This post is part of a series looking at misquoted verses of the Bible.Â Click hereÂ to see others.
Today’s post is something you often hear from the stage in a church service. I’ve heard many worship leaders (the main culprit of this one) paraphrase this verse:
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.â€ Matthew 18:20
It’s usually said to rally the congregation gathered together that God is in our midst so get crazy! But consider, when used this way, what this also implies. If only one person showed up for church that week he or she would be very disappointed to realize that God wasn’t there. If only you had one or two more to motivate God to show up!
More damaging would be the false conclusion some might draw that God isn’t present with us when we are alone. We might infer that despite God’s omnipresence, He reserves Himself to groups only. While this might be laughable depending on your Biblical understanding, I’m saddened to think a person might genuinely conclude this.
Like we’ve done with the other passages in this series on misquoted verses, we must look to the original context to see the point of this verse. The subject is dealing with sin in the church starting in verse fifteen and ending with our verse in twenty. The preceding verses instruct us how to approach another believer who has committed a sin that you are aware of and need to confront. The conclusion is thus said more specifically: when we meet in Christ’s Name we confront another believer with Christ’s authority rather than our own. It is a statement of how the church gathers together in the authority of Jesus to keep the Body of Christ healthy. It’s the practical difference of someone hearing another person’s opinion on something verses them hearing the authority of Christ as represented by members of His Church.
Which is completely different than Jesus having a critical mass requirement before He’ll show up in your life. So go ahead and get crazy anyway, God is with you right now!