Baptizing in the Name of Jesus


I understand that Jesus instructed the disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why then did the disciples baptize in the name of Jesus in the book of Acts? I personally believe in the Trinity, but this is an argument that a friend has presented to me in defence of his “oneness” doctrine. Anybody care to share their thoughts and/or disputation?


“Jesus Only” Pentecostals argue that the New Testament talks about people being baptized “in the name of Jesus,” but there are only four such passages (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, and 19:5); they don’t use the same designation in each place (some say “Lord Jesus,” others say “Jesus Christ”), meaning they were not technical formulas used in the baptism but simply on-the-fly descriptions by Luke. The four cannot stand up against the divine command of the Lord Jesus Christ to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

The phrase “baptized in the name of Jesus” is not a technical version of the baptismal formula, simply Luke’s way to distinguish Christian baptism from other baptisms of the period, such as John’s baptism (which Luke mentions in Acts 1:5, 22, 10:37, 11:16, 13:24, 18:25, 19:4), Jewish proselyte baptism, and the baptisms of pagan cults such as Mithraism. It also indicates the Person into whose Mystical Body baptism incorporates us (Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:3).


If you have a copy of Today’s English Version ( Good News Bible ) on I Cor 1 you will learn that being baptised in someone’s name means you have become a disciple of that person. That you are being baptised by the authority of that teacher. Acts 2:38 was written in a Jewish context, and as such was speaking of what teacher, rabbi, or who’s authority ( of the human ) a baptism was performed?

The Didache which is known to be an early church manual records,

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize.
7:2 Having first recited all these things, baptize {in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit} in living (running) water.
7:3 But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water;
7:4 and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.
7:5 But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
7:6 But before the baptism let him that baptizeth and him that is baptized fast, and any others also who are able;
7:7 and thou shalt order him that is baptized to fast a day or two before.


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