πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος.... (Matthew 28:19)Probably the KJV is still the most familiar rendering: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
A number of facets of this translation cry out for comment, but I will focus only on one: "Go ye therefore, and teach." Clearly to the English reader's eye, there are two commands here: (1) go, and (2) teach. On the first of these rest countless missionary conferences and sermons.
But when you start learning Greek, you notice that the verbal form of πορευθέντες is not imperative at all. It is an aorist participle. The imperative aorist would have been πορεύθητι. So you think, "Hm. Jesus assumes the going, and solely commands the making of disciples. There is only one command, one commission. The commission isn't to go, but to disciple."
The bare grammatical observation, of course, this is true. The inference, not so much. While I have taught it that way in years past, I've come to have third thoughts about the verse.
NOTE: this will illustrate the fact that there is no substitute for reading Greek. Wooden reference to lexicons and/or parsing tools—let alone interlinears—would not tell you what we're about to see together.
Repeated readings of Matthew in Greek highlighted a facet of Matthew's style of writing. The man loved his aorist participles. In making my own rough translation, I was constantly saying, "Having X," or "after doing X." In fact, Matthew used this exact construction many times, with the semantic force not of "after doing X, do Y," but simply of "do X and Y."
For instance, take Matthew 2:20, where the angel tells Joseph ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ πορεύου εἰς γῆν Ἰσραήλ· Now, is he saying, "I don't care when or even whether you get up; but when you get around to rolling out of bed, what I really want you to do is..."? Or is he not saying "get up, and go!"
Or again, in Matthew 21:2 the Lord says of the donkey, λύσαντες ἀγάγετέ μοι. Is this, "Whenever you get around to untying the donkey, here's what I want you to do"? Or is it not "Untie him, and lead him to Me"?
Check out a couple more:
Matthew 22:13 τότε ὁ βασιλεὺς εἶπεν τοῖς διακόνοις· δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.Now, what I wish to stress for your edification and exhortation is that I noticed this all simply by reading Matthew in Greek, over and over again, for years. I didn't get it from studying grammars (though I have done, and we all should do). If a dim bulb like me can notice such a thing, so can you.
Matthew 28:7 καὶ ταχὺ πορευθεῖσαι εἴπατε τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἰδοὺ προάγει ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, ἐκεῖ αὐτὸν ὄψεσθε· ἰδοὺ εἶπον ὑμῖν.
Now, having noticed this, I check and note that Dan Wallace comments on the same phenomenon, referring to this as an "attendant circumstance participle" (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, p. 640). Wallace explains:
The attendant circumstance participle is used to communicate an action that, in some sense, is coordinate with the finite verb. In this respect it is not dependent, for it is translated like a verb. Yet it is still dependent semantically, because it cannot exist without the main verb. It is translated as a finite verb connected to the main verb by and. The participle then, in effect, “piggy-backs” on the mood of the main verb. This usage is relatively common, but widely misunderstood.Use tools, use grammars. But there is no substitute for tolle, lege.
And now... you know that!