Peter the Rock

November 30, 2013 | 10 comments

Few texts have been the occasion for the spilling of more ink than Matthew 16:17-19: 

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. And I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 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."

For Catholics, this text is clear. All twelve apostles were present, yet Jesus promised to give to Peter alone the keys of the kingdom, symbolizing the authority of Christ—the authority of heaven—over the kingdom of heaven on Earth, which is the Church. Yet millions of Protestants believe that there is a distinction in meaning in the Greek text between the two “rocks” that would eliminate Peter from consideration for being the rock.

“Thou art petros and upon this petra I will build my church . . .” The first rock, petros, is claimed to refer to a small, insignificant rock: Peter. The second, petra, is claimed to mean a massive boulder: that would be either Jesus or Peter’s confession of faith. The argument concludes Jesus did not build his church upon St. Peter but either upon himself or Peter’s faith.  

Below are seven reasons, among many others we could examine, why Peter is undeniably the rock:

1) Matthew, we have pretty solid evidence, was originally written in Aramaic. Both Sts. Papias and Irenaeus tell us as much in the second century. But even more importantly—and more certainly—Jesus would not have spoken his discourse of Matthew 16 in Greek. Greek was the dominant language of the Roman Empire in the first century, but most of the common Jewish folk to whom Jesus spoke would not have been fluent in it. Aramaic was their spoken language. 

Moreover, we have biblical evidence—John 1:42—that also points to Jesus using Aramaic in the naming of Peter: "[Andrew] brought [Peter] to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas'” (which means Peter).

The name Cephas is an anglicized form of the Aramaic Kepha, which means simply “rock.” There would have been no “small rock” to be found in Jesus’ original statement to Peter.

Even well-respected Protestant scholars will agree on this point. Baptist scholar D. A. Carson, warites, in The Expositor's Bible Commentary:

[T]he underlying Aramaic is in this case 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 a "rock." The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with a dialect of Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses.

2) In Koine Greek (the dialect of Greek used by the authors of the New Testament), petros and petra are masculine and feminine forms of words with the same root and the same definition—rock. There is no “small rock” to be found in the Greek text, either.

So why did St. Matthew use these two words in the same verse? Petra was a common word used for “rock” in Greek. It’s used fifteen times to mean “rock,” “rocks,” or “rocky” in the New Testament. Petros is an ancient Greek term that was not commonly used in Koine Greek at all. In fact, it was never used in the New Testament, except for Peter’s name after Jesus changed it from Simon to Peter.

It follows that when St. Matthew was translating, he would have used petra for “rock.” However, in so doing, he would have encountered a problem. Petra is a feminine noun. It would have been improper to call Peter Petra. This would be equivalent to calling a male “Valerie” or “Priscilla” in English. Hence, petros was used instead of petra for Peter’s name.   

3) There are several words the inspired author could have used for rock or stone in Greek. Petra and lithos were the most common. They could be used interchangeably. A connotation of “large” or “small” with either of them would depend on context. The words simply meant rock or stone.

Craig S. Keener, another Protestant scholar, on page 90 of The IVP Bible Background Commentary of the New Testament, states: “In Greek (here), they (referring to petros and petra) are cognate terms that were used interchangeably by this period…” D. A. Carson points out the big/small distinction did exist in Greek, but is found only in ancient Greek (used from the eighth to the fourth century B.C.), and even there it is mostly confined to poetry. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek (used from the fourth century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.). Carson agrees with Keener and with Catholics that there is no distinction in definition between petros and petra.

One of the most respected and referenced Greek dictionaries among Evangelicals is Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. In a most candid statement about Matthew 16:18, Dr. Oscar Cullman, a contributing editor to this work, writes:

The obvious pun which has made its way into the Greek text . . . suggests a material identity between petra and Petros . . . as it is impossible to differentiate strictly between the two words. . . . Petros himself is this petra, not just his faith or his confession. . . . The idea of the Reformers that he is referring to the faith of Peter is quite inconceivable. . . . For there is no reference here to the faith of Peter. Rather, the parallelism of “thou art Rock” and “on this rock I will build” shows that the second rock can only be the same as the first. It is thus evident that Jesus is referring to Peter, to whom he has given the name Rock. . . . To this extent Roman Catholic exegesis is right and all Protestant attempts to evade this interpretation are to be rejected.

