In the book "The Trinity" by Woodrow Whidden, Ph. D., Jerry Moon, Ph. D., and
John W. Reese (pursuing a Ph. D) published by Review and Herald in 2002 (which I
had for almost two years now when I purchased it in April of 2002 during the
Laity Convention in Orlando, FL), they wrote in the first chapter titled "The
Strongest Biblical Evidence For The Trinity", p32.:
"Probably the strongest clues to such a divine triunity occur in the famous
gospel commission that Jesus gave the church in its baptismal formula: "Go
therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19)."
Let the reader decide for themselves based on the evidence presented here
whether the current rendition of Matthew 28:19 is really the infallible word of
God or is a man-made addition to the infallible word of God. We are all in
agreement that all [authentic] scripture is infallible.
May God be glorified and may the reader submit to the authority of the authentic
scriptures alone, forsaking human teachings and traditions of men,
Constantine Wrote Matthew 28:19 Into Your Bible!
What Did Matthew Actually Write, "Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," OR "Go ye, and make disciples of all the
nations IN MY NAME"?
This article is based on a publication which was originally written in 1961
and titled " A Collection of the Evidence For and Against the Traditional
Wording of the Baptismal Phrase in Matthew 28:19 ". The author was a
minister, presumably Protestant. He signed his work simply as A. Ploughman. He
lived in Birmingham, England. The author had not encountered anything dealing
with the authenticity of Matthew 28:19, during his 50 years of Biblical study
except from out of print articles, books and encyclopaedias. I would have never
considered reviewing this information except for the fact that a trusted friend
was quite zealous about the importance of the conclusions reached. In this
article, only the secular historical quotations have been retained as written
from Ploughman's research.
Questioning the authenticity of Matthew 28:19 is not a matter of determining how
easily it can or cannot be explained within the context of established doctrinal
views. Rather, it is a matter of discovering the very thoughts of our God,
remembering that His truth, and not our traditions, is eternal.
The information presented is extremely relevant to our faith. The amount of
information supporting the conclusions presented may seem overwhelming, but for
the serious seeker of truth, the search is well worth effort. I hope that you
will allow the facts contained in this article to stir you into action. If you
discover that you have not been baptized into the name of the true God, and have
knowingly accepted a substitute, how would God respond?
However, it must be remembered that we have no known manuscripts that were
written in the first, second or even the third centuries. There is a gap of
over three hundred years between when Matthew wrote his epistle and our
earliest manuscript copies. (It also took over three hundred years for the
Catholic Church to evolve into what the "early church fathers" wanted it to
No single early manuscript is free from textual error. Some have unique errors;
other manuscripts were copied extensively and have the same errors. Again, our
aim is to examine all of the evidence and determine as closely as possible what
the original words were.
Considering the fact that all of the scriptures from Genesis thru Malachi make
no reference to a Trinitarian God, and that from Mark thru Revelation we also
find no evidence for a Trinity, we must consider the possibility that all the
existing manuscripts may have one or more textual errors in common.
According to the Biblical historian Dr. C. R. Gregory:
The Greek manuscripts of the text of the New Testament were often altered by
the scribes, who put into them the readings which were familiar to them, and
which they held to be the right readings.
More on these changes will be addressed later. Another writer said:
A great step forward is taken when we propose to give manuscripts weight, not
according to their age, but according to the age of the text which they contain.
By proving how honest a text is rather than strictly how old it is provides us
with a text which has content that is truly ancient. When we verify that a text
is older than the fourth century, that it was current in the third or better
still the second century, we still cannot be sure that it has not been altered.
We need to try to verify that the text is pure text. There is reason to believe
that the very grossest errors that have ever deformed the text had entered it
already in the second century. What we wish to ascertain, however, is not merely
an ancient text but an accurate text.
Of course, "the grossest errors," that this writer is referring to are not
doctrinal errors, but the errors in the text itself. Not surprisingly tho, some
of these textual corruptions occurred simultaneously with the respective
doctrinal changes as they were being introduced in the early church. This
historic falling away will be addressed later.
Just as with the manuscripts, all extant Versions, containing the end of
Matthew, also contain the Triune name. But, of course, there is more to be
considered than what is present in a document. One must also take into
consideration what is absent. Again quoting from the Encyclopaedia of Religion
and Ethics: "In all extant versions the text is found in the traditional
[Trinitarian] form. ..though it must be remembered that the best manuscripts,
both of the African Old Latin and of the Old Syriac Versions are defective at
F.C. Conybeare further elaborated:
In the only codices which would be even likely to preserve an older reading,
namely the Sinaitic Syriac and the oldest Latin Manuscript, the pages are gone
which contained the end of Matthew.
