Hermeneutics - Lesson 8

Principles of Hermeneutics

From this lesson, you will gain valuable knowledge and insight into hermeneutics and biblical interpretation. You will understand that hermeneutics is not about uncovering hidden secrets but about utilizing your natural ability to interpret communication. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible is crucial for effective interpretation, and it is essential to address biblical illiteracy.

You will also learn the significance of context in interpreting the Bible. The lesson emphasizes that context plays a central role in understanding scripture, with a focus on literary context, epochal context, and canonical context. Using Matthew 18:20 as an example, you will see how context can change the interpretation of a verse and why it is vital to consider the broader context when studying the Bible.

Todd Miles
Lesson 8
Watching Now
Principles of Hermeneutics

I. Axiom #5: Hermeneutics is intuitive and not complicated

II. Axiom #6: Faithful Bible interpreters must be fervent Bible readers

III. Axiom #7: The three most important things in hermeneutics are context, context, and context

IV. Meaning of Matthew 18:19-20

  • This lesson explores John the Baptist's role as the Messiah's forerunner, his imprisonment for condemning Herod's affair, and Jesus' response in Matthew 11, rooted in Old Testament prophecies. Jesus' omission of judgment references confuses John about the Messiah's timing. Believers in the New Covenant, with deeper insight into Jesus, are seen as greater. The lesson promotes patience during suffering and the duty to identify Jesus as the Messiah.
  • This lesson on hermeneutics teaches you to approach the Bible with humility, seek divine guidance, analyze context, consider character roles, examine structure, use cross-references, apply sanctified imagination, and emphasize Jesus in interpretation, all while relying on the Holy Spirit.
  • This lesson introduces general and special revelation, emphasizing their roles in inviting people to know God and providing specific truths for salvation. It explores the process of inspiration, defining it as a concurrent work of a holy God and a human author, ensuring every word of Scripture is both human and divine, crucial for biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson reveals the Bible's divine authority, unity, and human relevance, stressing accurate interpretation for life transformation.
  • Learn about hermeneutics, understanding author intent, and different views on interpretation. Dr. Todd Miles discusses realism vs. non-realism, authorial authority, and introduces speech act theory to show how the Bible engages with readers, transforming beliefs and behavior.
  • This lesson delves into theological text interpretation, emphasizing that meaning is human-made, not inherent. Authors, not readers, shape text meaning. Accurate Bible interpretation hinges on understanding God's authorship, emphasizing His lordship, knowledge, and obedience. Presuppositions about God and human nature are vital for accurate Bible interpretation.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insights into the challenges of translating the Bible, understanding the continuum of translation philosophies, and the importance of selecting a translation that balances accuracy and readability in contemporary language. Dr. Todd Miles underscores the significance of using the best available manuscripts, avoiding theological bias, and staying updated with the latest knowledge of language and culture to ensure a quality translation.
  • From this lesson, you will gain valuable knowledge and insight into hermeneutics and biblical interpretation. You will understand that hermeneutics is not about uncovering hidden secrets but about utilizing your natural ability to interpret communication. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible is crucial for effective interpretation, and it is essential to address biblical illiteracy.
  • Learn the significance of interpreting Bible passages in the context of redemptive history. Discover the Bible's continuous narrative, emphasizing revelation's progression and God's plan through the David and Goliath story. See how context ensures accurate interpretation, connecting the Bible's parts into a cohesive story of God's redemption.
  • Understanding the Bible through biblical theology is crucial, as it reveals the overarching narrative of God's redemptive plan, centered on His glory and the role of Jesus Christ, enabling a more profound comprehension of individual Bible passages and their relevance to our lives.
  • Dr. Todd Miles underscores the vital role of historical and cultural context in interpreting the Bible. Understanding the era when a passage was penned is crucial for grasping its genuine significance. Using examples like the virgins' parable and Revelation 3:14-22, it demonstrates how historical context aids in discerning interpretations and adds depth to the message. The text emphasizes that, while the Bible offers some historical context, external sources can also enhance comprehension. In conclusion, historical and cultural context is essential for accurate biblical interpretation.
  • In this lesson on Hermeneutics by Dr. Todd Miles, the focus is on understanding the cultural context when interpreting biblical texts. Dr. Miles emphasizes that culture plays a significant role in both the biblical author's writing and the reader's interpretation. He discusses the concept of cultural conditioning, highlighting that everyone, including the biblical authors, the original audience, and modern readers, is influenced by their respective cultures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles highlights the significance of studying words in their original language and using etymology to decipher their original meanings.
