What Is the Identification of The Rock in Matthew 16:18?

What Is the Identification of The Rock in Matthew 16:18?

This question comes from the context of Matthew 16:13-20. The Catholic denomination assumes this passage relates to when Peter would become the first pope on whom, they falsely say, the church was built. They assert that Peter is the rock. This cannot be true for the following reasons:

1. First, there is a gender distinction between “Peter” [petros] (which means a “stone” - John 1:42) and “rock” (petra). Petros is in the masculine gender while petra is in the feminine gender. M.R. Vincent stated: "On this rock (ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ).The word is feminine, and means a rock, as distinguished from a stone or a fragment of rock (πέτρος, above)." (Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 1:91, Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002).

2. Second, there is a difference in the definitions. “Peter” means a small fragment or small stone while “rock” means bedrock. πέτρα petra; a prim. word; a (large mass of) rock: --rock (10), rocks (3), rocky (2). Πέτρος Petros, “a noun akin to 4073, used as a proper name; “a stone” or “a boulder,” Peter, one of the twelve apostles: — Peter (150), Peter’s (5).” (Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries: Updated Edition, H8674, Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998, 1981).

3. Third, the massive “rock” (or bedrock) in the context is referring to Peter’s confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Matthew 16:16). Does the church have a firm stable foundation if it is built upon Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God? Yes! (1 Corinthians 3:11)

4. Does the church have a firm stable foundation if it is built upon Peter? No! Peter was an apostle, a man whose life was transformed by Jesus, but he was not infallible (Galatians 2:11-14).

The church of Jesus Christ is built upon the everlasting truth – Jesus is the Son of God!

 



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