Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
July 7, 1997
Last Updated :
March 21, 2018
Mark 16:16 And Matthew 28:19 May Possibly Be Spurious Text, Is The KJV Bible Truly Inerrant?, Reasons For Doubting The Authenticity Of Matthew 28:19, In My Name, Matthew 28:19 Is Only Verse Which Uses The Trinitarian Phrase Father Son And Holy Ghost, Apostles Never Preached Baptized Or Performed Miracles Using The Trinitarian Phrase, In The Name Of Jesus, John The Baptist's Baptism With Fire Comments Offer An Answer, Old Models Are Obsolete And No Longer Necessary, That Which Is In Part Shall Be Done Away, Go On Unto Perfection, Open Your Mind And Heart To Scriptural Truth, Covered By The Holy Spirit, Our Sins Are Blotted Out By The Blood Of Christ, The Cloak Of Ignorance Was Stripped Away, Unbelieving Jews Made A Choice To Reject The Spirit Of Truth, Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost, Spiritual Darkness Of The Unbelieving Jews, Spiritual Blindness And Ignorance, Jesus Takes Away The Vail
At this point in our discussion, let us take another look at one of the verses which I quoted for you at the beginning of this series. I am referring to Mark 16:16. Perhaps we can now view it with a new understanding:
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Mark 16:16, KJV
Let me ask you something. Why didn't Jesus say "but he that believeth not AND IS NOT BAPTIZED shall be damned"? Could it be because He was inferring that believing and being baptized are synonymous terms as I have proposed, and that they are not necessarily two separate acts or events? If one does not believe, then of course he cannot be baptized by the Spirit. Furthermore, if John recorded in his Gospel that Jesus never baptized anyone with water, then it does not make any sense that Jesus would turn around in the above verse, contradict Himself, and say that we must be water-baptized in order to be saved. Do you see my point?
In my view, there are only two possible solutions we should consider: Either Jesus was talking about spiritual baptism in Mark 16:16 -- that is, baptism by the fire of the Holy Ghost -- or else the Lord never even said anything regarding being baptized in that verse to begin with. What???!!!
While my next comment may alarm some of my readers, it may interest you to know that for centuries now, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the final verses that are found at the end of the Gospel of Mark. Some theologians have long suspected and argued that the verses -- including Mark 16:16 -- are spurious text. In other words, those verses -- or at least part of those verses -- may have been added to Mark's Gospel at a later date by someone else, and may not really have been written by the original author. Why would anyone want to do this? One possibility is that they simply wanted to promote the doctrine of water baptism. Perhaps the phrase "and is baptized" was added later, and the verse should read as follows:
"He that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
While I personally remain undecided regarding this issue, let me mention that Mark 16:16 and its surrounding verses are not the only Scriptures which have come under suspicion. There are in fact other verses that are found in the New Testament, the authenticity of which has likewise come under question for centuries as well. In particular, one of them is Matthew 28:19, which also happens to speak about baptism, as well as the so-called Holy Trinity, as we see here:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
Matthew 28:19, KJV
While certain KJV extremists argue that the King James Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, as I explain in the series entitled "Is the KJV Bible the Inerrant Word of God?", while I believe that the KJV Bible is inspired, after reading and studying it for over forty-five years, I have arrived at the conclusion that it is not truly inerrant. In fact, it may interest you to now that nowhere in their "Epistle Dictatory" -- which is their dedication to King James I -- or in their lengthy and flowery "From the Translators to the Reader", do the 1611 translators make the claim that their translation is perfect and inerrant. As a growing body of theologians, Bible scholars and regular Bible students now acknowledge, there is ample evidence to suggest that the King James Version of the Bible has been manipulated by both political and religious forces since the time of its creation.
We should not ignore the fact that both of these verses where Jesus supposedly commanded His followers to baptize -- while He Himself did not baptize -- have come under suspicion. While I will leave it up to you to conduct your own online research regarding the whys and wherefores concerning these two verses -- that is, if you have the time and the interest -- I would like to share with you three other obvious reasons regarding why I personally have doubts regarding the authenticity of Matthew 28:19.
First of all, throughout the four Gospels, Jesus advises His followers to both ask and do things in His Name. This becomes rather evident by the following set of verses. I have placed the phrase "in my name" in uppercase letters for the sake of emphasis:
"And whoso shall receive one such little child IN MY NAME receiveth me."
Matthew 18:5, KJV
"For where two or three are gathered together IN MY NAME, there am I in the midst of them."
Matthew 18:20, KJV
"But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle IN MY NAME, that can lightly speak evil of me."
Mark 9:39, KJV
"For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink IN MY NAME, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward."
Mark 9:41, KJV
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; IN MY NAME shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;"
Mark 16:17, KJV
"And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child IN MY NAME receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great."
Luke 9:48, KJV
"And whatsoever ye shall ask IN MY NAME, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing IN MY NAME, I will do it."
John 14:13-14, KJV
"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."
