Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
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(19) Teach all nations.—Better, make disciples of all the heathen. The Greek verb is the same as that which is rendered “instructed” in Matthew 13:52, and is formed from the noun for “disciple.” The words recognise the principle of a succession in the apostolic office. The disciples, having learnt fully what their Master, their Rabbi, had to teach them, were now to become in their turn, as scribes of the kingdom of heaven, the teachers of others. It is, to say the least, suggestive that in this solemn commission, stress should be laid on the teaching, rather than on what is known as the sacerdotal element, of the Christian ministry; but the inference that that element is altogether excluded requires to be balanced by a careful study of the words of John 20:23, which seem at first sight to point in an opposite direction. (See Note on John 20:23.)

The words rendered “all nations” are the same as those in Matthew 25:32. and, as commonly used by the Jews, would point to the Gentile nations of the world, as distinguished from the people of Israel. They are therefore an emphatic expansion of the commission given in Matthew 10:5. And it is every way interesting that this full declaration of the universality of the Gospel should be specially recorded in the Gospel written, as we see throughout, specially for Jews.

Baptizing them in the name of the Father.—We have to deal (1) with the form, (2) with the substance. As regards (1) we have to explain why, with this command so recently given, the baptisms recorded in the Acts (Acts 2:38; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5), and referred to in the Epistles (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27). are in (or rather, into) “the name of the Lord Jesus,” or “of Christ.” What has been noted as to the true meaning of the word “nations” seems the best solution of the difficulty which thus presents itself. It was enough for converts from the house of Israel, already of the family of God, to be baptised into the name of Jesus as the Messiah, as the condition of their admission into the Church which He had founded. By that confession they gave a fresh life to doctrines which they had partially received before, and belief in the Father and the Spirit was virtually implied in their belief in Jesus as the incarnate Son. For the heathen the case stood otherwise, They had worshipped “gods many and lords many” (1Corinthians 8:5), had been “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), and so they had not known the Father. (2) There remains the question, What is meant by being baptised “into a name”? The answer is to be found in the fact so prominent in the Old Testament (e.g. Exodus 3:14-15), that the Name of God is a revelation of what He is. Baptism was to be no longer, as it had been in the hands of John as the forerunner, merely a symbol of repentance, but was the token that those who received it were brought into an altogether new relation to Him who was thus revealed to them. The union of the three names in one formula (as in the benediction of 2Corinthians 13:14) is in itself a proof at once of the distinctness and equality of the three Divine Persons. We cannot conceive of a command given to. and adopted by, the universal Church to baptise all its members in the name (not “the names”) of God and a merely human prophet and an impersonal influence or power.

Matthew 28:19. Go ye therefore, and teach — Greek, μαθητευσατε, disciple, or make disciples of, or, as Dr. Doddridge renders it, proselyte all nations. This includes the whole design of Christ’s commission. Baptizing and teaching are the two great branches of that general design: and these were to be determined by the circumstances of things; which made it necessary, in baptizing adult Jews or heathen, to teach them before they were baptized; in disciplining their children, to baptize them before they were taught, as the Jewish children in all ages were first circumcised, and after taught to do all God had commanded them. It must be observed, that the word rendered teaching, in the next verse, (namely, διδασκοντες,) though in our translation confounded with the word used in this verse, yet is a word of a very different sense: and properly implies instructing, which the word used in this verse does not necessarily imply, but, as has been observed, merely to proselyte, or make disciples. The argument, therefore, that some draw from this verse, as if our Lord enjoined all to be taught before they were to be baptized, is without foundation. Our Lord’s words, taken together, in both verses, distinctly enjoin three things, and that in the following order, μαθητευειν, βαρτιζειν, διδασκειν, that is, to proselyte men to Christ, to baptize, and to teach them. It is true, however, that adult persons, before they can be made Christ’s disciples, or be proselyted, must be instructed and brought to believe the great essential truths of Christianity, and even to profess their faith in them. But the case is different with infants, who may be admitted to baptism, as the children of the Jews were to the rite of circumcision, and be instructed afterward. And, as Dr. Doddridge justly observes, if Christ had sent out these missionaries to propagate Judaism in the world, he might have used the same, or similar language: “Go and proselyte all nations, circumcising them in the name of the God of Israel, and teaching them to observe all that Moses commanded.” The whole tenor of the succeeding books of the New Testament shows, that Christ designed, by this commission, that the gospel should be preached to all mankind without exception; not only to the Jews, but to the idolatrous Gentiles: but the prejudices of the apostles led them, at first, to mistake the sense of it, and to imagine that it referred only to their going to preach the gospel to the Jews among all nations, or to those who should be willing to become Jews.

