01 June 2014

Was Peter the Rock where Jesus built His Church? Discussion on Petros and Petra in Matthew 16:18


WAS PETER THE “ROCK” WHERE JESUS BUILT HIS CHURCH?


THE “APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION” is the primary basis of the Roman Catholic Church in claiming that they are the one true Church the Lord Jesus Christ built. They claim that their pope is the successor of Apostle Peter. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the “rock” where Christ built His Church:

“Christ used Peter for the rock foundation of His Church. The Catholic Church still rests on that same foundation.” (Conway, J.D. What They Ask About The Church, p. 11)

Thus, their argument goes, “The Roman Catholic pope is the successor of Apostle Peter who was the rock where Jesus built His Church. So, the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church built by the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Roman Catholic Church further claims that Matthew 16:18 proves that Apostle Peter was the “rock” where Jesus built His Church. Matthew 16:18 reads:

“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.” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV)

However, a careful study of Matthew 16:18 and the teachings written in the Bible, clearly shows that Apostle Peter was not the rock where the one true Church was built.


WHAT IS “PETER” IN GREEK?

The English word “Peter” was derived from a Greek word which is equivalent of the Aramaic word “Kefas” (rendered “Cephas” in English). This was the name given to Simon, brother of Andrew, by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. John 1:42 in New International Version reads:

“And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).” (John 1:42 NIV)

The name “Cephas” is Aramaic, while the name “Peter” is English. What is the equivalent of this name in Greek? Let us see the Greek text of John 1:42:

“‎‎egagen autón prós tón Iesoún. emblépsas auto ho Iesoús eípen: sú eí Símœn ho huiós Ioánnou, sú klethese Kefás, hó hermeneúetai Pétros.” (John 1:42 NA27, transliterated)

Take note that the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic word “Cephas” given by the New Testament itself is “Pétros.” Thus, the English word “Peter” was derived from the Greek word “Pétros.”


THE “ROCK” MENTIONED
IN MATTHEW 16:18

The Lord Jesus Christ explicitly said in Matthew 16:18, “upon this rock I will build My Church.” The Roman Catholic Church claims that the “rock” where the Church was built was Peter. However, what is the equivalent of the word “rock” mentioned by the Lord Jesus Christ where He built His Church? The Greek text of Matthew 16:18 reads:

“‎kago dé soi légœ hóti sú eí Pétros, kaí epí taúte te pétra oikodomeso mou ten ekklesían kaí púlai hádou ou katischúsousin autes.” (Matthew 16:18 NA27, transliterated)

This was rendered in English as:

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 NIV)

The English “And I tell you that you are Peter” is “kago dé soi légœ hóti sú eí Pétros” in Greek. Clearly, even the Greek text of Matthew 16:18 testified that the English name “Peter” was “Pétros” in Greek.

Now, take note that the English “on this rock I will build my church” is “kaí epí taúte te pétra oikodomeso mou ten ekklesían” in Greek. Thus, the word “rock” (where the Lord Jesus built His Church) is “pétra” in Greek. It is clear in the Greek text of Matthew 16:18 that the name “Peter” is “Pétros” in Greek, and the word “rock” is “pétra” in Greek.


“PETROS” AND “PETRA” ARE TWO DIFFERENT
WORDS WITH DIFFERENT MEANINGS

Why did we say that these two words (“Pétros” and “pétra”) are two different words? Zodhiates' Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament explains:

“Distinguished from the masculine petros is that petra is a mass of rock while petros is a detached stone or boulder, a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.”

Truly, the Greek words “Petros” and “petra” are two different words. “Pétros” is “a detached stone or boulder, a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.” While “pétra” is “a mass of rock.”


PETER IS “PETROS,” THUS HE IS NOT THE ROCK
(“PETRA”) WHERE CHRIST BUILT HIS CHURCH

“Petros” is masculine and “petra is feminine. “Petros” means “a detached stone of boulder, a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.” While, “petra” means “a mass of rock.” Thus, Matthew 16:18 only means:

“And I tell you that you are “Petros” (“a detached stone of boulder, a stone that might be thrown or easily moved”), and on this “petra” (“a mass of rock”) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

In light of these facts, surely, when the Lord Jesus Christ said “on this ROCK (“petra”) I will build My Church,” He is not referring to Peter (“Petros”).


THE “ROCK” WHERE THE CHURCH WAS
BUILT IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Apostle Paul explicitly declared that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone”:

“Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20 NKJV)

According to Apostle Peter himself, who is the “rock” upon the Church was built? This is what Apostle Peter teaches in Acts 4:10 and 12:

“Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'” (Acts 4:10-11 NKJV)

Apostle Peter testified that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone.” He also said, “...Jesus Christ of Nazareth...This is the stone...”

Thus, it is very clear that Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter testified that the Lord Jesus Christ is the rock or the chief cornerstone where the Church was built.


PETER HIMSELF USED THE WORD
“PETRA’ TO REFER TO JESUS

Apostle Peter himself used the word “rock” referring to the Lord Jesus Christ:

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.” (I Peter 2:4-8 NKJV)

In the Greek text of I Peter 2:8, it is clear that Apostle Peter used the word “petra”:

“kaí líthos proskómmatos kaí pétra skandálou: hoí proskóptousin to lógo apeithoúntes eis hó kaí etéthesan.” (I Peter 2:8 NA37 Transliterated)

Remember that the word “rock” mentioned by Apostle Peter in I Peter 2:8 was referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, Apostle Peter used the word “pétra” referring to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ used the word “pétra” in Matthew 16:18 referring to the “rock” where He built His Church. He said, “on this rock (“petra”) I will build My church.” Apostle Peter used the word “petra” in I Peter 2:8 referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. In light of these facts, thus, when the Lord Jesus Christ said “on this ROCK (“petra”) I will build My Church,” He is referring to Himself.


CONCLUSION

The one true Church was built on Christ. He Himself is the “rock” where the true Church Of Christ was built. The doctrine that Apostle Peter was the “rock” where the Church was built was indeed an erroneous doctrine because Peter himself testified that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “rock” where the Church was built.

Thus, we can conclude that the Roman Catholic Church is built upon an erroneous doctrine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Know why more and more people worldwide convert to Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ). Learn more about this Church and find out what makes it unique.

Learn More About Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ)