Is Baptism In The Name Of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Biblical?

To start off on seeking an answer to this question, we should first look at the text that is the foundation for this idea.

 Matthew 28:19,20 (KJV)

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:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This seems to be a straight forward command to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  And the disciples are to teach the converts to do all that Jesus had commanded them.  And Yahshua Himself would be with them always, even to the end of the world. Just read the text as it is, and it is so straight forward.  How could anyone get confused with such a plain command?  True, we do not want to build a whole doctrine on only one text.  If it is so plain a command, we should see this followed out in the other gospels, and the many examples of baptisms in other places in the Bible.  So first let us compare the four gospels.

Matt 28:19

Mark 16:16

Luke 24:47


Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

This book does not seem to have this command at all.

Hmmm?  It seems that it is important to preach the gospel in His Name to all.  Whoever repents, believes, and is baptized, will be saved.  The other three gospels do not mention Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in connection with baptism.  This is not proof however that we should not follow the example of Matthew 28:19. 

What did the disciples actually do?

Acts 2:38 (KJV)

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.

This text shows being baptized into Jesus, and afterward receiving the Holy Ghost.  Could it be possible that the Holy Ghost that comes later is Yahshua Himself?  Matthew 28:20 seems to suggest this. “…and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  (More on that later.)

Acts 8:12-17 (KJV)

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

 In the Aramaic in verse 16, the word “it” is used to refer to the Holy Ghost, not “he”.  In some other versions, it is simply stated as “the Spirit had not come upon any of them;…” (NRSV) and other versions.  This portion of scripture, (Acts 8:12-17) does not say that the Holy Spirit is some other “third person.”

 Acts 8:37 (KJV)

37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Here we see the Ethiopian being baptized by Philip, and saved because he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This is not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Acts 10:48 (KJV)

48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

(Not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)

Acts 19:15-17 (KJV)

15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

Salvation is in “name of the Lord Jesus…” at Ephesus.

What did Paul do?

Acts 22:15-16 (KJV)

15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:13 (KJV)

13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

The implication is that Yahshua is not divided.  People were not baptized in the name of Paul, but rather in the name of Yahshua, “was Paul crucified for you?” Paul is here making a direct reference to Yahshua

Whose name were the disciples baptizing in?  Was it Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Galatians 3:27 (KJV)

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Romans 6:3 (KJV)

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Colossians 2:12 (KJV)

12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

(The “him” refers to Yahshua in this verse.)

1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV)

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

(This is not by the Spirit of the Holy Spirit, but rather “by the Spirit of our Yah.”  The Spirit is not Yah, but rather the Spirit of Yah.)

Acts 4:12 (KJV)

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

“… none other name under heaven…”  Does this make sense?  There is only one who lived a perfect life here on earth as a man.  There is only one who was tested in all points and did not sin.

Hebrews 4:15 (KJV) “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

There is only one who took upon himself the sins of the world. (Is. 53)  There is only one who can offer forgiveness of sins. (“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6)

Who is our only advocate?  (“…we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1,2)

Acts 10:43 (KJV)

43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Notice that it is not saying, “to the glory of the Spirit.”)

Colossians 3:17 (KJV)

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.

Here again, we do not see, “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

When we compare Scripture with Scripture, the weight of evidence does not support the baptismal “formula” of Matthew 28:19.  This leaves us in a somewhat awkward position.  What do we do with Matthew 28:19, Father Son, and Holy Ghost?  What does history have to say?

            “The New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus… which still occurs even in the second and third centuries.”  The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, (1957 edition) Vol. 1 p. 435

            “Jesus, however, cannot have given his disciples this Trinitarian order of baptism after his resurrection; for the New Testament knows only baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts ii, 38; vii,16; xix,5; Gal. iii, 27; Rome. vi, 3;1 Cor. i,13-15), which still occurs even in the second and third centuries, while the Trinitarian formula occurs only in Matt. Xxviii, 19 and then only again Didache vii, 1 and Justin, Apol., I, 61.  It is unthinkable that the Apostolic Church thus disobeyed the express command of the Lord, which it otherwise considered the highest authority.  Occurrences like those of Acts xix, 1-7 aught to have shown that the prescribed formula of baptism could not have been shortened to “the name of the Lord Jesus,” if the character of baptism was to be retained as commanded.  Judging from 1 Cor. I, 14-17, Paul did not know Matt.xxviii,19; otherwise he could not have written that Christ had sent him not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” (1914 edition), Vol. 1, Article: Baptism

            “The evidence… suggests that baptism in the early Christianity was administered, not in the threefold name, but ‘in the name of Jesus.’”  Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (1962, Vol. 1 p. 351)

            I find this next quote from the Catholics Encyclopedia particularly revealing.

