In The Name Of”:


Continued . . .

A writer for Tekton Apologetics wrote that Matthew 28:19 “is not particularly useful for Trinitarian defense as it theoretically could support any view . . . for it only lists the members of the Triune Godhead with absolutely no explanation as to their exact relationship.”i If this is true, and I believe it is, then what motive would anyone have in targeting it with corruption?

Proposition: We have the authentic copies from the autograph* passage designated Matthew 28:19 as written by Holy Spirit inspired disciple and it includes the trinity.

*autograph: “something written or made with one's own hand: a : an original manuscript or work of art” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Since the Roman “bishop” had no motive and no opportunity of empirical power before the 5th century to change the Greek manuscripts, did someone else do it?

“ It is universally agreed that every single Greek manuscript, including the earliest ones to date, all contain within them the Trinitarian baptismal formula.ii   All discovered ancient records of the Greek text of Matthew show that the trinitarian 28:19 existed throughout the Empire before the empirical power was granted to the Roman church. All discovered ancient translations of the text have the full trinitarian quote. In addition, all the early writings, that quote this text in its entirety, quote the trinitarian expression.

One would expect that if, indeed, Matthew’s original did not actually include the trinity phrase, that at least some early witnesses to this original would have remained. But there are no witnesses, early or late, that give definitive evidence that 28:19 ever existed without the trinity phrase.


There are thousands of fragments. I have tried to represent the more complete “manuscripts.”

These are ancient New Testament manuscripts and they all have the full “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 28:19.iii

Notes: The fourth century Greek Codex Vaticanus first appears in a Vatican catalogue of 1475; it is of the "Alexandrian" Greek type of text. Rome did not have this codex before the 15th Century so they could not have altered it. iv   The Codex Alexandrinus was moved in 1627 to Britain.v The Greek Codex Ephraemi contains the last of Matthew 28vi. The Codex Bezae includes a bilingual edition in both Greek and Latin of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.vii


Notes: We have available translated manuscripts such as the Syriac Peshitoviii from the Greek from the second century and it contains Matthew 28:19 intact. Other versions were translated from the Greek in the second century and they contain also Matthew 28:19. The Vulgate. Jerome stated that in revising the Old Latin into the Vulgate he used a Greek Bible which belonged to Origen who lived in the early part of the third century.


Existing manuscripts of Ignatius (ca 110)ix quotes Matthew 28:19’s trinity. So does Irenaeus (ca 170)x and Tertullian (ca 200).xi The Didachexii of the late second century uses the trinity phrase “for baptizing converts” but it is a manual for proselytes and not a quote.

Notes: Clement of Alexandria cites a text somewhat similar to Matthew 28:19 from a gnostic heretic named Theodotus: 'And to the Apostles he gives the command: Going around preach ye and baptize those who believe in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.' It is a good assumption that Theodotus was quoting the Scripture passage.   The words of Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) in First Apology 61:3,
Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.xiii

But a major argument is that the writer Eusebius does not quote the trinity version. A prolific writer (under Constantine), Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 260—c. 340)xiv is, I believe, misused because of his omitting the trinity in citing Matthew 28:19. First of all, If there was a conspiracy under Constantine to change Matthew 28:19, Eusebius would, I think, have been on the conspirators side, for the emperor commissioned him to make 50 copies of the Scriptures. In the second place, Eusebius is an “abbreviator” who abbreviates verses. Is he not abbreviating the great commission because he omits baptism as well as the trinity! Eusebius abbreviates passages; e.g., Philippians 2:10. Thirdly, Eusebius is quoting in the context of emphasizing disciple making. He only needs to quote the first part about the preaching. And his abbreviation of “in His name” can show his interpretation of the trinity expression; i.e., that it is not a formula to be uttered but shows the authority for everything including “making disciples.” Fourthly, he uses the trinity quote in his creed confession which shows that he believes in the trinity.xv

I would concur with Alfred Plummer’s conclusion: Matthew 28:19 has always had the trinitarian phrase: “It is incredible that an interpolation of this character can have been made in the text of Matthew without leaving a trace of its unauthenticity in a single manuscript or Version. The evidence for its genuineness is overwhelming.” xvi

Gaylon West

Throw Out The Lifeline


ii http://www.christianmonotheism.com/media/text/Steve%20Katsaras%20--%20Matthew%2028-19.pdf

iii https://www.wabashcenter.wabash.edu/syllabi/r/rennie/rel151/mss.htm

iv https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Vaticanus


vi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Ephraemi_Rescriptus

vii https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Bezae

viii With this understood, almost all Syriac scholars agree that the Peshitta gospels are translations of the Greek originals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peshitta

ix https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitarianism_in_the_Church_Fathers

x http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103317.htm. In Demonstratio 3.6, he does replace "name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" with "my name."

xi http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0311.htm

Argues for Trinity, yet “one” deity. http://www.tertullian.org/articles/evans_bapt/evans_bapt_text_trans.htm.

xii http://www.paracletepress.com/Content/Site186/ProductContent/didache.pdf

xiii https://www.torahresource.com/pdf-articles/matt-28-19-a-text-critical-investigation.pdf

Justin Martyr. I Apology 61: Christian Baptism. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm

xiv Ecclesiastical History; Oration in Praise of Emperor Constantine; etc. http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/verses/matthew-28-19

xv Document E in The Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus (Baker Book House, 1955), Appendix on the Council of Nice, p. 43ff.

xvi Alfred Plummer, An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Matthew (James Family Reprint), p. 432. https://www.torahresource.com/EnglishArticles/Matt28.19TexualCriticism.pdf