The often misquoted verse
Matthew 18:15-20
Article I wrote for a website.
Published June 1st, 2012
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This page was automatically converted from a module that was shared prior to the release of Published Pages. Additionally, the arc below was auto-converted from the arc created by the author (which used the old module), and so it is possible there are misplaced logical relationships.
notes 1452680586368 Disclaimer This page was automatically converted from a module that was shared prior to the release of Published Pages. Additionally, the arc below was auto-converted from the arc created by the author (which used the old module), and so it is possible there are misplaced logical relationships.
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2009-06-15 03:02:45
2009-06-15 04:38:01
Article I wrote for a website. www.noplacefortruth.com Please do comment especially if you disagree or find my mistakes. :) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20 A Graphical Exegesis This is another one of the many misquoted verses in the bible, often used during services to imply the presence of God within a congregation. Short of calling God’s word cliché, it is suffice to say that most of the time this promise is used, it is taken out of context. What then is the proper understanding of this verse? More importantly, how should it be applied? Well, the meaning of any verse is always defined within its context and the same goes for its application (most of the time at least). This is not the sine qua non of biblical interpretation, but it is a succinct summary of what is generally accepted. Below is the graphical layout of Matthew 18:15-20. For those familiar with bible arcing methodology, the prepositional links are all there. Suggest you visit http://www.biblearc.com/learn.php?part=3 to find out what the prepositional relationships are if you are not. Working upwards, v20 (the topic verse) is the ground (an argument or reason for a statement) for verses 18 and 19. Notice “ For where two or three…” this denotes a subordinate supporting preposition to v18-19. Verse 18 introduces an idea that is explained by v19, that God will do anything for the two who are in agreement. Does “two of you” mean only two and no others? Who can be the two? This is again determined by context, given in the preceding verses. Verses 15 to 17 can be seen as a series of potential actions or situations and its corresponding result, portrayed by the many ifs. Basically, it explains the manner of response for which the action is found in v15. “If your brother sins against you,” is the context for the manner of responses subsequent. Notice a progression within the manner of responses given. Beginning with “you and him alone,” then “take one of two others,” finally “tell it to the church.” The whole idea revolves around how to deal with Church Discipline and Excommunication. Therefore with this in mind, it is easy to understand v19 and v20 (the topic verse). It is simply the ground whereby the preceding manner of church discipline and excommunication ought to be carried out. “Two of you,” refers more to those who will make the decisions regarding discipline issues (think Elders and Pastors). In short, where two or three are gathered in my name (for the purpose of enforcing church discipline), there am I among them (as the basis of their authority especially to excommunicate). How then should it be applied? Well, one generally does not unless they are carrying out the judicial activity of the church where the need to validate particular instances are present. That is not to say that this verse is strictly to be kept within church discipline for even John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion says “For he, who promises that he will do whatever two or three gathered together in his name may ask (cf Matthew 18:19-20), testifies that he does not despise prayers publicly made…” 3.20.30, using the passage as a proof text for public prayers. That said, there are other verses that would preferably teach the same idea as what the topic verse is too often used for that would not be taken out of context. A few comes to mind, Jeremiah 29:11-13 2 Chronicles 7:14 Matthew 7:7-11 John 16:24 John 14:13-14 John 15:7 1 John 5:14-15 Keeping in mind a redemptive historical approach to interpretation in line with covenant theology. Hopefully those who read this will gain a better understanding and appreciation for proper biblical interpretation and perhaps give a little more thought to context when quoting God’s word.
