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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 18:17

"If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.


Adam Clarke Commentary

3. Tell it unto the Church - Lay the whole matter before the congregation of Christian believers, in that place of which he is a member, or before the minister and elders, as the representatives of the Church or assembly. If all this avail not, then,

Let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican - To whom thou art, as a Christian, to owe earnest and persevering good will, and acts of kindness; but have no religious communion with him, till, if he have been convicted, he acknowledge his fault. Whosoever follows this threefold rule will seldom offend others, and never be offended himself. - Rev. J. Wesley.

Reproving a brother who had sinned was a positive command under the law. See Leviticus 19:17. And the Jews have a saying, that one of the causes of the ruin of their nation was, "No man reproved another." On the word Church, see Clarke at Matthew 16:28; (note).


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/matthew-18.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Tell it to the church - See the notes at Matthew 16:18. The church may here mean the whole assembly of believers, or it may mean those who are authorized to try such cases - the representatives of the church, or these who act for the church. In the Jewish synagogue there was a bench of elders before whom trials of this kind were brought. It was to be brought to the church in order that he might be admonished, entreated, and, if possible, reformed. This was, and is always to be, the first business in disciplining an offending brother.

But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be … - The Jews gave the name “heathen” or “Gentile” to all other nations but themselves. With them they had no religious contact or communion.

Publican - See the notes at Matthew 5:47. Publicans were people of abandoned character, and the Jews would have no contact with them. The meaning of this is, cease to have religious contact with him, or to acknowledge him as a Christian brother. It does not mean that we should cease to show kindness to him and aid him in affliction or trial, for that is required toward all people; but it means that we should disown him as a Christian brother, and treat him as we do other people not connected with the church. This should not be done until all these steps are taken. This is the only way of kindness. This is the only way to preserve peace and purity in the church.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-18.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican.

The mention of "the church," or "the congregation" as it is in the Greek, shows that this rule was propounded by Christ for observance on the part of his followers in all ages. And how is the rule usually observed? By its gross and unfeeling violation! When one feels wronged by another in the church, the temptation is for him to seek out some personal friend or confidant, and to elaborate the real or fancied wrong by embellishing it with every possible coloring and emphasis, thus spreading hate against the offending party. Telling the elders, the deacons, or the preacher, or anyone else, of the evil detected in another is wrong (until after the first admonition); and even after the first admonition, the greatest number to be acquainted with it is two others (see Matthew 18:16).

Go to the offender first! That is God's commandment! Those who depart from it, preferring some other way, do so at their eternal peril.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/matthew-18.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And if he shall neglect to hear them,.... The one or two, in conjunction with the offended person that shall hear the ease, and admonish and reprove; if he takes no notice of what they say to him, but remains stiff and impenitent, tell it unto the church: which some understand, of the רבים, or "multitude", before whom it was lawful to reprove, after such private methods had been taken: others, the political magistrates, or sanhedrim; who took cognizance of cases between one person and other, either by themselves, or messengers; and gave admonitions and reproofs, as to parents, when they did not provide for their familiesF24Maimon Hilehot Ishot, c. 12. sect. 14. , and to wives that were perverse, and provoked their husbandsF25Ib. c. 14. sect. 9. & Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. neg. 81. , &c. others, of the presbyters and governors of the Christian church; others, of the church itself, and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "the house of Christians"; to which it is objected, that as yet a Christian church was not formed: but what were the twelve apostles of the Lamb? They were the great congregation and church, in the midst of which Christ sung praise to his Father: and since the whole of this advice, and these excellent rules are given to them, and they are spoken of in the next verse, as having the power of binding and loosing, they may well be thought to be meant here; and that the design of Christ is, to instruct them how to behave, in case of offence to one another; that the reproof should be first private, and if it did not succeed, to be made before one or two more; and if that did not do, the whole body was to be acquainted with it; and which rules hold good, and are to be observed by all Christian men and churches, in all ages: though no doubt but allusion is made to the Jewish customs, in rebuking before the multitude, or carrying of a private case, after all other means used were ineffectual, to the sanhedrim.

But if he neglect to hear the church: the advice they should give unto him, the reproof they should think proper for him, or the censure they should pass upon him,

let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican. This is not a form of excommunication to be used among Christians, nor was there ever any such form among the Jews; nor could Heathens or publicans, especially such publicans as were Gentiles, be excommunicated, when they never were of the Jewish church.

"A religious person indeed, that becomes a collector of taxes, they first said, is to be driven from the society; but they afterwards said, all the time that he is a tax gatherer, they drive him from the society; but when he goes out of his office, lo! he is as a religious personF26T. Hieros. Demai, fol. 23. 1. .'

But one that never was of a religious society, could not be driven out of it. And besides, this is given, not as a rule to the church, but as advice to the offended person, how to behave towards the offender: after he has come under the cognizance, reproof, and censure of the church, he is to look upon him as the Jews did one that disregarded both private reproof by a man's self, and that which was in the presence of one or two more, חבר פחות, "a worthless friend", or neighbour; as a Gentile, with whom the Jews had neither religious nor civil conversation; and a "publican", or as Munster's Hebrew Gospel reads it, בעל עברה "a notorious sinner", as a publican was accounted: hence such are often joined together, and with whom the Jews might not eat, nor keep any friendly and familiar acquaintance: and so such that have been privately admonished and publicly rebuked, without success, their company is to be shunned, and intimate friendship with them to be avoided.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-18.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

6 And if he shall h neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the i church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as k an heathen man and a publican.