So then, though all early Versions contain the traditional Triune name in
Matthew 28:19, the earliest of these Versions do not contain the verse at
all. And curiously, not due to omission, but due to removal! We can not be
certain of the motives why these pages were destroyed, but for the sake of our
study we are now compelled to consult the early historical writings
Excerpts of Early Catholic Writers
Before we make references concerning these early writers, it should be
emphatically stated, that if the question under consideration were one of
doctrine, the written records of these Catholic writers would be totally
irrelevant. Doctrine must be obtained from the pure Word of God alone, and not
from Catholics, Jews or other sources. These self proclaimed "fathers" lived in
an age of unrestrained heresy. Their testimony is valuable only because they
provide an incidental and independent verification of scriptural texts much
older than our current complete copies.
In the course of my reading I have been able to substantiate these doubts of
the authenticity of the text of Matthew 28:19 by adducing patristic [L.
pater:"father"] evidence against it, so weighty that in the future the most
conservative of divines will shrink from resting on it any dogmatic fabric at
all, while the more enlightened will discard it as completely as they have its
fellow-text of the 'Three Witnesses'. - F.C. Conybeare in the Hibbert
Could this bold statement be true? While not a single manuscript from the first
three centuries remains in existence, we do have "eye witness" observations of
at least two men who actually had access to manuscripts dating much earlier than
our earliest. Others also quoted Matthew 28:19, whose written works have been
preserved, dating to much earlier times than our best manuscript copies. We are
about to examine who these men were and what the circumstances were. We will
attempt to determine if these are reliable quotations of the original
scriptures. How did they quote Matthew 28:19? Did their comments imply an
existing controversy surrounding the use of the scriptures being quoted? Was a
Trinity implied? These are questions that can be answered.
In the pages ahead, we will consider evidence from the following men, either via
quotations from their writings, or as commented upon thru the writings of their
contemporaries:1) Eusebius of Caesurae, 2) The unknown author of De Rebaptismate,
3) Origen, 4) Clement of Alexandria, 5) Justin Martyr, 6) Macedonius, 7)
Eunomius and 8) Aphraates.
Our search through their writings is not to establish any doctrine, but to find
early witnesses to the verse in question.
Eusebius of Caesurae
Our first witness will be Eusebius of Caesurae, also known as Eusebius Pamphili.
He was born around 270 A.D., and died around 340 A.D. He lived in times of
rampant doctrinal change, was a Trinitarian, and in later life assisted in the
formation of the Nicene Creed. Regarding our inquiry into Matthew 28:19,
Eusebius is our key witness. Therefore, to establish his veracity as a credible
witness, let us consider the following quotes:"Eusebius of Caesurae, to whom we
are indebted for the preservation of so many contemporary works of antiquity,
many of which would have perished had he not collected and edited them." Robert
Roberts, in Good Company, vol. III, pg. 10
Eusebius, the greatest Greek teacher of the Church and most learned
theologian of his time. .. worked untiringly for the acceptance of the
pure Word of the New Testament as it came from the Apostles. .. Eusebius.
.. relies throughout only upon ancient manuscripts, and always openly
confesses the truth when he cannot find sufficient testimony. E.K. in the
Christadelphian Monatshefte, Aug, 1923 from Mosheim, in an editorial footnote.
Eusebius Pamphili, Bishop of Caesurae in Palestine, a man of vast reading and
erudition, and one who has acquired immortal fame by his labors in
ecclesiastical history, and in other branches of theological learning. Chapter
2, 9. .. Till about 40 years of age he lived in great intimacy with the
martyr Pamphilus, a learned and devout man of Caesurae, and founder of an
extensive library there, from which Eusebius derived his vast store of learning.
Dr. Wescott, in "General Survey," page 108
Eusebius, to whose zeal we owe most of what is known of the history of the
New Testament. Peake Bible Commentary, page 596
The most important writer in the first quarter of the fourth century was
Eusebius of Caesurae. .. Eusebius was a man of little originality or
independent judgment. But he was widely read in the Greek Christian literature
of the second and third centuries, the bulk of which has now irretrievably
perished, and subsequent ages owe a deep debt to his honest, if some-what
confused, and at times not a little prejudiced, erudition. Dictionary of
Christian Biography and Literature
Some hundred works, several of them very lengthy, are either directly cited
or referred to as having been read by Eusebius. In many instances he would read
an entire treatise for the sake of one or two historical notices, and must have
searched many others without finding anything to serve his purpose. Under the
head the most vital question is the sincerity of Eusebius. Did he tamper with
the materials or not? The sarcasm of Gibbon (Decline and Fall, c. xvi) is well
known. .. The passages to which Gibbon refers do not bear out his
imputation. .. Eusebius contents himself with condemning these sins.
