Matthew 18:15-20

Matthew 18:15-20
Ordinary A41


15 “If another memberA of the church sinsB against you, goC and point out the faultD when the two of you are alone. If the member listensE to you, you have regainedF that one.G 

Notes on verse 15

A “member” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
B “sins” = hamartano. From a (not) + meros (a part or share, portion); {from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion)}. This term also used of archers not hitting their targets. Literally, it means not getting your share or to miss the mark. Figuratively, it meant to do wrong or to sin.
C “go” = hupago. From hupo (by, under, under the authority of) + ago (lead, bring, guide, spend, drive, carry). This is to lead under so to depart, go away, or die. It is to lead away under the command of someone else, being given a mission or objective to carry out.
D “point out the fault” = elegcho. 17x in NT. This is to expose, reprove, discipline, convict, or rebuke. It is using convincing evidence to expose a wrong.
E “listens” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
F “regained” = kerdaino. 17x in NT. From kerdos (profit, gain, advantage). This is to gain, win, or acquire. It is a word from the sphere of bartering and trading. Figuratively, it can mean trading up.
G “one” = adelphos. Same as “member” in v15. See note A above.

16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every wordH may be confirmedI by the evidenceJ of two or three witnesses.K 

Notes on verse 16

H “word” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.
I “confirmed” = histemi. This is to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast.
J “evidence” = stoma. Perhaps from tomoteros (sharp, keener); from temno (to cut). This is mouth, speech, language, the tip of a sword, an opening in the ground.
K “witnesses” = martus. This is a witness whether having heard or seen something. It refers to a witness literally, judicially, or figuratively. By analogy, this is a martyr. This is also where the word “martyr” comes from.

17 If the member refuses to listenL to them, tell it to the church;M and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a GentileN and a tax collector.O

Notes on verse 17

L “refuses to listen” = parakouo. Related to “listens” in v15. 3x in NT. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + akouo (see note E above). This is to overhear, mishear, willfully not hear, disobey. It is any kind of faulty hearing, whether from inattention or disobedience.
M “church” = ekklesia. From ek (from, out from) + kaleo to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is properly a calling out or an assembly. It was used to refer to a church.
N “Gentile” = ethnikos. 4x in NT. From ethnos (people who are united by having similar customs or culture; a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general); probably from etho (custom, culture). This is ethnic, national, foreign, or referring to a Gentile. This is the root that the word “ethnicity” comes from.
O “tax collector” = telones. From telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one). This is tax collector, one who worked for the Romans taking taxes from Jews. It also meant the toll house. Literally, this is “paying at the end.”

 18 TrulyP I tell you, whatever you bindQ on earth will be bound in heaven,R and whatever you looseS on earth will be loosed in heaven. 

Notes on verse 18

P “truly” = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.
Q “bind” = deo. To tie, bind, compel, put in chains. This is to bind in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean declaring something unlawful.
R “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
S “loose” = luo. This is to loose, release, or untie. Figuratively, it can mean to break, destroy, or annul. This is releasing what had been withheld

19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agreeT on earth about anythingU you ask,V it will be doneW for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gatheredX in my name,Y I am there among them.”

Notes on verses 19-20

T “agree” = sumphoneo. 6x in NT. From sumphonos (harmonious, agreeing, consent; having one voice i.e. a shared understanding); {from sun (with, together with) + phone (voice, sound, tone or noise; also a language or dialect); probably from phemi to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}}. This is to harmonize with, agree, have a shared opinion, an accord. This is the root that “symphony” comes from.
U “anything” = pas + pragma. Pragma is 11x in NT. From prasso (to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit; to accomplish, attend, or commit). This is an action, matter, or business. It is something done on a regular basis that is done in order to get something done.
V “ask” = aiteo. This is to ask, demand, beg, desire.
W “done” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
X “gathered” = sunago. Related to “go” in v15. From sun (with, together with) + ago (see note C above). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
Y “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.

Image credit: “Reconciliation” at Coventry Cathedral by Josefina, de Vasconcellos in Great Britain, 1977.

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