The Meaning of Matthew 28:20 Explained

Matthew 28:20

KJV: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

YLT: teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days -- till the full end of the age.'

Darby: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have enjoined you. And behold, I am with you all the days, until the completion of the age.

ASV: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

What does Matthew 28:20 Mean?

Study Notes

end of the world
consummation of the age.

Verse Meaning

Discipling also involves teaching followers everything Jesus commanded His disciples. Notice that the content is not the Old Testament law but Jesus" commands. This does not mean that the Old Testament is unimportant. Jesus validated the whole Old Testament during His ministry ( Matthew 5:17-20). However the focus now becomes Jesus as the source of revelation rather than secondary sources such as the Old Testament prophets (cf. Hebrews 1:1-4). Likewise the revelation of the rest of the New Testament came through Jesus and is therefore also authoritative ( Acts 1:1-2). All of this teaching remains authoritative forever ( Matthew 24:35).
Disciples must not just understand what Jesus has commanded, as foundational as that is. They must also obey it.
". . . Matthew uses this command to weave the final thread of his argument. The purpose of his Gospel was to prove to Israel that Jesus is the Messiah. The inquiring Jew would ask, "If Jesus is our King, where is our kingdom?" Matthew has indicated that the kingdom was offered to Israel, rejected by them, and postponed by God. At the present time and until the end of the tribulation the kingdom is being offered to the Gentiles ( Romans 11). Therefore, the disciples are to disciple all nations. At the end of the age the kingdom of Israel will be inaugurated by the return of Israel"s King." [1]
This Gospel ends not with a command but with a promise, or rather a fact. Jesus will be with His disciples as they carry out His will. This is His great commitment. Immanuel is still God with us ( Matthew 1:23; cf. Matthew 18:20). The expression "to the end of the age" (Gr. pasas tes hemeras) literally means "the whole of every day." [2] Jesus promised to be with us every day forever. It does not mean He will cease being with us when the present age ends and the messianic kingdom begins. Throughout the present age (Gr. sunteleias tou aiovos) Jesus" disciples are to carry out His Great Commission. [3]
Jesus began each of the preceding major sections of Matthew"s Gospel with ministry and concluded each with teaching. However in this one He concluded with a command that His disciples continue His ministry and teaching. Thus the book closes with the sense that the ministry and teaching of Jesus are ongoing.

Context Summary

Matthew 28:11-20 - The Great Commission, Of The Risen Lord
What absurdity in this mendacious explanation! How could the soldiers know who stole the body, if they were asleep? Skeptics have to believe greater marvels than believers. Was it likely that Christ's friends would have wished to unwind the clothes that covered that sacred body? Would His enemies have taken the time, or forfeited the rich shroud that Joseph's love provided? Men will believe any lie rather than God's truth, because their hearts are evil.
This mountain at the conclusion of our Lord's life corresponds to the mountain of temptation at the beginning. There He was offered the empire of the world, if only He would take the easy lower path; here He is acknowledged King of the world, because He took the harder one of obedience unto death. This glorious charge to His Church has the ring of universality. It combines the herald and the shepherd, and assures each humble disciple that the day will never dawn, however stormy, on which his Lord will not be near.
For Review Questions, see the e-Sword Book Comments [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 28

1  Christ's resurrection is declared by an angel to the women
9  He himself appears unto them
11  The chief priests pay the soldiers to say that he was stolen out of his tomb
16  Christ appears to his disciples,
18  and sends them to baptize and teach all nations