Baptizing them in the name of the Father, &c. — Concerning the general nature of baptism, see note on Matthew 3:6. But we are here instructed respecting the appropriation of this institution to the Christian dispensation, in its most complete form. The apostles, and their successors in the ministry of the word, are ordered to baptize those whom they made Christ’s disciples, εις το ονομα, into the name, (not names,) of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — Words which have been considered, in all ages of the Christian Church, as a most decisive proof of the doctrine of the Trinity; implying not only the proper personality and Deity of the Father, but also those of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For it would be absurd to suppose that either a mere creature, or a mere quality, or mode of existence of the Deity, should be joined with the Father in the one name into which all Christians are baptized. “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. This is proper and obvious, upon the supposition of the mysterious unity of three coequal persons in the unity of the Godhead; but not to be accounted for upon any other principles.” — Scott. “Our Lord,” says Mr. Fletcher, “enjoining us to be equally baptized in the name (equally consecrated to the service) of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaches us to honour the Son as we honour the Father, and to honour the Holy Ghost as we do the Son; and when the Socinians assert that the Son is a mere man, they indirectly tell us, that he is as improperly joined with the Father to be the great object of our faith in baptism, as a taper would improperly be joined with the sun to enlighten the universe. And when they represent the Holy Ghost as a mere power, and a power whereby we must not now hope to be influenced, they might as well tell us, that he is as unfit to have a place among the — Three who bear record in heaven; as their power of motion, or the energy of their minds, would be absurdly mentioned as parties in a contract, where their names and persons are particularly specified. — Thus, they take from us the two Comforters, with whom we are particularly blessed under the gospel. If we believe them, the one is a mere man, who cannot hear us; and the other is a mere property, or an unconscious energy, by which we shall be no way benefited, and as insensible to our faith as to our unbelief: and when our Lord bids all nations to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, (if the word Song of Solomon do not mean the proper Son of God; if it mean only, the son of the carpenter, Joseph, and if the Holy Ghost be only the Father’s energy, and an energy whereby we can neither be quickened nor comforted,) this gospel charter is far more extraordinary than would be the royal patents by which gentlemen are created lords, if they all began thus: Be it enacted, in the name, or by the supreme authority, of King George the Third, of Josiah the carpenter’s son, and of the royal power or energy, that A.B., Esq., be numbered among the peers of the realm. Such is the wisdom displayed by philosophers, who call the divinity of the Son the leading corruption of Christianity, and who pretend to reform all the Reformed Churches!” See his Works, vol. 9. p. 26, octavo edit. Though perhaps, we ought not to assert that the use of these very words is essential to Christian baptism, yet surely, as Dr. Doddridge observes, “the expression must intimate the necessity of some distinct regard to each of the Sacred Three, which is always to be maintained in the administration of this ordinance; and consequently it must imply, that more was said to those of whose baptism we read in the Acts than is there recorded, before they were admitted to it. The Christian Church, in succeeding ages, has acted a wise and safe part in retaining these words; and they contain so strong an intimation that each of these persons is properly called God, and that worship is to be paid, and glory ascribed to each, that I cannot but hope they will be a means of maintaining the belief of the one, and the practice of the other, among the generality of Christians, to the end of the world.”

28:16-20 This evangelist passes over other appearances of Christ, recorded by Luke and John, and hastens to the most solemn; one appointed before his death, and after his resurrection. All that see the Lord Jesus with an eye of faith, will worship him. Yet the faith of the sincere may be very weak and wavering. But Christ gave such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as made their faith to triumph over doubts. He now solemnly commissioned the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations. The salvation they were to preach, is a common salvation; whoever will, let him come, and take the benefit; all are welcome to Christ Jesus. Christianity is the religion of a sinner who applies for salvation from deserved wrath and from sin; he applies to the mercy of the Father, through the atonement of the incarnate Son, and by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and gives up himself to be the worshipper and servant of God, as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons but one God, in all his ordinances and commandments. Baptism is an outward sign of that inward washing, or sanctification of the Spirit, which seals and evidences the believer's justification. Let us examine ourselves, whether we really possess the inward and spiritual grace of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, by which those who were the children of wrath become the children of God. Believers shall have the constant presence of their Lord always; all days, every day. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present with his churches and with his ministers; if there were, in that day, that hour, they would be undone. The God of Israel, the Saviour, is sometimes a God that hideth himself, but never a God at a distance. To these precious words Amen is added. Even so, Lord Jesus, be thou with us and all thy people; cause thy face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.Go ye therefore - "Because" all power is mine, go! I can defend you. The world is placed under my control. It is redeemed. It is given me in promise by my Father, as the purchase of my death. Though you are weak, yet I am strong! Though you will encounter many troubles and dangers, yet I can defend you! Though you die, yet I live, and the work shall be accomplished!

Teach all nations - The word rendered "teach," here, is not the one that is usually so translated in the New Testament. This word properly means "to disciple, or to make disciples of." This was to be done, however, by teaching, and by administering baptism.

