Greek Lesson on the Great Commission

Dr. Roy Ciampa gives us a great Greek lesson on participles and imperatives by correcting popular, pastoral interpreations of Matthew 28:18. Read the helpful article here. Here is his conclusion:

So what does all this tell us about Matthew 28:19 and the Great Commission? It means no ancient Greek would take it to mean “while/as you go, disciple the nations” but would understand, from intimate familiarity with this common usage, that the meaning was “Go and disciple the nations” and that the main point was not to go but to disciple the nations, but that the nations would never become disciples if the apostles and those converted by them did not take the gospel to them.


3 comments so far

  1. […] Free Greek Lesson and Jesus Lectures Posted by jdodson under Theology   Roy Ciampa on a Greek lesson on Matt 28:18 & three free Witherington lectures on Jesus. […]

  2. dave Innerebner on

    I am trying to understand this further. the NIV says “of all nations”. What does the command actually say in Greek? Go disciple the nations (peoples?) Go and make disciples of all nations. It seems that the two could be different in meaning. It is a command to go but what is the command to go doing, discipling nations, or making disciples from all the nations.

    Discipling Nations seems to be different than making disciples of all nations. I am interested to hear what you would say to this. I hope I am clear.

  3. Jonathan Dodson on

    Hi Dave,

    The command in Greek is not “go” that is a participle. The command is “make disciples”, all other verbs are participles modifying the main command to make disciples.

    Make disciples of all “ethne”, which refers to ethnic peoples not nation-states. In other words make disciples of peoples in their cultures, not “citizens of countries” though there is often overlap.

    for more read my article:

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