  • Learn how recognizing and applying literary genres in the Bible is crucial for accurate interpretation, avoiding misinterpretations, and approaching Scripture with a nuanced understanding.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of interpreting biblical narratives. It begins by discussing the distinction between historical narratives and parables, emphasizing the importance of recognizing the markers of historical narrative.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles review biblical narrative interpretation. He emphasizes the importance of context, adding that each narrative should be examined within the broader biblical and book context. He illustrates this with Mark Chapter 5, where Jesus interacts with demons, breaking from the norm to underscore his authority.
  • From this lesson on Hermeneutics and Law, you will gain insight into the intricate relationship between the Old Testament law and New Covenant believers. Dr. Todd Miles emphasizes the challenge of applying ancient laws to contemporary life and introduces the key factors for understanding them: comprehending the nature of covenants and situating oneself in the timeline of redemptive history. This process is likened to using a mall map to find a destination.
  • Dr. Todd Miles discusses prophecy's significance beyond predicting the future. It validates God's deity, reveals future realities, and guides our present actions. Most prophecy is about forth-telling and emphasizes covenant understanding.
  • In this Hermeneutics lesson, you'll gain insights into the challenges of interpreting prophecy, including wrong expectations, historical context, conditional fulfillment, and various forms of prophetic proclamations, while also being reminded not to let contemporary agendas override the biblical text.
  • In taking this lesson, you gain insight into the concept of typology in biblical interpretation. Typology involves finding resemblances between Old Testament figures, events, and institutions and their fulfillment in the New Testament, particularly in relation to Jesus Christ.
  • Learn about poetry in the Bible by exploring Hebrew poetic parallelism and its emotional power in Psalms. Discover how poetry enhances biblical narratives and offers unique insights.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses various types of psalms found in the Psalter and delves into their unique characteristics and theological significance. He begins by providing a list of different kinds of psalms, emphasizing that this list is not exhaustive but illustrative, highlighting the diversity of poetry within the Psalms.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insight into essential figures of speech in the Bible and learn to interpret them effectively, enhancing your hermeneutical skills and deepening your understanding of the Scriptures.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles discusses the interpretation of parables. Parables are a specific literary genre with their own rules of interpretation. Parables are designed to teach a single point, although there might be exceptions. Historical context remains essential in understanding parables, as they are shaped by the situations of the day. 
  • This lesson explores Proverbs and wisdom literature, focusing on its distinct genre, interpretation rules. Dr. Miles highlights its purpose, living wisely with God. It emphasizes the fear of the Lord, touches Ecclesiastes' question of meaning, and Job's theodicy.
  • In this lesson on interpreting epistles, Dr. Todd Miles underscores the importance of understanding their structure, argumentative methods, and central theological focus on Jesus Christ and the gospel, even when addressing practical issues within the early Christian communities.
  • Dr. Todd Miles delves into apocalyptic literature, emphasizing its distinct features like revelatory communication and angelic guidance. It unveils profound truths through visions, promoting understanding and righteous conduct.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Todd Miles explores the concept of perspicuity, which refers to the clarity of the Bible. He begins by explaining that perspicuity is a theological term used to describe how clear the Bible's teachings are. It means that the Bible is written in a way that its teachings can be understood by anyone who reads it, seeks God's help, and is willing to follow it.
  • This lesson provides practical guidelines for applying biblical principles. Dr. Miles emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit, examining the original context, and identifying parallel situations in the present. He encourages applications to be personal, specific, measurable, and time-bound, ensuring they lead to tangible actions in your life.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the Holy Spirit's vital role in biblical interpretation, going beyond changing hearts to enabling comprehension and acceptance of the text. Dr. Todd Miles stresses the Spirit's role in illuminating the Bible, making it relevant to believers, challenging the idea that unbelievers interpret it as effectively, and emphasizing the importance of understanding the text's intent. The ultimate aim is not mastery but being mastered by the text, with the Holy Spirit as a key player.
Hermeneutics is the science and art of the interpretation of the Bible. It's a science because it is an orderly process based on rules you can apply. It is an art because of the nuances in communication and translation.



