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Is there a legitimate contextual comparison between what Jesus teaches in Matthew 18:15-20 (certain disciplinary functions working in an assembly of people in God's name) and the text in John 20:21-23? (That is, are both texts referring to the same subject matter?)

I ask this question because it seems that Jesus may be "handing over the baton" to his disciples in John 20, so to speak, as He was soon to ascend to the father as read in Acts 1.

Here are the scriptures in question.

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." (Matt 18:15-20 NASB)


So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." (Jn 20:21-23 NASB)

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. When you have a chance, you may want to read up on how this site is a little different than other sites around the web. This is not a comment on the quality of your question, but rather a standard welcome message. – ThaddeusB Sep 25 '15 at 3:51
  • @ThaddeusB thanks for the link to the approach and methodology that this site is attempting to employ and gently enforce. I hope my question meets the criteria expected. – Jad Sep 25 '15 at 10:03
  • Yep, your question is within guidelines - no concerns at all. – ThaddeusB Sep 25 '15 at 13:44
  • Thanks. Here's to hoping someone endeavours to answer... – Jad Sep 25 '15 at 13:51
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    Because there is some side conversation going on about what you mean by "legitimate contextual comparison," for clarity, are you referring to whether the historical event (context) from the Mt 18 passage is the background for the Jn 20 statement in Jesus' thought as He may be 'handing over the baton'? Or are you asking something different about the relation of these passages? – ScottS Sep 25 '15 at 15:54
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Jad, I think I am one of those who appeal to John 20 but not primarily for Pentecostal leanings, but rather to show that the disciples were already saved believers before the Day of Pentecost.

A link between Matt. 18 & John 20 may exist, but only to the extent that Jesus was reiterating a principle established on at least two other occasions, namely that which you have identified (Matt. 18) and also Matt. 16:18-20.

In Matt. 18 Jesus is specifically instructing the disciples (and now the church), as to the fundamental practices relating to correcting someone who is straying into sin. John reveals how the Lord loved and commissioned the believers, reminding them of their responsibility to Go.

Regarding the statement of "forgiving the sins" of people, two eminent Greek experts (Kenneth Wuest and Julius R. Mantey) are both emphatic that the Greek language states that "whoever you declare to be forgiven of sin shall have first been forgiven in heaven". In Mark 2:7 the scribes are recorded as declaring "only God can forgive sins".

Just wondering if this has been helpful?

  • Given that sin is a transgression or missing of the mark of Gods law, by that fact alone, God is the only one possible who could forgive or judge one for their sins. However, I try not to read the verses found in Matt 16 & 18 as being to 'the church' as its understood today. They were in relation to an assembling of people in the name of God. It's just that John 20:23 is the same language as Matt 16 & 18 and therefore is restricted to internal 'church' issues of salvation and sin. I don't see how the context of John 20 is any different to the verses in Matt 16 & 18. Thanks. – Jad Oct 6 '15 at 9:21

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