Is St. Peter the Rock on which Jesus built his Church?

Is St. Peter the Rock on which Jesus built his Church?


One of the most controversial passages in
the Bible is Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I
will build my Church.” Catholics see this passage as evidence that
Jesus made Peter the first pope. Many Evangelicals look at it as just the opposite.
Who is right? It’s an interesting question, and I’ve been
on both sides of the question. In fact, this passage played a pivotal role in my conversion
to the Catholic Church. You may think you’ve heard all the arguments
about whether Peter is the rock, but I’m going to show you the one that convinced me, and
you probably haven’t heard it anywhere else . . .
  The Basic Argument
A common claim in Protestant apologetics is that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus is actually contrasting
St. Peter with the rock on which he will build his Church.
The argument is based on the fact that in Greek the word for Peter is petros, while
the word used for “rock” here is petra. It is often claimed that these words meant
two different things–that petros meant a small stone or a pebble, while petra meant
a large rock. The idea is that Jesus is contrasting Peter–a
tiny, insignificant stone–with the great rock on which he will build his Church, which
is often said not to be Peter but Peter’s faith.
How well does this argument work?  
Small Stone vs. Large Rock? In the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, the esteemed
Evangelical Bible scholar D. A. Carson writes on this passage:
Although it is true that petros and petra can mean “stone” and “rock” respectively in earlier
Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry.
Moreover the underlying Aramaic in this case is unquestionable; and most probably kepha was
used in both clauses (“you are kepha and on this kepha”), since the word was used both
for a name and for “rock.” The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language
cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses.
The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve
the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name.
So the argument that petros and petra have different meanings in this passage is actually
quite weak. But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose
that they did. Would this mean that Peter isn’t the rock?
  You May Look Small . . . 
The argument that he isn’t is based on the fact that there is a clear parallelism between
Peter and the rock in this passage, and it assumes a particular kind of parallelism–one
that contrasts Peter with the rock. This is sometimes called antithetic parallelism.
But that isn’t the only kind of parallelism there is. The Bible often uses another form,
known as synthetic parallelism. In synthetic parallelism, the second item
mentioned builds on or amplifies the meaning of the first.
If that’s what’s happening in this passage–even if we grant that petros means a small stone
and petra means a large rock–then it does not follow that Peter and the rock are two
different things. Instead, Jesus would be saying something like,
“Although you may seem to be a small stone, Peter, on the large rock that you really are,
I will build my Church.” In this case petra or large rock would bring
out the actual significance of the small stone that Peter appears to be.
But there are even more decisive arguments, and you don’t have to speak Greek or Aramaic
to understand them . . .  
My Own Conversion A key moment in my own conversion occurred
one day when I was reading a book, and it had an extended quotation from Matthew 16.
I suddenly realized that there was a structural feature in the text that pointed to Peter
being the rock. Soon afterward, I noticed additional features
that indicated the same thing. I realized that these were far stronger indicators
than the arguments I had previously taken for granted regarding the alleged difference
in meaning between petros and petra, and I had to change my view.
Here is what I discovered . . .  
Jesus Asks a Question If we back up a few verses, we find Jesus
asking the disciples a question: [13] Now when Jesus came into the district
of Caesare’a Philip’pi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”
[14]
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli’jah, and others Jeremiah or
one of the prophets.”
[15] He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
[16] Simon
Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
That’s the correct answer, and Jesus says three things to Peter in reply:
[17] And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has
not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
[18] And I tell you, you are
Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against
it.
[19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on
earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
What I noticed was that there are structural features in Jesus’ three statements to Peter
that indicate he is the rock.  
Blessed Are You One thing I noticed is that the statements
immediately before and after the “You are Peter” passage are both blessings.
First, Jesus says “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!” That is clearly a blessing.
Then he says, “You are Peter.” And finally he says, “I will give you the
keys to the kingdom of heaven.” That also is clearly a blessing.
So “You are Peter” is sandwiched between two blessings. The passage unambiguously stresses
the blessedness of St. Peter. That argues against the idea that Jesus is
belittling Peter in this passage. It would be like Jesus saying, “Blessed are
you, Simon Bar-Jona! . . . You insignificant pebble. . . . Here are the keys to the kingdom
of God!”  
What It Means to Be Peter I also noticed that each of Jesus’ three statements
to St. Peter has a two-part explanation attached to it.
The first statement, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!” is explained by “For flesh and
blood has not revealed this to you,” which is then further explained by “but my Father
who is in heaven.” These are why Peter is blessed. He didn’t
learn of Jesus’ identity from man. It was revealed to him by the Father.
The third statement, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” is explained by
“and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,” which is then further explained
by “and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
These are part of what it means for Peter to have the keys of the kingdom. He is able
to bind things with authority from God, and he is able to loose things with authority
from God. So when it turns out that the second, or middle
statement also has the same structure, then we need to read it in the same way.
The statement “you are Peter,” is explained by “and on this rock I will build my church,”
which is further explained by “and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.”
So that is what it means for him to be Peter: Jesus will build his Church on him, and the
gates of hades will not prevail against it.  
What This Means for Us When I realized these things, I realized that
Peter had to be the rock Jesus was talking about. And that was a pivotal moment in my
journey with God. Because if Peter is the rock on which Jesus
builds his Church, that means that Peter is the chief apostle, the chief shepherd of Christ’s
flock. And that means that, once Jesus has ascended to heaven, Peter is the earthly head
of the Church. That’s a good description of the office of
the pope. And so, when I realized these things, I concluded
that I had to reconsider matters. I had to review my beliefs with an open mind toward
whether the Catholic Church was right after all.
In the end, I concluded that it is, and so I became Catholic.
In the years since, my conviction has only strengthened as I have learned more about
Catholic teaching and its basis in the Bible, including the role of the pope.
   

44 Replies to “Is St. Peter the Rock on which Jesus built his Church?”

  1. Young friend you cannot look at one passage of scripture and its context you have to look at other scriptures also to go along with that it's totally impossible for Jesus to build his church Upon one man alone Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone and we are as the Epistles say Living Stones built up as a spiritual house . the church is built upon "Jesus Christ" with the assistance through Grace and the spirit of God the Apostles and Prophets there is no glorified one man that Jesus is going to build his church upon that's blasphemous against the Canon of scripture and nowhere in scripture does it give the connotation that the apostles at anytime are above anybody else is mattafact when Peter went to Cornelius Cornelius bow down before him and he lifted him up the introduction of the Apostles in the letters always stated that they were fellow Apostle or elders even the Apostle Paul said that God has chosen the apostles to be last as a spectacle of the world and unto angels and unto men paraphrase. so if you take the fullness of scripture, it would be an impossible and a ridiculous assumption and misinterpretation of the Holy scriptures the context of it is that the revelation of Jesus Christ and "who he is" and "what he's done" is what the church is built upon and the Gates of Hell will not Prevail against it – NOTHING MORE. Thanks

  2. Why didn't one of the Epistles was there any address to Peter in Paul's letter to Rome greets everyone else but he doesn't Greek Peter that doesn't make absolutely no sense I'm not saying that the Apostle Peter was never a pastor in Rome at any time in history but I know that the scription never says that he was, but if he was that doesn't mean God made him a "Pope" and he's ahead of the church that's ridiculous think about how ridiculous that sounds that's apostate. Jesus Christ is the head of the church the church is built upon "him" do you see how much error people are misinterpreting the scripture saying that Jesus is going to build his church on Peter how ridiculous infallible Peter I don't think so according to the interpretation of scripture! Plus also when you look at the history of popes you find how blasphemous their comments are about Mary being "the mediator" (the mother of Jesus), and saying that she's the queen of heaven and you can't get to Christ except through her that she's infallible!! Are you kidding me! absolutely nothing in the Holy scriptures say that. add not to His word and take away from his word, lest He reprove you and you be found a liar. Do not follow man's word or confuse the scripture but study to show yourself approved and lean upon the holy ghost to mentor and the teach you. I love you brother! Amen

  3. And yet Peter denied the Lord THREE times… Pope? NO Peter was a servant of the Lord as all of us who have the Lord's name written on our hearts.

  4. The Bible interprets itself. whether Peter was in Rome or not it's not the issue. the Bible gives nothing absolutely nothing in it that says anything about Peter was the leader of the Apostles nor does it say that Peter started the church in Rome he may have I'm just saying the Bible doesn't say it and even if he did that doesn't make him the leader of the Apostles are the first pope if you will they were all apostles. I know the Apostle Paul never mentioned Peter as far as greeting him in his letter to the Roman Church. Peter was not "the rock" that the church is built upon think about how absurd that is, however, the scripture is riddled in places that Jesus Christ himself is "The Rock." he is the Chief Cornerstone we're built upon Him. Jesus would never build the church on a fallible sinful man think about what you saying. you're interpreting the scripture wrong. Jesus Christ is "The Rock." we are living stones. Peter was a stone and so am I and so was the Apostle Paul and so are the Saints that make up the body of Christ. we are living stones but he wasn't "The Stone" that the church is built upon think about what you're teaching! the Bible does not say that. that's a misinterpretation of the authority of God's canon of Scripture and you're in error. you have nothing to back it up a tall scripturally. you are adding to God's word and misrepresenting it. you're also taking away from it, which the Bible says God will reprove you; and you're teaching others very wrong Doctrine and that does not put you in good standing. Check yourself. now I love you but you're an error. Ceased to teach these doctrinal errors rightly divide the word of Truth that you might prove to God you're a Workman that needeth not to be ashamed amen

