If I were to ask you what’s the meaning of the phrase “where two or three are gathered” chances are you will say something to the effect that two or three make up a church. You might also say something about getting an answer to prayer. I have heard people say two or three are required for a church to be present my whole life, as have many others I asked. Recently I studied this “idea” scripturally. Let’s read the verse:
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
At a glance this verse might seem to teach what it is commonly reported to, but a right divider of scripture always investigates the context. Let’s search the scriptures for this phrase “two or three”. If you are willing to take some time with your Bible open as you read this, your Bible will reward you with something to build your faith in God’s word and you will clearly see that Christians need to start investigating all the “slogans” we constantly hear preached at church. Read each section of scripture below and ask yourself what context the phrase “two or three” is consistently used in, in scripture.
II Kings 9:30-37
II Corinthians 13:1
I Timothy 5:19
I hope you just read these verses? If not you are missing the whole point. If you did you very clearly have seen that when the Bible uses the phrase “two or three” it is always in the context of judgment or the witness against others. If you did not see it in Joshua 7:2-3, remember what happened at Ai? Israel was judged at the battle of Ai because of the sin of Achan. Finding these super cool nuggets in the Bible are the very things that increase your faith in God’s word. Now let’s read the context of Matthew 18:20. Verses 15-19 are about what subject? Did you notice they are about a brother trespassing against you? Now read verses 21-22. Did you notice they are still about forgiving the brother that has trespassed against you? Now let’s read Matthew 19:28. What were the disciples going to do in the kingdom? They were going to judge. They were given power to bind and loose in Matthew chapter 16 and 18. The Bible very clearly teaches the concept behind two or three and it has nothing to do with defining that a church is present or that your prayers will have more power. This is a Christian slogan that is perpetuated as truth when it is not. Part of the reason for this false teaching is undoubtedly Christianity’s failure to believe the Bible about Christ’s kingdom being a literal, physical, earthly kingdom as the entire OT clearly teaches. The Covenant allegorical teaching of churches today give pastors leeway to create many slogans that a literal dispensational interpretation would never allow. If you believe in the literal kingdom that the Bible clearly teaches then this verse can’t be butchered. When you believe in the “spiritual” kingdom which the Bible does not teach you can make Matthew 18:20 mean just about anything you want. Why must we be Bible believers? Because God meant for you to understand his word and when you fall into the trap of believing you need other people to teach you everything you might just end up in a ditch. You can understand the Bible if you study it God’s way. God sent you the Apostle Paul, why won’t you listen to him?
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul