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Matthew 18:18-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Authority of Two or Three

Matthew 18:18-20 – The Authority of Two or Three

MT18:18 “I tell you[1] [apostles] this truth: Whatever you [apostles] bind on earth will be bound in heaven,[2] and whatever you release[3] on earth will be released in heaven. MT18:19 Again, I tell you [apostles][4] this truth: If two of you might agree about a matter on earth[5] it will occur just as you request[6] because of my heavenly Father. MT18:20 For where ever two or three of you are gathered together[7] in my name,[8] there I am among them.”[9]


[1] I tell you: The “you” is plural and indicates Jesus is speaking to the apostles. What follows is directed to these disciples and not necessarily a blanket statement regarding all Christians.

[2] Bind on earth will be bound in heaven: The phrase may involve the sin of the brother under discussion. If two or three (of the apostles) agree on a certain action against a wrongdoer, then it becomes so. An example of binding something on earth might be the appointment of Matthias to take the office of Judas (Acts 1:23-26). The Greek grammar may allow, “already bound.. already loosed.”

[3] Whatever you release: The Greek is LYSETE and may be rendered “loose.” The idea may infer forgiveness. Compare notes on Matthew 16:19. There the context deals with the Peter’s keys. If these be viewed as three and relate to the Jews, Samaritans, and Non-Jews, then as long as the door to the Samaritans and Non-Jews remains closed and locked, it is so in heaven. Jesus authorized his apostles to forgive sins (John 20:23). Later Paul writes that the Corinthian congregation “forgive” the incestuous sinner (2 Corinthians 2:7).

[4] I tell you [apostles]: The Greek “you” is plural and is directed to the twelve disciples.

[5] If two of you might agree about a matter on earth: If two apostles agree. Or, RIEU: if any two of you on earth agree in making any prayer; MON: if two of you on earth symphonize your praying. The words “might agree” are from the Greek SYMPHONESOSIN.

[6] It will occur just as you request: Or, RHM: it shall be brought to pass; KNX: it will be granted; NOR: my heavenly Father will answer your prayer.

[7] Two or three of you are gathered together: This is “two or three” of the apostles met in important matters of the Church. Or, WMS: wherever two or three have met as my disciples. The words “gathered together” are from a word related to “synagogue.” These may be official synods or congregational meetings. Compare 1 Corinthians 5:4; James 2:2. Note how Peter and John go to Samaria to request they receive the Pneuma (Acts 8:14, 15).

[8] In my name: Or, GDSP: as my followers; WMS: as my disciples. Note it is in the name of “Jesus” and not his Father “Jehovah.” The phrase may also mean something authorized by the person so named.

[9] I am among them: Or, WMS: I am right there with them. See notes on Matthew 28:20.




Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Matthew 18:1-6 Reborn and pliable as a child

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Searching for Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Three Steps to Gaining a Brother



  1. A Majority
  2. Matthew 18:19 and Prayer
  3. Benefits of Being Alone With God
  4. Morning Prayer for Thursday, November 29, 2018 — “I pray that I may be loyal to God and to others.”
  5. God’s Word at work in our world
  6. Strength in Numbers
  7. How Shall They Believe
  8. What are you waiting for?

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