4) If St. Matthew wanted to distinguish “rocks” in the text, he would have most likely used lithos. As stated above, lithos could refer to a large rock, but it was more commonly used to denote a small stone. However, there is a third word St. Matthew could have used that always means small stone: psephos. It is used twice in Rev. 2:17 as “small stone” when Jesus says, “To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.”  Here we have one Greek word that unlike lithos and petra always has a connotation of “small stone,” or “pebble.” 

5) A simpler line of reasoning gets away from original languages and examines the immediate context of the passage. Notice, our Lord says to St. Peter in Matthew 16:17-19:

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. And I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 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."

Jesus uses the second person personal seven times in just three verses. The context is clearly one of Jesus communicating a unique authority to Peter.

Further, Jesus is portrayed as the builder of the Church, not the building. He said, “I will build my church.” Jesus is “the wise man who built his house upon the rock” (Matt. 7:24) in Matthew’s Gospel. Once again, it just does not fit the context to have Jesus building the Church upon himself. He’s building it upon Peter.

6) A lot of folks miss the significance of Simon’s name change to Peter. When God revealed to certain of his people a new and radical calling in Scripture, he sometimes changed their names. In particular, we find this in the calling of the Patriarchs. Abram (“exalted father” in Hebrew) was changed to Abraham (“father of the multitudes”). Jacob (“supplanter”) to Israel (“One who prevails with God”). In fact, there is a very interesting parallel here between Abraham and St. Peter. In Isaiah 51:1-2, we read:

Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance, you who seek the Lord; look to the rock from which you were hewn. . . . Look to Abraham your father.

Jesus here makes St. Peter a true “father” over the household of faith, just as God made Abraham our true “father” in the Faith (cf. Romans 4:1-18; James 2:21). Hence, it is fitting that Peter’s successors are called “pope” or “papa,” as was Abraham (cf. Luke 16:24).

7) When we understand that Christ is the true “son of David” who came to restore the prophetic Kingdom of David, we understand that Christ in Matthew 16, like the King of Israel, was establishing a “prime minister” among his ministers—the apostles—in the Kingdom. Isaiah 22:15-22 gives us insight into the ministry of the “prime minister” in ancient Israel:

Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household, and say to him . . . Behold the Lord will hurl you away violently. . . . I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the House of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

In Revelation 1:18, Jesus declares, “I have the keys of Death and Hades.” He then quotes this very text from Isaiah in Revelation 3:7:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.”

No Christian would deny Jesus is the King who possesses the keys. Who does he give the keys to? Peter!

Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

Comments by Members

#1  Edmundo Santiago - Upland, California

One should read earlier in the text in question, verses 13 through 17. I think it is a great disservice to ignore the preceding verses and quite revealing of the intentions of the author or the spirit behind the author of this article.

Here is 13 - 17:

"When Yeshua came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Yeshua replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."

- Matthew 16:13-17

The 'key' is what the entire context is pointing to, which is the response to the question of 'who' do they believe Yeshua to be. As one can read for themselves, Peter, by faith in Christ, states out loud that Yeshua is the Messiah / the Son of God!

Yeshua blesses Peter for what he says, as one can read for themselves... and states that what Peter just said was revealed to Peter by the Father in heaven, not by men.

Look then at what is explained here:

"If you declare with your mouth, “Yeshua is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

- Romans 10:9-10

And to be sure God didn't put His trust into men, but calls all men to be subject to Yeshua and His Word / teachings, read what is stated here:

"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Yeshua Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."

- 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Even in the first century, folks were already picking favorites and forgetting that it is Christ who is Lord, and it is Christ's Word and direction they are to follow, not men ( which is idolatry ).

It doesn't take biblical scholarship nor PHD's nor centuries of doctrine to 'see' what God has for you... it takes faith. Read and believe the Word and believe what you read. Pray for the guidance and see how the disciples of Christ were lead by Christ in scripture and are lead by Christ today!

