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

Spoken to: 

Peter

Context: 

After Peter calls him the anointed, the son of the Divine, the living one.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

I will give to you the bindings of the realm of the skies. And what, when you tie it, upon this earth it will exist, having tied itself in the skies, and what, when you untie it, upon this earth it will exist, having untied itself in the skies.

My Takeaway: 

Our power is to figure out how nature puts things together and allows us to take them apart.

KJV : 

Matthew 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.

NIV : 

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

A lot of connections between the words here are lost in translation. The forms of the words here are telling us something important about the universe and the laws of nature, but that is all lost in sloppy, dogmatic translation. Though this is addressed to Peter individually (and this is important because he is a fisherman), it doesn't seem to bestow any special powers on him as much as to describe the nature of knowing and doing things, how to connect and disconnect them. Remember, the context here was Peter realizing who Jesus was and Jesus saying that he couldn't have gotten that idea from other people. A common word that Jesus uses for "understanding" is a Greek word the means "putting things together" and that is important here.

We have to go through this verse carefully to identify what it really says and some of the issues are very technical regarding the difference between Greek words and English ones. I seldom go into this much detail on a verse, but this one seems very important and easy to confuse.

The misunderstand here starts with the term "keys." Jesus lived in a time before keys and lock were in common use. The term Matthew used is more general, meaning any binding used for keeping something closed, from a tie string to a door bar. If we think of it as a "binding" the terms meaning "bind/tie"  and "loosen/untie" fall into sense.  The context is knowledge and the connections between things. Since Peter is a fisherman, this is best seen in the context of tying and untying knots. Knowing how to tied and untie is a matter of life and death for a sailor. It is vital knowledge about how the world works. Tying things together and taking things apart are two ways of knowing reality: the big picture and the separate parts, how things interact, and their individual nature.

The second major misunderstanding comes from the omission of a "when" clause that starts the initial statements about tying and untying on earth.  The first uses of these verbs are in conditional clauses beginning with a Greek word that works like our "when." Those conditional conjunctions are omitted in translation completely, in every version of the Bible. The forms of the Greek "tie" and "untie" verb in those clauses are something that are likely to happen at some time, which is always the case in a conditional clause.

This brings us to the third major problem, the translation of those two verbs as though they were passive, which they could be, and in the future tense, which they are not, in the "in heaven" clauses. These "heaven" clauses are translated as "will be bound/tied" and "will be loosed/untied." However, the active verb here is the "to be," which is in the future tense, but it should be translated as "will exist." The Greek verb "to be" does not act as a "helper" verb as it does in English. It does not make the following verb form, the "tie/untie" participle, passive. Their participle forms could be passive or the middle voice where the subject acts on/by/for themselves but that comes from the verb form, not the preceding verb that is in the middle form, so it "will exist for/by itself."

Next, we have the issue of tenses. The tenses of the second "tie/untie" verbs in the "in heaven" clauses are the past perfect, an action completed in the past. So, this tying/untying in heaven happens before the potential tying/untying by individuals on earth.  The correct way to translate these verbs is either "having been tied/untied in heaven" or "having tied/untied itself in heaven," since the form can be either passive or middle voice. So Peter is doing anything that affects anything in heaven. It already happened there, and it happened by itself before Peter, or any of us, might act on earth.

Finally, the modifying phrase "on the earth" can belong either to the "when you tie it" clause or to the "it will exit" clause. It is ambiguous, probably intentionally so, knowing how Jesus like to play with words. More likely, it ties the two phrases together logically, what we do determine what exists on earth. We can tie or untie, put things together or take them apart, to bring things into existence. That is how it works here on earth. We work by tying some knots, like building a house, and by untying other knots, such as refining metal from rock.

However, what is possible on earth is determined by what has already happened "in the skies," that is in the universe, what the Divine has made possible. We cannot put together what does not go together or take apart what does not come apart. More below on the section about symbolic meaning if you can take anymore.

Wordplay: 

A play on bindings being tied and untied. The "tying" or "untying" could be on earth or the "will exist" could be on earth.