Greek Commentary for Matthew 28:20

Teaching them [διδασκοντες αυτους]
Christians have been slow to realize the full value of what we now call religious education. The work of teaching belongs to the home, to the church (sermon, Sunday school, young people‘s work, prayer-meeting, study classes, mission classes), to the school (not mixing of church and state, but moral instruction if not the reading of the Bible), good books which should be in every home, reading of the Bible itself. Some react too far and actually put education in the place of conversion or regeneration. That is to miss the mark. But teaching is part, a weighty part, of the work of Christians. [source]
I am with you [εγω μετα υμων]
This is the amazing and blessed promise. He is to be with the disciples when he is gone, with all the disciples, with all knowledge, with all power, with them all the days (all sorts of days, weakness, sorrows, joy, power), till the consummation of the age That goal is in the future and unknown to the disciples. This blessed hope is not designed as a sedative to an inactive mind and complacent conscience, but an incentive to the fullest endeavor to press on to the farthest limits of the world that all the nations may know Christ and the power of his Risen Life. So Matthew‘s Gospel closes in a blaze of glory. Christ is conqueror in prospect and in fact. Christian history from that eventful experience on the Mountain in Galilee has been the fulfilment of that promise in as far as we allow God‘s power to work in us for the winning of the world to Christ, the Risen, all powerful Redeemer, who is with his people all the time. Jesus employs the prophetic present here He is with us all the days till he comes in glory. [source]
End of the world [συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος]
Rev., in margin, and lit., consummation of the age. The current age is meant; and the consummation is coincident with the second coming of Christ, after the Gospel shall have been proclaimed throughout the world. “The Saviour's mind goes no farther; for after that, evangelizing work will cease. No man, after that, will need to teach his neighbor, saying, 'Know the Lord'” (Jeremiah 31:34) (Morison “On Matthew”). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 28:20