And may God bless your faith in Yeshua!

December 15, 2013 at 3:30 am PST
#2  Edmundo Santiago - Upland, California

The claim that Peter is the 'rock' Yeshua is making reference to is quite a stretch.... considering what was revealed to Peter by God ( that Yeshua is the Holy One, the Messiah ).

Looking at what it means to proclaim that Yeshua is Lord / the Messiah, don't you think it is that very faithful proclamation that is the "key" to His kingdom? The faith that He is who He said He.

What is more, one should examine the scriptures to see if what ANYONE is saying is true, like what the Bereans were considered noble for:

"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

- Acts 17:11

Are you examining the scriptures in relation to doctrine and what you are taught? Does one suppose the scriptures to be null and void in place of man's doctrines and centuries of compounded traditions??

Now, let's take a look at 'who' the Rock has always been:

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

- Psalm 18:2

"Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me."

- Psalm 31:3

Here are some more "Rock" references to the Lord and not a man, like Peter and you and I:

1 Peter 2:4-8

Romans 9:32-33

Luke 20:18

Acts 4:11

Isaiah 28:16

December 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm PST
#3  Timothy Yakich - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

You can read anywhere else in the Bible where someone is called the believer's rock and it always, always pertains to God. (Deut. 32:4,15; 1 Sam. 2:2; 22:2, 32, 47; Psalms 18:2, 31, 46; 28:1; 31:3; 42:9; 62:2, 7; 71:3; 78:35; 89:26; 92:15; 94:22; 95:1; Isaiah 8:14; Matt. 7:23-25; Romans 9:33; 1 Cor. 10:3-5; 1 Peter 2:7-9) Yet, from this one verse, Matt. 16:18, which is read and interpreted out of context, the Catholic church claims that Peter is the rock on which Christ's church is to be built. If that is true, then why doesn't the Catholic church demand that hands are chopped off and eyes are gouged out whenever they cause someone to sin, as Jesus states in Matt. 5:29-31? And doesn't Jesus claim that He is the door? and a narrow gate? And He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? He claims to be our Shepherd? and the Lamb of God? and the Lion of Judah?...but He's NOT the rock? Things that make you say, "Hmmm?"

February 20, 2014 at 1:42 am PST
#4  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger


I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say, "One should read earlier in the text in question, verses 13 through 17." But I also would challenge you not to then ignore what is clearly stated in verses 18-19. I think you do a great disservice to the text by ignoring the verses subsequent to verses 13-17.

The Catholic Church agrees that an essential part of the greater context is the fact that Peter receives the revelation of who Jesus Christ is. That is crucial. And just so you know, the Catholic Church agrees with you here at least in part. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 424, teaches that "the rock" of Matthew 16 is "Peter's faith."

But here is what you missed. As CCC 552 says, "the rock" refers to Peter's faith, but also to Peter. In fact, you can't separate the man from his faith without doing violence to the text. As I said in my post, "seven time" the second person personal pronoun is used of Peter in just three verses. It is obvious from the text that there is more to this than just Peter's faith. As a result of Peter's faith, Jesus promises the keys of the kingdom TO HIM. This he never does with anyone else. As I mentioned in my post there is an entire history here prophetically that is being fulfilled. Jesus gives Peter a unique authority that he gives to no one else.

Moreover, there were others before Peter who had the revelation that Jesus was the Son of God. John the Baptist in John 1:34, Nathanael in John 1:49-50, and all of the apostles (including Peter) in Matthew 14:33. But they were not promised the keys of the Kingdom. There is more to this than just the revelation. We have to look at how Christ singles out Peter as a result of this revelation and gives him a unique authority as I explained in my post.