Related Verses: 

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 (article pl fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

κλεῖδας (noun pl fem acc) "The keys" is 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 (article sg fem gen )  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

βασιλείας (noun sg fem gen ) "The kingdom" is basileia, which means "kingdom," "dominion," "hereditary monarchy," "kingly office," (passive) "being ruled by a king," and "reign." -- 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" or "realm" seems more appropriate. This is especially true because the "reign" of a king means the execution of his will.

τῶν (article pl masc gen )  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

οὐρανῶν, (noun pl masc gen) "Of Heaven" is 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." -- 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.

καὶ (kai) "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 (conj) 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 (conj) "On" is from epi. which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against."

τῆς (article sg fem gen )  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γῆς (noun sg fem gen ) "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."

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 (prep) "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 (article pl masc dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

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

ἐὰν (conj) 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 (prep) "On" is from epi. which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against."

τῆς (article sg fem gen )  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

γῆς (noun sg fem gen ) "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."

λελυμένον [13 verses](part sg perf mp masc acc) "Looseed" is from llyo, 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 (prep) "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 (article pl masc dat)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

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."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- (OS) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "and" in the source we use today but it does exist in the source that the KJV translators used.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

give  - "Give" is from the Greek verb that means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," and "to describe."

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

thee -- The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

keys  - (CW) "Keys" is from a noun that describes "that which serves for closing," meaning the devices that hold doors closed. This could be a simple "rope tie," "a bar," "a bolt," "a catch," and "a hook." Later, this word came to mean "key," but that was after the invention of locks with keys about a thousand years later.  This holds a door shut rather than opens it.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

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

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) 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. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

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

whatsoever  - -- The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

shalt   -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

bind - "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. This is tense is implied by "when."

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

earth  - 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.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense of the "be" verb. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- (CW) The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. This looks like a helping verb for a passive form of "bound," but it is not. Translated it as "will exist" avoids this confusion.

missing "itself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb "to be" is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act on "itself."

bound -- (WT, WV) "Bound" is from a verb that means "to tie," "to bind," "to fetter," and "to keep in bonds," but the form is a verbal adjective, a participle. Its form is something completed in the past. The form is either passive, of the middle voice that means something acting for, on, or by itself.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) 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. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

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

whatsoever  - -- The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

shalt  -- (CW) This helping verb "shalt" does not indicate the future tense, but that the verb describes a possibility, the subjunctive voice. A "might" or "should" in English is more appropriate, but is assumed in an "if" or "when" clause. Helping verbs are not needed in Greek since the main verb carries this information in its form.

loose -- "Loose" is a Greek word that means "to unbind," "to unfasten," and "to open."

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

earth  - 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.

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- (CW) The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. This looks like a helping verb for a passive form of "bound," but it is not. Translated it as "exists" avoids this confusion.

missing "itself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb "to be" is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act on "itself."

loosed  - -- (WT, WV) "Loose" is a Greek word that means "to unbind," "to unfasten," and "to open." but the form is a verbal adjective, a participle. Its form is something completed in the past. The form is either passive, of the middle voice that means something acting for, on, or by itself.

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) 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. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies."

KJV Translation Issues: 

19
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "and" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "keys" do not lock or unlock but hold closed or "tie."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shalt" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "be" is not the helper verb creating a passive, but the verb "exists."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb "be" is  the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "bound" seems to be the future tense, but it is the past perfect, "having bound."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is either passive requiring a "been" before it, or the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shalt" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "be" is not the helper verb creating a passive, but the verb "exists."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb "be" is the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "loosened" seems to be the future tense, but it is the past perfect, "having loosened."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."

NIV Analysis: 

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

give  - "Give" is from the Greek verb that means "to give," "to grant," "to hand over," and "to describe."

you -- The word for "you " is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

keys  - (CW) "Keys" is from a noun that describes "that which serves for closing," meaning the devices that hold doors closed. This could be a simple "rope tie," "a bar," "a bolt," "a catch," and "a hook." Later, this word came to mean "key," but that was after the invention of locks with keys about a thousand years later.  This holds a door shut rather than opens it.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article. The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

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

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession,

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) 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. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

missing "and"  -- (MW) The untranslated word s "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

whatsoever  - -- The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

you -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

bind - "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. This is tense is implied by "when."

