The Problematic Misuse of Matthew 18:20

Taking note of context can avoid theological error and heresy, but it can also help us secure the full blessings of the text. In this case, we can praise God for the promised presence of Christ by His Spirit when God’s people love one another well even while restoring one another from sin.”

(Harry L. Reeder – Tabletalk)  How many times have we heard a pastor quote this verse to affirm the presence of the Lord in a worship service, fellowship gathering, or prayer meeting? “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20). But in quoting this text this way, we misuse it by taking it out of context.

I still remember the warning of my homiletics professor: “Any text preached out of context is a pretext.” In this case, the common misuse is to some degree benign, because the presence of the Lord in gathered assemblies is a biblical precept and promise found in numerous other texts, and it is a valid implication from this text. But the misuse is still problematic because of what it can promote and because of what it causes us to miss.  View article →



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