(6) He that condemns the judgment of the Church, condemns God.

(h) Literally, "does not condescend to hear", or "make as though he did not hear".

(i) He speaks not of just any policy, but of an ecclesiastical assembly, for he speaks afterward of the power of loosing and binding, which belonged to the Church, and he has regard for the order used in those days, at which time the elders had the judgment of Church matters in their hands, (John 9:22) ; (John 12:42) ; (John 16:2), and used casting out of the synagogue for a punishment, as we do now by excommunication.

(k) Profane, and void of religion: such men, the Jews called Gentiles: whose company they shunned, as they did the publicans.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/matthew-18.html. 1599-1645.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

17. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

[Tell it unto the church.] That which was incumbent upon him against whom the sin was committed was this, that he should deliver his soul by reproving his brother, and by not suffering sin in him. This was the reason that he had need of witnesses, for what else could they testify? They could not testify that the brother had sinned against him that reproved him; for this, perhaps, they were altogether ignorant of: but they might testify this, that he against whom the sin was committed used due reproof, and omitted nothing which was commanded by the law in that case, whereby he might admonish his brother, and, if possible, bring him back into the right way. The witnesses also added their friendly admonition: whom if the offender hearkened not unto, "let it be told the church."

We do not here enter upon that long dispute concerning the sense of the word church in this place. However you take it, certainly the business here is not so much concerning the censure of the person sinning, as concerning the vindication of the person reproving; that it might be known to all that he discharged his duty, and freed his soul.

It was very customary among the Jews to note those that were obstinate in this or that crime after public admonition given them in the synagogue, and to set a mark of infamy upon them.

All these have need of public admonition in the consistory. The business there is about some shepherds, collectors, and publicans; and it is declared how incapable they are of giving evidence in any judiciary matter; but not before public admonition is gone out against them in the consistory.

"If any deny to feed his children, they reprove him, they shame him, they urge him: if he still refuse, they make proclamation against him in the synagogue, saying, 'N. is a cruel man, and will not nourish his children: more cruel than the unclean birds themselves, for they feed their young ones,'" &c.

"A provoking wife who saith, 'I will create vexation to my husband, because he hath done thus or thus to me, or because he hath miscalled me, or because he hath chid me,' &c. The consistory by messengers send these words to her, 'Be it known unto you, if you persist in your perverseness, although your dowry be a hundred pounds, you have lost it all.' And moreover they set forth a public proclamation against her in the synagogues, and in the divinity schools every day for four sabbaths."

[Let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican.] He saith, Let him be to 'thee'; not, Let him be to 'the church': because the discourse is of peculiar and private scandal against a single man; who, after three admonitions given, and they to no purpose, is freed from the law of brotherly obligation; and he who being admonished does not repent, is not to be esteemed so much for a brother to him, as for a heathen, &c.

I. Christ does not here prescribe concerning every offender, according to the full latitude of that law, Leviticus 19:17; but of him that particularly offends against his brother; and he does particularly teach what is to be done to that brother.

II. Although he, against whom the offence is committed, had a just cause, why he should be loosed from the obligation of the office of a brother towards him, who neither would make satisfaction for the wrong done, nor be admonished of it; yet to others in the church there is not the same reason.

III. The words plainly mean this; "If, after a threefold and just reproof, he that sinned against thee still remains untractable, and neither will give thee satisfaction for the injury, nor, being admonished, doth repent, thou hast delivered thine own soul, and art free from brotherly offices towards him"; just as the Jews reckon themselves freed from friendly offices towards heathens and publicans. That of Maimonides is not much different: "A Jew that apostatizes, or breaks the sabbath presumptuously, is altogether like a heathen."

1. They reckoned not heathens for brethren or neighbours: "If any one's ox shall gore his neighbour's ox: his neighbour's, not a heathen's: when he saith neighbour's, he excludes heathens." A quotation which we produced before.

2. They reputed publicans to be by no means within religious society: A religious man, who becomes a publican, is to be driven out of the society of religion.

3. Hence they ate neither with heathens nor with publicans: concerning which thing they often quarrel [with] our Saviour. Hence that of the apostle, 1 Corinthians 5:11; "With such an one no not to eat," is the same with what is spoke here, "Let him be to thee as a heathen," &c.

"It is forbidden a Jew to be alone with a heathen, to travel with a heathen," &c.

4. They denied also brotherly offices to heathens and publicans: "It is forbidden to bring home any thing of a heathen's that is lost." "It is lawful for publicans to swear that is an oblation which is not; that you are of the king's retinue when you are not," &c. that is, publicans may deceive, and that by oath.


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Bibliography
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/matthew-18.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

Tell it to the church. If neither effort is of avail, then report it to the church for action. This is the second instance in the New Testament of the use of the word "church." The first is in Matthew 16:18.

If he refuse to hear the church. The admonition and entreaty of the church through its elders. The church has power to admonish and to exclude.

Let him be to thee as a heathen man and a publican. Have no religious fellowship with him, more than you would have with a heathen, or a publican. The publicans were usually apostate Jews. The orthodox Jews had no social intercourse with heathen or publicans.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-18.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Refuse to hear (παρακουσηιparakousēi). Like Isaiah 65:12. Many papyri examples for ignoring, disregarding, hearing without heeding, hearing aside (παραparȧ), hearing amiss, overhearing (Mark 5:36).

