In Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, he mentions the concept of binding and loosing from Matthew 16:17-19. I’ve never really thought about this idea before, never really knowing what it meant. Bell proposes an interesting explanation for binding and loosing.
He says that the disciples are given the liberty and the responsibility to interpret and explain the teaching of Jesus. I’m still working this out, but the implications of this are pretty incredible.
First of all, the liberty aspect. For a long, long time interpretation of scripture has been anything but liberating. It has been dogmatic, uniform and resistant to questioning and change. Imagine the possibilities for growth and open mindedness when we’re open to new ways of reading God’s words! Our eyes, hearts and minds could be opened to radically new truths about who God is and His will for our lives! His words could be new every morning and the lamp unto our feet could receive a brighter bulb.
However, as the great poet Stan Lee once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We can’t be careless in our new reading of the scriptures. We can’t add to God’s words. God still speaks, God may have spoken in other mediums than the Bible, but any words, written or spoken, contrary to the words in the Bible lack credibility and authority.
We must be responsible in our binding and loosing. Jesus has given us incredible authority to communicate His truths. We don’t create truth or reality, but we certainly have a hand in shaping it. We can’t be flippant or careless with this responsibility.