10000000009154 9154 Notes 2009-06-15 03:02:45 2009-06-15 04:38:01 Article I wrote for a website. www.noplacefortruth.com Please do comment especially if you disagree or find my mistakes. :) “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20 A Graphical Exegesis This is another one of the many misquoted verses in the bible, often used during services to imply the presence of God within a congregation. Short of calling God’s word cliché, it is suffice to say that most of the time this promise is used, it is taken out of context. What then is the proper understanding of this verse? More importantly, how should it be applied? Well, the meaning of any verse is always defined within its context and the same goes for its application (most of the time at least). This is not the sine qua non of biblical interpretation, but it is a succinct summary of what is generally accepted. Below is the graphical layout of Matthew 18:15-20. For those familiar with bible arcing methodology, the prepositional links are all there. Suggest you visit http://www.biblearc.com/learn.php?part=3 to find out what the prepositional relationships are if you are not. Working upwards, v20 (the topic verse) is the ground (an argument or reason for a statement) for verses 18 and 19. Notice “ For where two or three…” this denotes a subordinate supporting preposition to v18-19. Verse 18 introduces an idea that is explained by v19, that God will do anything for the two who are in agreement. Does “two of you” mean only two and no others? Who can be the two? This is again determined by context, given in the preceding verses. Verses 15 to 17 can be seen as a series of potential actions or situations and its corresponding result, portrayed by the many ifs. Basically, it explains the manner of response for which the action is found in v15. “If your brother sins against you,” is the context for the manner of responses subsequent. Notice a progression within the manner of responses given. Beginning with “you and him alone,” then “take one of two others,” finally “tell it to the church.” The whole idea revolves around how to deal with Church Discipline and Excommunication. Therefore with this in mind, it is easy to understand v19 and v20 (the topic verse). It is simply the ground whereby the preceding manner of church discipline and excommunication ought to be carried out. “Two of you,” refers more to those who will make the decisions regarding discipline issues (think Elders and Pastors). In short, where two or three are gathered in my name (for the purpose of enforcing church discipline), there am I among them (as the basis of their authority especially to excommunicate). How then should it be applied? Well, one generally does not unless they are carrying out the judicial activity of the church where the need to validate particular instances are present. That is not to say that this verse is strictly to be kept within church discipline for even John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion says “For he, who promises that he will do whatever two or three gathered together in his name may ask (cf Matthew 18:19-20), testifies that he does not despise prayers publicly made…” 3.20.30, using the passage as a proof text for public prayers. That said, there are other verses that would preferably teach the same idea as what the topic verse is too often used for that would not be taken out of context. A few comes to mind, Jeremiah 29:11-13 2 Chronicles 7:14 Matthew 7:7-11 John 16:24 John 14:13-14 John 15:7 1 John 5:14-15 Keeping in mind a redemptive historical approach to interpretation in line with covenant theology. Hopefully those who read this will gain a better understanding and appreciation for proper biblical interpretation and perhaps give a little more thought to context when quoting God’s word. notes
Arc
2009-06-15 03:02:45
2009-06-15 04:38:01
editing
Matthew
Matthew 18:15-20
NT
esv
"If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.
conditional
If he listens to you,
you have gained your brother.
But if he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
actionpurpose
If he refuses to listen to them,
tell it to the church.
And if he refuses to listen even to the church,
let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
actionmanner
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.
series
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask,
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
ideaexplanation
For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I among them."
locative
ground
discourse
10000000009154 9154 Arc 2009-06-15 03:02:45 2009-06-15 04:38:01 editing Matthew 18 15 18 20 Matthew 18:15-20 40 NT esv i227442 i227443 i227444 i227425 "If your brother sins against you, i227426 go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. conditional 2 i227445 i227446 i227427 If he listens to you, i227428 you have gained your brother. conditional 2 i227447 i227448 i227429 But if he does not listen, i227430 take one or two others along with you, conditional 2 i227431 that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. actionpurpose 2 i227449 i227432 If he refuses to listen to them, i227433 tell it to the church. conditional 2 i227450 i227434 And if he refuses to listen even to the church, i227435 let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. conditional 2 actionmanner 1 i227451 i227452 i227453 i227436 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, i227437 and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. series i227454 i227438 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, i227439 it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. conditional 2 ideaexplanation 1 i227455 i227440 For where two or three are gathered in my name, i227441 there am I among them." locative 1 1 ground 1 ground 1 1 1 1 esv 25 a 50 discourse
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