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Does Matthew 28:19 Prove the Trinity?

Rich Kelsey

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"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:17 NASB)


Eusebius of Caesarea, known as the Father of Church history, had access to writings which are now lost; one such manuscript was,

"... a copy of the original Aramaic version of the Gospel of Matthew."  (Eusebius, Wikipedia)

In Eusebius' landmark work entitled Ecclesiastical History, he quotes from an early Gospel of Matthew:

"Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name." (Matthew 28:19)

That quote, along with internal evidence from scripture (the Book of Acts & Luke 24:47) which we look into in this short study, cast a shadow of doubt on whether the words,

 " ... baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19)

were ever spoken by Jesus?

Also: Because Matthew 28:18 speaks of Jesus receiving authority, the structure of Matthew 28:18-20 makes more sense with the content provided by Eusebius:

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'

[Therefore] 'Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name,'

'teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20)

Earlier Jesus had promised: 

"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:20 NASB)

And: Jesus spoke of a day to come when his followers would ask for things in his name:

"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full." (John 16:24 NASB)

The last two quotes go hand in hand with the version of Matthew 28:19 quoted by Eusebius, yet, they do not correspond with the orthodox version. Why is that? Could it be that the orthodox version of Matthew 28:19 is of spurious content?


For those of us who were unaware that the Trinitarian* baptismal formula found in Matthew 28:19 is disputed by modern scholars, consider the following quote from Wikipedia:

"In the third section Jesus appears to the disciples in Galilee and issues the Great Commission ending with a trinitarian formula that is much disputed by modern scholars." (Wikipedia, Matthew 28 — 7/20/2020)

The work from Eusebius of Caesarea, entitled Ecclesiastical History, is only one reason why the Trinitarian formula is disputed:

"For the Jews after the ascension of our Saviour, in addition to their crime against him, had been devising as many plots as they could against his apostles. First Stephen was stoned to death by them, and after him James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, was beheaded, and finally James, the first that had obtained the episcopal seat in Jerusalem after the ascension of our Saviour, died in the manner already described. But the rest of the apostles, who had been incessantly plotted against with a view to their destruction, and had been driven out of the land of Judea, went unto all nations to preach the Gospel, relying upon the power of Christ, who had said to them, 'Go ye and make disciples of all the nations in my name.'" (Ecclesiastical History, Book III, 5, ii)


People Using Christ's Name In The Book of Acts:

■  "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 2:38 NASB)

■  "But Peter said, 'I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!'" (Acts 3:6 NASB)

■  "'And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.'" (Acts 3:16 NASB)

■  "let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead— by this name this man stands here before you in good health." (Acts 4:10 NASB)

■  "And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." (Acts 4:18 NASB)

■  "while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:30 NASB)

■  "They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them." (Acts 5:40 NASB)

■  "But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike." (Acts 8:12 NASB)

■  "And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ ..." (Acts 10:48 NASB)

■  "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 19:5 NASB)

■  "... and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified." (Acts 19:17 NASB)


Also, speaking of Jesus Christ's name, in the Gospels it is written:

■  "In his name the nations will put their hope." (Matthew 12:21)

■  "and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)

■  "... these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31)


Remember the opening quote in this study:

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:17 NASB)


That bible verse stands at odds with the teaching of using the supposed name,

"Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"**

instead of using the name,

"of the Lord Jesus."


Other related articles:

■  The Rise of Catholicism  < (history of Rome, before and during the time Christianity became Rome's official religion)

■  Then Along Comes Mary  < (eye-opening look into the veneration of Mary, as the Mother of God & Queen of Heaven)

■  Perspective On Trinitarian Terms  < (a study which clearly shows that the Trinity was not taught by the early Church)

■  Who is Jesus Christ? — A Biblical Case For The Real Jesus  < (the Jesus from scripture)


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* "In Trinitarian doctrine, God exists as three persons or hypostases, but is one being, having a single divine nature. The members of the Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal, one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. As stated in the Athanasian Creed, the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated, and all three are eternal without beginning. 'The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' are not names for different parts of God, but one name for God because three persons exist in God as one entity. They cannot be separate from one another. Each person is understood as having the identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures." (Trinity Wikipedia — 7/20/2020)

** "The word is in the singular, the 'name,' not names. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the final name of the one true God." (Scofield Reference Notes, 1917 Edition)