.. in general terms, without entering into details. .. but it leaves
no imputation on his honesty. Mosheim, again in an editorial note.
Eusebius was an impartial historian, and had access to the best helps for
composing a correct history which his age afforded. Mosheim
Of the patristic witnesses to the text of the New Testament as it stood in
the Greek Manuscripts from about 300-340 A.D., none is so important as Eusebius
of Caesurae, for he lived in the greatest Christian Library of that age, that
namely which Origen and Pamphilus had collected. It is no exaggeration to say
from this single collection of manuscripts at Caesurae derives the larger part
of the surviving ante-Nicene literature. In his Library, Eusebius must have
habitually handled codices of the gospels older by two hundred years than the
earliest of the great uncials that we have now in our libraries. F.C.
Conybeare, in the Hibbert Journal, October 1902.
Considering the honesty, ability and opportunity of Eusebius as a witness to the
"New Testament" text, let us now move on to the his evidence concerning Matthew
The Evidence of Eusebius
According to Ludwig Knupfer, the editor of the Christadelphian Monatshefte,
Eusebius, among his many other writings compiled a file of corrupted variations
of the Holy Scriptures, and:
The most serious of all the falsifications denounced by him, is without doubt
the traditional reading of Matthew 28:19.
His source material has been lost, as he later wrote:
through events of war I have lost all of my files and other
materials connected with the magazine.
But various authorities mention a work entitled Discrepancies in the Gospels,
and another work entitled The Concluding Sections of the Gospels.
According to Conybeare:
Eusebius cites this text (Matt. 28:19) again and again in works written
between 300 and 336, namely in his long commentaries on the Psalms, on Isaiah,
his Demonstratio Evangelica, his Theophany. .. in his famous history of
the Church, and in his panegyric of the emperor Constantine. I have, after a
moderate search in these works of Eusebius, found eighteen citations of Matthew
28:19, and always in the following form:'Go ye and make disciples of all the
nations in My name, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded
Ploughman's research uncovered all of these quotations except for one, which
is in a catena published by Mai in a German magazine, the Zeitschrift fur die
neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, edited by Dr. Erwin Preuschen in Darmstadt in
1901. Eusebius was not content merely to cite the verse in this form, but he
more than once commented on it in such a way as to show how much he confirmed
the wording "in my name". Thus, in his Demonstratio Evangelica he wrote
For he did not enjoin them "to make disciples of all the nations" simply and
without qualification, but with the essential addition "in his name". For so
great was the virtue attaching to his appellation that the Apostle says, "God
bestowed on him the name above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee
shall bow of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth. " It was right
therefore that he should emphasize the virtue of the power residing in his name
but hidden from the many, and therefore say to his Apostles, "Go ye, and make
disciples of all the nations in my name.' (col. 240, p. 136)
Conybeare proceeded, in Hibbert Journal, 1902:
It is evident that this was the text found by Eusebius in the very ancient
codices collected fifty to a hundred and fifty years before his birth by his
great predecessors. Of any other form of text he had never heard and knew
nothing until he had visited Constantinople and attended the Council of Nice.
Then in two controversial works written in his extreme old age, and entitled,
the one 'Against Marcellus of Ancyra,' and the other 'About the Theology of the
Church,' he used the common reading. One other writing of his also contains it,
namely a letter written after the Council of Nice was over, to his seer of
In his Textual Criticism of the New Testament Conybeare wrote:
It is clear therefore, that of the manuscripts which Eusebius inherited from
his predecessor, Pamphilus, at Caesurae in Palestine, some at least preserved
the original reading, in which there was no mention either of baptism or of
Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It has been conjectured by Dr. David-son, Dr.
Martineau, by the Dean of Westminster, and by Prof. Harnack (to mention but a
few names of the many) that here the received text could not contain the very
words of Jesus - this long before anyone except Dr. Burgon, who kept the
discovery to himself, had noticed the Eusebian form of the reading.
Naturally an objection was raised by Dr. Chase, Bishop of Ely, who argued that
Eusebius indeed found the traditional text in his manuscripts, but
substituted the briefer wording in his works for fear of vulgarizing the
"sacred" Trinitarian wording. Interestingly, a modern Bishop revived the very
argument used 150 years earlier, in support of the forged text of 1 John
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the
Holy Ghost:and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in
earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood:and these three agree in one.