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

earth  - 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.

will -- This helping verb "will " indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- (CW) The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. This looks like a helping verb for a passive form of "bound," but it is not. Translated it as "exists" avoids this confusion.

missing "itself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb "to be" is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act on "itself."

bound -- (WT, WV) "Bound" is from a verb that means "to tie," "to bind," "to fetter," and "to keep in bonds," but the form is a verbal adjective, a participle. Its form is something completed in the past. The form is not passive, but a middle voice that means something acting for, on, or by itself. The sense is "having tied itself."

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) 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. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

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

whatsoever  - -- The word translated as "whatsoever" is a demonstrative pronoun ("this" "that"), but it often acts as a pronoun ("the one that), especially a connective pronoun ("the one that") introducing a dependent clause.

missing "when"  -- (MW) The untranslated word "if might" indicates more of an expectation of something happening than "if" alone. This is often how we use the word "when."

you -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

loose -- "Loose" is a Greek word that means "to unbind," "to unfasten," and "to open."

on -- The word translated as "unto" means "on," "over," "upon," "against," "before," "after," "during," "by" or "on."

earth  - 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.

will -- This helping verb "will " indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

be -- (CW) The verb "is" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. This looks like a helping verb for a passive form of "bound," but it is not. Translated it as "exists" avoids this confusion.

missing "itself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb "to be" is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act on "itself."

loosed  - -- (WT, WV) "Loose" is a Greek word that means "to unbind," "to unfasten," and "to open." but the form is a verbal adjective, a participle. Its form is something completed in the past. The form is not passive, but a middle voice that means something acting for, on, or by itself. The sense is "having untied itself."

missing "itself"-- (WV) A phrase is necessary because the form of the previous verb is a middle voice, which means that the subject is to act on "itself."

in -- The word translated as "in" means "in," "within," "with," "during" (time),  or "among"  with a dative object as the one here. 

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

heaven: - (WN) 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. More about the word in this article.  This word is plural, not singular, so "skies." 

NIV Translation Issues: 

19
  • OS -- Outdated Source -- The Greek word translated as "and" existed in the KJV Greek source but not the one we used today.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "keys" do not lock or unlock but hold closed or "tie."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "be" is not the helper verb creating a passive, but the verb "will exist."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "bound" seems to be the future tense, but it is the past perfect, "having bound."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is either passive requiring a "been" before it, or the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "and" before "whatsoever" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "when" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The word translated as "be" is not the helper verb creating a passive, but the verb "will exist."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • WT - Wrong Tense - The verb "loosened" seems to be the future tense, but it is the past perfect, "having loosened."
  • WV  - Wrong Voice - The verb is either passive requiring a "been" before it, or the middle voice requiring the concept of "itself" as its object.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "heaven" is not shown in the English translation.
  • WN  - Wrong Number- The word "heaven" is translated as singular but the Greek word is plural, "skies."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Knots tie things together. The knowledge of tying and untying knots is useful for connecting things and disconnecting them. Knots were symbolic of understanding, as in the Gordian Knot.  Remember, Peter was a fisherman for whom knowing knots and how to tied and untie them is a critical skill. 

Jesus says that he is giving Peter the ties between the physical, visible, tangible world and the spiritual, hidden, conceptual world. However, Jesus goes further here, saying that what we tie up or untie here on earth exists that way for all time on the universal level. This carries the sense to me, that our limitations in understanding the physical world become our limitations in understanding the universe. This does not seem to mean that Peter is getting some special power to bind and unbind the laws of heaven, a common interpretation, but something more profound about human learning the laws of nature. A less aggressive interpretation would be that Jesus is giving Peter an understanding of the connections between the physical world and the spiritual world, seeing that what we see will happen on earth results in our ability to see what has always been the law universally.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 14 2021