Dr. Todd Miles


Principles of Hermeneutics

Lesson Transcript


Well, now we're finally getting to hermeneutics that which you signed up for. A lot of what we said before was like foundation for hermeneutics. Now we're going to delve into it how to actually interpret the Bible. I want to begin with with what I call Axiom number five. Hermeneutics is intuitive and not complicated. We are not Gnostics. Maybe you registered for this class thinking that I would give you all sorts of secrets that would unlock the Bible. But in point of fact, that's not the case. Hermeneutics, I think, is largely intuitive. Or you have learned it through time. I notice any time that I go someplace that everyone shows up and they have managed to get to the class safely and they're all well-fed and well-dressed and have had many different communicative contacts throughout the day and throughout their life. And they have navigated all of them in being able to interpret things. We transition from different kinds of literary genre to other kinds of literary genres. We're able to do that seamlessly. You have learned how to interpret communication just over time. And again, my my desire in this is not to give you new secrets. I'm not going to give you the secret sauce. I'm not going to give you the secret key that will unlock all sorts of Gnostic mysteries. No. What I do want to do, though, is to make you aware of what you already know so that you can be intentional with it. If I often go to churches and I do hermeneutic a short course and I'm going to walk you through some of that to begin with, some some keys to interpreting the Bible. And the first one that I have in your notes is you might think, well, isn't this kind of begging the question to say that in order to interpret the Bible, I have to read the Bible Isn't that obvious? But no, I think if we want to be good Bible interpreters, we have to be faithful Bible readers. And and in America, at least, I would argue that we are now biblically illiterate. Now, that raises all sorts of questions when it comes to evangelism, how much we have to tell a person so that we can share the gospel with them. How much do they need to know? So the gospel will make sense. But really the most concerning part to me about the statement America is biblically illiterate is that it applies to those who claim to be born again. It applies to those who are in our churches. And you have some some stats that are, if they weren't tragic, would be really, really funny. And a lot of this comes from the Barna Research Group, but fewer than half of all adults in America, Christian, non-Christian combined can name the four Gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. I mean, if you can name the four Gospels, you can name a couple of the disciples right off the bat. Seems to me, according to data from the Barna Research Group, 60% of Americans this is this is about 15 years old, this data. So it's probably worse now. 60% of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments. And George Barna commented, It's no wonder people break the Ten Commandments. They don't even know what they are. It seems like you could just throw out there some ideas about morality, about stealing and lying and not killing. And you would you would get most of the Ten Commandments. But no, that's not the case. Here's where it just gets ridiculous. According to 82% of Americans, 82% of Americans. This is Christian, non-Christian. Combine the phrase or proverb. God helps those who help themselves. Is a Bible verse. Could I submit to you that there's probably nothing more antithetical to the Gospel than God helps those who helps themselves? Fortunately, those who identified as born again Christians did better by 1%, 1%, 81%, 81% of those who claim to be born again Christians believed that God helps those who help themselves is in the Bible. A majority of adults in America think the Bible that the Bible teaches. The most important thing in life is to take care of your family, which is important. But you can see why people would think that from the reader boards outside announcing what the next sermon series is going to be. Some of the statistics are just baffling. And a bar in a poll indicated that at least 12% of adults in America believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. I mean, now you're not even biblically illiterate. You're just a moron. Another survey of graduating high school seniors, Christian, non-Christian alike revealed that over 50% of them thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. And then a considerable number of the respondents in 2 to 1 poll thought that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. Apparently, he has a better PR department than Jesus Christ does. So those are kind of funny stats. They're tragic because it does show you how, how and biblically illiterate our churches and our nation is. The problem, though, is is not just familiarity with the Bible. As I argued earlier, we need to understand the Bible as a whole in order to interpret it correctly. Some feel they know the Bible well, but they want to be able to handle the problem passages. They think the Bible is really confusing it, and so I'll just stick with the parts that I know and understand. The problem with that is that most of the Bible is actually