According to Porson (in a preface to his Letters):
Bengel. .. allowed that the words (The Three Witnesses) were in no
genuine manuscripts. .. Surely then, the verse is spurious! No! This
learned man finds a way of escape. 'The passage was of so sublime and mysterious
a nature that the secret discipline of the Church withdrew it from the public
books, till it was gradually lost. ' Under what a lack of evidence must a critic
labor who resorts to such an argument!?
Conybeare continued, refuting the argument of the Bishop of Ely:
It is sufficient answer to point out that Eusebius' argument, when he cites
the text, involves the text 'in my name. ' For, he asks, 'in whose name?' and
answers that it was the name spoken of by Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians
Finally, the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics states:
The facts are, in summary, that Eusebius quotes Matthew 28:19 twenty-one
times, either omitting everything between 'nations' and 'teaching,' or in the
form 'make disciples of all the nations in my name,' the latter form being the
Having considered the evidence of Eusebius, let us also consider some other
Other Early Writings
The anonymous author of De Rebaptismate in the third century so understood
them, and dwells at length on 'the power of the name of Jesus invoked upon a man
by Baptism'. (The Author of De Rebaptismate, from Smith's Dictionary of the
Bible, Vol. I, page 352.)
In Origen's works, as preserved in the Greek, the first part of the verse is
cited three times, but his citation always stops short at the words 'the
nations'; and that in itself suggests that his text has been censored, and the
words which followed, 'in my name', struck out. ив Conybeare
In the pages of Clement of Alexandria a text somewhat similar to Matthew
28:19 is once cited, but from a Gnostic heretic named Theodotus, and not as from
the canonical text, but as follows:'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. '" - Excerta cap. 76, ed. Sylb. page 287,
quote from Conybeare.
Justin [Martyr]. .. quotes a saying of Christ. .. as a proof of
the necessity or regeneration, but falls back upon the use of Isaiah and
apostolic tradition to justify the practice of baptism and the use of the triune
formula. This certainly suggests that Justin did not know the traditional text
of Matthew 28:19. - Enc. of Religion and Ethics
In Justin Martyr, who wrote between A. D.130 and 140, there is a
passage which has been regarded as a citation or echo of Matthew 28:19 by
various scholars, e. g.Resch in his Ausser canonische Parallelstellen,
who sees in it an abridgement of the ordinary text. The passage is in Justin's
dialogue with Trypho 39, p. 258:'God hath not afflicted nor inflicts the
judgment, as knowing of some that still even today are being made disciples in
the name of his Christ, and are abandoning the path of error, who also do
receive gifts each as they be worthy, being illuminated by the name of this
Christ. ' "The objection hitherto to these words being recognized as a citation
our of text was that they ignored the formula 'baptizing them in the name of the
Father and Son and Holy Spirit. ' But the discovery of the Eusebian form of text
removes the difficulty:and Justin is seen to have had the same text as early as
the year 140, which Eusebius regularly found in his manuscripts from 300 to 340.
- Conybeare (Hibbert Journal)
We may infer that the text was not quite fixed when Tertullian was writing,
early in the third century. In the middle of that century Cyprian could insist
on the use of the triple formula as essential in the baptism even of the
orthodox. The pope Stephen answered him that the baptisms even of the heretics
were valid, if the name of Jesus alone was invoked. ( This decision did
not prevent the popes of the seventh century from excommunicating the entire
Celtic Church for its remaining faithful to the old use of invoking in Jesus
name ). In the last half of the fourth century, the text 'in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost' was used as a battle cry by
the orthodox against the adherents of Macedonius, who were called 'pneumato-machi'
or 'fighters against the Holy Spirit', because they declined to include the
Spirit in a Trinity of persons as co-equal, consubstantial and co-eternal with
the Father and Son. They also stoutly denied that any text in the New
Testament authorized such a coordination of the Spirit with the Father and Son.
Whence we infer that their texts agreed with that of Eusebius. -
Conybeare (Hibbert Journal)
Exceptions are found which perhaps point to an old practice dying out.
Cyprian (Ep. 73) and the 'Apostolic Canons' (no. 50) combat the shorter formula,
thereby attesting to its use in certain quarters. The ordinance of the Apostolic
Canon therefore runs:'If any bishop or presbyter fulfill not three baptisms of
one initiation, but one baptism which is given (as) into the death of the Lord,
let him be deposed. ' "This was the formula of the followers of Eunomius (Socr.
5:24), 'for they baptized not into the Trinity, but into the death of
Christ. ' They accordingly used single immersion only. - Encyclopedia Biblia
(Article on "Baptism")
There is one other witness