Q. Re: Matt. 18:15-17. I read these verses in William Barclay’s commentary in which he essentially says these have been misapplied. He further states that the language indicates to him that Jesus could not have said this in that specific way, i.e., it sounds too legalistic for Jesus, and sounds more like an ecclesiastic committee’s work. Also, Jesus would not say to take the matter to the Church, since the Church was not yet existent. This throws me a bit on the basis of inerrancy, so it must be some kind of interpretation that stands. Your thoughts?
A. Matt. 18:15-17 says, “If your brother or sister sins against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
We either believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God or we don’t. This man was stating his opinion that he doesn’t believe that particular passage is God’s Word. But that’s all it is, his opinion.
The Greek word for “church” means “an assembly” and can apply to a meeting of Jews as well as Gentiles. But whether the church existed at that point in time or not is irrelevant. Certainly Jesus knew that it soon would, and after all, His directions were meant to apply throughout the Church age.
One man’s opinion about one passage of scripture should not cause you to doubt your position on inerrancy. Rather it should cause you to question the validity of his position.