We get this question a lot. “What about Matthew 28:19?” The scripture 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:”
Our reply is usually the same. We in return reply, “What about it? Matthew 28:19 is the Word of God.” For some reason, random people who are either new to the Faith of Jesus Christ or people who have been feeding on commentaries their whole lives tend to think that we disregard the above scripture. This is far from the truth. We as Christians understand the necessity to believe the WHOLE Word of God, the Bible, and Matthew 28:19 is part of the Bible and therefore we believe it. We acknowledge the Father who is God, the maker and creator of all things. We understand who the Son is, the Only Begotten of the Father. And we thank God for his Holy Spirit by which we can have access unto the Father. These titles are not three deities but as the scripture saith:
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6 KJV).
I believe that the problem is that many who read the verse are not understanding what it is saying. People who lack study of the scriptures tend believe that Jesus Christ was commanding that those who baptize must use the literal words he was using in Matthew 28:19. As if it was a type of formula. Jesus wasn’t saying that a person must recite those words as a formula or exactly. Let us take a look at the verse in a little more depth.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
Notice Jesus’ use of the singular word, “Name.” Now why wouldn’t he say “names” instead of “name?” The answer is in the preceding verse, Mt 28:18. He does not use plurality but rather uses singular wording. He is doing this for a reason so we can put the pieces together and use wisdom when rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).
As we rightly divide the Word of Truth we will see that in the Book of Acts that the Apostles did just that. Peter was an Apostle and he was with Jesus on the ocean shore when Jesus spoke those words in Matthew 28:19. He listened to Jesus’ command very intently. Peter then, on the Day of Pentecost, begins to preach Jesus Christ to the people. After he preaches the Gospel he then commands the listeners to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
“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.” (Acts 2:38).
Notice how he uses the singular name, “Jesus Christ” rather than a plurality of titles, i.e, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, nowhere in the book of Acts do we see the Apostles baptizing anyone by saying the literal words, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All baptisms done are in the NAME of Jesus. At times, Lord and Christ are added as descriptive titles to the primary name that carries all authority, JESUS. Therefore, we see that Peter uses the singular name (Jesus Christ) just as the Lord instructed him to do so in Matthew 28:19. Peter understood what Jesus was saying in Matthew 28:19. The instruction was not only to Peter but also to the rest of the Apostles and even extends to us Christians who are also instructed to baptize individuals. We ought to use the singular Name, “Jesus Christ” when performing baptisms and NOT any plurality of titles. A title carries no power in itself but only a name has Authority. In this case, the Name of Jesus has ALL authority.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me (Jesus Christ) in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18).
We conclude by stating that Jesus Christ is the singular name that MUST be called over a person at baptism. This correct method of baptism obeys the words spoken by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19. He stated that we MUST be baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost and we agree wholeheartedly. This also fulfills the words spoken by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost. Acts 2:38. There is no contradiction in the two scriptures [Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38] but rather direct fulfillment.
Jesus Christ is the Name of the Father (John 5:43, John 10:30, John 8:58, John 14:9).
Jesus Christ is the Name of the Son (Isaiah 9:6, Luke 1:31, John 8:36, Matthew 16:16).
Jesus Christ is the Name of the Holy Ghost (John 14:18, John 14:20, John 14:26, Colossians 1:27).