The Bible gets misquoted a lot these days…and I truly believe it’s because we grew up on the wrong interpretation of certain verses, which leads us to naturally believe that’s what they mean. Why? Because there’s this assumption that if the pastor said it, it must be true. Most Christians have the tendency to remove a Bible verse from its context and try to get the passage to address situations that were in no way intended to be addressed by the writer. One of the verses that are misquoted the most is: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). EVERY time I’ve heard this passage quoted the person quoting it is talking about church attendance, prayer, and/or worship. This makes me lose my flippin mind! Here’s why…
Ok, sure, when you take it away from its context it sounds awesome right? But the problem is this verse has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus joining us when there’s a church service of more than two people. EVEN IF this verse literally meant that where two or three people are, God is there too…it would disqualify God from being God. Why? Because God is omnipresent…he doesn’t need a specific number of people present to be present; he doesn’t rely on us to gather together in order for him to make a promise that he will also show up to church that day. This verse is often used to indicate to Christians that where two or more believers get together, Jesus is somehow more present in that situation than he is when a Christian is alone. BUT, this verse means something totally different than what the idiot with the microphone pours into your head.
This verse is an assurance that when there is a conflict in the church and the church leaders step in to fix the problem and a covenant is made between the parties, Jesus is involved and present in that agreement. It’s all about agreement, not attendance. It’s basically saying that in the church, the sincere agreement of two people is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands, because Jesus’ Holy Spirit is with them. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, will pray according to God’s will, not their own; thus their requests will be granted. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t limit God to two or three people…or even to church attendance numbers. You know what I say to people who misquote this verse?…”So you’re saying that he Jesus can’t be present if it’s less than two or greater than three people?” You see the problem with misquoting is you’re altering Scripture and Jesus kind of hates that.
When we hear a passage either misquoted or misapplied we believe that what we heard is what the Bible really says. I’ve known people who have built entire theologies and churches based on misquoted scriptures; and when shown the right meaning of the verse they try to change tactics and find other verses, taken out of context, to defend their belief. By the way, God doesn’t honor that.
The meaning of the verse is simple: Jesus is spiritually present to confirm the decision that has just been made in order to help guide the church leaders and give them peace that the decision they were forced to make was the right one. Unfortunately, many Christians have taken, and continue to take, this verse waaaay out of context, and my response to them is this: Be careful about scripture…it’s powerful stuff and has the ability to change lives for the better or for the worse, depending on how you handle it. My question to them is, would you rather have scripture alter someone’s life for the better or worse? It’s time that Christians take time to actually study scripture before proclaiming it.