Text Box: Creator’s CovenantStarClus1.jpg

Binding and Loosing

Church rulings decisions bind loose infallibility ex cathedra unchangable

Major Threads




Contact Us

Challenge Rules


Bible Keys


Traditional Beliefs


Hebrews Old Covenant


Patriarchs Covenant

The New Covenant

New Testament Teaching


His Judgments

Other Studies



Can the ministry change what was earlier instructed by God?


"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And 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." (Mat 16:19)


The above verse seems to indicate that the leadership of the church or at least Peter, will determine what is set in the realm of God.  We should also consider other scriptures and on whom the church is actually built.


"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." (Eph 2:19-20)


Scripture indicates in many places that Yeshua/Jesus is the head of the congregation and it is being built at His direction on His life and example (Mark 12:8-12, I Pet 2:21, I Cor 11:1).  There is also a word play in Matthew 16:19 in the Greek.  'Peter' is 'Petros' in the Greek and is translated, a stone (John 1:42). 'Rock' is 'petra' and indicates a larger stone, even a rock cliff.  So, Jesus is not building His congregation on Peter, but Himself, the cornerstone or foundation stone.


Nevertheless, Jesus does indicate Peter and/or the leadership of the congregation will have the ability to 'bind' and 'loose'.  This is best understood as forbidding and permitting (See: New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus, by David Bivin, p 98, Kindle ed.). How much leeway did Peter have in requiring, forbidding, permitting or not requiring?


"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Gal 1:8)


"To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa 8:20)


"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." (I Cor 11:1)


"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Mat 5:17)


The terms ‘bind’ and ‘loose’ are used frequently in early rabbinic writings in connection with judgments they made relative to the law.  They did not change the law or void the law, but ruled in situations that were not directly covered by the law.  So the understanding of that time would not have led anyone to think that Peter was given any authority to change or void the extant instruction of Scripture.


A believer lives by the example of Messiah, the word of God, the law and particularly His Law. However, the law is given to us in the form of samples or examples.  It does not contain a lot of detailed instruction, which specifically addresses every possible situation that may arise.  If that were the case, there are so many variations that could exist, Moses would still be writing it.  It is up to the believer, with the spirit of God, to apply the instruction given to the situation in which he finds himself.


This authority to bind and loose is also mentioned in Matthew 18:18.  "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."  Here the context indicates the need for a decision.  Two people have a serious conflict of some sort and some resolution is required.  An attempt should be made to resolve the issue privately.  If this is unsuccessful, third parties should be involved.  Finally, if all else fails the congregation is involved and they are authorized to judge as they see fit.  This judgment, by definition, would be in light of the example of Jesus Christ and the word of God.


So, if Matthew 16:19 gives this power to Peter and/or the leadership of the church, the same power is also given to the congregation as a whole.  The congregation is expected to judge based on what is fair and just in their society.  Peter and his successors are to make their decisions based on the instruction of Scripture and the movement of the Spirit of God.


The church decision on the matter of circumcision in Acts 15 is another example of the authority to permit and forbid.  In this case the leadership, including not only the apostles, but also the elders, were all involved in hearing the matter (Acts 15:6).  It was also of note that the will of the whole congregation was important too (vss. 22, 23).  They ultimately made their decision based on the word of God and His obvious movement in approving Gentiles in their uncircumcised state.


So, while decisions sometimes need to be made on issues where the word of God is not perfectly clear, that gives no one the right to author their own rule book.  Any decision made, should be made based on the already extant rule book, considering the working of the spirit of God among the leadership and the congregation as a whole.