among Marcionites and Orthodox; it is certainly the subject of controversy in Rome and Africa about 254, as the anonymous tract De rebaptismate (“On rebaptism”) shows.”


The Catholic Encyclopedia, II, page 263:

“The baptismal formula was changed from the name of Jesus Christ to the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by the Catholic Church in the second century.”

Edmund Schlink, The Doctrine of Baptism, page 28: “The baptismal command in its Matthew 28:19 form cannot be the historical origin of Christian baptism. At the very least, it must be assumed that the text has been transmitted in a form expanded by the [Catholic] church.”


Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 1963, page 1015:

The not demonstrable by logic or by Scriptural proofs,...The term Trias was first used by Theophilus of Antioch (c AD 180),...(The term Trinity) not found in Scripture...” “The chief Trinitarian text in the NT is the baptismal formula in Mt 28:19...This late post-resurrection saying, not found in any other Gospel or anywhere else in the NT, has been viewed by some scholars as an interpolation into Matthew. It has also been pointed out that the idea of making disciples is continued in teaching them, so that the intervening reference to baptism with its Trinitarian formula was perhaps a later insertion into the saying. Finally, Eusebius's form of the (ancient) text (“in my name” rather than in the name of the Trinity) has had certain advocates. (Although the Trinitarian formula is now found in the modern-day book of Matthew), this does not guarantee its source in the historical teaching of Jesus. It is doubtless better to view the (Trinitarian) formula as derived from early (Catholic) Christian, perhaps Syrian or Palestinian, baptismal usage (cf Didache 7:1-4), and as a brief summary of the (Catholic) Church's teaching about God, Christ, and the Spirit:...”


James Moffett's New Testament Translation:

In a footnote on page 64 about Matthew 28:19 he makes this statement: “It may be that this (Trinitarian) formula, so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Catholic) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community, It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing “in the name of Jesus, cf. Acts 1:5 +.”


New Revised Standard Version says this about Matthew 28:19:

“Modern critics claim this formula is falsely ascribed to Jesus and that it represents later (Catholic) church tradition, for nowhere in the book of Acts (or any other book of the Bible) is baptism performed with the name of the Trinity...”


Tom Harpur, former Religion Editor of the Toronto Star in his “For Christ's sake,” page 103 informs us of these facts: “All but the most conservative scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command [Triune part of Matthew 28:19] was inserted later. The [Trinitarian] formula occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and we know from the only evidence available [the rest of the New Testament] that the earliest Church did not baptize people using these words (“in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”) Baptism was “into” or “in” the name of Jesus alone. Thus it is argued that the verse originally read “baptizing them in My Name” and then was expanded [changed] to work in the [later Catholic Trinitarian] dogma. In fact, the first view put forward by German critical scholars as well as the Unitarians in the nineteenth century, was stated as the accepted position of mainline scholarship as long ago as 1919, when Peake's commentary was first published: “The Church of the first days (AD 33) did not observe this world-wide (Trinitarian) commandment, even if they knew it. The command to baptize into the threefold [Trinity] name is a late doctrinal expansion.”


The Bible Commentary 1919 page 723:

Dr. Peake makes it clear that: “The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion. Instead of the words baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost we should probably read simply-“into My Name.”


The Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C. 1923, New Testament Studies Number 5:

The Lord's Command To Baptize An Historical Critical Investigation. By Bernard Henry Cuneo page 27. “The passages in Acts and the Letters of St. Paul. These passages seem to point to the earliest form as baptism in the name of the Lord.” Also we find. “Is it possible to reconcile these facts with the belief that Christ commanded his disciples to baptize in the triune form? Had Christ given such a command, it is urged, the Apostolic Church would have followed him, and we should have some trace of this obedience in the New Testament. No such trace can be found. The only explanation of this silence, according to the anti-traditional view, is this the short christological (Jesus Name) formula was (the) original, and the longer triune formula was a later development.”


“The Demonstratio Evangelica” by Eusebius:

Eusebius was the Church historian and Bishop of Caesarea. On page 152 Eusebius quotes the early book of Matthew that he had in his library in Caesarea. According to this eyewitness of an unaltered Book of Matthew that could have been the original book or the first copy of the original of Matthew. Eusebius informs us of Jesus' actual words to his disciples in the original text of Matthew 28:19: “With one word and voice He said to His disciples: “Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” That “Name” is Jesus.


The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics:
As to Matthew 28:19, it says:
“It is the central piece of evidence for the traditional (Trinitarian) view. If it were undisputed, this would, of course, be decisive, but its trustworthiness is impugned on grounds of textual criticism, literary criticism and historical criticism.” The same Encyclopedia further states that: “The obvious explanation of the silence of the New Testament on the triune name, and the use of another (JESUS NAME) formula in Acts and Paul, is that this other formula was the earlier, and the triune formula is a later addition.”


The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, page 2637, Under “Baptism,” says: “Matthew 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula (is) foreign to the mouth of Jesus.”


The Jerusalem Bible, a scholarly Catholic work, states:

“It may be that this formula, (Triune Matthew 28:19) so far as the fullness of its expression is concerned, is a reflection of the (Man-made) liturgical usage established later in the primitive (Catholic) community. It will be remembered that Acts speaks of baptizing “in the name of Jesus,”...”


The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge:

“Jesus, however, cannot have given His disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after His resurrection; for the New Testament knows only one baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:43; 19:5; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 1:13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. 28:19, and then only again (in the) Didache 7:1 and Justin, Apol. 1:61...Finally, the distinctly liturgical character of the strange; it was not the way of Jesus to make such formulas... the formal authenticity of Matt. 28:19 must be disputed...” page 435.


The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, page 275:

“It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but...a later liturgical addition.”

We cannot prove this verse has been tampered with by the Catholic Church but what we do know is:

1) The Catholic Church confessed to changing it.

2) Most theologians also agree that they did change it.

3) No one followed this supposed instruction and all were baptized in the name of Christ ONLY!

4) Eusebius who saw the earliest manuscripts when he quoted this verse wrote that it said, “In His name” (Jesus)

I think most will agree that the weight of evidence is overwhelming that Matthew 28:19 should have read “in My name.”

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