"Keys" in the Bible
“Key.” One of the most important words in life is the word key. If we do not have a house key, we may be locked out of our house. Most need a “car key” go access and start a vehicle. Hotel rooms require a “key” for access. The Bible also has some things to say about the word “key.”
The Greek noun for “key” is “kleis” and the Greek verb for “key” is “kleio” and both these terms were widely used in Greek literature. In Classical Greek “key” described keys, as well as a bar, a catch, or a bolt. It also carried the idea of authority (the ability to “open and close” something).
In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament” the word “key” (kleis) is found just a few times (see Judg. 3:25; 1 Chron. 9:27; Job 3:22; Isa. 22:22). A general summary for the word “key” in the Scripture is “a symbol of authority.” In some places such as Judg. 3:25 “key” has a literal meaning, but typically “key” has a symbolical significance (see Isa. 22:22; Mt. 16:19; Rev. 1:18; 3:7; 9:1; 20:1). In Lk. 11:52 there is a reference to the “key of knowledge.” This points to the gospel, freeing people from the Old Testament law of Moses and the traditions followed by the Jewish people. Ultimately the key of knowledge refers to Jesus Christ. In Rev. 3:7 John pointed out how Jesus “holds the key of David” (He has all authority and is able to overcome all authority to the gospel of Christ). Jesus’ control of things is so great He even has control of Hades and death (Rev. 1:18; 9:1; 20:1).
Jesus gave the apostles the “keys to the kingdom” (Mt. 16:19; 18:18). The apostles were able to “bind and loose things” (use the “keys”) that we now have in God’s word. The gospel is God’s “power” (Rom. 1:16) as well as the “sword of the spirit” (Eph. 6:17). Today we have all the “keys” we need through the completed and revealed Scriptures. These “divine keys” allow us to live a life which is consistent with New Testament Christianity.