“I trust the words of Jesus more.”
This statement is made many times when discussing the correct method of baptism. On the surface it seems valid, but does it really make sense?
1. All scripture is the Word of God. The red print has no more weight than the black. Jesus spoke God’s word without error. The bible asserts that holy men also spoke God’s word without error. It was not just Peter’s words or Paul’s words. They spoke as moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2 Peter 1:20-21(NKJV)
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Did Peter make a mistake? Could he have inadvertently introduced erroneous doctrine that was included in the Holy Writ? Absolutely Not! The Lord promised that He would purify and preserve His words forever.
Psalm 12:6-7 (NKJV)
6 The words of the Lord are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times. 7 You shall keep them, O Lord, You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
2. Jesus said that we were to believe based on the Apostles’ words. The church is built on the Apostles’ doctrine.
John 17:20 (NKJV)
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
Ephesians 2:20-21 (NKJV)
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
It is important to recognize that Jesus didn’t leave us a book. He prayed and completely trusted that His disciples would faithfully deliver the truth. He was dependent on all of them, including Peter, to get it right.
3. Peter received revelation that Jesus would build His church on. The Lord prophesied that Peter would have the keys to heaven. It is no coincidence that He preached the first message to the Jews (Acts 2) as well as the Gentiles (Acts 10). His ministry unlocked salvation for the world.
Matthew 16:18-19 (NKJV)
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Is there any chance that Peter didn’t faithfully convey the message? Paul stated that anyone that teaches doctrine that doesn’t consent with “the words of our Lord Jesus Christ” knows nothing and is proud (1 Timothy 6:3-4). Did Christ build His church on the doctrines of a proud, evil, know nothing?
4. Peter preached in conjunction with all of the disciples. If he didn’t faithfully speak the words of Christ, they wouldn’t have stood with him.
Acts 2:14, 38
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice… 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins
In conclusion, when considering all the accounts of the Great Commission as well as the actions of the disciples, it is quite clear that the command to baptize “in the name” was fulfilled when they called on Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
The gospels record the disciples inspired recollection of Jesus’ ministry. The authors do not directly quote the Lord. In nearly every story, there is a slight variation between the gospels because they are true accounts from the perspectives of distinct eyewitnesses. Instead of placing them in contrast with one another, we should instead study the various accounts and try to reconcile them with one another. This way we receive a more complete and fuller understanding of the event.
What did Jesus say? What did He mean? Everyone there left with the same understanding and practice. They baptized exclusively in the name of Jesus.
For more information on how baptism in Jesus’ name fulfills the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19, please read the following links: