The Resolution of Matthew 28:19

Lift God's Word

The Resolution of Matthew 28:19
In an effort to do that which is pleasing to God in a spirit of love for Him, as we come to the act of water baptism we are faced with a decision about which formula or words we would have spoken over us during the ceremony.
Someone giving only casual thought to this, but with a heart perfectly willing to obey God, might just go to their local fellowship, and whatever the preacher says during the ceremony would suffice for them. 

But as we closely study God’s word we find that there is a great treasure to be found in paying attention to detail.
Just as an example think of the matter of Noah’s attention to detail when considering the specifications given him by God for the construction of the Ark. 

This vessel would prove to be the salvation of himself, the seven other men and women onboard, and all the animals through which life on earth would continue. If Noah had skipped the addition of the pitch covering of the Ark would it have had a successful journey? There was a specific reason for each specification of the construction of the Ark that God gave to Noah.

The Biblical Method Of Water Baptism
In the Bible’s presentation of water baptism as practiced by the Church born or empowered on the Day of Pentecost, we see that upon each occasion when new believers were baptized, they did so”… in the name of Jesus”.
It is critically important that you read these accounts in the context of the chapters in which they are written. 

This gives the Holy Spirit opportunity to reveal the truth to you, giving you understanding as opposed to mere facts. Please take the necessary time required to do this. And may God bless your reading of His word!

The Question Raised About Matthew 28:19

After determining this fact that the appointed Apostles of Christ baptized new believers in Jesus’ name a question comes to the minds of many about today’s tradition of Churches baptizing “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” They begin to think of the scripture Matthew 28:19 which reads; Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (KJV)

They begin to see a difficulty in reconciling this scripture with the ones we just saw in the book of Acts, with Acts 2:38 being the precedent-setting verse of Scripture of water baptizing “…in the name of Jesus Christ”. 

To add to this question, they are faced with the unfortunate position expressed to them by pastors or other ministers of the gospel who choose to baptize “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” who make the error of pitting God’s word against itself as they seek Biblical justification for what they are doing.
Such pastors say to those who point out that the Apostle’s baptized only …in the name of Jesus Christ”, that Matthew 28:19 is the “correct” method because it was spoken by the Lord Himself. 

The awful mistake that is committed by pitting God’s word against itself, that it implies the following-“Matthew 28:19 is the right’ method.”

Implication: Acts 2:38 is wrong. This would imply that there is an error in God’s word. This would also imply that there is a contradiction in God’s word. “The Lord Jesus spoke Matthew 28:19, therefore, that method must be right.”

Implication: The Apostles, (namely Peter) was in error when he spoke Acts 2:38. That there is a strife or contradiction between the words of Jesus, versus the words of the Apostles.
As we read these implications above we instantly see the error of that thought pattern. It is impossible that God’s word could be in error. It is equally impossible that the inspired words of the chosen Apostles of Christ would be in opposition to His own teaching. Why is this an impossibility you ask? The answer is, because of the presence of the Holy Ghost in the writers of the New Testament.

The Word Of God Given By The Holy Spirit Is Perfect
What those who declare Peter’s inspired words written in Acts 2:38 to be inferior to those of Christ’s in Matthew 28:19 forget, is the awesome event that had just happened to Peter the very day he spoke them! Read again, dear friend from the beginning of Acts chapter two, and see the fulfillment of the promise Christ made just prior to His ascension in Acts chapter one;

Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (KJV)
This power of the Holy Ghost to be witnesses of the Gospel, was Messiah’s promise to the disciples as He stood with them atop Mount Olivet just prior to His ascension. 
And this promise was fulfilled as is recorded at the beginning of Acts chapter two! 

The Holy Ghost (who is God) descended upon the 120 in the upper room and all were baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit of God, 


Understand then that when Peter lifted up his hand and spoke on that day to those assembled before him at Jerusalem, that he was not speaking in his own power — no! Peter was baptized and overflowing in the power of the Holy Ghost, and it was the words God *Himself had given Peter to speak that day which he uttered.
Also, remember what Jesus taught His disciples earlier when He spoke of the purpose of the soon coming Holy Spirit in their lives upon His return to Heaven-

John 14:26
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (KJV)  
So you see, it is impossible that there could be a contradiction between the words of Christ (Matthew 28:19) and those of Peter (Acts 2:38) because it is by *one Spirit of God that both were given. The same may be said of the Apostle John, whom the Spirit overcame on the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) as he wrote the words of the Book of Revelation. The same is true for every writer of the New Testament, and it is impossible that one would be contrary to another as is taught by those who would pit Matthew 28:19 against Acts 2:38.

The Consistency Of The Gospels
Therefore in seeking an understanding of this deeper meaning of the practice of the Apostles in water baptizing “in the name of Jesus Christ”, we begin to look for a greater meaning to be revealed from a comprehensive look at all of God’s word surrounding the matter. We realize that Peter, Paul and all the Apostles who baptized were doing so under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit, and could not have been in error. We see this confirmed many times in the book of Acts, and sealed by this scripture from Colossians; Colossians 3:17

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (KJV) 
Taking a close look at Matthew 28:19 we begin to see the treasure and monumental implications of Christ’s words. We begin to see His awesome divinity revealed to us, and the awesome nature of One God declared.

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: (KJV)
One of the first things noticed upon a closer look is that the word “name” is singular, not plural. What is that name? Father is not a name, is it? No, it is a position or title of ancestry. Son is not a name, is it? No, it is the same relative assignment of position or title. Holy Ghost is not a name, is it? No, it is the Spirit of God. Where in scripture then, can we find the absolute and unquestionable name in which we may confidently act by word or deed as taught by Colossians 3:17?
We find His name in Acts 4:10 through 12-
Acts 4:10-12
10 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. 11 This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none another name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Friend, Jesus is the name. And this is exactly what the Apostle Peter realized as he was baptized in the Holy Ghost in Acts chapter 2, and proclaimed this truth in the instruction he gave concerning water baptism. It came directly from the Spirit of God who spoke through him that day.-

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 ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Peter realized that Jesus Christ was “…the Word made flesh” (John 1:14) and that He was very God. 

Peter knew that Jesus was Emmanuel, or “God with us” 

(Matthew 1:23). He realized that “…in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Not 1/3- not part- but all the Godhead. This is an awesome, mind-boggling truth to comprehend. 

The theme of the Bible is that there is one God and that the Lord Jesus is “the way” (John 14:6), and that the one God has been revealed to us in Jesus of Nazareth to accomplish our salvation  (Acts 4:12).
This unity of the Godhead is revealed in Matthew 28:19 and it is fulfilled in Acts 2:38. 

There is nothing contrary between the two but a perfect harmony as that latter fulfills the former. The proper name to be baptized in is that of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I highly recommend this method to you, in honor and love for Him. Make sure you insist on the use of His name in your water baptism ceremony, on that wonderful day when you proclaim your faith to the world by doing so.

And God bless you.


About the author

Phyllis Corbin

I am from Nova Scotia Canada, married, have two sons, and four grandchildren I am a born again christian who loves Jesus very much and I am a prayer intercessor and bible teacher