I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. 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.
Taking a Bible Verse out of context is like taking a child from his parents; a child isn't supposed to stand alone. He is cast as part of a family: a group with a past, present and future. Alone, he can be confused or abused.
If the Bible is like a strand of pearls, connecting the earth straight up to heaven, then gazing at one pearl may be lovely. But if you take it apart from the rest, the progressive direction is broken and the end result may not be achieved.
When I turned to Jesus at 51, I lapped the Bible like a thirsty lamb. I leaped into flocks of true believers. I watched and listened to them eagerly. I'd been hunted by the prowling lion and wanted to learn the best ways to fight.
I heard Christian soldiers say words like these: 'In the Name of Jesus, I bind Satan away from such and such or so and so.' In a surface read of Matthew 16, binding seems like a cool power from God: as if we're tying up pesky demons.
Recently, I've learned differently. Check out what Bible scholars have to say:
'This does not refer to persons, but to things--'whatsoever,' not whosoever. It refers to rites and ceremonies in the church... The rules laid down by them in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, in connection with the teachings of the Saviour as recorded in the evangelists, constitute the only law binding on Christians in regard to the order of the church, and the rites and ceremonies to be observed in it' (Barnes Notes on the Bible regarding binding and loosing).*
Actors, models and talent for Christ: All of us need to grow up in Christ. No matter our kin's good intentions, focusing on favorite Scriptures and placing Them in situations unlike the Lord's chosen context... is neither mature nor effective.
Together, let's embrace the Bible. Let's study Greek and Hebrew scholars who spent godly lives in His pursuit. Let's ask the Lord to give us wisdom, and know His Words as He intended.
To Be Continued...
* Binding and Loosing References:
* Barnes Notes on the Bible: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/matthew/16.htm
* Blue Letter Bible Commentary: Revealing Who Jesus Is and What He Came To Do (see section G on binding and loosing):
* Got Questions (read toward the end): https://www.gotquestions.org/keys-of-the-kingdom.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Matthew 16 series.