A Study of Matthew 28:19

Trinitarian believers use two verses of the New Testament to justify the existence of the Trinity in the Godhead, namely I John 5:7 and Matthew 28:19. For there are three that bear record in Heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. I John 5:7. But it is well known that the authenticity of this verse has been a subject of much controversy as it was found that the fidelity and accuracybof this verse is wanting in all the ancient Greek. 

I John 5:7 seems like it appears as if this verse was inserted by the Trinitarian advocates against the Arians. Without the insertation, the most sensible appears to be the AMP version, “For there are three witnesses: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three are in agreement,” I John 5:7.

On Matthew 28:19 Trinitarins believe “To be baptized into the name of any one implies a professed dependance on him, and devoted subjection to him; to be baptized, therefore, into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, implies a professed dependance on these three divine persons, jointly and equally, and a devoting of ourselves to them as worshippers and servants.”

Is it true? We’ll find out in this post.

Another view presented by Jews for Judiasm is linked here for your study.

Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and on earth. 19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” Amen.

If Matthew had written in Hebrew, one might expect to find evidence of this from some sources in early Christian literature. Indeed, this is the case:

​— “For Matthew, who had at first preached to the Hebrews, when he was about to go to other peoples, committed his Gospel to writing in his native tongue,” (Eusebius (260/265-339AD), Church History Book 3, Chapter 24, “The Order of the Gospels”); “So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able,” (Papias (60-130AD) quoted by Eusebius, Church History Book 3, Chapter 39, “The Writings of Papias”).

​​— Irenaeus (130-202AD), in the second half of the second century, wrote: “Matthew also issued a written gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect” (Against Heresies 3.1.1)

​— Origen of Alexandria, in about the mid third century wrote: “…..the four gospels…..first to be written was by Matthew…..who published it in Hebrew for Jewish believers” (Quoted by Eusebius, Church History 6.25).

​​— Eusebius in the first half of the fourth century wrote: “Matthew had first preached to Hebrews and…..transmitted in writing in his native language the gospel according to himself…..” (Church History 3.24)

​​— Jerome in the latter half of the fourth century or early fifth century wrote: “Matthew, who wrote the gospel in the Hebrew language…..” (Epistle 20:5)

​​​In “Hebrew Gospel of Matthew” by Professor George Howard from the University of Georgia, which contains a Hebrew version of Matthew from the 1300s, with an English translation.

Reading this version of Matthew is similar to reading an alternative translation of Scripture from one you’re accustomed to. The stories are familiar, but the wording is somewhat different with some interesting variant readings, omissions, additions etc.

​The big shock however is at the very end of chapter 28. The entire phrase “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” is missing!

​This book, Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, refers to early writings and their quotes from Scripture, particularly by Eusebius, one of the most significant Christian historical writers.

​Eusebius wrote a lot about the Scriptures, and frequently quoted from them. In his book published in English as “The Proof of the Gospel” (Original title “Demonstratio Evangelica”), one version of which has a Scripture index in the back (1981 version – Baker Book House), it can be found that in just this one book he quoted Matthew 28:19 no less than seven times – sometimes in part, sometimes in full.

Not once in Eusebius’ seven quotes of Matthew 28:19 does the phrase “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” appear!

​When he quotes the whole sentence, it reads as follows:

​“Go, and make disciples of all the nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

Finally, throughout the book of Acts, when baptisms occur, they only mentioned this formulaic expression in the name of Jesus only. Here are some examples:

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy spirit.

Acts 8:16 For it [the holy spirit] had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 10:47-48 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the holy spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

Acts 19:5-6 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the holy spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

Basing on Matthew 28:19 for proof of the existence of the Trinity is like a house built on a mirage!

What Is the Holy Spirit?

~ by Joel Huan on July 3, 2022.

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