Where Two Or More Are Gathered: What Does Matthew 18:20 Mean?

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationMatthew 18:20
ESVFor where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
NASB“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
NIVFor where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
NLTFor where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

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Where Two Or More Are Gathered: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

18:15-20 If a professed Christian is wronged by another, he ought not to complain of it to others, as is often done merely upon report, but to go to the offender privately, state the matter kindly, and show him his conduct.

This would generally have all the desired effect with a true Christian, and the parties would be reconciled. The principles of these rules may be practised every where, and under all circumstances, though they are too much neglected by all.

But how few try the method which Christ has expressly enjoined to all his disciples! In all our proceedings we should seek direction in prayer; we cannot too highly prize the promises of God. Wherever and whenever we meet in the name of Christ, we should consider him as present in the midst of us.

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Matthew 18:20 | Pulpit Bible Commentary

Verse 20. – The promise is applied to the public prayer of the congregation, as we see in what is called “the prayer of St. Chrysostom” in the English Prayer book. Are gathered together. For the purpose of worship.

It is a simpler form of the word used in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” In my Name (εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα); literally, into my Namei.e. with love to me, yearning for union with me, and acting for my glory.

This would imply decent and orderly meeting for the highest ends. There am I in the midst of them. Christ promises a real, actual presence, though invisible, as true as when he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, as true as when the Shechinah shone in tabernacle or temple.

The rabbis had a saying that if two sat at table and conversed about the Law of God, the Shechinah rested upon them. The promise in the text, of course, implies Christ’s omnipresence and omniscience. This is his blessing on united, congregational prayer. Matthew 18:20

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Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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