Matthew 12:29 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 12:29, NIV: Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

Matthew 12:29, ESV: Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Matthew 12:29, KJV: Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

Matthew 12:29, NASB: Or, how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

Matthew 12:29, NLT: For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger--someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.

Matthew 12:29, CSB: How can someone enter a strong man's house and steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

What does Matthew 12:29 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Colossians 1:13 says God "has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Jesus is describing the beginning of that dramatic rescue.

Ever since the fall of mankind (Genesis 3:1–13), Satan had wide freedom on the earth, oppressing people and holding them captive in his "domain of darkness." One of the first actions of Jesus' ministry was to do battle with Satan in the form of several temptations (Matthew 4:1–11). Jesus concluded that battle by saying to Satan, "Be gone!" Satan left, and Jesus' power over Satan was established. Satan could do nothing to stop Jesus from carrying out His plans in the heart of Satan's former domain.

That's what Jesus is describing in this verse. He has entered Satan's house, the earth, to plunder his goods, the people who will be God's. He began that "robbery" by first binding the strong man, Satan, so that He, Jesus, could work freely in removing Satan's grasp from those who would eventually trust in Christ.

Jesus' point to the Pharisees was larger than merely denying that He obtained power from Satan. It's that His power is precisely the opposite of that: it's godly power. The Pharisees were as wrong as they could possibly be about what was happening in the world right before their eyes.