And on this rock I will build my church.

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Pete Richert, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    So, I am reading this book called "Answering a Funcamentalist" by Albert J. Nevins. The book is written by a Catholic to clear up the "ignorant" statements made by fundlementalists though I can safetly report that he never answers my objection and even raises more questions (such as, "sure we encourage people to read the Bible, we even give out indulgences if they read it for 1/2 an hour a day" (paraphrased)!!!!!"

    In one section he discusses Peter being the Pope.

    Real quick, Matthew 16:18 says, "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;"

    Now he claims that Jimmy Swaggart claims that the two words are different, one petros and the other petra. Petros meaning "small stone", petra meaning "large rock". He then claims that this is not the case and that Swaggart has betrayed that he knows no Greek. He says its petra because it follows the prepostion (which he says is "on").

    That sounded like complete foolishness to me so I busted out the NA27. The word petra is feminine (as I expected from the ending) and it being feminine has nothing to do with it following a prepostion (which is emi, which can most certainly take a masculine noun). This dupe now has betrayed he knows no Greek even after claiming the same for Swaggart. But that got me thinking, if petra is feminine why DOES ANYBODY think it refers to Peter and not some feminie antecedant.

    A little aside, I actually believe this verse refers to Peter. The Church was build on Peter as we see in early Acts, that doesn't have anything to do with claims of infallibility or ANY SUCCESSOR WHATSOEVER for his role, or even a role for Peter himself. Christ built the church any way He pleased and He happened to use Peter. But now my view (pseudo RC I guess) is being threatened because I can't figure out why anybody would think this.

    So I check the back dictionary of said NA27 and it doesn't list the definition for petros I was expected (namely peter and small stone) but ONLY Peter. I then checked out BAGD and while I admit I have trouble reading the enormous thing I can't find anything but the name of Peter again. So I don't don't know where Swaggart is coming from.

    So that leaves me with this, the only thing that can connect the two is that there IS NO word for Rock that is masculine, but Peter is a man so when the word gets nameolized (made into a name) it naturally becomes masculine. So it is not a stretch to connect the two because basically there are the same word. Or maybe it is just a play on words on Jesus part, and it is two different words that sound similar.

    Now I have always heard protastants says that "this rock" refers to Peter's statement, namely, "you are the ... the living God", but why? Clearly the gender of "this" follows "rock" but why the feminine word, and how can you be sure since there are no feminine words associated with Peter's statement. In this case, it would seem a toss up and if I had to choose, I would choose Jesus play on words with Peter Himself?

    Okay Greek scholors, do your thing.
     
  2. Ransom

    Ransom
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    As I recall, John Calvin takes the same position you do. So do I.

    Sure the rock is Peter. That is the most natural reading of the text. It's a long logical leap from Peter being given the keys to the kingdom to him and his successors at Rome being the Vicar of Christ, and an unwarranted one at that.

    I don't have a Bible accessible at the moment, but I do seem to remember that nothing is specifically given to Peter here that isn't given to all the Apostles at some point; am I right?

    Now I have always heard protastants says that "this rock" refers to Peter's statement

    Yes, or they will sometimes import Christ's supposed gestures into the conversation, saying he pointed back to himself and called himself "this rock."
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
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    If you read it in the Greek it has somewhat of a diferent sound. I think Jesus is kind of using a play on words while at the same time He is absolutely serious.
     
  4. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    gb93433,

    I'm confused, I am reading it in the Greek. Could you elborate. What is Jesus serious about?

    Thanks
     
  5. DCK

    DCK
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    The common interpretation of this passage is an example of exegesis being controlled by polemic interests (in this case, to combat Catholic assertions about the papacy). Were it not for the RC doctrine, it is unlikely that we would have identified the rock as anyone other than Peter.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Typical in my circles would be the "word play".
    This is the key statement and "crux" of the passage (nothing to do with Peter per se)

    Again, the crux is the statement. Unknowable without spiritual intervention and divine revelation. Peter is blessed to have had GOD reveal this truth

    So Peter is cool and has had this revelation of the reality of Jesus. But the MESSAGE, the crux, the statement is what is important.

    Jesus doesn't say You're Peter and on YOU I will build my church. The bedrock was the statement, not the person.

    THEN Jesus continues to Peter with the personal pronouns again (instead of the very odd wording of "on this rock" rather than a personal pronoun)
     
  7. HankD

    HankD
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    The Church built upon poor Peter?
    Just moments after Jesus statement about the keys to the Kingdom He says to Peter:

    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.

    Now I love Peter but I'm glad that Christ did not build His Church on him but on THE ONE AND ONLY ROCK.

    1 corinthians 10:4
    And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

    "Thou art the Christ"

    HankD
     
  8. Circuitrider

    Circuitrider
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    Great deduction. It makes sense to me too. [​IMG]
     
  9. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Maybe this thread is turning into a general theology thread than a Bible versions thread. [​IMG]

    I think Jesus is the cornerstone, and the cornerstone is laid first to which the rest of a foundation is aligned. The foundation on which the church is built is the apostles (Eph 2:19-22), of whom Peter was basically the leader.

    Part of the passage about "upon this rock" stands out to me:

    Matt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19] And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    Here Christ gives to Peter ("thee" is singular) the keys of heaven, the authority to bind and loose on earth and in heaven. That's pretty serious stuff. Building his church upon "the rock", even if that phrase specifically means Christ (which I don't really think it means), still has Peter in an extremely important, prominent position in the Church, because of the keys and because of several other passages.
     
  10. HankD

    HankD
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    "upon this ROCK I will build my church"

    1 Peter 2
    6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
    7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
    8 And a stone of stumbling, and a ROCK of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
     
  11. Matt Black

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    It's not about little and big rocks - petra is Greek for rock; Petros is simply a masculine proper noun deriving from petra. Petros therefore does refer to Peter personally, whereas the same cannot be said for petra.

    As an aside, Caesarea, where this took place, has a massive rock behind it, hence Jesus' graphic choice of Petros/petra

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  12. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    Why not? If Jesus wished to use the play on words he would have no other way to do it. If it were Jesus intention to say that this was Peter (whose name is just Rock masculized because Peter is a male), and on Peter he would build his church, but he was ephesizing that Peter is a Rock unwhich he will build his church, he would say exactly what he said. Jesus can't help it if Peter is man and the word Rock if feminine.
     
  13. BrianT

    BrianT
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    Like Pete said (how appropriate for this thread ;) ) I believe the word play was intentional, and "upon this rock" is referring to Peter, and the difference between masculine/feminine is simply due to Greek grammar and shouldn't be understood as a reason to have it not refer to Peter.

    Why else would Jesus have changed his name from Simon to Cephas/Peter in the first place?
     
  14. Hal Parker

    Hal Parker
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    Wasn't Aramaic the most likely language that Jesus spoke in? If so, then a word play in Greek may not be a word play in Aramaic.
     
  15. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
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    This is the position of the Roman Catholic church, that the discussion was in aramaic, and in Aramic Peter's name and the word Rock are one and the same, and therefor the word play is guareenteed.

    But my reponse to them is this. Who cares. The Holy Spirit saw it fit to record the coversation in Greek by Matthew and THOSE words are inspired. We have NO IDEA what language there were speaking, so such exegesis is simply a guess.
     

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