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Yes, “Go” is a Command in the Great Commission.

It is common for pastors to give novel translations of “go” in Matthew 28:19, like “as you’re going” or even “as you go about your life.” Is it because they know something that Bible translators don’t? The arguments for re-translating the Greek verb “go” are 1. it is in the passive voice and 2. it is a participle.


The Greek word πορεύω (poreuo) in the active voice means “to lead over, carry over, transfer” (Thayer). The active form of this word does not appear in the New Testament. Instead, we find it in the middle and passive voices as the normal word for “go.” For example, it is used in the passive voice in Matthew 28:16:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

Matthew 28:16, ESV

Does the passive voice imply that the disciples were just going about their lives, and ended up at this mountain? No, Jesus directed them to go there, and they went. The form of the word is passive, but the meaning is active. This is how the word is consistently used throughout the New Testament.


In English we only have present participles, such as “going.” But “go” in Matthew 29:19 is an aorist participle, and can be literally translated “having gone” or “after going.” When combined with a command, this word also has the force of a command, because the main command cannot be obeyed without going. For example:

And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

Matthew 2:8

No one would think of translating this “as you’re going…” “Go” is rightly translated as a command because the Magi must go in order to search. Here are the other examples of this in Matthew:

Go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”

Matthew 9:13

Go and tell John what you hear and see

Matthew 11:4

However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself

Matthew 17:27

Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead

Matthew 28:7

In every case, the passive aorist participle is translated as a command, “go,” because going is a precondition for obeying the command. Mary can’t tell the disciples that Jesus is risen without going, and the church cannot make disciples of all nation without going. We are commanded to go.


The point of this post is not that you should immediately pack your bags and go somewhere else. My point is not that you shouldn’t make disciples as you’re going about your life. Jesus did not command you as an individual to make disciples of all nations. You have a unique calling in a specific place, and there is nothing in Matthew 28:19 to say whether that place is California or Japan.

But the church has a mission, and the mission requires the church to go. We do not make disciples of all nations by waiting for them to come to Jerusalem. The church spreads all over the world like yeast spreads through dough. An individual can be faithful in one location, but the whole church cannot remain in one location. This requires some Christians to intentionally uproot their lives and go somewhere else, while most Christians can faithfully serve where they are planted.

Why Paul Thanks God in All Circumstances

It doesn’t make sense to thank someone for something they didn’t do. If my wife makes me a sandwich, I might thank her dad for raising her and giving her to me, but I won’t thank him for the sandwich. But Paul thanks God for everything, because God is the ultimate cause of every good thing.

Paul thanks God for the faith, love, and hope of the Thessalonians (1 Thess 1:2-3) because these things show that God chose them (1 Thess 1:4-5). So Paul thanks God that when the Thessalonians heard the word of God, they recognized it as the word of God (1 Thess 2:13). When we see God as the source of every blessing, we will be able to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18, ESV).

Integrity and “Gender-Affirming Care”

In the current issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr R Rowland argues that mentally healthy people have a right to “gender-affirming healthcare” (i.e. hormone therapy or surgery to appear like the opposite gender), because they have a right to live and act with integrity. Rowland argues that “to live with integrity is to live in line with one’s ideal of what a good or meaningful life for one looks like.” This requires “authenticity” that can be understood as self-discovery of one’s “inner voice” or as self-creation. If someone’s idea of a good and meaningful life includes being perceived as the opposite gender, then to live with integrity he must overcome his natural limitations and change his appearance. 

This article, which claims to represent the “standard view,” seems to be written from an existentialist worldview. According to this view, humans are not bound by their own nature, but define for themselves what a good and meaningful life looks like for them. Our bodies are limitations that should be overcome to fulfill the wishes of our “inner voice.”

True Integrity

The Lord tests Job’s integrity by allowing Satan to ruin his life. Job passes the test because he is “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job 2:3). The standard is not Job’s inner voice, but his complete conformity with what a man ought to be. His wife speaks with authenticity but not integrity: “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

Job describes his integrity in detail in Job 31. He is free from lust and deceit (1-12). He listens to the complaints of his slaves, shares every meal with widows and orphans, and clothes the naked (13-23). He does not trust in wealth or worship the sun (24-28). He loves his enemies, confesses his sins, and does no injustice (29-40). This integrity is rightoeusness, internal and external, that conforms to God’s standards of what a man should be.

Gendered Integrity

A man of integrity will act as a man ought to act, and a woman of integrity will act as a woman ought to act. God made men and women different because they have different roles, so integrity will not look exactly the same for them. Humans are not souls trapped in a body; our gendered bodies are an integral aspect of our humanity. To act with integrity, a man must become the kind of man God created him to be, and not abdicate his role in an attempt to become something else.

Boaz shows integrity on his farm and at the city gate, and Ruth shows integrity in her relationship with her mother-in-law. They both fulfill their distinct gendered duties by raising their firstborn son: Boaz preserves a dead man’s name and strengthens Bethlehem, and Ruth cares for her mother-in-law and for the next generation (Ruth 4:9-22). Integrity looks different in the roles of husband and wife (1 Peter 3:1-17). Paul’s commands to old men, old and young women, young men, and pastors are related, but not identical (2:1-8).