pretty easy to understand. The hard parts in the Bible to me are not the confusing ones. The hard parts of me or the parts that really chafe against my sensibilities, things that tell me or passages that tell me that I ought not to be proud, that that that that jealousy is a problem with God. Those are the hard parts of the Scripture, the confusing parts. Well, those are relatively few and far between when we think about the sheer amount of of material that's in the Bible. So, again, if you want to be a good Bible interpreter, you have to read the Bible. You have to become familiar with it. You can read four chapters a day and you'll get through the whole thing in a year. I think every person should have a goal of reading through the Bible each year, and that should be your practice. Not just this year, but but every year now. Now I know how it works. You start in Genesis and you're going great guns because Genesis pretty interesting. And and then Exodus is really interesting until it gets to the part that's not about halfway through and then you're just bogged down, you might be able to make it through the rest of Exodus and then you run right into, you know, Leviticus. Genesis and Exodus are often read at the beginning of the year without much more after that. There's a lot of broken New Year's resolutions. Nevertheless, I would say stick with it. And if you get through the Bible in a year, then read it over. I typically try to read a different translation. Each year I do my my devotions out of a different Bible. So this this is critical for pastors. It's critical for people who don't get paid to read the Bible. Probably more critical. You just got to carve out the time to do it. So if you want to develop an overall understanding of the message of the Bible, you need to be familiar with it, read it and read it and read it. So Axiom six Their faithful Bible interpreters must be fervent Bible readers. You will grow more comfortable with the Bible as you read it more and more and more. Okay. The most important thing in biblical hermeneutics I have in your notes is Axiom seven. The three most important things in hermeneutics are context, context and context. You've probably heard the old saying the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. Well, this is the exact same, because what's location other than context? So the most important thing in in biblical interpretation, context, context and context. And that should be intuitively obvious to everyone here, because yet I'll often ask this. I'll say, raise your hand if you've ever been taken out of context before. And of course, everyone raises their hand. And then I ask. Now keep your hands up. But how many of you liked it? And every hand goes down. No one likes being taken out of context. No one likes being taken out of context. I've never run into anyone who who says, Man, the other day I was talking to Sam, and then he went and repeated my words to someone else and totally took me out of context. It was awesome. No one ever says that it's it's painful when we're taken out of context because our words are usually manipulated to mean something other than what we sought to convey. It's so obvious that context is the determiner of meaning that whenever a celebrity, whether it's a politician or an athlete or a movie star, they, you know, they say something dumb and their PR guy will say, well, you got to go. You've got to go on it. And but inevitably, they're first go to excuses. Well, I was taken out of context. I was saying the context, because they know that everyone understands that when you're taken out of context, you're not responsible for what you said. It's the people who took you out of context who have done the dirty deed. Well, most of the time, as you know, they weren't actually taken out of context. They they said something stupid that they ought not to have said. And but wouldn't it be great if there was like my PR people had read Psalm 51 and said, this is how you repent publicly. Just own it. Just get up. Wouldn't it be great if someone said something dumb? And instead of making excuses, they just said, I am so sorry I said something vile and I am ashamed and I wish it hadn't come out of my mouth. But it did. And I've got to. I've just got to do better. Will you please forgive me? I guess something like that. That would be great. But it said no, it's I was taken out of context. But for our purposes here, that just demonstrates how important context is. Everyone understands that context is the chief determiner of meaning. And, you know, just like you don't like it when people take you out of context, I'm willing to bet that the Lord doesn't like it either. He doesn't think, Man, did you see what Todd did with that Bible verse the other day? Took me totally out of context. