Church Foundation

From BibleStrength

The Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the first pope and appointed as such by Jesus, that Peter was the rock on which the church of God on earth would be built.

The Greek Words Involved

This is however, a very clear and wrong interpretation of Matthew 16:18. Just in looking at the English translation, it's not as clear, but when looking at the original Greek, it becomes apparent what is happening:

Catholics want to say Peter is "the rock" being mentioned in Matthew 16:18. However, they are actually two different words. Peter is from the Greek word "Petros" while the word "rock" is "petra". Peter you may recall was originally called Simon, but Jesus renamed him "Cephas", which means "stone":

The word "petra" translated "rock" is according to Strong's Greek, defined as "feminine of the same as 4074; a (mass of) rock (literally or figuratively):--rock." The word "Petros" translated "Peter" is defined, "apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than 3037); as a name, Petrus, an apostle:--Peter, rock. Compare 2786."[1]

Peter Not the Rock

Essentially it was a play on words. Jesus was the Rock. Peter, because of some similarity, was called "little rock" or "stone".

Jesus Was the Rock

However, there is undisputable proof that Peter was not the rock being discussed. You see, that word "petra" translated "rock" in Matthew 16:18 is never once used of Peter in the entire New Testament. It is only used 14 times in the Bible, including Matthew 16:18. By looking at the other 13 times, it is apparent that it is used typically to refer, not to Peter, but to someone else:[2]

Simply reading the verses, it is said as plain as day, and never plainer than Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 10:4 when he says, "and that Rock was Christ". That same word translated "rock", "petra", in Matthew 16:18 is the exact same one Paul uses here in saying it refers to Christ. Peter in 1 Peter 2:5-8 says the same thing, pointing out that we are all simply stones (small rocks) built into a spiritual house and holy priesthood to offer up sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. Peter says the same thing, that it is Jesus, not himself, who is the "rock of offence" and "chief corner stone" that the builders rejected, who was prophesied of as such in the Old Testament:

It is, in other words, Jesus who is the Rock on which the Church was built. When Jesus spoke in Matthew 16:18 to Peter, He was essentially saying to him, You are Peter (a little rock) and on this big Rock (Jesus Himself) I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. It is as plain as day from reading the Bible.

Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven Given to All Disciples

As for the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and the ability to bind and loose, it was given to all disciples, not Peter only:

It is plain all the disciples were given such power, not Peter only, as seen from the above verses. Peter was not being given some special privilege, but Jesus was revealing the nature of the Church to be built on Himself, and the power He would give all the disciples.