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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Does Mathew 28:19 Really Prove the Trinity Doctrine?

Trinitarians seem to think that the few Scriptures that happen to mention the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one breath somehow means that they are the same person. But if one actually examines these Scriptures they will see that there is no mention of these three being the one God. In fact, the actual wording of the "trinitarian" 2 Cor. 13:14, when examined, proves it to be evidence against a trinity concept. There, it states that there is only one called "God" and that is the Father and that God is mentioned as a separate and distinct individual FROM the Son and the Holy Spirit!

Likewise, Mt. 28:19 is extremely weak trinitarian "evidence".

Even Trinitarian New Testament language experts tell us that Bible phrases beginning "in the name of..." indicate that the secondary meaning of "authority" or "power" was intended by the Bible writer. - p. 772, Vine. Therefore, Matt. 28:19 actually means: "baptizing them in recognition of the power [or the authority] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy spirit."

That W. E. Vine specifically includes Matt. 28:19 in this category can be further shown by his statement on p. 772 of his reference work. When discussing the secondary meaning of "name" ("authority," "power") he says that it is used

"in recognition of the authority of (sometimes combined with the thought of relying on or resting on), Matt. 18:20; cp. 28:19; Acts 8:16...."

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 1, p. 245, makes the same admission when discussing Matt. 28:19:

"The use of name (onoma) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri for power or authority."

Noted trinitarian scholars McClintock and Strong say in their Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature concerning Matthew 28:18-20:

"This text, however, taken by itself, would not prove decisively either the personality of the three subjects mentioned, or their equality or divinity." (1981 reprint, Vol. X, p. 552)

And trinitarian scholar Kittel in his Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:

"The N[ew] T[estament] does not actually speak of triunity. We seek this in vain in the triadic formulae [including Matthew 28:19] of the NT."

The fact that "name" is singular at Matt. 28:19 is only further proof that "authority" or "power" was meant and not a personal name. If more than one person is involved, then the plural "names" would be used (compare Rev. 21:12). Even trinitarians admit that their God is composed of 3 separate persons. And each one of those "persons" has his own personal name (except, as we have seen, the holy spirit really does not)! Therefore, if personal names were intended here for these three different "persons," the plural "names" would have been used in this Scripture.

Since it clearly means "in recognition of the power, or authority of," it is perfectly correct to use "name" in the singular. In fact, it must be used that way. We even recognize this in our own language today. We say, for example, "I did it in the name [singular] of love, humanity, and justice."

It is significant that Scriptures show that the personal name of God and the personal name of Christ are two distinctly separate names. It is also significant that there is no mention in the entire Bible of any personal name for the holy spirit.

If Jesus were really saying that Jehovah, Jesus, and the holy spirit had personal names and these names must be used during baptism, he would have used the plural word "names" at Matt. 28:19. And we would see the Father's personal name ("Jehovah" - Is. 63:16; 64:8 - Ps. 83:18 and Luke 1:32 - Exodus 3:15 and Acts 3:13) and the Son's personal name ("Jesus" - Luke 1:31, 32) and the holy spirit's personal name ("?") all being used in Christian baptism ceremonies for the past 1900 years.

In spite of the extreme weakness of the trinitarian "evidence" for Matt. 28:19, it is nearly always cited by trinitarians because, incredibly poor as it is, it is one of their very best trinitarian "proofs"! And it is generally hailed by trinitarians as the best evidence for the deity of the holy spirit! This certainly shows how extremely weak the scriptural evidence is for a trinity!

Additional Reading:

Scriptures that mention together the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (rs p. 405-p. 426; Watchtower Online Library)

Is the Trinity a Bible teaching? (w12 3/1 p. 23; Watchtower Online Library)

Holy Spirit - How baptized in its “name.” (it-2 pp. 1017-1027; Watchtower Online Library)

Baptized in the Name of Whom and What? (w10 3/15 pp. 10-14; Watchtower Online Library)

What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Father”, ‘in the name of the Son’, and ‘in the name of the holy spirit’? (w02 4/1 pp. 10-15; Watchtower Online Library)

What does it mean to be baptized “in the name of the Father”, ‘in the name of the Son’, and ‘in the name of the holy spirit’? (wt chap. 12 pp. 110-119; Watchtower Online Library)

Mt. 28:19 - NWT (Defending the NWT)   

Does Mt. 28:19 prove that the Holy Spirit is God? (Search For Bible Truths)   

Concerning Mt. 28:19 (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers) 

Shem Tov's Hebrew Matthew 14th century manuscripts (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)   

Some comments by scholars and translators (Jehovah's Witnesses Questions and Answers)  


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