Gendered integrity begins on the inside, but is expressed in external appearances. A man should look and act the part of a man, and a woman should look and act the part of a woman, from the inside out. This is why cross-dressing is considered an abomination under the law of Moses (Deut 22:5), and why Paul speaks confidently about hair length and head coverings for women (1 Cor 11:2-16).


Integrity does not begin with introspection or self-creation. A man of integrity conforms body and soul to what a man ought to be. A woman of integrity conforms body and soul to what a woman ought to be. The Bible has no category for a man trapped in a woman’s body; there are only men and women, whose gendered bodies are integral to who they are and to who they are called to be.

How Thomas Aquinas Defines Theology

I have often wondered why theology covers so many subjects. Aquinas explains the boundaries of theology: it is always ultimately about God, and it rests on the Bible. The following quotes are from this Kindle version, pages 45-48.

Theology Studies God

“For it is called theology, as treating of God. Therefore God is the object of this science.”

Theology Studies Creation Only as it Relates to God

In sacred science, all things are treated of under the aspect of God: either because they are God Himself or because they refer to God as their beginning and end.

Scripture is the Sole Infallible Rule of Faith

Sacred doctrine… properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): “Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning.”

Biden Sends Navy in Search of White Whale

Since his inauguration, President Biden has thought of little other than the white whale whom he calls Covi Dick.

Some doubt the existence of the whale, and others think it was genetically engineered by the Chinese military. Some see it as a divine judgment against humanity, and others think it is a force of nature that can’t be stopped. But the president is sure that this whale is a mask for Satan himself, and that it is his destiny to kill it.

Critics are questioning whether this is a proper use of the military, and whether hunting whales is an enumerated power of the executive branch. But the president will hear no dissent. “You can build more boats, you can have more sons, but there is only one whale, and one Biden to kill him.”

The Navy was hesitant at first, but Biden offered them plenty of money to head toward the whale at “warp speed.” Some generals tried commanding their fleets to stay and defend the United States, but Biden “got them out of the way.” Now, hundreds of miles from the coast, some sailors are questioning whether this is what they really signed up for when they joined the Navy.

The president assured the sailors that they are completely safe, and that he understands their anger at those who endangered them by refusing to volunteer for the Navy.


Fruit is a product of labor that is produced organically instead of by a mechanical process. In the beginning, God gave fruit to man and animals (Gen 1:30). Man was made to work and keep the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:5), but not to assemble its fruit. Fruit is produced through relationships and health as well as by labor, and a farmer cannot completely control it. Literal fruit is a result of rain sent by God, soil with organic matter, animal pollination, and light. With these conditions, a healthy plant grows fruit according to its nature. A child, the fruit of the womb, is similarly a gift from God produced through relationship and labor.

God’s old covenant people are sometimes described as his vineyard which He works and cares for. The fruit which they are meant to produce is not only wine, grain, oil, flocks, and children, but also justice and righteousness (Isaiah 5:7). All of these blessings depend on being in right relationship with God by keeping his commandments, and they are especially threatened by idolatry. A great description of the Old Testament picture of fruitfulness is the blessings described in Deuteronomy 28:1–13.

While Israel and Judah are often judged for their lack of fruit, God’s new covenant people fill the whole world with fruit (Isaiah 27:6, Matthew 21:43). The New Testament continues to stress the importance of producing the fruit of righteousness (Matthew 3:8, Romans 6:22, Ephesians 5:9, Philippians 1:11, Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 12:11, James 3:17–18), and also discusses ministry in terms of sowing and reaping (e.g. John 4:35–38). The way that we produce all of this fruit is by remaining connected to Jesus in a relationship of faith (see What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?), as our Father prunes us to make us fruitful. Like a healthy tree, the fruit we bear should multiply through ministry, so that others will bear the same fruit of righteousness.

Why will we meet Jesus in the sky?

While watching a video of a dispensationalist preacher mocking a post-tribulation rapture by comparing it to a bungie cord (we go up, then right back down), I realized that there are a lot of Christians who do not understand why we will meet Jesus in the sky when he comes. This preacher’s own view of the “coming” of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4 might be compared to a bungie cord (Jesus comes down, then right back up), but in reality there are no bungie cords in this passage.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Greek word for “meet” here is a somewhat technical term that often means “the action of going out to meet an arrival, especially as a mark of honour” (Liddell, Scott, and Jones). The noun and verb forms are used in 4 other places in the New Testament. A man goes out to meet Jesus’ disciples to show them to the upper room where they will celebrate Passover on the night Jesus is betrayed (Mark 14:13). Ten lepers go out to meet Jesus when he arrives in their village (Luke 17:12). When Paul arrives in Rome, Christians come from all over Rome to meet him (Acts 28:15). But the most relevant passage is the parable of the ten virgins, discussed in the next paragraph.

Jesus compares his coming to a bridegroom coming to his wedding feast. Ten virgins go out to meet him, although in the end only five are there to meet him. The purpose of going out to meet him seems to be hospitality and celebration. They are welcoming the bridegroom into the feast, and they walk with him into it. Like Jepthah’s daughter “came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances” (Judges 11:34), the virgins celebrate Jesus’ arrival and make it a joyful occasion.

