Matthew 16:19 Meaning of Keys of the Kingdom

Matthew 16:19
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 16:19

Here is the source of the misunderstanding that Peter will be the one at the pearly gates admitting or not admitting people into heaven. However, Peter and the apostles were given stewardship of the mysteries of God. The keys for binding and loosing are not for initiating action, but rather are for enacting things already ordained in heaven. These keys will be for judging within the church (Acts 5:1-11) and will give the disciples authority for doing the will of God. This verse makes the powerful connection between heaven and earth, both realms are equally real and explicitly tied together. One we can see, the other we normally cannot.

If this verse in any way indicates that the disciples hold the keys to enter into the kingdom of God, then it is by the call and power to preach the gospel. Those who come in will do so by hearing and believing. They will not hear unless those with the keys, the gospel message, open their mouths and speak (Ro 10:14).

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 16:19

#1 “I will give you…”
Jesus holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven. When we as his disciples carry them, they are his, we are stewards, not owners. When we use the keys to the kingdom, we use them on behalf of the king.

#2 “…the keys…”
These keys are for binding and loosing. The ministry of the Church is a ministry of loosening people from the power of Satan, and from the chains of sin, and binding the demonic forces set against God and his people. All the authority that the church has, or that a Christian is conferred by God on his own behalf.

#3 “…of the kingdom of heaven;”
Matthew uses the term “heaven” instead of “God” because it is more understandable to his Jewish audience who forbid the spelling out of God’s name or the full pronunciation. Matthew removes the possible stumbling block by the alternative phrase. The kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of God over everything. The mission of the church is to bring people into the kingdom. To bring the kingdom rule on earth “as it [currently] is in heaven” (Mt 6:10).

#4 “Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven,”
The church binds up evil, sin, and the demonic rule on the earth. That it does so is a sign that the action has been ordained in heaven. The grammatical structure of the Greek phrase indicates that our action is less about causing something to happen in heaven, and more about making happen on earth what is ordained to happen in heaven.

#5 “and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The other important work of the church is loosening, or the ministry of release; from sickness, from demonic oppression and possession, from the bondage of sin. By the preaching of the gospel and prayer, the disciple of Jesus has been given authority for this ministry.

Bible Study on Matthew 16:19

Expert Overview of Matthew Ch. 14-28

Biblical Translations of Matthew 16:19

NIV
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

NLT
“And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”

ESV
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

KJV
“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

NKJV
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:19 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.