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure the Lord has never, ever said that. So there's different levels of context. The biggest level, the biggest, the broadest level of literary context is the entire Bible. Maybe you've heard it said, let Scripture interpret Scripture. Well, there there are some passages that help explain other passages explicitly, but implicitly, every passage in the Bible will have some influence on every other verse in the Bible, some of it powerfully and immediately, others very distant, but still because of divine authorship. There's one unified story. And so every verse fits into this thing that we call the canon of Scripture. And it is probably the case that clearer passages should always be used to interpret the less clear that that's another implication of of the importance of context. Now, some people and I'll throw this out there just as an example of of how to think about context. It's often been argued that there's three significant levels of context. There's that and these are spoken of in terms of horizons. There's the textual horizon. This would be  the immediate context. In a little while I'm going to walk you through Matthew chapter 18, verse 20. And the immediate context for that would be probably be the paragraph. You know, the sentence is the is the smallest unit of meaning in language and therefore in the Bible. And then the paragraph is going to be a collection of these sentences that that convey some sort of unified thought. The second horizon is the epochal horizon or the epoch. And this is basically asking where are we at in redemptive history? An easy way to ask this question is what covenant is in play or at work at this time? That is, how were God's people being governed? We see different epochs of Scripture in Scripture itself, in like Romans chapter five, verses 12 through 21, which speaks of a time period from Adam to Moses and then from Moses to Christ. I like to think in terms of the major covenants. There's creation. To the fall and then the fall to no and no. To Abraham. Abraham to Moses. Moses to David. David to Jesus in the New Covenant. And then were part of the New Covenant now. What's significant about each of those epochs or covenants is that God's people are governed by a different agreement. There's continuity between those covenants, to be sure. But nevertheless, like for me, as a New Covenant Christian, I'm not under the Mosaic Law, which I'm very grateful for, but the Mosaic Law contributes to the story, but it doesn't immediately govern me. So that's the second is the epoch, and then the third is the canonical horizon. And that's the story of Scripture as a whole. Every every verse fits in a particular way to that and contributes to the story as as a whole. And so what I'd like to do is I'd like to walk you through Matthew chapter 18, verse 20. Matthew, chapter 18, verse 20. This is what I would argue is the most taken out of context verse by Christians, by well-meaning, strong Christians. That is in the Bible. And maybe some of you have different ideas about what verse that would be. But Matthew 18:20 reads this way for where two or three are gathered together in my name. I am there among them. A little background on this passage for me. I was in I went to college and joined the campus ministry. The navigators. Navigators were known for discipleship and also scripture memory. And we had this thing called the topical memory system. We got a verse pack that had verses in it. The idea in the ministry was that any time someone could ask you, Hey, what's your latest verse? And you'd pull out your verse back out of them and they'd help you with it. It was like this built in accountability and but it was a topical memory system. And so there would be memory links by virtue of topic to every verse. And so in 2 Timothy 3:16, Joshua 1:8, meditate on the law, that sort of thing. And then for Fellowship, one of the verses was Matthew 18:24, two or three guys in my name there. Am I amongst them in the midst of them, whatever translation you're quoting. And so the common practice in every navigator meeting, because everyone had memorized this verse, was at a prayer meeting, the person, the first person to pray would usually say something along the lines of Lord, You have said in your word that where two or three are gathered in your name there, that you will be in the midst of us. Matthew 18:20 And I'm not going to ask any of you if you've ever done that before. Let's take a look at what this verse actually means. The ironic part for me about this is that there was a workbook that came with the topic of memory System that asked us to do a little Bible study on this verse and also consider the context for it. So let's, let's do that. Now, if I were so so the verse is Matthew 18:24. A two or three are gathered together in my name. I am there among them in my Bible. It's in red letters, which tells me that Jesus said it. So that's helpful. And but it seems like a good thing two or three Christians gather together. Jesus will be there. That sounds really cool, but let's look at the immediate context, which would be like the paragraph versus 15 through 20. And it reads this way. If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you've won your brother. But if he won't listen to you, take one or two others with you. So that by the testimony of two or three witnesses, every fact may be established. If he doesn't pay attention to them, tell the church. If he doesn't pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you. Truly, I tell you, whatever you bind on earth, what began in heaven, whatever you loose on Earth will have been loosed in heaven. Again, truly, I tell you, if two of you on Earth agree about any matter that you pray for it, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Four Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them. Oh, this