All nations - This gracious commission was the foundation of their authority to go to the Gentiles. The Jews had expected that the offers of life under the Messiah would be confined to their own nation. Jesus broke down the partition wall, and commissioned his disciples to go everywhere, and bring the "world" to the knowledge of himself.

Baptizing them - as an emblem of the purifying influences of the Christian religion through the Holy Spirit, and solemnly devoting them to God.

In the name ... - This phrase does not mean, here, "by the authority" of the Father, etc. To be baptized in the name of the Father, etc., is the same as to be baptized "unto" the Father; as to believe on the "name" of Christ is the same as to believe "on Christ," John 1:12; John 2:23; John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:13. To be baptized "unto" anyone is publicly to receive and adopt him as a religious teacher or lawgiver; to receive his system of religion. Thus, the Jews were baptized "unto Moses," 1 Corinthians 10:2. That is, they received the system that he taught; they acknowledged him as their lawgiver and teacher. So Paul asks 1 Corinthians 1:13, "Were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" - that is, Were you devoted to Paul by this rite? Did you bind yourselves to "him," and give yourselves away to "him," or to God? So to be baptized in the name of the Father, or unto the Father, means publicly, by a significant rite, to receive his system of religion; to bind the soul to obey his laws; to be devoted to him; to receive, as the guide and comforter of the life, his instructions, and to trust to his promises. To be baptized unto the Son, in like manner, is to receive him as the Messiah - our Prophet, Priest, and King - to submit to his laws, and to receive him as a Saviour. To be baptized unto the Holy Spirit is to receive him publicly as the Sanctifier, Comforter, and Guide of the soul. The meaning, then, may be thus expressed: Baptizing them unto the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by a solemn profession of the only true religion, and by a solemn consecration to the service of the sacred Trinity.

The union of these three names in the form of baptism proves that the Son and Holy Spirit are equal with the Father. Nothing would be more absurd or blasphemous than to unite the name of a creature - a man or an angel - with the name of the ever-living God in this solemn rite. If Jesus was a mere man or an angel, as is held by many who deny his divinity, and if the Holy Spirit was a mere "attribute" of God, then it would have been the height of absurdity to use a form like this, or to direct the apostles to baptize people under them. How absurd would be the direction - nay, how blasphemous - to have said, "Baptize them unto God, and unto Paul, and unto the "wisdom or power" of God!" Can we believe that our Saviour would have given a direction so absurd as this? Yet, unless he himself is divine, and the Holy Spirit is divine, Jesus gave a direction substantially the same as this. The form of baptism, therefore, has been always regarded as an unbreakable argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, or that the Son and Holy Spirit are equal with the Father.

19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations—rather, "make disciples of all nations"; for "teaching," in the more usual sense of that word, comes in afterwards, and is expressed by a different term.

baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—It should be, "into the name"; as in 1Co 10:2, "And were all baptized unto (or rather 'into') Moses"; and Ga 3:27, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ."

See Poole on "Matthew 28:20".

Go ye therefore,.... Into all the world; some into one place, and some into another; since his power and authority, and so now the commission he gave them, reached every where: before it was confined to Judea, but now it is extended to all the nations of the world; see Matthew 10:6,

and teach all nations; Jews and Gentiles, first the one, and then the other, the doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; whatever they had learned from Christ, or were ordered by him, or "disciple all nations": make them disciples by teaching them; or, as the Persic version, by way of explanation, adds, "bring them to my religion and faith": not that they were able to do this of themselves, but they were to teach men externally, or outwardly minister the word, whilst the Spirit of God internally applied it, and taught, and made men true disciples of Christ: and they are such, who have learned to know themselves, their sin, and lost estate by nature; to deny themselves, both sinful and righteous self; who have learnt to know Christ, and the way of righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation by him; and who are taught and enabled to part with all for Christ, and to bear all for his sake, and to believe in him, and give up themselves to him, and follow him whithersoever he goes:

baptizing them; not all nations, for the antecedent to the relative "them", cannot be "all nations"; since , the words for "all nations", are of the neuter gender, whereas "them", is of the masculine: nor can it be thought that it should be the mind of Christ, that all the individuals of all nations should be baptized, as Heathens, Turks, and Jews; but "disciples", supposed and contained in the word "teach", or "make disciples"; such as are taught, and made disciples by teaching, or under the ministry of the word by the Spirit of God: Christ's orders are to "baptize": "dip" them, as Munster's Hebrew Gospel renders it; that is, in water, which, though not expressed, is implied; for with no other baptism could the apostles baptize: not with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; for this was Christ's peculiar prerogative; but with water, which they in obedience to this commission practised, Acts 8:36, and which was to be done

