The Great Commission “Go Ye…”



How many times have you heard Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15 quoted?  “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  Is this really what the Greek states?  Do you realize that over half of the missionaries that go into the field never complete their tour of duty?  Can the Almighty be wrong that many times?


There are three words in this verse we need to investigate.  They are Go, Teach, and Nations.


The Greek word that is translated “go” in these two verses is poreuomai (poreuomai).  The King James has 21 different Greek verbs all translated “to-go”.  The Greek word poreuomai(poreuomai) in the KJ is translated into eleven (11) different English words as follows: be going-1, depart-11, go-119, go away-1, go forth-1, go ones’ way-7, go up-1, journey-2, make ones’ journey-1, take ones’ journey-1, and walk-9. Not very consistent is it.


The form of this verb in these two verses is an aorist passive participle, which literally means, “having proceeded”.  This is not the imperative form that would express a command.  Jesus is talking to the 11 disciples.  The first gentile, Cornelius in Acts 10 has not been saved yet.  Remember, the new covenant does not start until Jesus died on the cross (Hebrews 9:16).  Therefore poreuomai(poreuomai), having proceeded, means  where ever you go make learners.


The next word to consider is the Greek word maqhteuw (matheteuo) which only occurs four (4) times in the New Testament.  The KJ has translated this word in Matt. 19:28 and Mark 16:15 teach.  The Greek word for disciple is maqhths (mathetes) and is translated correctly in the KJ 269 times.  The Greek word maqhteuw (matheteuo) should be translated  “ make  disciples”.  The word disciple means  to “make learners”.  The Greek word for teach is didaskw (didasko) and is translated correctly in the KJ.  It is obvious both Greek words can not mean teach and that maqhteuw (matheteuo) means to make disciples.  The KJ translated the Greek words for disciple and teach correctly in other verses, why not in Matt 19:28 and Mark 16:15?


The next word to consider is nations.  The Greek word used in these two verses is eqnos (ethnos).  The KJ translates this Greek word several different ways as follows: gentiles-93, heathen-5, nation-64, and people-3.  When the Greek article “the” is used before eqnos (ethnos), it should be translated “gentiles”.  The Greek article is associated with gesture and aids in pointing out like an index finger.  Whenever the Greek article occurs, the object is certainly definite.  This is not just any type of nation but a gentile nation.


There are over 4800 Greek words in the New Testament and the article “the” is by far the most important word in the Greek language being used over 17,000 times.  Two times more than any other word.  This word is really abused in the English translations since most translations used the Latin Vulgate as a source in their translations and there is not an article “the” in the Latin language.


The correct translation for Matthew 28:19 is:  “Therefore having-proceeded YOU-disciple all the Gentiles baptizing them with-reference-to the name of-the Father and of-the Son and of-the Holy Spirit”.


No matter where you go, witness to people.  You don’t have to go to China or Russia to make disciples, most of us have not even talked to our next door neighbor yet.  We can not save souls, only the Holy Spirit can do that.  We are instructed to make disciples or learners.  We need to be careful that what we are teaching is what we have learned that scriptures mean and not what we have been told that they mean.  We are responsible for what we teach.