John 14:26, KJV
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father IN MY NAME, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father IN MY NAME, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing IN MY NAME: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask IN MY NAME: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:"
John 16:23-26, KJV
As you can plainly see, over and over again Jesus says "in my name". However, then, in total contradiction to all of the previous verses, in Matthew 28:19 we see Jesus advising His followers to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". Doesn't this strike you as being a little strange and out of place? If not, then let me offer you my second reason regarding why I have doubts concerning the authenticity of Matthew 28:19. Please consider the fact that this is the only verse in the entire New Testament of the KJV Bible where this trinitarian phrase -- "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" -- is even used. You will not find it anywhere else.
Now we come to my third and final reason regarding why I have come to doubt the authenticity of Matthew 28:19, and suspect that it may be spurious text, as certain Bible scholars and theologians have suggested. If Jesus truly told His followers to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" as this verse states, then why do we not find one single instance in the Book of Acts where they did this? In every case where they preached, did miracles, or baptized, they did it only in the Name of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, in the Epistles we see the very same thing occurring. We do not find a single verse where the trinitarian phrase is used. Consider the following verses as evidence of this point. Once again I have placed certain phrases in uppercase letters for the sake of emphasis:
"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."
Acts 2:38, KJV
"Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth rise up and walk."
Acts 3:6, KJV
"And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach IN THE NAME OF JESUS."
Acts 4:18, KJV
"And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak IN THE NAME OF JESUS, and let them go."
Acts 5:40, KJV
"(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.)"
Acts 8:16, KJV
"But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus IN THE NAME OF JESUS . . . And he spake boldly IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."
Acts 9:27, 29, KJV
"And he commanded them to be baptized IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days."
Acts 10:48, KJV
"And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST to come out of her. And he came out the same hour."
Acts 16:18, KJV
"When they heard this, they were baptized IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS."
Acts 19:5, KJV
"IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
1 Corinthians 5:4, KJV
"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."
1 Corinthians 6:11, KJV
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST;"
Ephesians 5:20, KJV
"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."
Colossians 3:17, KJV
"Now we command you, brethren, IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
2 Thessalonians 3:6, KJV
"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience . . . Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil IN THE NAME OF THE LORD:"
James 5:10, 14, KJV
If Jesus truly told His followers to ask for things, to do things, and to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost", then why didn't they do it? The Apostle Paul even plainly states "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." It certainly does not seem like any of them promoted or used the trinitarian phrase even one single time. It simply does not make any sense that they would disobey the Lord; unless He never really used the trinitarian phrase, and the verse has been partially manipulated, or is bogus in its entirety.
To reiterate, the main point to consider here is that we have two verses in which Jesus supposedly commanded His followers to baptize -- which certain Christians have interpreted as referring to water baptism -- and yet both verses have fallen under suspicion for literally centuries. Here is the icing on the cake. Both of these doctrines -- that is, the absolute necessity of water baptism, and praying using the trinitarian phrase -- began being strongly promoted and heavily enforced during the early Fourth Century, when Church bishops began to compromise with the powers of Rome. In fact, those bishops were the progenitors of what would become the powerful -- as well as government-enforced state religion of the empire -- Roman Catholic Church by the end of that same century. To be a part of that church, one was required to accept both of these doctrines. Please refer to articles such as "Pontifex Maximus: Pagan High Priest to Roman Catholic Pope".
As I stated earlier, there are other reasons regarding why some theologians doubt the authenticity of these two verses, and consider them to be spurious text. However, being as the argument on both sides of the fence is quite extensive, and involves comparison with some of the earliest known Bible manuscripts, you will have to invest some time in conducting your own online research, and arrive at your own conclusions.
Even if we ignore the evidence to the contrary, and accept that Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19 are really Inspired Text, and that Jesus really did command His followers to baptize in those two verses, then as has always been my practice, I believe that the best way to answer this question regarding what He meant by baptize, is by letting the Holy Scriptures interpret themselves, and speak for themselves. Having said that, as I pointed out in part one, I believe that John the Baptist offers us a very clear answer in the following two verses:
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:"
Matthew 3:11, KJV
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:"
Luke 3:16, KJV
In my mind, it is a very simple equation. John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize "with the Holy Ghost and with fire". In the Gospel of John we are told that Jesus did not baptize anyone with water. In Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19, Jesus speaks about baptism. Therefore, I conclude that the verses are referring to spiritual baptism by the fire of the Holy Ghost, and not with water. This is in perfect agreement with everything I have been explaining to you regarding how God used physical archetypes and foreshadows, in order to slowly lead us to the spiritual realities which are revealed in the New Testament. They were models, examples and school lessons to lead us to the truth. Once Jesus brought us to the truth, the old ways and old models -- including water baptism -- became obsolete and were no longer necessary.
As we learned earlier, the Apostle Paul wrote that we are no longer under a schoolmaster. In fact, I was just reminded of something else that Paul wrote which seems relevant to this current discussion. Consider the following. Again, I have placed certain words and phrases in uppercase letters for the sake of emphasis:
"Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, THEY SHALL FAIL; whether there be tongues, THEY SHALL CEASE; whether there be knowledge, IT SHALL VANISH AWAY. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then THAT WHICH IS IN PART SHALL BE DONE AWAY. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I PUT AWAY CHILDISH THINGS. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
1 Corinthians 13:8-12, KJV
"Therefore LEAVING the principles of the doctrine of Christ, LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit."
