If the Mathew 28:19 (and the Great Commission therein) is considered an authentic verse, why aren’t there any instances in the NT where the apostles actually baptized someone using the Trinitarian formula (i.e., “in the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”)?

19 “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, NKJV, 1982

I'm looking for explanations given by defenders of trinitarianism.

  • according to our local pastor, the word translated as "in" should actually be translated as "into". He held an entire sermon on this.However, I have my douts so not posting an answer. Jan 10, 2017 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


In Acts (2:38, 8:12, 8:16, 10:48, and 19:5), baptism "in the name of the Lord Jesus" is mentioned. By saying "name" (singular), the Divine Essence of the Holy Trinity is signified, not the Persons individually. It is not not solely the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who effects baptism, but all the Persons working together as one.

As the Catechism of the Council of Trent §The Sacrament of Baptism, says regarding the form of the sacrament of baptism,

Baptism is the work not of the Son alone, of whom St. John says, He it is that baptizeth (John 1:33), but of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity together. By saying, however, in the name [singular], not in the names [plural], we distinctly declare that in the Trinity there is but one Nature and Godhead. The word name is here referred not to the Persons, but to the Divine Essence, virtue and power, which are one and the same in Three Persons.

Also, see these sections of idem:

Essential And Non­-Essential Words Of The Form

It is, however, to be observed that of the words contained in this form, which we have shown to be the complete and perfect one, some are absolutely necessary, so that the omission of them renders the valid administration of the Sacrament impossible; while others on the contrary, are not so essential as to affect its validity.

Of the latter kind is the word ego (I), the force of which is included in the word baptizo (I baptise). Nay more, the Greek Church, adopting a different manner of expressing the form, and being of opinion that it is unnecessary to make mention of the minister, omits the pronoun altogether. The form universally used in the Greek Church is: Let this servant of Christ be baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. It appears, however, from the decision and definition of the Council of Florence, that those who use this form administer the Sacraments validly, because the words sufficiently express what is essential to the validity of Baptism, that is, the ablution which then takes place.

Baptism In The Name Of Christ

If at any time the Apostles baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ only, we can be sure they did so by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, in order, in the infancy of the Church, to render their preaching more illustrious by the name of Jesus Christ, and to proclaim more effectually His divine and infinite power. If, however, we examine the matter more closely, we shall find that such a form omits nothing which the Saviour Himself commands to be observed; for he who mentions Jesus Christ implies the Person of the Father, by whom, and that of the Holy Ghost, in whom, He was anointed.

And yet, the use of this form by the Apostles seems rather doubtful if we accept the opinions of Ambrose and Basil, holy Fathers eminent for sanctity and authority, who interpret baptism in the name of Jesus Christ to mean the Baptism instituted by Christ our Lord, as distinguished from that of John, and who say that the Apostles did not depart from the ordinary and usual form which comprises the distinct names of the Three Persons. Paul also, in his Epistle to the Galatians, seems to have expressed himself in a similar manner, when he says: As many of you as have been baptised in Christ, have put on Christ, meaning that they were baptised in the faith of Christ, but with no other form than that which the same Saviour our Lord had commanded to be observed.


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