Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

This verse has caused a lot of confusion. Agreed! I pray that you will be able to put aside prior biases and let the word of God speak to you…

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3 KJV)

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (Amos 3:3 NIV)

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? (Amos 3:3 NLT)

“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet? (Amos 3:3 ESV)

Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment? (Amos 3:3 NASB)

Will two walk together,
Except they have agreed? (Amos 3:3 JPS Tanakh 1917)

Does that verse mean that you have to agree on everything in order to have fellowship? At first glance, it may seem like some translations might be requiring that kind of uniformity. But, if that’s what it means, then it would require absolute uniformity in everything. That doesn’t make common sense. There aren’t any 2 people on the Earth that agree with each other absolutely on everything. This requires bending the verse so far from common sense that it risks making it into nonsense.

If the verse doesn’t mean absolute uniformity in everything, does it mean that you have to agree on all “religious doctrines” in order to have fellowship? On the contrary, there is no hint of this kind of limitation in the verse. And, spiritualizing this verse to add the idea of “only religious doctrines” is adding to the word of God as specifically warned against in Revelation 22:18. It runs the risk of incurring the wrath of God.

Please carefully and prayerfully read the entire context of this message from Amos…

 Listen to this message that the LORD has spoken against you,  O people of Israel and Judah—against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: (Amos 3:1)

“From among all the families on the earth,
     I have been intimate with you alone.
 That is why I must punish you
     for all your sins. 
” (Amos 3:2)

 Can two people walk together
     without agreeing on the direction? 

Does a lion ever roar in a thicket
     without first finding a victim?
Does a young lion growl in its den
     without first catching its prey?
Does a bird ever get caught in a trap
     that has no bait?
Does a trap spring shut
     when there’s nothing to catch?
When the ram’s horn blows a warning,
     shouldn’t the people be alarmed?
Does disaster come to a city
     unless the LORD has planned it? (Amos 3:3-6)

Before announcing more particularly the coming judgment, Amos, by a series of little parables or comparisons, establishes his right to prophesy, and intimates the necessity laid upon him to deliver his message. He illustrates the truths that all effects have causes, and that from the cause you can infer the effect. Verse 3. – Can two walk together except they be agreed? or, except they have agreed? The “two” are God’s judgment and the prophet’s word. These do, not coincide by mere chance, no more than two persons pursue in company the same end without previous agreement. The prophet announces God’s judgment because God has commissioned him; the prophet is of one mind with God, therefore the Lord is with him, and confirms his words. The application of the parables is seen in vers. 7, 8. The Septuagint, reading differently, has, “except they know one another.” Pulpit Commentary Amos 3:3-8

Deeper study of the Greek word yaad — agree, be agreed

3259 yaad[/st_dt]
agree, make an appointment, a time, assemble selves, betroth, gather selves
A primitive root; to fix upon (by agreement or appointment); by implication, to meet (at a stated time), to summon (to trial), to direct (in a certain quarter or position), to engage (for marriage) — agree, (make an) appoint(-ment,a time), assemble (selves), betroth, gather (selves, together), meet (together), set (a time) (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

The word translated “agreed” has not one thing to do with the attitude, purpose or nature of two people while walking together. The agreement is to meet and walk together, and is not related to walking together in agreement. The agreement or appointment precedes the walking together as the cause precedes the effect. The word yaad is not marriage, but engagement to marry. It is not occupying a position, but directing one to it. It is not a trial, but the summons issued to appear for trial. It is not the state of walking together, but a prior appointment to meet and walk. Men might make an agreement to meet and walk together to debate their differences. The Twisted Scriptures by Carl Ketcherside

The word occurs in the same form and tense 19 times in the Hebrew scriptures. It is translated “meet” nine times of which six (Exodus 25:22; 29:42,43; 30:6,36; Numbers 17:4) refer to God’s appointment to meet his people in the tabernacle. In Joshua 11:5 it relates to meeting together by appointment of a number of kings at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. In Nehemiah 6:2,10, it refers to the attempt of Sanballat, Geshem and others, to meet with Nehemiah, to work mischief. The meeting never occurred. The Twisted Scriptures by Carl Ketcherside