in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; by the authority of these three divine persons, who all appeared, and testified their approbation of the administration of this ordinance, at the baptism of Christ: and as they are to be invocated in it, so the persons baptized not only profess faith in each divine person, but are devoted to their service, and worship, and are laid under obligation to obedience to them, Hence a confirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity, there are three persons, but one name, but one God, into which believers are baptized; and a proof of the true deity both of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and that Christ, as the Son of God, is God; since baptism is administered equally in the name of all three, as a religious ordinance, a part of divine instituted worship, which would never be in the name of a creature. This is the first, and indeed the only, place in which the Trinity of persons is expressed in this order, and in the selfsame words. Galatinus (f) pretends, that the ancient Jews used the same way of speaking. It would be well if proof could be made of it: he asserts it to be in Zohar on Deuteronomy 6:4, and in the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel on Isaiah 6:3. In the former he says, it is expressed thus, "hear, O Israel; the Lord", he is called "the Father; our God", he is called the Son; "is one Lord", this is "the Holy Ghost", who proceeds from both; and again, by the same R. Simeon, it is said, "holy", this is "the Father"; "holy", this is "the Son"; "holy", this is , "the Holy Ghost": and in the latter after this manner, "Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Holy Ghost"; but no such words are now to be found in either of these places. He affirms, that he himself saw a copy of Jonathan's Targum that had these words. The Jews often speak of the Tetragrammaton, or name of four letters, the name Jehovah, which they say is not lawful to be pronounced; and also of the name of twelve letters, which the above writer (g) makes to be "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost"; and of forty two letters, which from a book called Gale Razia, he says is,

"Father God, Son God, Holy Ghost God, three in one, and one in three;''

which in the Hebrew language make up so many letters; but this wants better authority.

(f) L. 2. c. 1.((g) Ib. c. 11, 12. Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Heb. in voce

{5} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them {f} in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:

(5) The sum of the apostleship is the proclaiming of the doctrine received from Christ throughout all the world, and the ministering of the sacraments: the efficacy of which things depends not on the minsters but on the Lord.

(f) Calling upon the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19 The οὖν of the Received text (see the critical remarks) is a gloss correctly representing the connection of the thoughts. The fact stated in Matthew 28:18 is itself the reason why all nations should be brought under His government, and made subject to His sway by means of the μαθητεύειν, etc.

μαθητεύσατε] make them my μαθηταί (John 4:1); comp. Matthew 13:52; Acts 14:21. This transitive use of the verb is not met with in classical Greek. Observe how here every one who becomes a believer is conceived of as standing to Christ in the personal relation of a μαθητής, in accordance with which view the term came to be applied to Christians generally.

πάντα τὰ ἔθνη] all nations without exception, Matthew 25:32, Matthew 24:14, Matthew 26:13. With these words—and this is the new feature in the present instructions—the previous prohibition, Matthew 10:5, was cancelled, and the apostolic mission declared to be a mission to the whole world. On this occasion Jesus makes no mention of any particular condition on which Gentiles were to be admitted into the church, says nothing about whether it was or was not necessary that they should in the first instance become Jewish proselytes (Acts 15:1; Galatians 2:1), though He certainly meant that it was not necessary; and hence, because of this omission, the difficulty which the apostles had at first about directly and unconditionally admitting the Gentiles. If this latter circumstance had been borne in mind, it could hardly have been asserted, as it has been, that the special revelation from heaven, for the purpose of removing the scruples in question, Acts 10, tells against the authenticity of the commission recorded in our passage (in answer to Credner, Einleit. I. p. 203; Strauss, Keim).

βαπτίζοντες, κ.τ.λ.] in which the μαθητεύειν is to be consummated, not something that must be done after the μαθητεύσατε (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 164; comp. also, on the other hand, Theod. Schott, p. 18), as though our passage ran thus, μαθητεύσαντεςβαπτίζετε. Besides, that the phrase βαπτίζοντες κ.τ.λ. did not require in every case the performance of the ceremony by the apostles themselves, was distinctly manifest to them in the discharge of their functions even from the first (Acts 2:41). Comp. also 1 Corinthians 1:17.

