Figurative: In a figurative sense, to bind heavy and burdensome (extra) so-called religious duties on men (Mt 23:4). This figurative use of the word in Mt 16:19 and 18:18 has given special interest to it. Necessarily certain powers for administration must be conferred on this company of men to carry out the purpose of Christ. That this power was not conferred on Peter alone is evident from the fact that in Mt 18:18 it is conferred on all the apostles. The use of the word in the is to declare a thing to be binding or obligatory (Joh 20:23). In this sense this authority is used by some denominations in the service in preparation for the , in which after the confession of sin by the people the ministers say, "I declare to you who have sincerely repented of your sins and believe on the Lord the entire forgiveness of your sins." This statement is followed by the further declaration that if any have not so repented God will not forgive them, but will retain them and call them to account. The claim of the church of Rome that these statements of our Lord confer on the priests and bishops, or primarily on the pope, the power to retain or forgive sins, is without historical validity and does violence to the Scriptures.
Jacob W. Kapp