            “Catholics acknowledge that baptism in Jesus’ name was changed by the Catholic Church.” Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol.2, page 377

I find it interesting that this is the same church that says they are the ones who changed Sabbath to Sunday, and changed the Feast days, as well as the baptismal formula.  Now that the SDA Church in its not too distant history has accepted the trinity doctrine, “the Catholic church now recognizes Seventh-Day Adventists as true Christians who conduct proper baptisms.” Theos Vol. 4, p. 24

In fact, Evangelical church leaders also now accept SDAs as one of them since the SDA Church has taken on the doctrine of the Trinity.

            What I personally have found troubling, is the fact that when I look for examples of Matthew 28:19 being followed by the disciples, I have yet to find one example.  All the texts regarding baptism show a different “formula,” – repent, and be baptized in the name of Yahshua, for the remission of sins.

            For two years I struggled and wrestled with much prayer over Matthew 28:19.  I tried to make sense of why I was seeing such a direct contradiction between Matthew 28:19, and what the rest of the Bible says on the topic.  So I just set this contradiction aside, and told YHWH, “I don’t get it?”  I was uncomfortable with basing a whole doctrine on one text, especially when there are many more verses to the contrary.  Yet I was also unwilling to throw out the one verse.  (Matthew 28:19) 

            Then, one Sabbath, we were visiting with new friends, and they had a different Bible, the Hebrew Roots Bible translation, which is based on the older Hebrew manuscript rather than the later Greek translations. So I asked our friend to read Matthew 28:19 in her Bible.  And wouldn’t you know it, the conflicting verse was reconciled to all the other verses regarding baptism.  The whole problem or contradiction centers around punctuation.  In English, the whole meaning of the text is changed by the added punctuation.  The Hebrew/English version reads as following:

            “18 And coming up Yahshua talked with them, saying, All authority in Heaven and on earth was given to Me. 19 Then having gone, disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, 20 and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20, HRB) Added emphasis is mine, (bolding and underlining).

                There is no comma, or colon after the words ”Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost,” depending on which version you read from.  This changes the whole meaning.  Rendered this way, we are to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son. Then the Spirit, (the Spirit of Yahshua) will teach those newly baptized all things. What things? - The things that Yahshua has commanded us.  Who will be with us always? Yahshua himself will be with us through his own Spirit.  Does this fit with the rest of the Bible? 

1 John 2:20-27 (KJV)

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. [(no mention of the Holy Spirit here)]

23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

This is similar to what Matthew 28:20 says, “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

John 14:15-21 (KJV)

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [These are the same words as Matthew 28:20 “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”, speaking of himself – Jesus]

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  [Jesus was with them at that time, and would be with them in the future. This is what the next verse says.]

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  [Jesus will manifest himself to us, by living in us by His own Spirit.]

John 14:23-31 (KJV)

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

        [Here we see the Father and the Son coming into the believer who keeps Jesus’ words, and they, the Father and Son will “come into him, and make our (the Father and Son) abode with him (the believer)”.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

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.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. [Whose peace do we receive? – Jesus’ peace is what we receive, and Jesus gives it.]

28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. [Who comes again unto us? – Jesus does.] If ye loved  [Jesus], ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; [Does Jesus ever say “I love the Spirit?” – no, but rather “I love the Father”.] and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

So then, back to the question of the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19.   There are plenty of texts that contradict the Matthew 28:19 formula, and since Matthew 28:19 is the ONLY text that states this, it seems to me that one should not be too dogmatic about saying this is the only way in which to baptize.  This position of baptizing in the “name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” becomes even more shaky, when we consider the fact that the text could read very differently depending on the punctuation markings.  We also recognize that these markings were added to the text much later in time, and we also consider that the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts do not have any punctuation markings at all.

            These are some of the discoveries I have come to realize as I have been looking at what I believe, and examining it closely under the finely tuned microscope of the Scriptures.  It is easy to continue believing what I have always thought to be true and Biblical.  But when I test the foundation of each belief against the Scriptures, some times I have to admit that according to YHWH’s Word, I have to give up things I thought to be true, and replace them with what the Bible really says.  I am OK with this.  After all, if the Bible does not change us and grow us in our understanding of YHWH’s plans and warnings for our life, then what is the point of claiming to follow YHWH’s teachings.  By the grace of YHWH I seek to know Him, and to enter into His truth as revealed through His Living Word, Yahshua, and His written Word the Bible.  On these two things I choose to stand.


Texts That Support Being Baptized “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” as Commanded in Matthew 28:19

Texts That Support Being Baptized In the Name of JESUS (Yahshua)


Luke 24:47
Acts 2:38
Acts 8:12-17
Acts 8:37
Acts 10:48
Acts 19:15-17
Acts 22:15-16
1 Corinthians 1:13
Galatians 3:27
Romans 6:3
Colossians 2:12
1 Corinthians 6:11
Acts 4:12
Hebrews 4:15
John 14:6
1 John 2:1-2
Acts 10:43
Philippians 2:9-11
Colossians 3:17

Matthew 28:18-20 (Hebrew Roots Bible)

Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)

18 And coming up Yahshua talked with them, saying, All authority in Heaven and on earth was given to Me.

19 Then having gone, disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son,

20 and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age. Amen.

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

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:

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

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