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Restoring Christian Relationships

15 “If[a] your brother[b] sins,[c] go and show him his fault[d] when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.[e] 17 If[f] he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If[g] he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like[h] a Gentile[i] or a tax collector.[j]

18 “I tell you the truth,[k] whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. 19 Again, I tell you the truth,[l] if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.[m] 20 For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”

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  1. Matthew 18:15 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. All the “if” clauses in this paragraph are third class conditions in Greek.
  2. Matthew 18:15 tn The Greek term “brother” can mean “fellow believer” or “fellow Christian” (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.a) whether male or female. It can also refer to siblings, though here it is used in a broader sense to connote familial relationships within the family of God. Therefore, because of the familial connotations, “brother” has been retained in the translation here in preference to the more generic “fellow believer” (“fellow Christian” would be anachronistic in this context).
  3. Matthew 18:15 tc ‡ The earliest and best witnesses lack “against you” after “if your brother sins.” It is quite possible that the shorter reading in these witnesses (א B, as well as 0281 ƒ1 579 sa) occurred when scribes either intentionally changed the text (to make it more universal in application) or unintentionally changed the text (owing to the similar sound of the end of the verb ἁμαρτήσῃ [hamartēsē] and the prepositional phrase εἰς σέ [eis se]). However, if the mss were normally copied by sight rather than by sound, especially in the early centuries of Christianity, such an unintentional change is not as likely for these mss. And since scribes normally added material rather than deleted it for intentional changes, on balance, the shorter reading appears to be autographic. NA28 includes the words in brackets, indicating doubts as to their authenticity.
  4. Matthew 18:15 tn Grk “go reprove him.”
  5. Matthew 18:16 sn A quotation from Deut 19:15.
  6. Matthew 18:17 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  7. Matthew 18:17 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
  8. Matthew 18:17 tn Grk “let him be to you as.”
  9. Matthew 18:17 tn Or “a pagan.”
  10. Matthew 18:17 sn To treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector means not to associate with such a person. See the note on tax collectors in 5:46.
  11. Matthew 18:18 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  12. Matthew 18:19 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  13. Matthew 18:19 tn Grk “if two of you…agree about whatever they ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in keeping with contemporary English style, and the pronouns, which change from second person plural to third person plural in the Greek text, have been consistently translated as second person plural.