βαπτίζειν εἰς] means to baptize with reference to. The particular object to which the baptism has reference is to be gathered from the context. See on Romans 6:3, and thereon Fritzsche, I. p. 359; comp. also on 1 Corinthians 10:2. Here, where the βαπτίζειν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα is regarded as that through which the μαθητεύειν is operated, and through which, accordingly, the introduction into spiritual fellowship with, and ethical dependence upon Christ is brought about, it must be understood as denoting that by baptism the believer passes into that new phase of life in which he accepts the name of the Father (of Christ) and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit as the sum of his creed and confession, τὸ ὄνομα, because it is precisely the name of him who is confessed that expresses his whole specific relation considered by itself, and with reference to him who confesses, and accordingly the three names, “Father, Son, and Spirit,” are to be understood as expressing the sum-total of the distinctive confession which the individual to be baptized is to accept as his both now and for all time coming.[42] Consequently the Corinthians were not baptized εἰς τὸ ὄνομα Παύλου (1 Corinthians 1:13), because it was not the name “Paul,” but the name “Christ,” that was to constitute the sum of their creed and their confession. For a similar reason, when the Samaritans circumcised, they did so לשם הל גדיזים (see Schöttgen on the passage), because the name “Gerizim” represented the specific point in their distintive creed and confession (their shibboleth). The dedication of the believer to the Father, etc., is of course to be regarded as practically taking place in the course of the ΒΑΠΤΊΖΕΙΝ ΕἸς ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ Κ.Τ.Λ.; for though this is not directly intimated by the words themselves (in opposition to Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 163; Thomasius, Chr. Pers. u. Werk, III. 2, p. 12), it is implied in the act of baptism, and could have been expressed by the simple use of εἰς (without ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ), as in 1 Corinthians 10:2; Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27. Further, ΕἸς ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ is not to be taken as equivalent to ΕἸς ΤῸ ὈΝΟΜΆΖΕΙΝ (Francke in the Sächs. Stud. 1846, p. 11 ff.), as though the meaning of the baptism consisted merely in calling God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Spirit the Holy Spirit. Such a view certainly could not apply in the last-mentioned case, for, like Father and Son, ΤῸ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ἍΓΙΟΝ must be understood to be a specifically Christian designation of the Spirit, ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ is rather intended to indicate the essential nature of the Persons or Beings to whom the baptism has reference, that nature being revealed in the gospel, then expressed in the name of each Person respectively, and finally made the subject of the Christian’s confession and creed. Finally, in opposition to the utterly erroneous view of Bindseil (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1832, p. 410 ff.), that ΒΑΠΤΊΖΕΙΝ ΕἸς ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ means: to lead to the adoption of the name through baptism, i.e. to get the person who is to be baptized to call himself after the particular name or names in question, see Fritzsche as above. But as for the view of Weisse (Evangelienfr. p. 186 f.) and of Volkmar, p. 629, as well, that Christ’s commission to baptize is entirely unhistorical, it is only of a piece with their denial of the actual bodily resurrection of Jesus. Ewald, too (Gesch. d. Apost. Zeit. p. 180), is disposed to trace the origin of the commission to the inner world of a later apostolic consciousness.

It is a mistake to speak of our passage as the formula of baptism;[43] for Jesus is not to be understood as merely repeating the words that were to be employed on baptismal occasions (and accordingly no trace of any such use of the words is found in the apostolic age; comp. on the contrary, the simple expression: βαπτίζειν εἰς Χριστόν, Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27; ΒΑΠΤΊΖΕΙΝ ΕἸς ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ, Χ., Acts 8:16, and ἘΠῚ Τῷ ὈΝΌΜ. Χ., Acts 2:38), but as indicating the particular aim and meaning of the act of baptism. See Reiche, de baptism, orig., etc., 1816, p. 141 ff. The formula of baptism (for it was so styled as early as the time of Tertullian, de bapt. 13), which in its strictly literal sense has no bearing whatever upon the essence of the sacrament (Höfling, I. p. 40 ff.), was constructed out of the words of the text at a subsequent period (see already Justin, Ap. 1:61), as was also the case, at a still later period, with regard to the baptismal confession of the three articles (see Köllner, Symbol. d. Luth. K. p. 14 ff.). There is therefore nothing here to justify those who question the genuineness of our passage (Teller, Exc. 2, ad Burnet de fide et officiis Christianorum, 1786, p. 262; see, on the other hand, Beckhaus, Aechth. d. s. g. Taufformel, 1794), or those who of late have doubted its originality, at least in the form in which it has come down to us (Strauss, Bruno Bauer, de Wette, Wittichen in the Jahrb. f. D. Theol. 1862, p. 336; Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Scholten, Keim), and that because, forsooth, they have professed to see in it a ὕστερον πρότερον. Exception has been taken, again, partly to the ΠΆΝΤΑ ΤᾺ ἜΘΝΗ, though it is just in these words that we find the broader and more comprehensive spirit that characterized, as might be expected, our Lord’s farewell commission, and partly to the “studied summary” (de Wette) of the New Testament doctrine of the Trinity. But surely if there was one time more than another when careful reflection was called for, it was now, when, in the course of this calm and solemn address, the risen Redeemer was endeavouring to seize the whole essence of the Christian faith in its three great leading elements as represented by the three substantially co-equal persons of the Godhead with a view to its being adopted as a constant ΣΗΜΕῖΟΝ to be used by the disciples when they went forth to proclaim the gospel (Chrysostom: ΠᾶΣΑΝ ΣΎΝΤΟΜΟΝ ΔΙΔΑΣΚΑΛΊΑΝ ἘΓΧΕῚΡΗΣΑς ΤῊΝ ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦ ΒΑΠΤΊΣΜΑΤΟς). The conjecture put forward by Keim, III. p. 286 f., that Jesus instituted baptism—though without any specific reference to all nations—on the night of the last supper, to serve the purpose of a second visible sign of His continued fellowship with the church after His departure from the world, is inadmissible, because there is no trace of this in the text, and because, had such a contemporaneous institution of the two sacraments taken place, it would have made so deep an impression that it could never have been forgotten, to say nothing of the impossibility of reconciling such a view with John 4:1 f.