The church (τηι εκκλησιαιtēi ekklēsiāi). The local body, not the general as in Matthew 16:18 which see for discussion. The problem here is whether Jesus has in mind an actual body of believers already in existence or is speaking prophetically of the local churches that would be organized later (as in Acts). There are some who think that the Twelve Apostles constituted a local εκκλησιαekklēsia a sort of moving church of preachers. That could only be true in essence as they were a band of ministers and not located in any one place. Bruce holds that they were “the nucleus” of a local church at any rate.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/matthew-18.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

The Fourfold Gospel

And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church1: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican2.

  1. Tell it unto the church. As the Savior was giving preparatory instruction, he was compelled to thus speak of the church by anticipation before it actually existed. The word "church" means assembly, and the apostles knew that there would be some form of assembly in the kingdom about to be set up. When Matthew wrote his Gospel, churches were already in existence.

  2. Let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican. One who will not hear the church is to be regarded as an outsider. This implies that such a one is to be excluded from the church.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-18.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

To hear them. This shows that one object of calling upon others, is to obtain their mediation and influence to heal the difficulty.

Matthew 18:18,19. This language is understood in various ways, and with various limitations and restrictions by different commentators. There is great difficulty in ascertaining with certainty the meaning intended to be conveyed. The Roman Catholics found upon it a strong argument in favor of the high ecclesiastical authority with which they suppose the church to be clothed.--Any thing; of course any thing suitable or proper to be bestowed.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/matthew-18.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Ver. 17. Tell it unto the church] That is, unto the church governors, the church representatives, as some think. Not the pope, whom Papists make the church virtual, and who, like a wasp, is no sooner angry but out comes a sting; which being out, is like a fool’s dagger, rattling and snapping without an edge. Hence in the year 833, when Pope Gregory IV offered to excommunicate Ludovicus Pius, the emperor, with his followers, the bishops that stood for the emperor affirmed, that they would by no means yield to the pope’s pleasure therein, sed si exeommunicaturus veniret, excommunicatus abiret cum aliter se habeat antiquorum canonum authoritas. {a} And in the year 1260, Leonard, an English doctor, answered the pope’s envoy, who pleaded that all churches were the pope’s; that they were his indeed (so it went then for current, but) tuitione non fruitione, defensione non dissipatione. If he should cast out Jonah and keep Ham in the ark, they would decline and disclaim his censures. Jac. Revius. Hist. Pontiff

Let him be unto thee as an heathen and a publican] i.e. Neither meddle nor make with him; have thou neither sacred nor civil society with him. The Jews hated the presence, the fire, the fashion, the books of a heathen: as now a Papist may not join with a Protestant in any holy action, no, not in saying over the Lord’s prayer, or saying grace at table. Howbeit of old a Jew might eat at the same table with a heathen, Leviticus 25:44, and come to the same temple with publicans, so they were proselytes, Luke 18:9-14 But they might do neither of these to an obstinate excommunicate, no more may we. Rebellion is as witchcraft, and obstinacy as bad as idolatry, 1 Samuel 15:23.

{a} Ussier, de Christianae Eccl. statu et successione.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-18.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

17. παρακούσῃ] a stronger word than μὴ ἀκ., implying something of obduracy.

τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, by what follows, certainly not ‘the Jewish synagogue’ (for how could Matthew 18:18-20 be said in any sense of it?), but the congregation of Christians; i.e. in early times, such as in Acts 4:32, the one congregation,—in after times, that congregation of which thou and he are members. That it cannot mean the Church as represented by her rulers, appears by Matthew 18:19-20,—where any collection of believers is gifted with the power of deciding in such cases. Nothing could be further from the spirit of our Lord’s command than proceedings in what were oddly enough called ‘ecclesiastical’ courts.

ἔστω σοὶ κ. τ. λ.] ‘let him no longer be accounted as a brother, but as one of those without,’ as the Jews accounted Gentiles and Publicans.

Yet even then not with hatred, see 1 Corinthians 5:11, and compare 2 Corinthians 2:6-7, and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15. The articles ἐθν., τελ., are generic; the expressions being the singulars of οἱ ἐθνικοί, οἱ τελῶναι. And thus the quality expressed by ἐθνικός and τελώνης, rather than the individual who may happen to bear these characters, is prominent in the sentence: the ἐθν. or the τελ., inasmuch and as far as he is ἐθν. or τελ. But this is not, as Words., the effect of the article only; the predicate ἐθνικός conveys plainly enough, that it is as a heathen, not as a man, that he is here introduced.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/matthew-18.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 18:17. τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ] is not to be understood of the Jewish synagogue (Beza, Calvin, Fritzsche), which is never called by this name, and any reference to which would be contrary to the meaning of Jesus; but it is to be taken as referring to the community of believers on Jesus (comp. note on Matthew 16:18), which is, as yet, regarded as one body with the apostles included (Matthew 18:18). There is here no allusion to individual congregations in different localities, since these could come into existence only at a later period; neither, for this reason, can there be any allusion to presbyters and bishops (Chrysostom), or to those whom they may have invested, as their representatives, with spiritual jurisdiction (Catholic writers, comp. besides, Döllinger). There is, further, nothing to warrant the assumption of an historical prolepsis (de Wette, Julius Müller), for the truth is, the קהל of believers was actually existing; while, in the terms of this passage, there is no direct reference to individual congregations. But as Jesus had already spoken elsewhere of His קהל (Matthew 16:18), it was impossible for the disciples to misunderstand the allusion. The warrant for regarding the judgment of the church as final in regard to the ἔλεγξις lies in the moral power which belongs to the unity of the Holy Spirit, and, consequently, to true understanding, faith, earnest effort, prayer, etc., the existence of all which in the church is presupposed. It is not inconsistent with this passage to suppose that, under the more developed circumstances of a later period, when local congregations sprung up as offshoots from the קהל, there may have been some representative body, composed of individuals chosen for the purpose of maintaining discipline, but the choice would necessarily be founded on such conditions and qualifications as were in keeping, so far as it was possible for man to judge, with the original principle of entrusting such matters only to those who were actual believers and had been truly regenerated.

ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τ. ἐκκλ. παρακ.] but if he refuses to listen even to the church; if he will not have submitted to its advice, exhortation, injunction.

ἔστω σοι ὥσπερ, κ. τ. λ.] let him be for thee (ethical dative); let him be in thy estimation as, etc.; λοιπὸν ἀνίατα τοιοῦτος νοσεῖ, Chrysostom. What is here indicated is the breaking off of all further Christian, brotherly fellowship with one who is hopelessly obdurate, “as not being a sheep, nor caring to be sought, but willing to go right to perdition,” Luther. In this passage Christ says nothing, as yet, about formal excommunication on the part of the church (1 Corinthians 5); but the latter was such a fair and necessary deduction from what he did say, as the apostolic church, in the course of its development, considered itself warranted in making. “Ad earn ex hoc etiam loco non absurde argumentum duci posse non negaverim,” Grotius. In answer to the latter, Calovius, in common with the majority of the older expositors, asserts that the institution of excommunication is, in the present passage, already expressly declared.

ἐθνικός] generic.


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-18.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 18:17. παρακούση, do not obey) disregarding the reproof.— τῇ ἐκκλησια, the church) i.e., which is in that place where thou and thy brother dwell. The church is opposed to two or three in about the same proportion as two or three are to one. Amongst the Jews, ten men are considered to constitute עדה, a church,(825) or public assembly for the decision of private disputes. See Rhenferd Opera philologica,(826) p. 729; Buxtorf,(827) Synagoga Judaica, ch. 25, where the same things are prescribed to the offender which our Lord prescribes here to the injured party.— ἔστω, κ. τ. λ., let him be, etc.) Cf. Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11, 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 Timothy 2:21; Titus 3:10; 2 John Matthew 18:10.— σοὶ, to thee) Although, perhaps, not to the witnesses and the church. Therefore no one should be considered as a stranger before he has been reproved, and disregarded the reproof.— ἐθνικὸς, THE heathen) (sing.) We take this opportunity of making some observations on the Greek Article.(828) B. Stolberg rightly remarks, in his manuscript collection on the particles, that “there is scarcely an instance in the Scriptures where the article is redundant.” It is nowhere clearly useless: it is never added without an object, although philologists frequently attribute to it a wrong force and meaning. It is equivalent to the German der (the), and denotes less than he (this), more than quidam (some, a certain one, or thing). It has, therefore, a determinating value; and it determines either (1) the universality and totality of the subject, as in Matthew 6:22, λύχνος, κ. τ. λ., THE light, etc., q.d. the body has no light except the eye; or (2) the whole species, as in Matthew 15:11, TO εἰσερχόμενον, that which entereth—TO ἐκπορευόμενον, that which cometh out—and in Romans 1:17, δὲ δίκαιος, but THE just, i.e. he that is, or every one that is, just; or (3) the singularity and oneness [i.e. the definite and exclusive individuality] of the subject, as in Matthew 1:23, παρθένος, THE virgin—in John 1:21, χριστός, THE Christ, προφήτης, THE prophet—in John 13:13, διδάσκαλος, καὶ κύριος, THE Teacher, and THE Lord; or (4) the restriction of the whole genus to a particular species, as in Acts 19:17, τοισ καταικοῦσι, who dwelt at. In logic, however, universal and singular propositions are equivalent; whence (5) it has frequently a relative force, and that even in partition,(829) as in Luke 18:10, εἷς φαρισαῖος καὶ ἕτερος τελώνης, THE one a Pharisee and THE other a publican—and in Revelation 17:10, εἷς ἐστιν, ἀλλος οὔπω ἠλθε, THE one is, THE other has not yet come; or (6) it expresses a certain peculiar degree of a thing (rei exquisitam quandam rationem), as in Matthew 8:12, κλαυθμὸς, THE(830) weeping, sc. weeping, compared with which earthly weeping is not weeping. It is, in fact, a subject which deserves to be more carefully examined by Philologists.(831) In this passage, ἐθνικὸς signifies the whole race of Heathens, and any one thereto belonging. Thus, in the S. V. of Deuteronomy 28:29, we have τυφλὸς,, THE blind.— καὶ τελώνης, and the publican) It was easy for the Jews to consider any one in the light of a heathen, therefore this clause is added to increase the force of the language; for the publicans dwelt amongst the Jews, but were shunned by them.