There is one more reason why we’ll want to be in the sky when Jesus comes. Jesus also compares his coming to the flood that swept away the people of Noah’s day (Matthew 24:38–39). As Noah floated above the waters of God’s judgment, we will float above the earth as Jesus comes in judgment. When the bride is ready for the wedding feast, Jesus will come “to strike down the nations” (Revelation 19).

Justin Martyr on Malachi 1:11

Not having read anything by Justin before, I learned tonight that I’ve been missing out. I was getting ready to write something about Malachi, and happened to know that Justin cites this verse in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew. As it turns out, he cites it at least three times, and I thought this was worthy of its own post. I also just converted the whole dialogue from text to speech, so I’ll go ahead and upload that to the bottom of this post. (Pro tip: pasting books from Logos into a text to speech program works really well.)

But though a man be a Scythian or a Persian, if he has the knowledge of God and of His Christ, and keeps the everlasting righteous decrees, he is circumcised with the good and useful circumcision, and is a friend of God, and God rejoices in his gifts and offerings. But I will lay before you, my friends, the very words of God, when He said to the people by Malachi, one of the twelve prophets, ‘I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord; and I shall not accept your sacrifices at your hands: for from the rising of the sun unto its setting My name shall be glorified among the Gentiles; and in every place a sacrifice is offered unto My name, even a pure sacrifice: for My name is honoured among the Gentiles, saith the Lord; but ye profane it.’

Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 28

In response to the story of Justin’s conversion (2-8), Trypho says “first be circumcised, then observe what ordinances have been enacted with respect to the Sabbath, and the feasts, and the new moons of God; and, in a word, do all things which have been written in the law: and then perhaps you shall obtain mercy from God” (8). So Justin argues from the scriptures that the Jews do not please God by keeping the law of Moses, but Christians receive true righteousness through Christ. Malachi 1:11 proves that “our sacrifices [God] esteems more grateful than” those of the Jews” (29). We do not need the Jews’ circumcision, but they need our circumcision. We do not need their baptism, but they need the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

And the offering of fine flour, sirs, which was prescribed to be presented on behalf of those purified from leprosy, was a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed, in remembrance of the suffering which He endured on behalf of those who are purified in soul from all iniquity, in order that we may at the same time thank God for having created the world, with all things therein, for the sake of man, and for delivering us from the evil in which we were, and for utterly overthrowing principalities and powers by Him who suffered according to His will. Hence God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: “I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands: for, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, My name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure offering: for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord: but ye profane it.”

Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 41

This passage follows an argument that Jesus’ sacrifice fulfills the types of the sacrifices in Jerusalem, which in God’s providence the Jews can no longer offer. Since we are purified by Jesus’ sacrifice, we remember this by taking the Eucharist and thus fulfill the type of the flour offerings. Malachi 1:11 once again judges our sacrifice (the Eucharist) to be more pleasing than that of the Jews (the flour offering).

We, who through the name of Jesus have believed as one man in God the Maker of all, have been stripped, through the name of His first-begotten Son, of the filthy garments, i.e., of our sins; and being vehemently inflamed by the word of His calling, we are the true high priestly race of God, as even God Himself bears witness, saying that in every place among the Gentiles sacrifices are presented to Him well-pleasing and pure. Now God receives sacrifices from no one, except through His priests… Now, that prayers and giving of thanks, when offered by worthy men, are the only perfect and well-pleasing sacrifices to God, I also admit. For such alone Christians have undertaken to offer, and in the remembrance effected by their solid and liquid food, whereby the suffering of the Son of God which He endured is brought to mind, whose name the high priests of your nation and your teachers have caused to be profaned and blasphemed over all the earth… But as to you and your teachers deceiving yourselves when you interpret what the Scripture says as referring to those of your nation then in dispersion, and maintain that their prayers and sacrifices offered in every place are pure and well-pleasing, learn that you are speaking falsely, and trying by all means to cheat yourselves: for, first of all, not even now does your nation extend from the rising to the setting of the sun, but there are nations among which none of your race ever dwelt. For there is not one single race of men, whether barbarians, or Greeks, or whatever they may be called, nomads, or vagrants, or herdsmen living in tents, among whom prayers and giving of thanks are not offered through the name of the crucified Jesus.

Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 116-7

Chapter 117 of the dialogue is entirely devoted to the interpretation of Malachi 1:11, and includes the final citation (which I passed over in my huge quote). First, at the end of chapter 116, Malachi 1:11 proves that all Christians are God’s priests, because we offer sacrifices. Justin describes these pleasing sacrifices as “prayers and giving of thanks” and “the remembrance effected by” the Eucharist. He argues that Malachi 1:11 is about Christians, not about the Jewish diaspora, because Christianity has spread to all peoples and the Jews have not.

This dialogue is full of interpretation of prophecy, so I’m sure this won’t be the last time I quote it here.

Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 1-30
Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 31-60
Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 61-90
Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 91-120
Dialogue of Justin with Trypho, 121-142