[42] Had Jesus used the words τὰ ὀνόματα instead of τὸ ὄνομα, then, however much He may have intended the names of three distinct persons to be understood, He would still have been liable to be misapprehended, for it might have been supposed that the plural was meant to refer to the various names of each separate person. The singular points to the specific name assigned in the text to each of the three respectively, so that εἰς τὸ ὄνομα is, of course, to be understood both before τοῦ υἱοῦ and τοῦ ἁυίου πνεύματος; comp. Revelation 14:1 : τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ. We must beware of making any such dogmatic use of the singular as to employ it as an argument either for (Basilides, Jerome, Theophylact) or against (the Sabellians) the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. We should be equally on our guard against the view of Gess, who holds that Christ abstained from using the words “of God the Father,” etc., because he considers the designation God to belong to the Son and the Holy Spirit as well. Such a dogmatic idea was not at all likely to be present to His mind upon an occasion of leave-taking like the present, any more than was the thing itself on which the idea is supposed to be based, for He was never known to claim the name ειός either for Himself or for the Holy Spirit. Still the New Testament, i.e. the Subordinatian, view of the Trinity as constituting the summary of the Christian creed and confession lies at the root of this whole phraseology.—Observe, further, that the baptismal formula: “in nomine,” and: “in the name,” rests entirely on a mistranslation on the part of the Itala and Vulgate, so that there is accordingly no ground for the idea, adopted from the older expositors, that the person who baptizes acts as Christ’s representative (Sengelmann in the Zeitschr. f. Protestantism. 1856, p. 341 ff.), neither is this view countenanced by Acts 10:48. Tertullian (de bapt. 13) gives the correct rendering in nomen, though as early as the time of Cyprian (Ep. lxxiii. 5) in nomine is met with. The practice of dipping three times dates very far back (being vouched for even by Tertullian), but cannot be traced to the apostolic age.

[43] It is no less erroneous to suppose that our passage represents the first institution of baptism. For long before this the disciples had been baptizing in obedience to the instructions of Jesus, as may be seen from John 4:1 f., where baptism by the disciples is spoken of as tantamount to baptism by Jesus Himself, and where again there is as little reason to suppose the mere continuation of the baptism of John to be meant as there is in the case of our present passage (John 3:5). In the passage before us we have the same commission as that just referred to, only with this difference, that it is now extended so as to apply to all nations. This at once disposes of the question as to whether baptism should not occupy merely a secondary place as a sacrament (Laufs in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 215 ff.). Comp. also, on the other hand, 1 Corinthians 10:1-3, where there is an unmistakeable reference to baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the two great and equally important sacraments of the Christian church. Of these two, however, it is clearly not the Lord’s Supper, but baptism, on which the greatest stress is laid as forming the divine constituent factor in the work of redemption, and that above all in the Epistles of Paul, in which the only instance of anything like a full treatment of the subject of the Lord’s Supper is that of First Corinthians, and even then it is of a somewhat incidental character.

Matthew 28:19. πορευθέντες οὖν: the οὖν omitted in many texts aptly expresses the connection. The commission to the Apostles arises out of the power claimed = all power has been given to me on earth, go ye therefore, and make the power a reality.—μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη: make disciples (act., cf. at Matthew 27:57) of all the nations (cf. Matthew 10:5, “go not into the way of the Gentiles”).—βαπτίσαντες: baptism the condition of discipleship = make disciples by baptising; the sole condition, circumcision, and everything particularistic or Judaistic tacitly negatived. Christian baptism referred to here only in this Gospel.—αὐτοὺς refers to ἔθνη, a constr. ad sensum, as in Acts 15:17; Romans 2:14. In the anabaptist controversy αὐτοὺς was taken by the opponents of infant baptism as referring to μαθητὰς in μαθητεύσατε, and the verb was held to mean “teach”. For some references to this extinct controversy vide Wetstein, ad loc., and Hermann’s Viger, p. 61.—εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, into the name, i.e., as confessing the name which embodies the essence of the Christian creed.—τοῦ πατρὸς, etc.: it is the name not of one but of three, forming a baptismal Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. It is not said into the names of, etc., nor into the name of the Father, and the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Ghost.—Hence might be deduced the idea of a Trinity constituting at the same time a Divine Unity. But this would probably be reading more into the words han was intended.

