Matthew 16:19 And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom...

KJV Verse: 

Mat 16:19 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.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

I am going to hand to you the lock of the universal realm. No only that which you might lock up [at some time] upon the planet is going to be locked itself in the universe, but also and if that which you might open up [at some time] upon the planet is going to be open itself in the universe.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This translation is very misleading. It starts with the term "keys" because Christ lived in a time before keys were in common use. The term Matthew used is more general, meaning any device used for keeping something closed. The terms translated as "bind" carry the sense of locking things up while "loose" carries the sense of "open." The tense here are interesting when thing happen on earth, but their reflection in the heavens (yes, it is plural here), is something that reflects a state that was already there by its own power.

There is not "and" in today's Greek source.

"I will give" is from the Greek verb that means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over," and "to describe." There is not separate pronoun, which means that Christ is not emphasizing his role here.

"The keys" is from a noun that describes "that which serves for closing," meaning the devices that holds a door closed. It means " a bar", "a bolt", "a catch," and "a hook." Later, it came to mean "key" but in the sense of something that holds something shut rather than opens something.

The word translated as "kingdom" can be the region, the reign, the castle or the authority of a ruler. Christ does not seem to use it to mean a physical region, so its translation as "reign" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. Though heaven is used in Christianity as the place of the afterlife, Christ doesn't really use it that way. More about this term and its relationship to terms for "earth" in this article.

The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and", but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, as it is used here, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun, but it often acts as a pronoun, especially a connective pronoun introducing a dependent clause.

The Greek word meaning "if might" is untranslated here. It indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone.

"Thou shalt bind" is from a verb that means "to tie", "to bind", "to fetter," and "to keep in bonds." It is a metaphor for chaining. The term isn't in the second person and isn't in the future tense but a tense indicating something that might happen at some time.

The word translated as "earth" means the physical planet, the ground, not society, which Christ describes as "the world." See this article for more on these words.

The word translated as "heaven" means sky, the climate, and the universe. It is in the plural, so "heavens." It also meant the home of the gods in a physical sense: the sun, moon, and planets were named for the gods. Though heaven is used in Christianity as the place of the afterlife, Christ doesn't really use it that way.

The "shall be" verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It is important to note that this is not the Greek verb of becoming that shows a change of condition.

"Bound" is from a verb that means "to tie", "to bind", "to fetter," and "to keep in bonds," but in the form of an adjective. Its form is the past, something completed in the past, and something acting on itself.

The last part of this verse follows the middle part exactly, but changing the verb from

"You shall loose" is from luô, which means "to unbind", "to unfasten," and "to open." The term isn't in the second person and itsn't in the future tense. The "you shall" part of this is added by the translator.

Christ says that he is giving Peter the ties between the physical, visible, tangible world and the spiritual, hidden, conceptual world. However, Christ goes further here, saying that what we tie up or free on earth has also been locked up or opened up on the universal level. This carries the sense to me, that what our limitations in understanding the physical world become our limitations in understanding the universe. There is much less of sense, in the Greek, that Peter is getting some special power to bind and unbind the laws of heaven (a common interpretation). A less aggressive interpretation would be that Christ is giving Peter an understanding of the connections between the physical world and the spiritual world, seeing that what we see happening on earth results in our ability to see what will happen conceptually or universally.

Greek Vocabulary: 

δώσω (verb 1st sg fut ind act) "Will give" is from didomi, which means "to give", "to grant", "to hand over", "appoint", "establish," and "to describe."

σοι (pron 2nd sg dat) "Thee" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you".

τὰς κλεῖδας (noun pl fem acc) "The keys" is from kleis, which means generally "that which serves for closing." It means " a bar", "a bolt", "a catch", "the tongue of a hasp," and "a hook." Later, it came to mean "key" but more in the sense of a thing that locks rather than a thing that opens.

τῆς βασιλείας "The kingdom" is from basileia, which means "kingdom", "dominion", "hereditary monarchy", "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign."

τῶν οὐρανῶν, "Of Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

 

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

(pron sg neut acc) "Whatsoever" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐὰν Untranslated is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

δήσῃς (verb 2nd sg aor subj act) "Thou shalt bind" is from deô, means "to tie", "to bind", "to fetter," and "to keep in bonds." It is a metaphor for chaining.

ἐπὶ "On" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τῆς γῆς "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet. --

ἔσται (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

δεδεμένον (part sg perf mp masc acc) Bound" is from deô, means "to tie", "to bind", "to fetter," and "to keep in bonds." It is a metaphor for chaining.

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, (noun pl masc dat) "Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

 

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

"Whatsoever" is from hos, which means "this", "that", "he", "she", "which", "what", "who", "whosoever", "where", "for which reason," and many similar meanings.

ἐὰν Untranslated is ean, which is a conditional particle (derived from ei (if)and an (might)) which makes reference to a time and experience in the future that introduces but does not determine an event.

λύσῃς (verb 2nd sg aor subj act) "You shall loose" is from luô, which means "to unbind", "to unfasten," and "to open." The term isn't in the second person and itsn't in the future tense. The "you shall" part of this is added by the translator.

ἐπὶ "On" is from epi. which means "on", "upon", "at", "by", "before", "across," and "against."

τῆς γῆς "Earth" is from ge, which means "the element of earth", "land (country)", "arable land", "the ground," and "the world" as the opposite of the sky. Like our English word "earth," it means both dirt and the planet. --

ἔσται (verb 3rd sg fut ind mid) "Shall be" is from eimi, which means "to be", "to exist", "to be the case," and "is possible." (The future form is esomai. The 3rd person present indicative is "esti.")

λελυμένον (part sg perf mp masc acc) "Looseed" is from luô, which means "to unbind", "to unfasten," and "to open." The term isn't in the second person and itsn't in the future tense. The "you shall" part of this is added by the translator.

ἐν "In" is from en, which means "in", "on", "at", "by", "among", "within", "surrounded by", "in one's hands", "in one's power," and "with".

τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. "Heaven" is from the Greek ouranos, which means "heaven as in the vault of the sky", "heaven as the seat of the gods", "the sky", "the universe," and "the climate."

Wordplay: 

A play on tenses with things possibly happening on earth reflecting this that are going to have happened in heaven. 

Related Verses: