Is “Will already have been bound” an appropriate translation of Matthew 16:19? Some protestants claim this is saying the exact opposite of what the Church teaches, emphasizing God’s authority, not Peter’s.
Suppose today you wrote a book, and in that book you described how you saw a car going really fast and said that the car was going like a bat out of hell.
Now suppose that 2000 years later somebody wants to ‘translate’ word for word what you said to their modern language.
Would you want that translator to:
a) describe in detail the winged-rat-like creature (let’s say it has gone extinct) and that this creature came from the conception of the place where people go when they die who have been bad and the car traveled in this fashion.
b) do the research and understand what the phrase meant and simply translate it to ‘really fast’.
Some Protestants seem to think the bible dropped out of thin air and that they can parse it word for word.
The phrase involving binding and losing is a phrase to mean that ultimate authority is given. To parse the words themselves is like, well, describing how your car went like that winged creature from the underworld. And now they are going a step farther and bending the meaning of the word for word statement to change its meaning to the exact opposite of what it says.
So that is like your translator saying that the bat from hell, must have had its wings burned off and therefore would have traveled very slowly, so the phrase is saying that the car went very slowly.
See what I mean.
No. Jesus was alluding directly to Isaiah 22:22.
And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
Isaiah was speaking of stripping the Davidic king’s current prime minister, Shebna, of authority (and prophesying his death) and investing that authority into a new person, Eliakim, who would succeed Shebna in his office. The PM carried the king’s authority, and the king’s keys symbolized that. Jesus was installing Peter to this office in his kingdom.
Anyway, it’s clear it shouldn’t be past tense.
The translators of all these versions don’t seem to think so. Only the Holman Christian Standard Bible translated it this way. I’ve never heard of this translation before now.
But that’s completely backwards. The Greek word is ἔσται (esomai) which is the future tense of eimi. The literal translation is “will come to pass”
The word is used in many places in the NT, obviously indicating a future event. For example, “there will be (ἔσται) wailing and gnashing of teath” and “many who are first will be (ἔσται) last, and many who are last will be (ἔσται) first.”
They might have a (weak) point if the Bible actually said that. But it doesn’t.
They sound desperate. When you gotta go and make stuff up…
Apart from whether or not it’s a suitable translation…
Does it matter?
As Catholics, we don’t believe that the Pope/Church makes decisions that change God or Heaven. We believe that God protects the Pope/Church from teaching error. The Church teaches what is already true; truth does not change dependant on the Church.
So I don’t see how the Holman translation really undermines Catholicism or the Papacy anyway. There are far more elaborate rationales among Protestants than this.
Umm, yes we do.
The five Precepts of the Church are of manmade origin, yet they bind all Catholics under penalty of sin. The Church goes straight to Matt 16:19 to establish this authority.
But this passage is not about divine truth, but about temporal (earthly) authority. The Precepts are not part of the Deposit of Faith, and could change at any time. But faithful Catholics are nonetheless bound by them.
If the translation was accurate, one could say that the Church merely “reports” what God has already determined. The Church is thus merely a messenger with no inherent divine authority.
I think he meant to say that the Church is guarded from defining erroneous dogma and doctrine. It’s not like Mary’s coronation wasn’t true, then the Church declared it dogmatically and Jesus said to himself “Oh boy… Ma! Get over here. I got to crown you now!” What the Church declares infallibly doesn’t change the deposit of faith or what’s in Heaven.
But you’re right, too. The Church is able to define disciplines and canon laws which may change, and to bind and loose penalties through the authority Jesus gave it.
Yes, of course, but the passage about “what you bind on earth is bound in heaven” has nothing to do with doctrine. It is about rules (manmade constructs). This bind/loose terminology is not familiar to Western ears, but Our Lord’s hearers would have immediately known that he referred to the authority of the Jewish leaders to impose or lift an obligation.
The Church has both doctrines and rules. Most laypeople are not aware of the scope of the rules, because we are generally impacted by only five of them. But there are a LOT of rules. It’s called the Code of Canon Law. My copy (which includes commentary) is thicker than my Catechism.
Doctrine cannot change, but rules can, do, and should change. But, while in force, they are binding on every Catholic (except the Pope).
The Church generally holds that this refers to both the capacity if the Church to make rules (man made) and to interpret the word of God and teach authoritatively. As such, one might say we are both right. Or not. I’m not too bothered either way.
Wow I didn’t expect all these responses…thanks everyone.
This argument was presented by a well known calvary chapel pastor in my area. The background of course is the Petros Petra argument and the claim there is a Greek language rule that a feminine can’t refer back to a masculine, so Catholics “have to do some wrestling there” with the aramaic argument. He does mention a tradition of the scribes who wore keys to signify they could interpret the law and what was binding etc.