19. therefore] i. e. because Christ hath all power in heaven and earth. The word however is omitted in the leading MSS.

teach] Properly, make disciples of. The same mistranslation occurs Acts 14:21, “having taught,” see ch. Matthew 13:52, Matthew 27:57, where the same word is used. Teaching, Matthew 28:20, = “instructing.” “Make disciples of all nations by baptism and by instruction.”

in the name] Rather, into the name. Jewish proselytes were baptized into the name of the Father; Jesus adds the names of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. In the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5, the name of Jesus Christ (or the Lord Jesus) alone occurs in the baptismal formula, but the promise of the Holy Ghost is given (Acts 2:38), or the gift of the Holy Ghost follows the rite (Matthew 8:17, Matthew 19:6), or precedes it (Acts 10:44; Acts 10:47).

Matthew 28:19. [1232] Πορευθέντες οὖν, κτλ., go ye therefore, etc.) This injunction, to go forth, presupposes the waiting for the Paraclete mentioned in Luke 24:49. It is the sum of the Acts, which may with that view be profitably compared with the Gospels, the sum of which is “all things whatsoever I have commanded.”—μαθητεύσατεβαπτίζοντες, discipulize—baptizing) The verb, μαθητεύειν, signifies to make disciples; it includes baptism and teaching; cf. John 4:1, with the present passage.—αὐτούς, them) sc. τὰ ἔθνη, the nations, a synthesis[1233] of frequent occurrence; see ch. Matthew 25:32, etc. The Jews who had been already brought into covenant with God by circumcision, were to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; see Acts 2:38. It is plainly commanded by these words of Institution, that the Gentiles should be baptized “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” they had been altogether aliens from God; see Gnomon on Ephesians 3:6, and cf. Gnomon on Acts 11:21. The Gentiles, mentioned in Acts 10 were not altogether ignorant of the God of Israel, nor altogether aliens from Him. The Jews, who had once acknowledged Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, could not but by that very act acknowledge the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Son.—εἰς τὸ ὄνομα, κ.τ.λ., into the name, etc.[1234]) This formula of Baptism is most solemn and important; in fact it embraces the sum of all piety.[1235] After our Lord’s resurrection, the mystery of the Holy Trinity was most clearly revealed, together with the relations of the Divine Persons to each other and to us (see Gnomon on Romans 8:9); and since the confession of the Holy Trinity was so closely interwoven with Baptism, it is not to be wondered at, that it is not frequently put thus expressly in the Scriptures of the New Testament.

[1232] The Saviour, when brought back from the dead, very frequently enjoined upon His Apostles the office of preaching the Gospel (John 20:21; John 21:15). The Evangelists, therefore, might present a summary of such injunctions, according as this or that opportunity presented itself. Matthew connects this summary with His appearance in Galilee; Luke records it after that appearing, ch. Matthew 24:49, nay, at Jerusalem, up to and upon the day of His ascension. Comp. Acts 1:2, etc. And we may conjecture the same as to Mark, from ch. Matthew 16:15; Matthew 16:19.—Harm., p. 612.

[1233] The word synthesis is not used here in its logical or mathematical sense, but as a technico-grammatical term, representing the figure otherwise called synesis; i.e. a joining together of words with respect to the idea conveyed, and not to the word by which it is expressed: see Riddle in vocc. In the present passage τὰ ἔθνη, the nations, are neuter and aggregate; αὐτούς, them, masculine and individual. This is Bengel’s meaning.—(I. B.)

[1234] Engl. Vers. “In the name.—(I. B.)

[1235] At the baptism of Christ Jesus Himself, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost manifested themselves [cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 3:16-17]. The entire Sum of Saving knowledge and doctrine is bound up with Baptism: and all the Ancient Creeds and Confessions of Faith are, in fact, a Periphrasis and Working-out [Ausführung, rendered by E. B. ἐξεργασία] of this incomparably momentous Formula of Baptism.—B. G. V.

