Some years ago, my daughter returned from a Christian school sponsored music trip in which she was supposed to perform at a function. While on route to the event, in a bus full of students, a teacher prayed for the upcoming event. In particular, the teacher asked God to “bind Satan” so that the performance would go off without a hitch. Unfortunately, said binding did not prevent a disaster in which the sound system blew out, electricity went out in the building and did not turn back on in time for the students to perform. So, the students were loaded back on the bus, returning home after a long day and no performance.


Upon arriving home, her question for me was — Are Christians supposed to bind Satan?  And that's the question we are posing to you today.


I had never really thought much about this question. I heard people pray for the binding of Satan but always found myself confused. Here are the questions I had about said technique. How long does one prayer for binding last? Should we bind Satan every hour, every day or every what? In fact, shouldn’t we have prayer people fully dedicated to binding Satan 24/7? If we can effectively bind Satan, why don’t we and prevent Satan from interfering with God’s work?


So what does the Bible have to say about “binding"? Matthew 18:18 says: “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (NKJV)

Howard Hendricks, one of the great teachers on Biblical interpretation, comments that there are three things to remember when reading the Bible. These are: context, contextcontext.
 TWW would like to add one more guideline. If it doesn’t make sense to you, then something may be amiss. Please see my questions above.

So, what is Jesus saying about this? Matthew 18:15-17, the verses that immediately precede the binding verse, are as follows:


"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector." (NIV)


This verse, which is utilized by some about whom we write, deals with approaching a brother who sins against you. It basically says if you follow these steps and a sinning brother refuses to listen to admonition (assuming it is something serious and not some silly thing dreamed up by some hyper-authoritative pastor who wants to get rid of a thoughtful church member), the church may choose to shun him by throwing him out!  Remember the 71 year old grandmother who was perp-walked out of the church where she had been a member for over fifty years?!


Digression alert:  This is a quote from Dwight K. Shrute III, a hyper-authoritarian twit (and my personal favorite) from the hit TV show, The Office.  


"Yes, I have decided to shun Andy Bernard for the next three years, which I’m looking forward to. It’s an Amish technique; it’s like slapping someone with silence. I was shunned from the age of 4 until my 6th birthday, for not saving the excess oil from a can of tuna.”    (http://m-cause.com/category/randomness/)


Actually, the more I think about it, the more Dwight reminds me of a few folks we have featured here on The Wartburg Watch.


So, a member who refuses to repent is to be “bound” or released from fellowship. This verse does not give Christians the authority to bind demons, sickness, poverty, and whatever else some of the prosperity pushers would have us do. 


We look forward to your input on this topic.



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    Here is another one:

    18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 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[a] in heaven.”

    Matt 16

    These are rabbinical terms for forbidding and permitting. And there are as many explanations of what they mean in context as the IHOP has pancakes. Some of them are scary.

    Like the’sheep/shepherd’ metaphor, it is best not to take it too far!

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    How are we to treat a pagan or sinner? We are to be a neighbor and friend and witness to them about Jesus Christ and salvation. That is not shunning!!!! It also means we do not let them spread false doctrine in the church, but make it clear that they are not representative of us. We do not put them in positions of authority or leadership (two different ideas, BTW), or give them the privileges of a member of the congregation.

    Would that this were the practice of churches when there has been abuse of authority (including abusing children and other vulnerables), greed and avarice, etc.

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    You have an “amen” from me!!!

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    Have you ever heard a mediocre preacher take analogies too far. It can be so funny.You know, what the shepherd ate, his sandals, home life, material of his clothes, and on and on until you lose what he is actually teaching about.

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    Anybody who can make a spiritual application from a quote by Dwight Shrute is okay by me!

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    Two thoughts:
    (1) I think one of the references used to support “binding Satan” is Mark 3:26-27: And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. The assumption being made by those who “bind Satan” (the strong man) is that doing so makes him powerless. I’d don’t accept that view and consider it non-contextual, but I’d be interested in your interactions with this passage.

    (2) Many times when people bind Satan or rebuke Satan, they do it in direct address to him, which seems to be more than a bit creepy (I direct my prayers to no one but God), and also seems to directly contradict Jude 8-10: In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this, also.

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    Please forgive my late response to your comments. I was away for about 12 days and got behind on following up with comments. I will look at the questions you raised this week and will try to comment by Friday.

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    Sorry for this seriously belated reply. I have been traveling and will be doing so for the next few weeks.I am getting a bit behind.

    1. There is no reference here as to how to “tie up” the strong man. Since the binding passage in Matthew 18, does not refer to this sort of “binding” I think it would be helpful to go to Scripture for a better way to defeat Satan. To my way of thinking, Ephesians 6:11 and following fits the bill.We are admonished to put on the full armor of God to defat the eveil one.

    Also, Jesus tells Peter, when Peter famously confessed Jesus as the Christ, that “upon this rock I will build my church and the very gates of hell will stand against it.” I look at this passage as telling the church to go pound on the gates of hell and break them down, bringing the God News into the utter darkness. In order to do so, we need to be fully armed and Ephesians 6 lets us know what that consists of.

    2. I am afraid that I will have to yield this one to equip.org. I really like this interpretation and have provided a link for further explanation.

    “Much of the confusion that exists over spiritual warfare arises from taking Bible passages that have a limited application and treating them as if they have no limits. The Bible does say that Christ has unlimited authority over demons, and He gave His disciples the specific authority to cast demons out of possessed individuals and to overcome any other manifestations of the Evil One they might encounter in the work of preaching the Gospel (Matt. 10:1; Mark 3:13–15; Luke 10:17–20; cf. Acts 13:7b–12). In that context, we do find believers in the Gospels and the book of Acts directly addressing demons, rebuking them (not Satan himself; cf. Jude 8–10), and casting them out of people. Jesus never even hinted, however, that this authority carried over into our personal battles with sin and Satan.

    Nowhere do we find the apostles or disciples addressing invisible spirits (i.e., spirits that are not inhabiting a human body). We are promised victory over the Devil in James 4:7: if we resist him, he will flee from us; but we are never told that we resist him by commanding him to leave us alone. In the larger context of James 4, it is clear that this resistance involves submitting to God, drawing near to Him, becoming serious about repentance, and humbling ourselves in the presence of the Lord (James 4:7-10). The same applies to all other Bible passages that speak of resisting Satan (e.g., Eph. 6:13-18; 1 Pet. 5:5-10). Spiritual warfare does not consist in addressing the Devil but rather in addressing God in prayer; it is not a matter of asserting one’s own authority to use Christ’s name over the Devil but rather of standing firm and unmovable in one’s faith in, and obedience to, God. This sustained commitment in the face of spiritual opposition — a moral exercise that causes us to grow in the image of Christ — is what makes the Devil go away. Satan will be “bound” and cast out of our presence at the Second Coming (Rev. 20:1-3), but in the meantime he serves a purpose in God’s development of our character,15 and it is only our steadfast resistance of evil that makes him flee — not the mere utterance of words or the assertion of our authority in Christ”.

    May God protect me from the HH haters!!!!!!

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    Good and thoughtful response. Thanks! 🙂

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    Hmmm, I said defat the evil one instead of defeat….sounds rather interesting that way.

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    Hello, Lydia.
    For us, it was not a preacher. It was the adult Sunday School Class. Almost all of us are over the age of fifty. In the interest of increasing participation, the adult ministries pastor rotates teachers, from among class members. For well over a year we sat through some incompetent teaching — from persons who didn’t know the Bible very well. We did participate, and from time to time I taught. The folks in the class are lovely, and most are committed Christians.
    We enjoyed the fellowship, enjoyed the hymns and prayer; as for the “teaching”, sometimes benefited from it, mostly endured it. The straw that broke the camel’s back came during a lesson on the five wise and five foolish virgins. Can you believe it, the class was actually led into a discussion about the lamps: were they clay, or brass? My wife began to get up to leave. I put my hand on her arm, and she stayed. But we could not bring ourselves to return. It isn’t just that it’s a waste of time. It’s a travesty of “teaching” the word of God that we need to guide our lives.
    I’m adding to your comments in the hope that someone who preaches or teaches will be cautioned against losing sight of what God is saying to his people.

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    OK, Junkster!
    The context of the passage in Mark 3 is that Jesus is telling the teachers of the law (who accuse him of having power over Satan because he is in cahoots with Satan) that Satan does not kick out Satan. As far as binding the “strong man,” Jesus is not teaching a new doctrine, so much as pointing out the obvious.
    As to whether we can or should “bind” Satan, consider thoughtfully the episode recorded in Mark 9:14-29. Pertinent to our discussion —
    1) The disciples could not drive out the evil spirit.
    2) Jesus, seeing their failure, was pretty upset: “O unbelieving generation, … how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?”
    3) Jesus ejected the evil spirit and forbade it ever to return.
    4) Evidently Jesus had expected his disciples to do what he actually did. (See John 14:12 “anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”)
    5) Jesus told his disciples that this devil could be driven out “only by prayer.”
    6) Jesus said “This kind” of evil spirit — indicating that there are evil spirits more easily dealt with. Of course, there are evil spirits even more difficult to deal with. (In the tenth chapter of Daniel,a messenger arrives from God tells Daniel that his coming had been delayed twenty-one days by the “Prince of the Persian kingdom,” and that he had defeated that prince only with the aid of Michael)
    THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO “BIND” SATAN REMINDS ME OF THE EVENT RECORDED IN ACTS 9:13-17. Here, the seven sons of Sceva were evidently successful in “driving out evil spirits.” But when they tried to invoke the name of Jesus, the evil spirit they sought to exorcise told them he knew Jesus, and he knew about Paul, “but who are you?” Thereupon the possessed man whupped on them, “overpowered them all” and drove them from the house “naked and bleeding.”
    MORE TO THE POINT: In Mark’s testimony of the Great Commission, Jesus says that among the “signs” accompanying believers is that they “will drive out demons” in Jesus’ name. I can personally testify that this remains true today. However, there is no power in a reference to the name of Jesus, unless the person confronting the demon really has faith in Jesus. And it’s a good idea to be “prayed up.” It’s also beneficial if we can combine together — but only with other Christians of great faith. Be sure that no merely verbal formula will be effective.
    It is my opinion that it is not possible to drive out evil spirits from a person who embraces those spirits. God’s kingdom does not grow by coercing people into it. My considered opinion is that it’s possible, sometimes necessary, to temporalily “bind” Satan, to prevent being the victim of what happened to the sons of Sceva.
    THE FINAL WORD: These are spiritual matters, and therefore do not follow a legalistic formula. Don’t forget that casting out demons is a “sign.” The success points to Jesus. We like to think of “spiritual warfare” as running around casting out Satan, and suchlike. But before you engage in that activity, regard carefully 2 Corinthians 10:4 & 5. I believe that the “strongholds” we demolish are first of all OUR OWN thoughts. When we abide fully in Jesus, then we will exercise his spiritual power.
    God bless you.