Further, when you say "God didn't put His trust into men," that is somewhat of an incoherent statement, but I think you are making another error. While I agree God doesn't "put His trust" in anyone. That is an absurd statement. God doesn't have "trust" or "faith." God has knowledge. But what I think you are missing is the fact that God uses men all the time and gives to them his authority in Scripture. In fact, even beyond the Scriptures themselves. For example, in the writing of Scripture God gave to men the gift of inspiration and inerrancy. We could add to this the prophets of old, and the entire deposit of faith that Christ gave to the world through the instrumentality of the apostles, even the seven apostles who did not write anything. God used men to communicate his truth.

So it goes with the Church (see Eph. 3:10; I Tim. 3:15) as well as with all of the apostles in union with Peter (Matt. 18:18). And so it goes with St. Peter individually. And BTW, Jesus and the Gospels communicated the truth of Peter's unique and definitive authority in many places, not just Matt. 16:18-19 (see Matt. 10:2; 14:22-31; 17:24-27; Luke 22:29-32; John 21:15-17, and more).

Of course all Christians must be submitted to Jesus Christ. We agree. But that does not mean that all Christians have the same authority. They do not. St. Paul said, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets?" in I Cor. 12:29. The answer is no. Even the prophets must be subject to the apostles or else they will not be recognized according to I Cor. 14:37-38, and all Christians must be subject to the Church (Matt. 18:18).

Unfortunately, the "reformers" of the 16th century, rather than "submitting to those over [them]" as Scripture teaches (Heb. 13:7; 17; I Tim. 5:17, I Thess. 5:12, Matt. 18:15-18,etc.), they did something that is absolutely unheard of in Scripture; they started their own churches leading to now tens of thousands of so-called "denominations" (another unbiblical concept).

We Catholics also agree with St. Paul in I Cor. 1:10-17 that we follow no one, but Christ. But does that mean that if we disagree with II Thess. 2:15, we can say, "Well, I follow Jesus, not St. Paul?" Of course not, because when St. Paul, or St. Peter, speaks as an apostle, to reject them is to reject Christ (I Thess. 2:13, I and II Peter, etc.). To reject the Church is to reject Jesus (Matt. 10:40; 18:15-18). But if Peter is not living up to his teachings, he can and ought to be rebuked as St. Paul rebuked him in Gal. 2:9. The same can be said for their successors the Popes and bishops.

I like what you said when you said, "Even in the first century, folks were already picking favorites and forgetting that it is Christ who is Lord, and it is Christ's Word and direction they are to follow, not men ( which is idolatry )."

We say a heart "amen" to that! But that is exactly what you are doing when you follow your own fallible interpretations of what you think the Bible is saying rather than following Jesus Christ and his infallible word as it is proclaimed through the Church he established. That is precisely the "idolatry" of the entire Protestant "Reformation."

The "Reformation" began with men following Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, and others, but today it has led to that, but now, individual Protestants following themselves in the name of "I'm just reading Scripture" as if only them and perhaps a handful of their followers are the ones who are "really following Jesus." That is simply not true. They are following their own fallible interpretations of they think Scripture says and when push comes to shove that is all they (and you, I might add) can do. Because none of them (including you) can say they speak infallibly like Christ did. But according to Christ, the true Church does speak infallibly (Matt. 10:40; Matt. 16:18-19, 18:15-18; I Tim. 3:15; Eph. 3:10, etc.).

And finally, the disciples of Christ were and are led by Christ and Scripture, but they were also commanded by Christ to follow whatever Peter or the Church "binds on earth" as well (see Matt. 16:18-19; 18:15-18). And that is how we see the church function in the Book of Acts (see Acts 15:1-16:4).

Though you are correct, it "doesn't take biblical scholarship nor PHD's nor centuries of doctrine to 'see' what God has for you," the "Reformation" has made it necessary because of the thousands of denominations it has led to and the thousands of different theologies out there teaching diametrically opposed doctrines. On one level, the Gospel is simple, believe in Jesus and obey his Church, persevering until the end. At least, that is what is essential for "babes in Christ" to be secure. But we also have to move on to adulthood and learn the doctrines that are essential for our salvation that go beyond "baby" status (see Heb. 6:1ff; John 8:31-32; I Tim. 4:16, etc.). And this is all the more crucial with the confusion that has come as a result of the "Reformation" and its aftermath.

