Comparing Matthew 28:19 to Acts 2:38
What Do They Have In Common?
Most agree that the instructions given by Jesus Christ to his disciples, referred to as the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:19), charged them to do two things “teach” all nations and “baptize”.
(Matthew 28:18-19)“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
There are several “grammatical” facts that many church leaders (especially those of us who are Oneness ) like to point out, which do have merit.
- First, the word NAME in Matthew 28:19 is SINGULAR (meaning ONE).
- Second, the words FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST are TITLES, not names.
- Third, Jesus was NOT telling his disciples what to “SAY” in Matthew 28:19 he was telling them what to “DO”!
In addition, no biblical records exist of anyone ever being baptized referring to the titles “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”, as spoken of by Jesus, anywhere or at any time. The disciples who carried out Jesus commission never recited this phrase and they never claimed Jesus to be “God the Father” or “God the Holy Ghost” thus their understanding of this specific passage (Matthew 28:19) does not support reciting these titles during a baptism (a common Trinitarian practice). This is a man-made traditional practice, not a biblical practice found in the bible.
On the other hand, many of us who carry the banner of being Apostolic/Pentecostal (Oneness) have historically claimed that the three titles referenced in Matthew 28:19 indicate that Jesus is the proper personal name of God the Father and the three titles are in reference to the “one and the same being” (God himself). This belief is heavily focused upon Acts 2:38 and several other passages; Jesus came in his Father’s name (John 5:43), Jesus is the name of the Son (Matthew 1:21) and Jesus said the Holy Ghost (or comforter) would be sent in “my name” his name (John 14:26).
Both Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 have one thing in common that is often ignored, they both contain the phrase “IN THE NAME OF….”. Understanding this particular phrase is vital because this phrase is significantly different in its meaning and historically it has been used incorrectly by the majority of both Trinitarians and Oneness groups alike.
In the next section (Understanding The Phrase “In the Name of..”) we will explore some interesting comparisons (other scriptures that use the same grammatical language structure) and facts about this phrase and why having the correct context is so vitally important to understanding the intent of the scriptures and obtaining harmony between these two verses.