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Matthew 28:16-20

Context
The Great Commission

28:16 So 1  the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated. 28:17 When 2  they saw him, they worshiped him, 3  but some doubted. 4  28:18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, 5  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 28:19 Therefore go 6  and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 7  28:20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, 8  I am with you 9  always, to the end of the age.” 10 

1 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of Jesus’ instructions in v. 10.

2 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

3 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

4 tn The Greek text reads here οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν (Joi de edistasan). Some scholars argue that the article is functioning like a personal pronoun, thus “they doubted” (e.g., D. A. Hagner, Matthew [WBC], 2:884). If so, then all the disciples would be in view. The translation of the text takes οἱ as an alternative pronoun which has a partitive notion (i.e., some of the disciples doubted, but not all). The difficulty with the personal pronoun view is that there are no examples of it in Matthew in which the same subject immediately precedes with its own verb (as would be the case in “they worshiped…they doubted”). Such, in fact, would be quite awkward, for the article would be unnecessary since the pronominal referent is already embedded in the verb. The only reason for the article here would be to distinguish the subject in some way; but if the same subject is in view, no distinction is being made.

5 tn Grk “coming, Jesus spoke to them, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn, “saying”) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

6 tn “Go…baptize…teach” are participles modifying the imperative verb “make disciples.” According to ExSyn 645 the first participle (πορευθέντες, poreuqentes, “Go”) fits the typical structural pattern for the attendant circumstance participle (aorist participle preceding aorist main verb, with the mood of the main verb usually imperative or indicative) and thus picks up the mood (imperative in this case) from the main verb (μαθητεύσατε, maqhteusate, “make disciples”). This means that semantically the action of “going” is commanded, just as “making disciples” is. As for the two participles that follow the main verb (βαπτίζοντες, baptizontes, “baptizing”; and διδάσκοντες, didaskontes, “teaching”), these do not fit the normal pattern for attendant circumstance participles, since they are present participles and follow the aorist main verb. However, some interpreters do see them as carrying additional imperative force in context. Others regard them as means, manner, or even result.

7 tc Although some scholars have denied that the trinitarian baptismal formula in the Great Commission was a part of the original text of Matthew, there is no ms support for their contention. F. C. Conybeare, “The Eusebian Form of the Text of Mt. 28:19,” ZNW 2 (1901): 275-88, based his view on a faulty reading of Eusebius’ quotations of this text. The shorter reading has also been accepted, on other grounds, by a few other scholars. For discussion (and refutation of the conjecture that removes this baptismal formula), see B. J. Hubbard, The Matthean Redaction of a Primitive Apostolic Commissioning (SBLDS 19), 163-64, 167-75; and Jane Schaberg, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (SBLDS 61), 27-29.

8 tn The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has been translated here as “remember” (BDAG 468 s.v. 1.c).

9 sn I am with you. Matthew’s Gospel begins with the prophecy that the Savior’s name would be “Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us,’” (1:23, in which the author has linked Isa 7:14 and 8:8, 10 together) and it ends with Jesus’ promise to be with his disciples forever. The Gospel of Matthew thus forms an inclusio about Jesus in his relationship to his people that suggests his deity.

10 tc Most mss (Ac Θ Ë13 Ï it sy) have ἀμήν (amhn, “amen”) at the end of v. 20. Such a conclusion is routinely added by scribes to NT books because a few of these books originally had such an ending (cf. Rom 16:27; Gal 6:18; Jude 25). A majority of Greek witnesses have the concluding ἀμήν in every NT book except Acts, James, and 3 John (and even in these books, ἀμήν is found in some witnesses). It is thus a predictable variant. Further, no good reason exists for the omission of the particle in significant and early witnesses such as א A* B D W Ë1 33 al lat sa.



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