He is not here speaking of the Catholic or universal Church.—V. g.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-18.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 15-17. Our Saviour very appositely addeth this to his former discourse concerning avoiding offences, that none might think that by the former doctrine he had made void the law, Leviticus 19:17, which commanded all in any wise to rebuke their neighbour, and not to suffer sin upon him, pretending that it was their duty in some cases to offend any person by that law. He here telleth them that he would not be so understood, as if they might not tell offenders of their sins for fear of offending them, this had been to have withheld charity from their souls under a pretence of charity. Only in these reproofs we must keep an order, which order he here prescribes.

1. Doing it privately, between them and him alone.

2. If that had not its effect, then taking two or three with them.

3. If that also proved ineffectual, then telling it to the church.

4. If that he would not hear the church, then, let him be unto thee (saith Christ) as an heathen and a publican.

If thy brother shall trespass against thee. By brother here he meaneth any Christian; for what hath the church to do to judge those that are without? 1 Corinthians 5:12.

Trespass against thee. Some interpret this of offences done so privately, that none else knoweth them but one single person; but it is objected, that then there needed no going to him, much less were there need of any witnesses, for they could prove nothing. Others therefore understand the precept of private injuries, which are in man’s power to forgive, Luke 17:3. Others think such injuries are primarily intended, but yet the precept is not to be restrained to them, but to be understood of all offences, whether against God, ourselves, or our neighbours; and that our Saviour useth this term against thee only to distinguish the offences he is here speaking of from public scandals; for, 1 Timothy 5:20, it appeareth to be the will of God, that public and open sinners should be rebuked before all, that others may fear. The rule therefore seemeth to be given concerning private miscarriages; not such only as are done in the sight or hearing of a single person, but such as are not the matter of public fame, nor openly committed before a multitude, but being committed more secretly, are come only to the knowledge of some particular person or persons. In such cases it is the will of God, not that we should blazon and publish them, but, being certain that any Christian hath so offended, it is our duty first to go to him, and tell him of it; that is, not only tell him what thou knowest, or hast heard in matter of fact, that he hath spoken or done, but show him also the sinfulness of it.

If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother; that is, if he confesseth the sin, and be brought to a sight of it, a sorrow for it, and a resolution against it for the time to come, thou hast gained the soul of thy brother.

But if he will not hear thee, if he either denieth the matter of fact, that he did such a thing, or (admitting that) standeth to justify the fact, as what he might do, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established: one or two more, either such as may be of more authority with him, whose words may probably be of more weight than thine with him, or who may witness the matter of fact if it be denied, or at least witness by charitable admonition of him, and his contumacy, if he refuseth to hearken to thee, and to repent and reform. What was the law of God in civil and judicial causes, Deuteronomy 19:15,

God would have observed in ecclesiastical causes: One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. And so the words in Matthew should be translated, or at least understood; every word, that is, every matter, be confirmed.

And if he shall neglect to hear them; either refuse to speak with them, or to suffer them to speak with him; or, hearing them with his ears, if he persists to deny the fact, or to justify the fact, as if it were no sin, or go on still in the same course; (all these things are to be understood by the term of not hearing); if he shall not hear them, tell it to the church. That the term church is a noun of multitude is evident, and therefore cannot be understood of any particular person. Some would by the church here understand the political magistrate; but as this sense is embraced by very few, so it is very improbable that our Saviour should send Christians in that age to the civil magistrates, when they were all great haters and persecutors of the Christian religion, especially in cases that were not punishable by the judges; for no deliberate person will say, that the offences mentioned in this text were all of that nature as a civil judicature might take notice of them. Others say, that by the church is here meant the Jewish court called the Sanhedrim, which had a mixed cognizance, both of civil and ecclesiastical causes. There are three prejudices against this:

1. That the Jewish court was never in Scripture called ’ Ekklhsia.

2. That it is not probable that our Saviour would direct Christians to go to the Jewish courts in such cases.

3. That the Sanhedrim was too great a court to be troubled with all scandals, though they did take cognizance of some things in religion, which were of a grand concern; such as blasphemy, idolatry, false prophets, &c.

Others therefore understand it of the Christian church. Against this opinion there is this great prejudice, that there was no such thing in being at that time; but I take this to be a lighter objection than those against the two other opinions:

a) Because we need not understand our Saviour speaking with relation to the present time, but the time to come, and giving laws which should take place and abide from the gathering of the Christian church to the end of the world.

b) Nor is it necessary that we should take the term church here in the strict sense, in which it is most generally used in the Scriptures of the New Testament for the general notion of the word is only a company of people called together; and in this sense, Tell the church, is no more than, Tell the multitude, make his crime more public: now what that multitude was which our Saviour meant, would easily be understood when the churches came to be formed.

But the next verse will make it more plain; Matthew 18:18, Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, &c. By the church then must be meant those who had power to bind and loose. Now though at this time there was no particular church formed, yet there were some who had a power to bind and loose. Christ had given such a power to his apostles. These were the present church, and at this time in being. They were afterwards to constitute particular churches, to whom, (when constituted), in force of this precept, such offences were to be told. There are yet further disputes, whether this offence and contumacy be to be told only to the rulers, or to the multitude. I say, to the whole church, but first to the rulers, then by them to the multitude, not to judge of it, but for their consent in casting a person out of the communion of the church. Thus the incestuous person was first accused to Paul, then cast out by the consent of the whole church, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5. For it is unreasonable to think that people should deny communion to any without knowing a justifiable cause; and to no purpose for rulers in a church to cast one out of its communion with whom the members will have communion.