Verse 19. - Go ye therefore (οϋν). The illative particle is perhaps spurious, but it is implied by what has preceded. It is because Jesus has plenary authority, and can delegate power to whom he will, that he confers the following commission. He is addressing the eleven apostles, of whom alone St. Matthew makes mention (ver. 16); but as they personally could not execute the grand commission in all its extent and duration, he lays his commands upon their representatives and successors in all ages. They were to go forth, and carry the gospel throughout the world. Doubtless herein is implied the duty of all Christians to be in some sense missionaries, to use their utmost efforts to spread abroad the knowledge of Christ, and to make men obedient to his Law. The propagation of the gospel is a work for all in their several spheres. Teach; docete (Vulgate). These are unfortunate renderings of the verb μαθητεύσατε, which means, "make disciples." Teaching is expressed in ver. 20, as one of the elements or components of full discipleship. The imperative aorist μαθητεύσατε is, as it were, decomposed by the two following present participles, "baptizing" and "teaching." In the case of infants the process is exactly what is here represented; they are admitted into the Christian society by baptism, and then instructed in faith and duty. Adults have to be instructed before baptism; but they form a small minority in most Christian communities, where, generally, infant baptism is the rule, and would be regarded rather as exceptions. Teaching alone is not stated by the Lord to be the only thing necessary to convert an unbeliever into a Christian; this is effected by the grace of God applied as Christ proceeds to explain. All nations (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη αλλ τηε νατιονσ). The apostles were no longer to go only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:6); they were to Christianize all the nations of the world, Jew and Gentile alike. The gospel is adapted to all the varying minds and habits of men, barbarous and civilized, near and remote, ignorant or cultivated; and it is the duty and privilege of Christ's ministers to make it known and acceptable in all quarters of the globe. Baptizing them; i.e. individuals of all the nations. The present participle denotes the mode of initiation into discipleship. Make them disciples by baptizing them. Christ thus explains his mysterious announcement to Nicodemus (John 3:5), "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." To the disciples the notion of baptism was no new thing. As a rite typifying the cleansing of the heart and the purpose of leading a new life, it had been long practised in the case of proselytes to the Jewish faith; they had seen it employed by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:6), and had used it themselves (John 4:1, 2). Christ adopts the old rite, gives it a new solemnity, a most sacred formula of administration, a new meaning, new spiritual effects. The persons to whom and in whose presence he spoke would understand his injunction as applicable to all who were capable of its reception, children and adults, the subjects of the initiatory ceremony of proselytism. There was no need of closer specification. Or, if any such instruction was needed, the rules concerning circumcision would be a sufficient guide. In (εἰς, into) the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Our version follows the Vulgate, in nomine, which does not give the right force to the expression. The phrase does not mean merely invoking the Name, under the sanction of the great Name, but something more than this. It signifies into the power and influence of the Holy Trinity, into faith in the three Persons of God, and the duties and privileges consequent on that faith, into the family of God and obedience unto its Head. The "into" shows the end and aim of the consecration of baptism. The "Name" of God is that by which he is known to us - that which connotes his being and his attributes, that by which there exists a conscious connection between God and ourselves (comp. Matthew 18:20). So being baptized into the Name of God implies being placed in subjection to and communion with God himself, admitted into covenant with him. It is to be observed that the term is "name," not "names," thus denoting the unity of the Godhead in the trinity of Persons. The Lord's words have always been taken as the formula of baptism, and have in all ages been used in its administration. The three Divine Persons were revealed at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16, 17); they are invoked at every Christian baptism. It is true that we read, in the early Church, of persons being baptized "in the Name of the Lord Jesus," and "in the Name of the Lord" (Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48); but this expression by no means assumes that the names of the other Divine Persons were not used; it denotes that the converts were admitted into the religion which Jesus instituted, in fact, were made Christians. The above formula has from primitive times been considered indispensable for the valid administration of this sacrament (see 'Apost. Can.,' 41; Tertull., 'De Bapt.,' 13; Justin Martyr, 'Apol.,' 1:79). "From this sacred form of baptism," says Bishop Pearson, "did the Church derive the rule of faith, requiring the profession of belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, before they could be baptized in their Name" ('On the Creed,' art. 1.). Matthew 28:19Teach (μαθητεύσατε)

Rev., rightly, make disciples of.

In the name (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα)

Rev., correctly, "into the name." Baptizing into the name has a twofold meaning. 1. Unto, denoting object or purpose, as εἰς μετάνοιαν, unto repentance (Matthew 3:11); εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν, for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). 2. Into, denoting union or communion with, as Romans 6:3, "baptized into Christ Jesus; into his death;" i.e., we are brought by baptism into fellowship with his death. Baptizing into the name of the Holy Trinity implies a spiritual and mystical union with him. Eἰς, into, is the preposition commonly used with baptize. See Acts 8:16; Acts 19:3, Acts 19:5; 1 Corinthians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 10:2; Galatians 3:27. In Acts 2:38, however, Peter says, "Be baptized upon (ἐπὶ) the name of Jesus Christ; and in Acts 10:48, he commands Cornelius and his friends to be baptized in (ἐν) the name of the Lord. To be baptized upon the name is to be baptized on the confession of that which the name implies: on the ground of the name; so that the name Jesus, as the contents of the faith and confession, is the ground upon which the becoming baptized rests. In the name (ἐν) has reference to the sphere within which alone true baptism is accomplished. The name is not the mere designation, a sense which would give to the baptismal formula merely the force of a charm. The name, as in the Lord's Prayer ("Hallowed be thy name"), is the expression of the sum total of the divine Being: not his designation as God or Lord, but the formula in which all his attributes and characteristics are summed up. It is equivalent to his person. The finite mind can deal with him only through his name; but his name is of no avail detached from his nature. When one is baptized into the name of the Trinity, he professes to acknowledge and appropriate God in all that he is and in all that he does for man. He recognizes and depends upon God the Father as his Creator and Preserver; receives Jesus Christ as his only Mediator and Redeemer, and his pattern of life; and confesses the Holy Spirit as his Sanctifier and Comforter.

Alway (πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας)

Lit., all the days. Wyc., in all days.

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