  5. You got understand you can't take one passage of scripture build a theology on it all scriptures is inter connected everything that you're teaching about the church is built upon the sinful man Peter it contradicts everything that the Epistles talked about. There's nothing in the Epistles all the gospels that parallel what you're trying to teach and because the other pistols and gospels contradict that then it is error everything in the gospel says the opposite from what you're trying to impose your in error I know what you're saying about the Aramaic but you have to take the Full Gospel and also use your faculty or common sense about the interpretation of scripture God expects you to use that there's something you're not seeing

  6. The lodge rock that Jesus was referred to is himself the Revelation that he is Lord that my friend is The Rock The Shore Foundation what you're pitching is completely absurd it's against the authority in the doctrine of scripture you seem to be intellectual a little bit but I question to whether you have God's spirit because you're teaching doctrinal error I don't mean it in a mean way I just want you to get on the right page as the Holy Spirit and the word of God

  7. The act of binding and loosing with given to all the apostles what is it one chapter or two chapters later also that's in reference to have to do with the law binding and loosing it sent it around preaching the gospel if you study it out

  8. The releasing of regulations and teachings like the priests and the Sadducees in the Pharisees did at the time hence binding and loosing

  9. He was a stone and Upon This Rock the revelation of who Jesus Christ is is what the church is built upon Jesus himself not a man my friend not a man that is not the correct interpretation of scripture and nowhere else in scripture shines light on that in a positive way

  10. Peter was not the chief Apostle my friend nothing in scripture backs that up. when we went to Cornelius Cornelius bow down before him he lifted him up and said I'm just a servant of God I'm just a fellow servant Apostle when the apostles introduce themselves by letter they always said that they are Apostles fellow Servants of The Inheritance there was nothing in scripture at all to backup he was the chief Apostle he wasn't not even close there was no levels of apostleship anything about what you're saying you're teaching error the Bible even says that John the Baptist was the greatest in the kingdom of God so why didn't Jesus say was Peter who is the chief Apostle there's no one that's born among women but he that is least in the kingdom is greater than him he never pointed out Peter nothing in scripture does that's what I'm saying in the light of all the apistols all the teachings in the gospels is nothing that shines light in a positive way on Peter being the chief Apostle on it of the head of the church the Bible says Jesus Christ is the head of the church he is he's the rock he's the spiritual Rock in the Old Testament We Are Spiritual Stones built up a living house for God as a habitation in the spirit you are an error you are an error you are in error

  11. Everything the Catholic Church teaches is totally against scripture I'm very surprised you seem studied to me it doesn't seem like you have God's spirit missing everything Catholic Church is the anti Church buddy it's Baal worship its Sun worship they've even taken out the second commandment in Exodus and turn the tenth commandment into two separate Commandments how you going to tell me they're not taken from the word of God and adding to it and you're telling me that they are the church I don't think so not according to the King James version of the Bible that I read. There is the scripture in the Bible that part of God's judgment is that he gives people over to a strong delusion wake up my friend wake up

  12. Peter may have been in Rome however there is NOTHING in the canon that spells out that he ever pastured a church there. On that note, most of the scriptures interpret itself. Fire instance, Mary Jesus mother is not the Co-redeemer (mediatrix) along side of Jesus Christ. She herself made a sacrifice for her uncleanness and son according to the law of Moses in Lev 12 and Luke 2. You pray to her (not doctrinal), you bow down to her statue (not doctrinal), you deleted God's 2ND commandment from the Hebrew Bible and broke the last commandment into 2 separate commandment. Shame on you. Shall i continue? And Jerome and Augustine agreed that Peter is not "The Rock" that the church is built upon. Ridiculous! As far as that goes everything in Scripture contradicts that false Doctrine and teaching by the Catholic church and her clergy the Catholic church is a system of control anti Church birthed from Sun worship Baal worship and so on and so forth you'd have to be blind not to see that. Thanks

  13. Don't over-analyse it. You are wrong. The name Πέτρος (Peter) derives from the word πέτρα (stone/little rock). And let me know better, becausw i am 100% Greek

  14. Id like to quote Ephesians 2:20, Matt.7:25, Luke 6:47-49, etc, and explain it a bit further, but basing on the comments of devout catholics here, it seemed futile. Indeed, their ears are itching to hear what they want.