If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican; that is, esteem him as a vile person, for so they esteemed all heathens and publicans. How far this could reach beyond having an intimacy of civil communion with them, and a communion with them in the sacrament, I cannot understand; for as Christians were licensed to a civil commerce with heathens and publicans, so neither were heathens and publicans ever, that we read of in holy writ, denied the benefit of their prayers, and hearing the apostles preach. I am very well satisfied, that the primitive church did not deny to persons excommunicated liberty to be present at the prayers of the church, but it was long after the apostles’ times, and whether grounded upon any practice of theirs I much doubt. Christians had a liberty to pray for any who had not sinned the sin unto death: that they might not be present at such prayers I cannot learn from any thing in holy writ.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-18.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Neglect to hear them; if they cannot reclaim him.

Heathen man; let him have no more connection with the church than you would allow to an open idolater.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-18.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

17. εἰπὲ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ. The word ἐκκλησία is found only here and ch. Matthew 16:18 (where see note) in the Gospels. In the former passage the reference to the Christians Church is undoubted. Here either [1] the assembly or congregation of the Jewish synagogue, or rather, [2] the ruling body of the synagogue (collegium presbyterorum, Schleusner) is meant. This must have been the sense of the word to those who were listening to Christ. But what was spoken of the Jewish Church was naturally soon applied to the Christian Church. And the use of the term by Christ implied for the future an organised Church exercising discipline, organised too at least in part on the model of the synagogue.

ὁ ἐθνικὸς καὶ ὁ τελώνης. Jesus, the friend of publicans and sinners, uses the phrase of his contemporaries. What Jesus says, Matthew the publican records. ἐθνικός, the adjective of ἔθνη, in the special Jewish sense of ‘Gentiles,’ in Polybius ἐθνικὸς = ‘national.’


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/matthew-18.html. 1896.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“And if he refuse to listen to them, tell it to the congregation (ekklesia - church). And if he refuses to listen to the congregation also, let him be to you as the Gentile and the public servant.”

But if the charge is proved and the matter is serious, and the disciple refuses to listen, then the next step is to bring the matter before the whole ‘congregation’, the gathering of all believing disciples (or of all in one vicinity, as with a synagogue). ‘The congregation’ was the description given in the Old Testament to the gathering of all mature, male members of Israel. It represented the whole of Israel. Thus here Jesus has in mind the new Israel, seen as one. Later, of course, this would be divided up into individual churches, but that was not so here, although a limited local group might have been in mind. The gathering here would overall be of all those genuinely recognised as disciples.

And if the sin is accepted to be so by the whole congregation, and the guilty disciple refuses to listen to them and turn from his sin, then he is to be treated as though he were no longer a member of ‘the congregation’. He is to be seen as a non-disciple. He is to be treated as an outsider, in a similar way to an ‘unbelieving’ Gentile or public servant, both of whom would as such be excluded from the congregation of Israel. (This description demonstrates the strong Jewish background of the words). He is to be seen as no longer ‘of us’ (1 John 2:19).

The ‘you’ is singular, but the question arises as to whether it means the original ‘accuser’ (Matthew 18:15) or the whole congregation. Possibly it in fact means the accuser as representing the whole congregation, or alternatively we might translate ‘let him be to each one of you as --’.

We should note that this is not signifying the rejection of the sinner from the possibility of the mercy of God. The attitude of the congregation towards both Gentiles and public servants was to be one of love, together with a longing to bring them to Christ. But both of these were examples of those who were least likely to obey God (compare Matthew 5:46-47), The point is simply that the one who continues in sin is no longer to be seen as ‘one of the congregation’. He is now seen as an ‘outsider’, for he is no longer a true witness. The blot on the fellowship has to be removed (compare Acts 5:1-11 for a drastic example). It does not necessarily refer to official excommunication. It rather represents an attitude to be taken up towards him so as hopefully to bring him to his senses. In a similar way exclusion from the synagogue for a period was a punishment carried out by the Jews for recalcitrant sinners, which could become permanent if the sinner still refused to repent.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/matthew-18.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The third step, if necessary, is to report the situation to the "church." This is the second reference to ekklesia in Matthew and the only other occurrence of this word in the four Gospels. As I pointed out above (cf. Matthew 16:18), this word means "a called out assembly of people." Jesus probably used it in a wide sense here. We have noted that the terms "lord," "disciple," "apostle," and others came to have more specific meanings as God"s kingdom plan unfolded. Jesus predicted the existence of the church, the body of Christ, in Matthew 16:18. However the disciples undoubtedly understood Him to mean simply His band of disciples. Jesus was talking about the assembly of His disciples that He was calling out of the world to represent Him that He knew would become a large body. He knew this would be the church as we know it, but the disciples must have thought He meant just themselves in a collective sense. Perhaps they thought He was referring to a Jewish assembly, a synagogue. [Note: Walvoord, Matthew: . . ., p137.]

Jesus revealed almost nothing about the church in the Gospels, as the absence of references to it in these books indicates. The disciples were struggling to grasp Jesus" deity, His suffering servant role, and His passion. Jesus did not confuse them with much revelation about the form that their corporate identity would take following His ascension. He did not even do that after His resurrection ( Acts 1:6-8). That revelation came through His apostles after His ascension. We have it in Acts and the Epistles.