is not a prayer meeting passage. This is a church discipline passage. Hmm. Now, for how many of you, when you think about church discipline, does this conjure up feelings of warmth? And you know what? Nice, warm, fuzzy feelings? Probably not. The language that we associate with church discipline is usually. Confrontation, heavy handedness perhaps. Maybe abuse of leadership. Excommunication. That's what church discipline is, that sort of thing. Well. Let's take a look at this. Is that what Jesus intended? Again, let's go out to an even broader context in this. And and now I'll just go to the to the chapter, Chapter 18. And as I look through Chapter 18, what I find is that Jesus stumbles upon his disciples who are having a dispute about who's going to be the greatest. He rebukes them for that, tells them in order to enter the kingdom, you have to be like a child if you want to be great. Be like a child. Child-like faith. And then he warns them. He said, Sin will be killing you. It reminds me of that the the Puritan saying I be killing sin or it will be killing you. Right. And so he says, you know, woe to the person through whom sin comes. Then he says, Take draconian measures to avoid sin. If your foot or hand is causing you to sin, cut it off. Better to enter life with one hand and to go to hell with two. He says, If your eye is causing you to sin, gouge it out. Better to, you know, enter eternal life half blind than to be cast into hell with both eyes. So. And of course, Jesus is speaking hyperbolically. Here, we'll talk about what hyperbole is a bit later in this in this course. Because and I would say it's hyperbolically because our eyes and our hands don't cause us to sin. You could cut. You could cut out your eyes. You're still going to envy and lust and things of that nature. It's a sin, as Jesus taught, is a condition of the heart. What he's telling you to do, though, is do whatever it takes to avoid sin, Do whatever it takes. And then immediately after that, he gives the parable of the lost sheep, where the Good Shepherd is one who will lead the 99 on a rescue mission to find that one sheep who is straying away. That's what the Good Shepherd does. And there's great rejoicing when a repentant sinner comes back to the fold. Only then does he give verses 15 through 20, which is that church discipline passage. Then after that we have this interaction with Peter, who asks After the church discipline passage of verse 15 through 20, he says, Peter asks Jesus, how many times am I supposed to forgive my brother or sister? And then he says, as many as seven times. I suspect this was posturing on Peter's part, wanting to get lots of oohs and ahs from the disciple friends. Wow, Peter, you're so holy. Seven times. Even the rabbis only teach six times. But you're going one better than that. Jesus, though, doesn't just one up He, like, exponentially overrides, Peter says 77 times or 70 times. Seven times. There's a translation translation question there. But the point is the same If you're keeping a tally, you're not really forgiving for keeping a tally, you're not really forgiving. And then after that, Jesus gives the parable of the unforgiving servant who was forgiven in the story by the Lord of the land, a ridiculous amount of money. It's the equivalent. A good translation would be a bazillion dollars. It's ridiculous. You wonder how he got into the king for that much money. And then when he is forgiven that day, he goes to someone who owes him a significant amount of money. But it's not a bazillion dollars. It's that he was just forgettable and he shows no mercy whatsoever, refuses to forgive the debt, and that the then the king or the Lord, the master, gets upset. I forgave you a bazillion dollars. And you you can't even forgive a much smaller debt. So he casts him from his presence. And Jesus ends the parable with this. So also, my Heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. Peter. Mr.. Should I forgive seven times Super spiritual guy. Jesus. Jesus won't have any of that. Okay, What's the whole point of that exercise? The point of the exercise was to show that on either side of the church discipline passage, which is where we find Matthew 18:20, we have teaching on avoiding sin, restoration, reconciliation, and then after on the other side, forgiveness. The church discipline stuff is sandwiched in between restoration, reconciliation and forgiveness. Which leads me to think that that's really what church discipline is ultimately about. It's about Is it possible that Jesus gives the parable of the sheep and says, this is what the Good Shepherd does? He leaves the 99. He goes on a rescue mission to find that one straying sinner. Maybe verses 15 through 20, the church discipline material. That's Jesus's rescue mission. Where he's demonstrating his loving kindness toward. Wandering sinners by having the church go get them. Maybe this is Jesus is his his rescue mission. And I think as we as we work through verse 15. Through 20. Yeah. There's there's like four steps the thing. And it can end in. In the removal of a person from from the church. But but that's the final step. It begins with if your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you've won your brother. That's actually church discipline. I go around