February 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm PST
#5  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger


We as Catholics agree that God is the rock of our salvation. In fact, Catholics and Protestants in general agree on this point. But you err greatly when you exclude a very important principle we find in Scripture and in many instances. Through God's power and God's grace, God has chosen to allow men to participate in part in that which belongs to him alone in an absolute sense. The leaders of the people of God being "the rock" is only one example among many.

In Isaiah 51:1-2, the people of God are commanded to look to "Abraham... and Sarah" as "the rock." This is not a contradiction to God being our rock in I Sam. 2:2 because it is God the rock who makes Abraham and Sarah the rock.
They participate in that which God alone possesses absolutely.

I find it interesting that in your litany of verses where most of them refer to God as rock, you listed Matt. 7:24ff wherein Jesus speaks of the wise builder who builds upon a "rock." That is interesting because in both Isaiah 51 and Matt. 16, God and the God-man Jesus Christ are depicted not as the rock, but the wise builder. And in each case they build upon Abraham and Peter. God can do that because he is God and he knows that he is making Abraham and Peter an immoveable rock that will be there until the end of time not because of some power they have apart from God; rather, because of God at work in them.

In I Cor. 3:11, Jesus Christ is our one foundation, and yet in Eph. 2:20, St. Paul says we are "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone." This is not a contradiction because it is Christ the foundation who makes the apostles and prophets part of that foundation.

In John 3:16 and 1:18 Jesus Christ is "the only begotten Son of God," and yet angels are called "sons of God" in Job 1:6, the sons of Seth are called "sons of God" in Gen. 6:2, Christians are called "sons of God" as well in Romans 8:14-17; Gal. 4:4-6, and "begotten of God" in I John 4:7.

In Matt. 23:8, Jesus said we "have one teacher," which is Christ. And yet, Eph. 4:1 and James 3:1 say we have many "teachers" in the body of Christ.

In Matt. 23:9, Jesus said "call no man your father on earth, for you have one father, who is in heaven," and yet, St. Paul calls himself father in I Cor. 4:14-15, Jesus calls Abraham "father" in Luke 16:24, as does St. James in James 2:21, and St. Paul seven times in Romans 4:1-18. St. John refers to elders as "fathers" in I John 2:13, as does St. Stephen in Acts 7:1.

In Matt. 23:10, Jesus said, "Neither be called masters (Gr. "leaders"), for you have one master, the Christ." And yet, Heb. 13:17 says we are to "obey your leaders (or masters) and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over you souls."

In I Peter 2:25, Jesus is said to be "the shepherd (Gr. pastor) and the bishop of your souls," and yet, we have many "shepherds" (Eph. 4:11), and many "bishops" (I Tim. 3:1) in the Church.

In Rev. 15:3-4 we find angels and saints in heaven singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb, saying, "Who shall not fear and glorify your name, O Lord? For you alone are holy..." And yet the good angels who have never sinned have always been holy. And the word "saints" (Col. 1:1-2) means "holy ones."

I could do more examples, but I think I've made my point. Peter and Abraham (and Sarah) are said to be "the rock" not to take away from God as our "rock;" rather, they can only be "rock" because God makes them so.

You said if Peter is the rock, "... then why doesn't the Catholic church demand that hands are chopped off and eyes are gouged out whenever they cause someone to sin, as Jesus states in Matt. 5:29-31?"

The answer here is because Jesus was teaching us of the importance of putting nothing before God. He said, "If your right eye causes you to sin..." and, "If your right hand causes you to sin..." But we know that it is not your eye or hand that causes sin. Jesus said, "But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man..." (Matt. 15:18-20) Jesus was using hyperbole to make a very important point. If it were true that your hand caused you to sin, it really would be better to go to heaven without a hand (you'll get it back anyway), then to go to Hell with a healthy hand.

But this has nothing to do with Peter being called "the rock." The context makes very clear that he means what he said.

You also claim "Jesus claim[ed] he was a door..." Yes, he did. But notice, there is no record of anyone misunderstanding him as meaning he has a door knob and hinges. He was using a metaphor. The same could be said of him claiming to be a "gate," or "vine," etc.