Even more revealing is the usage of the word in Job 2:11, concerning Job’s three friends who came every one from his own place,  “for they had made an appointment  together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.” The boldface words are the translation of yaad. Any student of the book of Job knows that these three men did not agree. They argued with each other, accused Job, and attempted to speak for God. When they had finished, a youthful companion who was standing by listening, became so angry at their replies he pitched into the debate and told them all off. The three friends of Job did not meet to agree, they simply agreed to meet. The Twisted Scriptures by Carl Ketcherside

Continuing with the context of Amos 3:3

 Indeed, the Sovereign LORD never does anything
until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets. 
(Amos 3:7)

 The lion has roared—
so who isn’t frightened?
The Sovereign LORD has spoken—
so who can refuse to proclaim his message? 

Announce this to the leaders of Philistiaa
and to the great ones of Egypt:
“Take your seats now on the hills around Samaria,
and witness the chaos and oppression in Israel.” (Amos 3:8-9)

 “My people have forgotten how to do right,”
says the LORD.
“Their fortresses are filled with wealth
taken by theft and violence.
Therefore,” says the Sovereign LORD,
“an enemy is coming!
He will surround them and shatter their defenses.
Then he will plunder all their fortresses.” 
(Amos 3:10-11)

The lion has roared again, Jesus has spoken through his prophets and apostles, he has warned against the sin of sectarianism. Are you guilty of this sin?

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other.  Let there be no divisions in the church.  Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

 Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:16)

You are still worldly.  For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere humans? (1 Corinthians 3:3)

In the first place,  I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you,  and to some extent I believe it. (1 Corinthians 11:18)

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!  Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.  And the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence,  I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.  (Philippians 1:27)

The miracle of Christian fellowship is when brethren can walk together in the love of God even when they are not agreed

Please read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to see how Jesus treated sinners. Then read the letters from the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Corinth (1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians) to see how Paul wanted them to treat each other. And finally, remember that every man, woman, and child throughout the entire Earth who has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ is a member of the same body of Christ as you are. Consider how Jesus Christ wants you to treat one another.

If you walk together only with people you agree with. What is that? Even the ungodly do that. The miracle of Christian fellowship is when you voluntarily submit to one another in love and walk together regardless of your disagreements.

Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. (Proverbs 10:12)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

The end and culmination of all things is near. Therefore, be sound-minded and self-controlled for the purpose of prayer [staying balanced and focused on the things of God so that your communication will be clear, reasonable, specific and pleasing to Him.] Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others]. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. (1 Peter 4:7-9 AMP)

For deeper study:

  • 101 Verses on Walking With One Another
    An older christian man challenged me to look up the “one another” verses in the Bible. He said it was amazing! I accepted his challenge and I am astonished! Here I have collected just the verses that teach about walking with one another, which in Bible terminology, means “how you conduct your life.” I hope these verses don’t leave you neutral.
  • The perfect unity of love
    Jesus Christ said the entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on the perfect unity of love. That is an astonishing statement. By some estimates, there are 613 commandments, laws, and statutes in the mitzvot. All of those commandments, laws and statutes are based on love. If we had that love, we would be fulfilling the entire law and all the demands of the prophets.
  • What about “closed” or “separatist” fundamentalism?
    Throughout history, there have been many different groups of Christians, coming from different backgrounds, operating in different environments, and struggling with different problems. … Out of this struggle arose groups who were prepared “to do battle royal for the fundamentals of the faith.” Around 1920, these began to be described as “fundamentalists.” This term started as a derogatory label by outsiders and was adopted as a badge of honor by insiders.
  • Turn the other cheek vs. gird on the sword
    Jesus Christ gave 2 different teachings to 2 different groups of people in 2 different circumstances. How can we know what to do? When should we “turn the other cheek?” When should we “gird on the sword?”

If you are struggling with this concept, or you know someone who is, please share this, write to us, or join the conversation below.

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