Matthew 1:23 Immanuel [Immanuel (Hebrew, God is with us]
To protect and save. A comment is furnished by Isaiah 8:10, “Devise a device, but it shall come to naught; speak a word, but it shall not stand, for with us is God. ” Some suppose that Isaiah embodied the purport of his message in the names of his children:Maher-shalal-hash-baz (speed-prey )a warning of the coming of the fierce Assyrians; Shear-Jashub (a remnant shall return )a reminder of God's mercy to Israel in captivity, and Immanuel (God is with us), a promise of God's presence and succor. However this may be, the promise of the name is fulfilled in Jesus (compare “Lo, I am with you alway,” Matthew 28:20) by his helpful and saving presence with his people in their sorrow, their conflict with sin, and their struggle with death. [source]
John 12:26 If any man serve me [εαν εμοι τις διακονηι]
Condition of third class again Let him follow me “Me (associative instrumental case) let him keep on following” (present active imperative of ακολουτεω — akoloutheō). Where … there In presence and spiritual companionship here and hereafter. Cf. John 14:3; John 17:24; Matthew 28:20. Shall honour Future active of timaō but it may be the kind of honour that Jesus will get (John 12:23). [source]
John 15:14 If ye do [εαν ποιητε]
Condition of third class with εαν — ean and the present active subjunctive, “if ye keep on doing,” not just spasmodic obedience. Just a different way of saying what is in John 15:10. Obedience to Christ‘s commands is a prerequisite to discipleship and fellowship (spiritual friendship with Christ). He repeats it in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:20, ενετειλαμην — eneteilamēn I commanded) with the very word used here (εντελλομαι — entellomai I command). [source]
John 17:11 And these [και ουτοι]
Note adversative use of και — kai (= but these). I come Futuristic present, “I am coming.” Cf. John 13:3; John 14:12; John 17:13. Christ will no longer be visibly present to the world, but he will be with the believers through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:20). Holy Father Only here in the N.T., but see 1 John 2:20; Luke 1:49 for the holiness of God, a thoroughly Jewish conception. See John 6:69 where Peter calls Jesus ο αγιος του τεου — ho hagios tou theou For the word applied to saints see Acts 9:13. See John 17:25 for πατηρ δικαιε — patēr dikaie (Righteous Father). Keep them First aorist (constative) active imperative of τηρεω — tēreō as now specially needing the Father‘s care with Jesus gone (urgency of the aorist tense in prayer). Which Locative case of the neuter relative singular, attracted from the accusative ο — ho to the case of the antecedent ονοματι — onomati (name). That they may be one Purpose clause with ινα — hina and the present active subjunctive of ειμι — eimi (that they may keep on being). Oneness of will and spirit This is Christ‘s prayer for all believers, for unity, not for organic union of which we hear so much. The disciples had union, but lacked unity or oneness of spirit as was shown this very evening at the supper (Luke 22:24; John 13:4-15). Jesus offers the unity in the Trinity (three persons, but one God) as the model for believers. The witness of the disciples will fail without harmony (John 17:21). [source]
John 17:26 And will make it known [και γνωρισω]
Future active of γνωριζω — gnōrizō the perpetual mission of Christ through the Spirit (John 16:12, John 16:25; Matthew 28:20) as he himself has done heretofore (John 17:6). Wherewith Cognate accusative relative with ηγαπησας — ēgapēsas which has also the accusative of the person με — me (me). [source]
Acts 18:10 Because I am with thee [διοτι εγω ειμι μετα σου]
Jesus had given this promise to all believers (Matthew 28:20) and here he renews it to Paul. This promise changes Paul‘s whole outlook. Jesus had spoken to Paul before, on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:4), in Jerusalem (Acts 22:17.), in Troas (Acts 16:9), in great crises of his life. He will hear him again (Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23). Paul knows the voice of Jesus. [source]
Acts 3:20 And that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus [και αποστειληι τον προκεχειρισμενον υμιν Χριστον Ιησουν]
First aorist active subjunctive with οπως αν — hopōs an as in Acts 15:17 and Luke 2:35. There is little real difference in idea between οπως αν — hopōs an and ινα αν — hina an There is a conditional element in all purpose clauses. The reference is naturally to the second coming of Christ as Acts 3:21 shows. Knowling admits “that there is a spiritual presence of the enthroned Jesus which believers enjoy as a foretaste of the visible and glorious Presence of the Παρουσια — Parousia Jesus did promise to be with the disciples all the days (Matthew 28:20), and certainly repentance with accompanying seasons of refreshing help get the world ready for the coming of the King. The word προκεχειρισμενον — prokecheirisōmenon (perfect passive participle of προχειριζω — procheirizō from προχειρος — procheiros at hand, to take into one‘s hands, to choose) is the correct text here, not προκεκηρυγμενον — prokekērugmenon In the N.T. only here and Acts 22:14; Acts 26:16. It is not “Jesus Christ” here nor “Christ Jesus,” but “the Messiah, Jesus,” identifying Jesus with the Messiah. See the Second Epiphany of Jesus foretold also in 1 Timothy 6:15 and the First Epiphany described in 1 Peter 1:20. [source]
1 Corinthians 1:8 Unto the end []
Of the present aeon or period. See on end of the world, Matthew 28:20. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 28:20 mean?

teaching them to observe all things whatever I commanded you And behold I with you am all the days until the completion of the age
διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ’ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος

διδάσκοντες  teaching 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: διδάσκω  
Sense: to teach.
τηρεῖν  to  observe 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: τηρέω  
Sense: to attend to carefully, take care of.
πάντα  all  things 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: πᾶς  
Sense: individually.
ὅσα  whatever 
Parse: Personal / Relative Pronoun, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: ὅσος  
Sense: as great as, as far as, how much, how many, whoever.
ἐνετειλάμην  I  commanded 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 1st Person Singular
Root: διακελεύω 
Sense: to order, command to be done, enjoin.
ἰδοὺ  behold 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: ἰδού  
Sense: behold, see, lo.
ἡμέρας  days 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Plural
Root: ἡμέρα  
Sense: the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.
ἕως  until 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἕως  
Sense: till, until.
συντελείας  completion 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: συντέλεια  
Sense: completion, consummation, end.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
αἰῶνος  age 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: αἰών  
Sense: for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity.