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In Matthew 16 we see Jesus conferring the keys of the kingdom:

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.” - Matthew 16:19

The 'binding and loosing' authority appears, in the context, to be the applicational power of the keys rather than a second gifting. In other words, Jesus doesn't appear to be gifting two separate things but rather one thing 'keys' with 'binding and loosing' authority.

This same binding and loosing authority is spoken of again by Jesus in Matthew 18:

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. - Matthew 18:18

In this instance the binding and loosing power is spoken of as regarding the entire church in general and those individuals involved in the restoration of a sinful brother in specific.

As near as I can tell the description of the binding and loosing powers in the two passages are identical.

My question is twofold and is for those who hold to Church governance by apostolic succession:

  1. Are the binding and loosing powers conferred with possession of the keys or are the two distinct?
  2. If the former, then must we not conclude that, at least as regarding discipline within the Church, we all possess the 'keys' since we all (at least corporately if not individually) possess the 'binding and loosing' authority?
  • Not all apostolic churches interpret the above passages in exactly the same manner. Secondly, as far as I can tell, it is the Apostles, rather than the multitudes at large, that Christ is addressing. – Lucian Jun 28 at 21:51
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    @Lucian Matthew 18 appears addressed to the disciples which is usually understood as a larger group than the 12, I think. – Mike Borden Jun 29 at 11:18
  • Larger than the Twelve, yes; but see Seventy Disciples. Also, notice that disciple, along with its various derivatives, never appears outside of the Gospels-and-Acts, whereas apostle, and its various derivatives, almost never appears inside the Gospels (eight occurrences, mostly in Luke), but is quite frequent in the rest of the New Testament. (Acts uses each term about thirty times). – Lucian Jun 29 at 18:01

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