Hebrews 6:1-3, KJV
Do you understand what Paul is saying in those verses? All of those things were and are important; but now it is time for us to move on to the realities of the Spirit. All of those physical examples were necessary in order to lead us to Christ, and to the truth of the Spirit; but they cease, vanish away, and must be put away, so that we can "go on unto perfection", as Paul writes. Please notice that Paul includes the "doctrine of baptisms" amongst the principles that we must leave behind.
If you are one who has long been convinced of the necessity of water baptism, I can understand the challenge you face in comprehending what I am stating here. You are obviously free to believe as you wish. However, I ask you to please try to lay aside your current beliefs and preconceived ideas for a moment, and try to see what I am explaining to you. Simply open your mind and heart to what all of these Scriptures are saying. As long as you keep equating baptism with water, you are never going to be able to move on to the deeper meaning of what baptism really signifies.
To reiterate, true baptism has absolutely nothing to do with water. Based on the verses which I have uncovered during the course of my studies, to be baptized appears to mean to be covered by -- not water -- and immersed in, the very Spirit of God, and also the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is similar to an invisible cloak or veil which is cast over our sins, so that the Lord sees them no more. As we learned earlier, our sins are literally blotted out and washed away by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and we are spiritually healed. Consider the following verses:
"Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities."
Psalms 51:9, KJV
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5, KJV
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24, KJV
What I find really interesting regarding the previous verses is that because the unbelieving Jews of old resisted God's Spirit of Truth, resulting in their rejection of Jesus, they were not washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Therefore, their sins were still exposed to and plainly visible to God, and their sins were a testimony against them. Thus, because they resisted the testimony of the Spirit of Truth, Jesus said the following concerning them:
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
You see how clear that verse becomes now? That cloak was their ignorance of the truth. However, the Lord completely ripped away that cloak of ignorance from them when He told them who He was, and why He had come into the world. Now they could no longer feign ignorance of the truth. They were faced with a choice. They could either fully embrace it, or else they could reject it. As we know, sadly, many of the Jews who were in positions of both political and religious authority during that time, chose to reject the truth which Jesus brought to them. As a result of that rejection, Jesus was given a mock trial, and then basically murdered. Sadly, today, two thousand years later, most of their descendants continue doing the very same thing. They have hardened their hearts and remain as stubborn as ever. What a tragedy.
In essence, what the unbelieving Jews did by rejecting the Spirit of Truth, was to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost. They called God the Father a liar; because the message which Jesus bore to them came from His Father, and the Holy Spirit which rested upon Jesus came from His Father. As I explain in other articles, Jesus taught that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is the one unforgivable sin. Why is this? It is because in blaspheming the Holy Ghost, in calling God the Father a liar, and in refusing to accept the Salvation which He offers us through His Son -- which is what the Holy Spirit testifies to -- a person is in essence condemning themselves. No one is doing it for them. Consider the following set of verses:
"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
Matthew 12:31-32, KJV
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit."
Mark 3:28-30, KJV
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. GOD IS A SPIRIT: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:23-24, KJV
"This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because THE SPIRIT IS TRUTH."
1 John 5:6, KJV
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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 . . . 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."
John 14:16-17, 26, KJV
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, which PROCEEDETH FROM THE FATHER, he shall testify of me:"
John 15:26, KJV
"Howbeit when he, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13, KJV
"We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."
1 John 4:6, KJV
As a result of their rejection of the Spirit of Truth -- or Holy Spirit -- which abode upon and dwelt in Jesus without measure, the unbelieving Jews were in spiritual darkness. We see a number of examples of this in the Gospels. Jesus would convey some spiritual truth to them, and they would remain absolutely clueless. In some cases, they would even try to interpret His words in a very literal, physical manner. For example, consider the following verses that we find in the Gospel of John, where the Jewish elders erroneously assumed that Jesus was speaking about raising up the physical Temple in three days:
"Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."
John 2:18-22, KJV
So not only did the unbelieving Jews not recognize who Jesus was, but they failed to grasp the true meaning of many of the things which He said to them. The Scriptures plainly inform us that this ignorance and spiritual blindness results from not having the Spirit of God, as we see by the following set of verses:
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
"And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, [killed Jesus] as did also your rulers."
Acts 3:17, KJV
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
Acts 17:30-31, KJV
"(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day . . . For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
Romans 11:8, 25, KJV
"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart."
2 Corinthians 3:14-15, KJV
"Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"
Ephesians 4:18, KJV
Please notice that the Apostle Paul even writes "which vail is done away in Christ." But because so many of the Jews in fact rejected Jesus, the veil was not removed from their eyes, minds and hearts. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, many of their descendants remain spiritually blind to this very day for the exact same reason, as do many other people as well.
Please go to part five for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .