Master of Arts (MA)
Primary Subject Area
Religion, Biblical Studies; Religion, General
Commission, Evangelism, Gospel, Missions, Witnessing
Phelps, Ryan Kendall, "The Great Commissioning: An Exegesis of Matthew 28:16-20" (2011). Masters Theses. 191.
Throughout the history of Christianity, evangelism has been an often-discussed topic. At certain times the discussion has revolved around the question of whether or not there is a command to actively seek out unbelievers for the purpose of evangelism in the Bible that applies to Christians in the world they live in. One of the most common verses cited as a command for evangelism is Matthew 28:18-20, commonly called the "Great Commission." However, some Christians argue that this is a command for discipleship and not evangelism. While it is hard to make a distinction based on this verse alone, Matthew has included in this command of Christ to "teach all that I have commanded you." This crucial line of text provides two inferences. First, if the disciples were to teach everything Christ commanded them, then teaching their disciples to create other disciples would be part of this, and the command would be reciprocal. Second, if there is another command for evangelism within Matthew's Gospel that is included as part of "all that I have commanded you," then this would be a command for evangelism. Because both of these conditional statements prove to be true, then believer's at all times have a command to spread the gospel (evangelize) to unbelievers.