“If you understand that I’m savior and Lord, if the foundation is built upon the right thing (ie Jesus), the strategies of hell will not prevail, because when you speak something to the church of truth, what you’re speaking will be something that is already established in heaven”
So it’s more of a generic appeal to let God build the church and be reassured that Satan won’t overpower the truth. I think there is partial truth here…whatever binding rules the church makes, assuming they are according to God’s will, have to already be established in heaven. We can’t say this passage gives authority to lead heaven around. God speaks through the church to do His will. I think this interpretation leaves out the objective promise that God won’t let the Church fall into error, and makes it into a highly subjective protection.
The passage in Mt. 16 refers specifically to the authority of the Pope (and not the Magisterium). Peter is addressed personally, and “you” in verse 19 is singular.
It is in Mt. 18:18 where Jesus addresses the apostles jointly (“you” is plural).
Matthew 16:19*And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. **And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
19: Isaias xxii. 22. — ** John xx. 23.
Isaias 22:22And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open.
John 20:23Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose you shall retain, they are retained.
Haydock Commentary Matthew 16:19Ver. 19. And I will give to thee the keys, &c. This is another metaphor, expressing the supreme power and prerogative of the prince of the apostles. The keys of a city, or of its gates, are presented or given to the person that hath the chief power. We also own a power of the keys, given to the other apostles, but with a subordination to St. Peter and to his successor, as head of the Catholic Church. — And whatsoever thou shalt bind, &c. All the apostles, and their successors, partake also of this power of binding and loosing, but with a due subordination to one head invested with the supreme power. (Witham) — Loose on earth. The loosing the bands of temporal punishments due to sins, is called an indulgence: the power of which is here granted. (Challoner) — Although Peter and his successors are mortal, they are nevertheless endowed with heavenly power, says St. Chrysostom, nor is the sentence of life and death passed by Peter to be attempted to be reversed, but what he declares is to be considered a divine answer from heaven, and what he decrees, a decree of God himself. He that heareth you, heareth me, &c. The power of binding is exercised, 1st. by refusing to absolve; 2nd. by enjoining penance for sins forgiven; 3nd. by excommunication, suspension or interdict; 4th. by making rules and laws for the government of the Church; 5th. by determining what is of faith by the judgments and definitions of the Church. (Tirinus) — The terms binding and loosing, are equivalent to opening and shutting, because formerly the Jews opened the fastenings of their doors by untying it, and they shut or secured their doors by tying or binding it. (Bible de Vence) — Dr. Whitby, a learned Protestant divine, thus expounds this and the preceding verse: “As a suitable return to thy confession, I say also to thee, that thou art by name Peter, i.e. a rock; and upon thee, who art this rock, I will build my Church, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the power of making laws to govern my Church.” (Tom. i, p. 143.) Dr. Hammond, another Protestant divine, explains it in the same manner. And p. 92, he says: " What is here meant by the keys, is best understand by Isaias xxii. 22, where they signify ruling the whole family or house of the king: and this being by Christ accommodated to the Church, denotes the power of governing it."
Haydock Commentary Isaias 22:22Ver. 22. Shoulder. Here the marks of dignity were worn. Eliacim was appointed master of the palace, over all the other servants. (Calmet) — Thus we may gather what power Christ conferred on St. Peter, when he gave him the keys of heaven, Matthew xvi. 19., and Apocalypse iii. 7. (Haydock)
I question your statement, David.
In “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” (page 287), Dr. Ott states: …As in Rabbinical speech one understood by binding and loosing also the authentic declaration of the law, so the power is also contained therein of authentically declaring the law of the New Covenant, the Gospel. God in Heaven will confirm the Pope’s judgment. This supposes that, in his capacity of supreme Doctor of the Faith, he is preserved from error.
Yes, you and underacloud are correct - the passage applies to both divine and judicial authority.
The rabbis didn’t talk much about divine authority, because they don’t really have such a concept.
Peter went by Cephas, as attested to in Paul’s letters. This is Aramaic for rock, and Aramaic does not distinguish between little rock and big rock. Jesus gave Simon a new name, and it was simply “rock,” or Cephas. Cephas was not a name in use prior to Peter; it wasn’t a name at all. I think we also need to understand that when people are given new names I’m the Bible, something important is happening. It’s not done lightly. Contextually it all makes sense that Jesus was speaking of Peter in both instances. It seems more of a stretch to assume he wasn’t. “You are rock, and on this rock…” There’s no shifting of gears. He calls Peter rock, then suddenly the next instance of rock Christ applies to himself? I don’t buy it.
Petros is masculine and Petra is feminine. It’s not an alleged claim that the words have different genders. There’s no masculine form of “big rock” that could have been used instead. It’s a distinction that didn’t exist in the Aramaic, but in the Greek it was there. It would not be appropriate to give Peter a girl’s name in the Gospel, because that’s what it would be, a girl’s name. Masculine and feminine nouns are not something we’re used to in English.