In Matthew 18:20 there is an oft-quoted verse “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst.”
But what does this mean? Is it, as is commonly alluded, a promise that Christ is also present when any two or more believers gather together? In other words a sort of instant mini-church? Conversely, is He not present with only one believer is there?
We hear this often when someone is praying and they will quote “when two or more are gathered, Christ is present.” As if Christ, now that two or more are praying together, is now present.
Is this what the Bible is stating?
Interestingly, this particular verse is at the end of a number of verses in Matthew which give guidance on church discipline.
Sequentially, if you see a brother sinning, you are to go him or her alone. If they refuse you, you need to bring one or more witnesses to confront the sinning believer. The next stage is to bring it to the church and ultimately, if the believer still refuses, to shun them so as to bring them back into the unity of the church.
What a model of discipline and the world would be a better place if they emulated this concept.
In 18:19 and 20, which are parts of the same thought, the passage states “Again…if two of you agree…it shall be done…for where two or three have gathered…in My name, I am there in their midst.” The word “for” connects the two verses.
In summary, “two or more and I’m there” is part of confirming that God is part of the process to ensure that the church body is pure – He’s right there with you.
Why do we so often get passages of the bible incorrect? Is it not because we only read bits and pieces of the word. We tend not to read the whole context of the passage but just the highlight or quotable portion. This often results in misunderstandings which are passed along as biblical truths but are totally inaccurate or out of context.
I pray that we learn to read the full context of the Bible and not just portions.