  15. It's the next words jesus says , is upon this rock (I will build my church) ?
    For me to many other passages strongly nane jesus as the church and in pre nicean chrostianty they also dud to.
    No one interven but christ and only threw christ can we do be.
    A rock is the corners stone a jesus will stand upon Peter. Like a pillar that your wife and kids are they are pillars in your life that you stand upon .when your having hard time at work you then use that pillar to clearfy what you should keep going dont give up

  16. Jimmy – thanks for that answer. But a protestant friend told me that even Augustine believed that Jesus was talking about himself but not to Simon Peter. Sermon 26 on the New Testament. Is it true? thanks.

  17. Low and behold 5 verses later: Matthew 16:23 "But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

  18. Peter, the one of the rock hard faith when filled with the Holy Spirit, was the one who enabled the apostolic church to be born on the day of Pentecost. It's obvious in the NT that Peter's role was to shepherd the Jerusalem church as one of its leaders. Peter was apostle for the Jews and Paul was apostle for the Gentiles, Paul wrote. The RC church desperately wants to prove that Peter was the first pope but in reality, there was no pope until 4th century after Constantine who appointed himself as head of the church in Rome.

  19. If Peter was the pope why was he rebuked by Paul.and why would such a significant post not have been stated by Jesus that he would have a lineage of popes.
    https://youtu.be/9aJpXC1hjF4

  20. so another words Jesus Christ built the church on someone who denied him three times a week vessel on the holy spirit that is God himself made strong to die a martyr's death.the author of this video is clearly misguided and if you look at the video this will refute this video easily.God has done all the work it has not been handed down to a bunch of popes who have done much evil through history especially Pope Leo there are too many numerous Pope's that could not have been God's work could it have been????

  21. So if Peter is the head of the church ( which we know Christ is ) lets go with your pivotal point and see where that leads us. Not counting that the Catholic Church has removed the 2cd commandment from the bible about bowing down to idols. By the way Peter had a wife. Think about it. My study – https://pbase.com/kippercat/image/160687513

  22. "Only Christ is the rock, for He is solid, steadfast, and trust worthy to build God's church! That Christ through His incarnation as the Son of Man qualified Him to be man's Saviour and to produce the materials for God's building, through His resurrection that is He uplifted His humanity up into His divinity, that nothing of the natural man of the flesh can become materials for God's building! Only in Christ and through Christ and out of Christ are the materials for God's building are being produced. That is only through regeneration of our spirit, we become precious stones for God's building. For regeneration came through Christ's resurrection as the all-inclusive consummate life-giving Spirit to enter into His believers to regenerate their spirit [reborn in their spirit] this is our new birth that we may grow in His life and experience everything that Christ had accomplish, attained and obtained to bring in God's economy! That we who are reborn in our spirit today can enjoy Christ as our good land, and experience everything as the new creation in our spirit, that why Paul prayed "That God may strengthen us Into our inner man that we may know and experience His resurrection power that operated in Christ.

  23. Christ is the Rock upon which the Church was built, Peter can never be the foundation of the Church because Christ remains forever! (Heb. 13:8)

  24. Peter can never be the first Pope, he was never been a bishop of Rome. Why? Because there is no single evidence that Peter have been to Rome!

  25. It is not upon peter “small stone big stone” all that is filibuster to what the true meaning is. Jesus asked peter who do u say I am, and peter said u r the son of God. This is the rock not peter “big stone small stone” no! Jesus meant upon this rock “peter’s testimony that Jesus is the son of God” not upon peters faith or rock blah blah. Peter’s faith is not one to mimic, it is weak and needs guidance, even Paul corrects peter.

  26. Jesus did not give only peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, as evidence that many of the other followers of Christ can bind and loose

  27. Revelation 1:18 says. “I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Jesus holds the keys – Jesus is the Rock.

