There is a lot of confusion on the meaning of binding and loosing found in the book of Matthew by the Roman Catholic Church and other Churches that practice spiritual warfare. People are asking is it Biblical to bind principalities and powers during warfare as “I bind you, Satan!” is heard uttered in thousands of prayers every day. Spiritual warfare books that teach Christians how to bind Satan are hot sellers. Not only is Satan himself subject to continual verbal binding, but a whole host of demons and principalities and authorities of the heavenly realm are also assaulted which if not scriptural, is probably doing more harm and no good. Those who teach and practice binding and loosing as verbal warfare against evil have several Bible passages they say supports this practice. It is often asked what is the meaning of Matthew 16:19 or what is the meaning of Matthew 18:18 since these are the two most prominent ones referenced while Matthew 12:29 and Mark 3:27 are used to backup their argument which relate to binding the strong man.

There are however two specific areas of confusion that many are not aware of. The first being that some fail to research the true Biblical meaning of the words bind and loose. When one discovers the true meaning of these words, you will know what teachers to be wary of. If they only assumed and did not take the time to find out what the Bible means by these two words, then one might question how much else of what they teach can be trusted.

And the second is that many Bible translators (including the KJV) mistranslated Matthew 16:19 and 18:18. If one were to translate these passages in Matthew very literally (though awkward in English), it would read, “…whatever you loose on earth shall having been loosed in heaven.” Compare the King James Version Bible with the International Standard Version below for an example of an incorrect translation and one of many that is correct.

(Matthew 16:19 King James Version, misleading translation) “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

(Matthew 16:19 International Standard Version, good understandable translation) “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.

Thus it is also incorrect translations that causes many to get this the wrong way round. When translated correctly, these verses show that the apostles were not to decide a matter thus binding heaven to their decision, but that their decision was to be in line with what God’s mind was already on the issue. Would God really allow sinful man to decide His laws and happily follow them as the Papal Church has concluded? What a recipe for chaos! Passing on an issue of doctrine or ethics also Binding and loosing in the Bibledoes not mean shooting a verbal barrage at Satan or any other spiritual entity. So it is also quite different from loosing that money you needed or the job you wanted, or binding and loosing spirits as some now pray.

It is a known fact that the true meaning of bind and loose was originally a Jewish Hebrew phrase which appears in the Targum as well as the New Testament, and is the authority to declare what God’s mind is on a matter of doctrine or practice. Or to put it another way for further clarity, it is the authority to carry out the will and decisions of God upon earth as they had already been established in heaven. This is what the early Church did in Acts 15. To bind means to forbid or be unlawful and to loose means to allow or be lawful. The future tense (shall having been bound or loose) shows that this authority is only valid when used in submission to Christ’s Word or teaching. It does not give any Church, such as the Roman Catholic Church claims, the authority to make up new teachings later in Church history. Binding in this context also has absolutely nothing to do with speaking words to Satan or demons.

Of course, the crucial issue is whether this is also what Jesus meant by these teachings. What did He mean by the terms bind and loose? These words were commonly used by Jewish rabbis to permit and prohibit and so New Testament scholars agree that binding and loosing when used in this way, still retain the same meaning that they had in the Jewish culture of the first century. So the phrase “to bind and to loose” to the ancient Jews and Christ was understood to be a legal designation and as a rabbinical term for forbidding and permitting.

Some are now bound to quote Matthew 12:29. So what does this scripture mean? If we look at Matthew 12:26-29, which at least addresses the issue of Satan and demons. Jesus first shows how illogical the statement of the Pharisees is by explaining, that if Satan were casting out Satan, his kingdom could not stand. He then goes on to say that it is by the Spirit of God that he drives out demons, which He can do because He is the stronger man. Matthew 12:29 is the verse here which some claim as support for binding Satan through direct verbal assault. In this verse Jesus uses a metaphor to illustrate His mission. No one can enter a man’s house and take his goods unless he has first conquered him. Jesus is saying, if I am not the Messiah, stronger than Satan, how could I spoil him? Luke 11:21-22 records the same illustration but does not use the term bind, but says the stronger man...overcomes him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.

Bind as used in (Matthew 12) is metaphorical terminology, not a magic word that will stop the activity of evil spirits. That Luke’s account does not even use the word bind shows this. Bind is incidental to the picture of a strong man’s house being plundered. Whether victory is accomplished by binding, overpowering, disarming, etc., is not as consequential as the fact that it is a stronger man who must do it. The meaning is that Jesus is stronger than Satan and that the casting out of evil spirits in His ministry proves that fact. The goods that are plundered are people, previously held in bondage. The coming of Jesus and the binding of Satan liberates the souls of people who were subject to slavery their whole life. The Bible does not leave us in the dark as to how this is accomplished. It is not done by people constantly shouting, “I bind you Satan” into the heavenlies! Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.

So is binding and loosing scriptural as heard in prayers today and if so what do we bind according to the bible? What about the apostles? Did they ever say, “I bind you, Satan?” The fact is that not even once is such an utterance recorded in the New Testament. It is not credible to assume that they understood Jesus’ teaching as an instruction to “bind Satan” through prayers and verbal declarations and then never follow the instructions personally. The Church today should not understand and practice the teachings of Jesus differently than the Church of the 1st century. If it does, the authority of Scripture is depreciated. So in this document we will endeavour to further explain and verify the proper meaning of binding and loosing. Note that the Roman Catholic Church bases their whole Papal system on Matthew 16:19 with Peter supposedly being the first Pope with special authority. If they are wrong, which they are, then their whole system comes crashing down. And if the Bible did support a system of Popes, which it does not, Peter would not have been the first Pope anyway as it would have in fact been Constantine. Please read the origin of sun worship and did Constantine change the Sabbath for detailed information.

The fact is that whatever authority was given to Simon Peter according to Matthew 16:19 was also given to all the other Apostles in Matthew 18:18, and hence Peter was not given anything exclusive anyway as the Papal Church frequently claim. See also Catholic Church error and was Peter the first Pope. On the following page you will find what several Commentaries from famous theologians teach as well as Bible binding and loosing scriptures from several translations have to say on this false claim in regards to Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18. The meaning of Peter being given the keys to the kingdom is also covered and will then be concluded with a summary.

Page 2 - Binding and loosing Scriptures

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