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Matthew 18:15-20 is a key text in the New Testament for preserving the health of the Body of Christ. In their commentary matthew & mark: Good News for everyone, Dr Stephen Leston and others share these interpretive thoughts on this passage:

“In Matthew 18.15-20, Jesus concluded his instructions with the remarkable observation that action taken by the community in good Christian order is sanctioned in heaven and in fact becomes His own action.

“The emphatic expression truly (v.19  NASB) translates the Greek amen and adds a not of sincerity and genuineness to the saying that follows. Whatever is decided by the community in settling community problems, when carried out in the appropriate manner, is accepted in heaven. The word translated as bound was used in marriage contracts, but in the contract here implies a contract that will be honored in heaven. The full saying in Matthew 18:18 is in the form of a  proverbial or idiomatic saying inferring that heaven acknowledges the decisions of  the  Christian community action.

“The comment of two agreeing and two  or three gathering in Jesus’ name adheres to the Jewish belief the two witnesses settles the matter. The gathering together has no reference to a small group gathering of the Church on the Lord’s day for worship, which has become a partial excuse for a small assembly, but is a euphemism in reference to the group or community gathering in proper order to resolve problems. The community is reminded that Jesus is always present when His community gathers in His name, or under His will and Lordship.” (p. 81)

** This book is published by Barbour Books (C) 2008.

The pattern for conflict resolution always begins personal (0ne-on-one), but conflict resolution is so important to the faithfulness and fruitfulness of the Body that the Church has the authority to insist that the matter come to resolution including separating out one who puts their personal preferences above the unity of the Body. – Steve



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