And finally, somehow you got the impression that the Catholic Church is saying Jesus "is not the rock." That is untrue. Of course, Jesus is the rock of our salvation just as God is the rock of our salvation in the Old Testament. The whole point is it was Jesus the Rock who made Peter the Rock. That is a crucially important aspect to the entire context of Matt. 16:13-19. That is what the Bible teaches.

February 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm PST
#6  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

This is a no brainer! If man is smart enough to know institutions need a leader or there would be chaos, does anyone really believe God is not a better manager? What kingdom doesn't have a king? What nation doesn't have a leader? What city doesn't have a mayor? What school doesn't have a principle? What football team doesn't have a coach? There are a million examples of why leadership is necessary and important! We don't give keys to our most valuable possesions without trust and leaving them in charge! If we can figure these things out as mere human beings, who in the world would believe God is not wiser? I will tell you who....those who rebell! I wonder how many who rebelled against Moses, Abraham, David, Noah, and all the prophets found favor with God? As a matter of fact Jesus reminded us that the prophets He sent were rejected and killed! Amen and allelluia that Jesus knew we needed a leader to unite us and stand up to the world that wants to conquer and divide! One last is not having a spiritual leader appointed byJesus Christ working out for Protestants? Over 30,000 and counting.

March 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm PST
#7  Stevie Davis - Queen Creek, Arizona

do you just continuously preach to the choir on this blog?

you post a lot of scriptures that you say support what you believe. problem is, they don't.

"it was Jesus the Rock who made Peter the Rock.That is what the Bible teaches. "

no it isn't. Stick to the topic in those verses - who Jesus is. not who Peter is.

April 22, 2014 at 12:03 am PST
#8  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Hey choir....why did Jesus rename Simon to Peter instead of leaving his birth name alone? We all know Jesus is THE ROCK, just like we know Jesus is THE SHEPHERD. No if, ands, or buts about that! We also know that God loves to delegate His authourity and appoint someone on earth to lead and guide His flock in His absence. And sometimes God likes to change a persons name to signify what He wants their role to be, right Abram? I mean Abraham! We all know God is THE FATHER among all nations, but we also know Abraham was also the father among nations because God appointed him to be. I almost forgot this one too...Jesus is also THE KING. Yet David was appointed as a King on earth over God's flock. Yes indeed, God does love to play the name game, and God does love and trust certain men enough to let them shepherd His flock while He tends to business in heaven.

If we were all shepherds there would be no flock, and that would void the word's of Christ when He said to St. Peter ..."feed my lambs....tend to my sheep...and feed my sheep!" It's a huge problem when every sheep wants to be a shepherd, and it's flat out rude when a sheep wants to bite the hand that feeds. Maybe they aren't really sheep at all, but rather goats (stuborn ones who wont listen) to the left of the trail. After all, goats tend to get in the weeds more to eat and also bite more than sheep, right? We are not all the same...baaah, baaah (that's suposed to be the sound a lamb makes, best I could do at spelling it).

July 10, 2014 at 12:06 am PST
#9  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger


You are correct that Matt. 16 is about who Jesus Christ is. You are incorrect in saying that is all it is about. It is also about who Peter is. God can talk about more than one thing in a particular text. And that is what he does here. In fact, we could also bring out more that this text is about, but it is clearly speaking of these two things.

July 10, 2014 at 7:03 am PST

Thanks Tim great job, well explained. I wonder why the Petrine ministry is such a problem to people. In other instances where God gave names to people in the same bible, no one ever doubted or argued that the name is for that person not a concept.

For instance when Saul was changed to Paul, I wonder why Protestants don't attribute the name Paul to his conversion, but rather they attribute it to his person. In Abram's case they don't simply attribute it to the concept of multiple Child birth but they also attribute it to his person, same thing goes for Sarai his wife. And in all these instances they see the name change as a permanent blessing.

It baffles me when it comes to Peter how there is an outright denial that his name change should he attributed to his person and not the concept of "faith".

January 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm PST

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