What does Matthew 18:18 mean?
ESV: Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
NIV: Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
NASB: Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
CSB: Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.
NLT: I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.
KJV: Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
NKJV: “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Verse Commentary:
Prior verses outlined out a process for Christians to follow when dealing with a believer who refuses to repent of sinful behavior. That process ends, as a last resort, with the person being removed from the community and treated as an outsider (Matthew 18:15–17).

Now Jesus extends what He has said to Peter earlier in Matthew to include the rest of the disciples. After Peter's declaration that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God, Jesus said, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:19).

In this context, Jesus seems to be telling the disciples that heaven will confirm their decisions to include or remove people from the community of believers in Jesus. It's important to see that this is a privilege and power given to the twelve disciples who will become the twelve apostles as the Holy Spirit comes and the church is born. For now, Jesus makes this promise to them and not to others. They will fill a unique and special role in the history of God's people and the church that will set them apart from most other people.
Verse Context:
Matthew 18:15–20 describes the process Jesus gives to the disciples for dealing with sin-related conflict among a group of believers. The first step is for the one who is wronged to go and speak privately with the one who has sinned in hopes of restoring the relationship. If the sinful person refuses to repent, the same wronged person should return with one or two others and then take the issue to the church or assembly. If repentance never happens, that person should be treated as an outsider. This is also the process Christians are expected to follow in cases of disagreements or other arguments: individually, then privately, then publicly.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus uses two questions from the disciples to teach important lessons. The "greatest" in the kingdom is the one who humbles himself like a child. Temptation is unavoidable in earthly life, but it's worth going to extremes to avoid falling for it. Even so, those who fall should not be hated and despised. God the Father values them highly and wants none of them to perish. In fact, Jesus lays out a clear, careful process to confront sin in others before removing them from the community. Christ also replies to Peter's question about forgiveness with a parable. This story represents both God's amazing forgiveness, and the way we ought to respond as Christians.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 18 follows the action of the previous chapter with teaching from Jesus on several issues. These include humility, using the example of a child. Jesus also teaches about avoiding sin and offering forgiveness to others. Interestingly, the following chapter will also feature references to children and to wealth, as Christ continues to explain the will of God to His disciples.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/23/2024 7:47:53 PM
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