to churches. I talk a lot about church discipline. When they ask me, it's not my favorite thing to talk about, but. And I'll read this passage and I'll say, How many of you have ever been disciplined by the church before? And of course, no one raises their hand because not that many people have actually been excommunicated from the church. And then I say trying to be provocative. I have many, many times. And I'm not sure I could live without it. Because Matthew 18, verse 15, is part of church discipline. Matthew 18, verse 15 is part of church discipline. And they say, And so who do you think is the person who comes to me the most and says, Todd, I think you're sinning, Todd. You you hurt me. Todd You shouldn't have spoken that way to our kids. There's a hint, right? My wife. My wife, My wife is the Matthew 18, verse 15 person in my life. And if I'm in the spirit, if I'm walking with the Lord, my response is repentance, confession. I am so sorry, Lord. I am so sorry, Camille. I am so sorry. You know, Vicente or Marcus, Julius or Natalie or Ethan or Levi, You know, whoever my kid is that that. That I had sinned against. And it works. That's why we need people in our lives who are willing to say those things to us. This is Jesus's prescribed method, I would argue. One of them for keeping people walking faithfully. That's church discipline. And notice it's just one person talking with one other person. The principle at work here is minimization of exposure, which results in a minimization of pressure. But if the person doesn't respond, then you increase the exposure, which increases the pressure. So you take two or three others and that two or three witnesses, they don't have to be witnesses to the sin, but they're there with you to help vet the situation as you go and talk to this individual. Now, more people are involved. There's a little more pressure. Which hopefully is felt by the but by the sinning Christian. It could be it could be that the two or three witnesses gather and they hear everything and they hear both sides of the story and they end up saying, I don't think there's any sin involved here. I don't think there's scent involved here. I think this is a misunderstanding or it's not a big deal or something like that. That's that's legit, too. That that's that's part of the of the mechanics of this. And it's very, very important. But this two or three witnesses is basically just Old Testament wisdom prescribed in the law and in the Book of Proverbs where you don't convict someone of a capital offense on the testimony of one individual, it takes two or three witnesses. That's what Jesus is appealing to here. Now, again, we should be thinking about Matthew 18, verse 20, where two or three are gathered in my name. Those are the two or three that Jesus is talking about here, these two or three witnesses. If they don't respond to that, then you tell it to the church. And then if the sinner doesn't respond to the church, then it could be that you take that last step of removing that person from fellowship, treat him like a tax collector or a gentile. That is just not part of the covenant community. It doesn't say shun that person, We're not Amish, we're Christian, don't shun them. But just that they have they have refused to repent. And so you don't treat them as though they are one of this community, but they have some business to do with the Lord. You when you remove a person from membership in the church, you're effectively saying, you know, Christians repent. That's just what Christians do. It may take a while, but we've given you lots of time and we've kind of lost confidence of your believer. We don't know. We're not kicking you out, we're not damning you or condemning you, but we just have no confidence right now that that you're a Christian, that that's effectively what we're saying when we remove someone from from the church. And and Jesus, this is so important to Jesus that he says in verse 18, Whatever you bind on Earth will have been bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on Earth will have been loosed in heaven. That is what you decide here has already been ordained in heaven. You're doing the Lord's business here. Why? Because this is the Lord's rescue mission to rescue wayward Christians. He uses the same language in Matthew 16 and. And then he gets to verse 24 where two or three are gathered together. My name, I am there among them. This is so important to Jesus that he promises his authoritative presence when the church does this. When Christians do this, it's not really about inviting the Lord to be a part of your prayer meeting. It's about his authoritative presence in this loosing and binding, doing the will of heaven. When it comes to the Church and the Kingdom of God. Now. Is it a bad thing to ask Jesus to be part of your prayer meeting now? Jesus promised that He's with us. It doesn't take two or three, fortunately. It only just takes one. He's with us everywhere. That was that's his promise in Matthew 28, verse 20. He'll be with us always to the very end of the age. There's plenty of other Bible verses that speaks of the Lord's presence with us when we pray and when we gather. But this particular verse is talking about something a bit different, and you look and you discover that just by doing a quick study of the context.