Was Peter the Rock that the Church was Built?

When Jesus first met with Simon Peter he said;
John 1: 42

42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

The real meaning of this word “stone” has created a large misunderstanding and many arguments. We take from Dr. Scofield’s (August 19, 1843 – July 24, 1921 an American theologian) comments in his footnotes: “There is in the Greek, a play upon the words “Thou art Peter (Petros —– literally, “a little rock” or “pebble”) and upon this Rock (Petra) I will build my church. He does not promise to build His church upon Peter, but upon Himself, and Peter himself is careful to tell us” (1 Peter 2:4-9)

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Of course it is Jesus who is The Rock! AKA The Foundation!

The apostle Paul said;

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have — Jesus Christ.

(1 Corinthians 3:11)

God Bless

Brian Mason

2 thoughts on “Was Peter the Rock that the Church was Built?

  1. Thanks for your comment(s),
    The area Jesus grew up in was multicultural and multilingual. Jesus spoke with the Roman Centurion and Pontius Pilot so the conversation was likely in Koine Greek or Latin. Now did Jesus speak Aramaic? He would likely understand Aramaic. Hebrew was regarded as the sacred language of the Jewish people. Hebrew had to be used in ALL Jewish rituals. Jesus’ family was devout Jews, Luke 2:39-52 shows Jesus discussing the Torah with Jewish religious leaders and historians are certain this was NOT discussed in Aramaic. Jesus spoke primarily in Hebrew.
    The Roman Catholic Church and SDA resorts to using something that we don’t have: the Aramaic text. Is it because their argument is not supported by the Greek? Is this why the RCC’s infer something from a text we don’t possess?
    John 1: 42 “42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).”
    The word “Peter” here is petros, it is not petra. It is used to explain the Aramaic kephas which is not a name in Aramaic. Exception lies where it is used to explain Aramaic kephás, Petros is used in the NT only as a name for Simon Peter…. Kephas is not a proper name, since you would not translate proper names.
    You state that Matthew altered between Petros and Petra, and it was intended as a pun? I would be careful of such assertions.
    I am assuming that you believe that Peter was the first pope as this is where this argument leads from? If Matt. 16:18 means that the keys of authority were given to Peter and his successors, why is it that Jesus gives the same authority to ALL the disciples in Matthew 18:18?
    Matthew 18:18 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
    if Peter is supposed be the supreme successor of Christ who has the keys to the kingdom to be able to bind and loose, then answer why does he grant the same right to the other disciples also?
    I am happy to discuss all your points but I have restricted amounts of time as I am currently in a flooded city and power goes on and off. If you want to discuss further, let’s keep this to one point at a time instead of “carpet bombing” assertions. We can do this in an educated fashion I am certain.
    God Bless!

  2. There is no evidence from ancient texts, apart from the assertions of Protestants, that πέτρος was anything but a synonym of πέτρα (I’ve learned since making this post). If there was a distinction at all, it was between πέτρα, a “rock” or “bedrock,” and πέτρος, “stone” as a building material (not “pebble”). There are several other important reasons to read this text as an appellation of Peter as the “rock” — as many Protestants who are knowledgeable in Greek have done. Accepting that the statement applies to Peter, as the text of the Greek makes all but explicit, doesn’t necessarily mean interpreting it in favor of Catholic claims for the papacy.

    1. In the Greek mind, the distinction between the inflections of words was less significant than it is to an English-speaker. Since the endings of Greek words change depending on the sense in which it is used (for example, petros, petron, and petroi were all exactly the same word) — the alteration between petros and petra would come across just as St. Matthew intended it, as a pun.

    2. Peter’s name in Greek was Petros (masculine). But the “rock” on which Jesus was standing as he made this statement was a petra (feminine). So there are perfectly logical reasons for using both forms in the Greek sentence.

    3. Jesus wasn’t speaking Greek at all. St. Matthew had to convey the sense of what Jesus said in Greek as best as the Greek language was able to support it; but in Jesus’s Aramaic, both the words for “Peter” and “rock” were Kepha [כיפא‎](“Cephas” is the Greek transliteration).

    4. The literary structure of the passage only supports applying the statement to Peter. Peter confessed, “You are the Christ”; and Jesus in turn confessed Peter: “You are Peter.” He then gives three separate blessings to Peter, and only to Peter (using the Greek singular forms of the pronouns and verbs):

    a. On this Rock (Peter) I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
    b. I give you (Peter) the keys to the kingdom of heaven [mirroring “the gates of hell”].
    c. Whatever you (Peter) bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven [linked implicitly to the “keys”].

    Each of these is clearly and undeniably directed to Peter. The latter statements are perhaps even more important than the first one regarding the Church.

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