When Jesus said, "Tell it to the church (assembly)," the disciples probably heard, "Tell it to all the other disciples, not just the two or three witnesses." Applying this command today becomes more difficult because the number of the disciples is incalculable and they live around the globe. In most situations the scope of public announcement would be a local church congregation, the particular collection of disciples of which the wayward brother is a part.

If the erring disciple does not respond to the church"s encouragement to return to the Shepherd, Jesus said the disciples should treat such a person as a Gentile and a tax gatherer. This does not mean the disciples should receive him or her warmly as Jesus received such people ( Matthew 8:1-11; Matthew 9:9-13; Matthew 15:21-28). The context, as well as the New Testament parallels to this exhortation, shows that Jesus had exclusion in mind (cf. Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14). Jesus probably used Gentiles and tax gatherers as examples because the Jews typically withdrew from them. That is what He wanted His disciples to do regarding the erring brother or sister. The "you" in the Greek text is singular indicating that the initiator is a single individual and the sphere of life Jesus had in mind throughout this section was interpersonal relations (cf. Matthew 18:15)

"He cannot be treated as a spiritual brother, for he has forfeited that position. He can only be treated as one outside the church, not hated, but not held in close fellowship." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:66.]

Neither Jesus nor the apostles specified the exact form this discipline should take (e.g, excommunication, exclusion from the Lord"s Supper, social isolation, withheld table fellowship, etc.). France argued that since the sphere of life in view is interpersonal relationships, the guilty party should only suffer isolation from the initiator of action, not the whole community of believers. [Note: France, The Gospel . . ., pp690-94.] However, it seems that if the whole church gets involved in reproving the offender, some sort of communal, as well as individual, punishment would be involved. Consequently I assume that Jesus intended the disciples involved in such situations to make these determinations on the basis of all the facts in each particular case. However, it seems to be going too far to put the offender in a situation in which it would become impossible for him or her to repent and experience restoration later. The objective of all discipline is ultimately restoration, not exclusion. [Note: See J. Carl Laney, "The Biblical Practice of Church Discipline," Bibliotheca Sacra143:572 (October-December1986):353-64; and Ted G. Kitchens, "Perimeters of Corrective Church Discipline," Bibliotheca Sacra148:590 (April-June1991):201-13.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/matthew-18.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 18:17. If he refuse to hear them. Does not acknowledge his wrong under their influence.—The public step follows: Tell it unto the church, i.e., the particular Christian congregation.

If he refuse to hear the church also. The admonition and entreaty of the Church is to be used as a means of regaining the brother.

Let him be unto thee as the heathen and the publican, i.e., as outside the Christian fellowship, though in a Christian, not a Jewish spirit. A man of high spirituality would be won by the first step, a lukewarm Christian by the second or third; when all fail, it is not distinctly commanded that the Church should pronounce him no Christian. His character has proved itself so far unchristian that the person injured cannot have fellowship with him. The next verse, however, hints at formal acts of discipline on the part of the Church.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-18.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 18:17. ἐὰν δὲ π. α. Try first a minimum of social pressure and publicity, and if that fail have recourse to the maximum.— εἰπὲ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ: speak to the “Church”—the brotherhood of believers in the Christ. This to be the widest limit for the ultimate sphere of moral influence, as ex hypothesi the judgment of this new community will count for more to its members than that of all the world beyond.— ἔστω σοι, etc.: this failing, the offender puts himself outside the society, and there is nothing for it but to treat him as a heathen or a publican; which does not mean with indifference or abhorrence, but carefully avoiding fellowship with him in sin, and seeking his good only as one without. There is no reference in this passage to ecclesiastical discipline and Church censures. The older interpreters, in a theologico-polemical interest, were very anxious to find in it support for their developed ideas on these topics. The chief interest of historic exegesis is to divest it of an ecclesiastical aspect as much as possible, for only so can it suit the initial period, and be with any probability regarded as an utterance of Jesus. As such it may be accepted, when interpreted, as above. If, as we have tried to show, it was natural for Jesus to speak of a new community of faith at Caesarea, it was equally natural that He should return upon the idea in the Capernaum lesson on humility and kindred virtues, and refer to it as an instrument for promoting right feeling and conduct among professed disciples.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-18.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Tell the church. This not only shews the order of fraternal correction, but also every man's duty in submitting to the judgment of the Church. (Witham) --- There cannot be a plainer condemnation of those who make particular creeds, and will not submit the articles of their belief to the judgment of the authority appointed by Christ. (Haydock)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/matthew-18.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

neglect = fail. Greek. parakouo. Occurs only here.

church = assembly. In this case the synagogue, or local court, as in Acts 19:39. See App-120.

the church = the assembly also.

an heathen = the Gentile. Greek. ethnikos. Occurs only here, and Matthew 6:7.

a publican = the tax-gatherer.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/matthew-18.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Probably our Lord has reference still to the late dispute, Who should be the greatest? After the rebuke-so gentle and captivating, yet so dignified and divine-under which they would doubtless be smarting, perhaps each would be saying, It was not I that began it, it was not I that threw out unworthy and irritating insinuations against my brethren. Be it so, says our Lord; but as such things will often arise, I will direct you how to proceed. First, Neither harbour a grudge against your offending brother, nor break forth upon him in presence of the unbelieving, but take him aside, show him his fault, and if he own and make reparation for it, you have done more service to him than even justice to yourself. Next, If this fail, take two or three to witness how just your complaint is, and how brotherly your spirit in dealing with him. Again, If this fail, bring him before the church or congregation to which both belong. Lastly, If even this fail, regard him as no longer a brother Christian, but as one "without" - as the Jews did Gentiles and Publicans.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-18.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) If he shall neglect to hear them.—Better, refuse, the word implying something more than mere negligence.

