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Bible Translations of Matthew 16:19 Concerning Binding and Loosing

I have been studying Matthew 16:19 and the difficult construction of the Greek. Jesus’ statement about binding and loosing is in the future, periphrastic perfect tense (an apparently rarely used tense). So how should this be understood? Notice that the translations are evenly split.

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.” (NRSV)

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. (NASB)

The NKJV, ESV, NIV, TNIV, and NLT also follow the NRSV in rendering the binding and loosing as a future tense. The HCSB and NET follow along with the NASB using a past (or past perfect) tense. So which is right? Commentators, scholars, and grammarians are strongly divided.

I am working on this text for an upcoming lesson. But what do you think? Based on the context, was Jesus instructing Peter (and the apostles) that whatever actions he took would be counted as the very authority of God? Or was Jesus instructing Peter (and the apostles) that they would carry out heaven’s decisions on earth?

I will let you know my decision some time next week as I work on this some more.