Matthew 18:19-20 “Getting The Context Right”


Matthew 18:19-20 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”


The above verses are sometimes misquoted out of context and therefore misunderstood. It is thus important to read these verses in the context of the whole passage of Matthew 18:15-20. The passage deals with some Christians that have done something wrong that required the Church to discipline. The passage sets out the process whereby concerned church members can go about helping the sinful brother or sister to repent and be reconciled back and be accepted in Church. So, after following the process of reconciliation and restoration of the member who had done something wrong, when those who had helped in the restoration and reconciliation work come together to pray for the sinning member, God will hear and answer the prayers. And in v.20, the Lord promises that He will be with those involved in this reconciliation and restoration of the member who had sinned.

So, these verses do not mean that if two or more Christians come together and agree that they should win the lottery or if they set up a business venture, God will grant them success. It does not mean that Jesus will be present whenever two or three gather together to pray about something and that the prayers will be answered. This is because every Christian can go directly to the Lord in prayer and every Christian has the assurance of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This is what the Bible promises. The Bible never said God would only be present when two or three gather together and that God is absent when there are less than two or three people.

Many may have heard of Ant Financial failed IPO (Initial Public Offering). It was supposed be the world’s biggest IPO in 2020. We can safely say that more than two or three Christians in the thousands of people who applied for the IPO had prayed for an allocation so that they would make some money. But the IPO was withdrawn at the last minute to the surprise of everyone. So, for those Christians who thought they had prayed and misunderstood Matt.18:19-20, they might have been confused. That just show how important it is to understand the context of verses.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for your promise of your presence when we gather to restore a fellow brother or sister who had sinned, and that you will help us as we restore this person. Thank you for your grace that is new every morning. In the name of the Lord Jesus we pray. Amen.



  1. Have you used these verses wrongly in the past? Share.
  2. Read Matt.18:15-20. How has your understanding of vv.19-20 changed now that you see these verses in its proper context?
  3. Read John 5:14-15; Read 1 Peter 3:12. What do you learn about God hearing your prayers? Do these verses require two or three to come together to pray?
  4. What have you learnt about the importance of reading verses in their context?