Tell it unto the church.—Here, and here only in our Lord’s teaching after the promise to Peter (Matthew 16:18), we have the word Ecclesia repeated. The passage takes its place among the most conspicuous instances of the power of a word. Theories of church authority, as exercised by the priesthood, or bishops, or councils, or the personal infallibility of the Bishop of Rome, have been built upon it. The last clause has been made the groundwork of the system of church discipline which loads the heretic with anathemas, excommunicates the evil-doer, places nations under an interdict. It can scarcely be doubted that the current thoughts and language of Englishmen as to ecclesiastical discipline would have been very different, if instead of “tell it unto the church,” “if he neglect to hear the church,” we had had the word “congregation.” And yet this, or some such word (say “assembly” or “society”), is confessedly the true meaning of the Greek, and was the rendering of all the English versions, from Tyndale onwards, till the Rhemish translators introduced “church,” and were followed by the Authorised version.

So understood, the words point to the final measures for the reformation of the offender, and the vindication of the divine law of righteousness. When the two forms of private remonstrance have failed, the case is to be brought before the society at large. The appeal is to be made not to the rulers of the congregation, but to the congregation itself, and the public opinion of the Ecclesia is to be brought to bear upon the offender. Should he defy that opinion and persist in his evil doing, he practically excommunicates himself. All societies are justified in excluding from their communion one who repudiates the very conditions of membership; and his being regarded as “a heathen and a publican” is but the legitimate consequence of his own act. Even here, however, we can hardly think of our Lord as holding up the Pharisees’ way of acting towards “the heathen and the publican” as a pattern for imitation. They were to be made to feel that they were no longer within the inner circle of brotherhood, but they were still men, and, as such, entitled to courtesy and all kindly offices. St. Paul’s teaching as to the treatment of the incestuous adulterer in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 2 Corinthians 2:6-7, and of fornicators generally in 1 Corinthians 6:1-7, may be referred to as a practical illustration of the meaning of our Lord’s words.

It is obvious that the rule, as such, presupposes a small society, in the midst of a greater outside world, able to deal thus minutely with the offences of individual members. With the extension of the society, so that the church and the world became conterminous and hardly distinguishable, it was natural, perhaps, that it should follow the course of other human societies, and transfer its jurisdiction from the “congregation,” or “assembly,” to individual judges as its representatives. And so it was that, in the long-run, the bishops took the place of the congregation, and exercised its functions. So long as they were really in harmony with the mind of the church at large, this might work well enough, but there was the risk of their “lording it over God’s heritage” (1 Peter 5:3); and, in any case, there was the loss of that activity of the reason and conscience of the society which the original form of polity implied, and of which St. Paul’s appeal to its judgment as against the inconsistency of the chief of the Apostles, is a very striking instance (Galatians 2:11). How far that can be revived is one of the hard questions of our own time and, perhaps, of all times. The end may have to be attained by very different means. We cannot inform the Universal or the National Church of the misdeeds of each individual member. Practically, to submit them formally to the judgments even of the smaller society of the town or village to which the offender belonged, would not be workable. Possibly, the solution of the problem may be found in remembering that in a Christian nation the Church and the State, as far as morality is concerned, tend, in spite of doctrinal divisions, to be, as was said, conterminous, and hence that we are fulfilling the spirit of our Lord’s commands when, after all private remonstrances have failed to check the evil, we appeal to the public opinion of Christians in the neighbourhood, larger and smaller, which is affected by it. How this is to be done will vary with the varying circumstances of each individual case, but it is no idle paradox to say that as society is now constituted, the most effective way of “telling the church” may sometimes be to appeal to that public opinion as represented by lawful courts, or otherwise impartially expressed.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/matthew-18.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
tell
Acts 6:1-3; 15:6,7; 1 Corinthians 5:4,5; 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 2:6,7; 3 John 1:9,10
let
Romans 16:17,18; 1 Corinthians 5:3-5,9-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15; 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 John 1:10,11
an heathen
6:7; Ezra 6:21; Ezekiel 11:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Ephesians 4:17-19; 5:11,12
a publican
5:46; 11:19; 21:31,32; Luke 15:1; 18:11; 19:2,3

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-18.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Then tell the whole thing to the church. Only after the first two attempts have failed, do you then tell it to the church. ["Church" here means congregation. The first use of "church" is in Matthew 16:18] If he will not listen to the church. The church leaders [elders] had the right to exclude such a person from the fellowship of the group, with the purpose of causing him to repent. [Orthodox Jews would not even speak to foreigners and tax collectors.]


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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-18.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

These witnesses are to be intercessors also, for this verse speaks of the possibility that the offender will not hear them. This denotes that it will be proper for them to have something to say in this second meeting as well as being witnesses in case further controversy is necessary. If this meeting is a failure, the matter will have to become a public affair and the offended party should take his case to the church. The church has the right to hear the complaint and the report of the witnesses, and if it concludes the accused is guilty he should be required to make proper amends. If he refuses to do so he should be excluded which is equivalent to placing him in the same class as the heathen (people of the world) in that he will be put into the realm of Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5).


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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 18:17". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-18.html. 1952.

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