  28. Why not just look at the context in Mathew  chapter 16. In verse 13, Jesus asks who people say that he is. They answer him. In verse 15, he asks them who they think he is and Peter jumps in with :"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Jesus says Peter should be happy because God has revealed this truth to him. He then adds : You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell/ grave will not overpower it. So on what foundation is the Christian Church built? Is it on Peter, because he identified Jesus as the Christ, the son of God, or is it built on the foundation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I think it is pretty obvious, don't you?

  29. Who cares? Peter is rock or not.
    Those old good days ended with Constantine.

    RCC is made on the rock, named Constantine the Great and he is the first pope of RCC.

  30. " For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God? Psalm 18:31, The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress. Psalm 18:2. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." Deut. 32:4.
    The ROCK on which the Church of God is built is "My Father which is in heaven." Matthew 16:17. The ROCK revealed to Peter that Yahshua was the Messiah. Peter could not be the rock because a little later Yahshua had to call him Satan, "Get behind me Satan." …for thou savourest not the things that be of God." Matt.16:23.

  31. If they read the scriptures by guidance of the Holy Spirit and not by humans/religions, they might know who the rock has always been, since the old testament times. It was/is not Peter, they're far from the truth.

  32. Peter himself said this… 1 Peter 2:8… “A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

    Yes Rick was referring to Jesus… This PETER said.
    Peter NEVER referred to himself as the rock but he DID SAY Jesus was the rock.

    Peter himself explained this.
    And
    1 Corinthians 10:4
    and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

    Then look to the Old Testament and find who the rock is there – there is NO rock but our God… 2 Samuel 22:32
    For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the rock except our God?

    Let God's word dictate the truth.

    Pray to Him and ask Him for clarity on this matter.

  33. Where in the the Bible does it say that God authorised Peter to Lord it over the Church? Instead the Bible says, "call no man Father or Master." Matt. 23:9-11. "And all ye are brethren." Matt.23:8.
    So, for the Popes to use Matt 16:18 to justify supremacy over Christendom is dishonest. It betrays the fact that the Popes are just, power-hungry, trigger-happy, cut-throat politicians.
    Peter rebukes them in his epistle, "Not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." 1Peter 5:2-3.
    The history of blood letting, authorized by the Popes, makes Hitler look like a baby.

  34. Peter was known as the apostle to the Jews, not the apostle to Rome. Revelation also states that the 144,000 are they who obey the commands of God. Also, Peter clearly was very traditionally Jewish, so he bound the Torah feasts, Sabbath, dietary laws, etc. Considering all the unspeakable scandals of Rome, we see it is unlikely Rome are the ones that the Gates Unseen(Hades) did not prevail against, but rather it appears Hades has prevailed against Rome.

    I am certain Peter is the rock, it's very clear, but I have no idea where Rome get the idea that Peter's authority somehow implies their authority. Rather, those who followed what Peter followed were often martyred by Rome. "Narrow is the Way which leads to Life and few there be who find it."

    Are Rome the narrow few? Or the broad many,? Are Christian Torah keepers few?

  35. Is not Kepha its Kepa i speak aramaic & please go back & learn more about the Bible , Peter is small stone in Big rock Petra because jesus is the Corner of the Rock .. I used to be Catholic .. Peter Didn't built any church in rome but by Paul .. Your explained Wrong .. Nice Try ..

  36. Pio, I am not a diplomat like you. I am more like my Master Yahshua. This is what he said to the religious leaders of His time. "Ye are like unto whited sepulchres which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness." Matt. 23:27. Yahshua is saying the same thing to the Popes today.
    The Popes are just politicians and con men.
    What do you know about (1) Dum Diversas, (2) Inter Caetera (3) The Requirimiento? I suspect that you know about the Popes' role in the Crusades, Inquisition, Holocaust.
    The Popes usurped authority over Europe by deceit, fraud and lies. Remember Peter's letter to Pepin and the Donations of Constantine. Then they claimed to be successors of Peter, when they were realy the successors of the Roman Emperors.
    The Popes then claimed the keys of Peter. They interpreted the keys to mean license to kill. Only agencies like the CIA, FBI, KGB and Mossad behave like the Popes. They used the Sales of Indulgences to fleece Europe of billions.
    Your Popes are fallen men. They have committed every sin under heaven. They do not represent Almighty Yahweh and Yahshua in the earth. The Holy Spirit left them when they paganized Christianity.
    If they do not repent they are going straight to the lake of fire.
    This is Roman Catholicism. Dan.7:24-26, Rev.13:3,5-8, 16:2, 10-11, 17:4-6, 19:20,20:10.
    A true Child of God, worries only about God's Opinion.

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