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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Aash, Dec 29, 2008.
In Matt 16:18 who believes that Peter is the Rock? who believes Peter is a small stone/pebble?
At the time Jesus said this Peter was shifting sand ... he became a rock later.
I really like Peter, he was very human.
I read this thread on the bible versions forum. Apparently, a lot of commentators do not think there is a distinction between the two "rocks" because "Petros" is the masculine form of the word. Also, they say the distinction was mainly used in poetry, not in speech.
If this is true, then what is Jesus building his church on? Could it still be Peter's confession of faith? Peter did not even have any leadership role in the early church. He was mainly going out as a missionary.
Elton Trueblood in his small, but very good book, "The Humor of Christ," says that this line, "You are Peter and on this rock I shall build my church," shows Christ's sense of humor. He was not speaking of THE CHURCH as is so readily accepted. Rather he was saying, "Peter, it is on people like you, the ordinary shifting sand people, that I am going to have to depend when I am not with you."
The other disciples probably rolled on the ground laughing when Christ spoke these words, or at least covered their faces with their hands and tried to stiffle their giggles.
We are all shifting sand people ... some more than others, but none of us are always steadfast.
We, all of us, take the words of Christ so seriously that, I believe, we often miss the subtle and deeper truths he was speaking.
I believe this is a good interpretation and reveals a deeper truth.
It is Peter. not his faith or his confession.
Also when Matthew wrote the Gospel it was in Aramaic.
This is what I posted in the other forum.
Petra in the Greek is normally the word used for large rock, but Petra is the feminine form of the word. (just like spanish Tia=aunt and Tio=uncle) You do not apply a feminine form of the word in order to name a male. You adopt it by giving the masculine form. You can't name him Rockina. You give him the masculine form of the word.
"You are Peter (Rock) and on this Rock I will build my Church."
Jesus most likely didn’t speak Greek when He was with the disciples. This is held by 99.9% of scholars. He spoke Aramaic. There is ONE word for rock Cephus. "You are Cephus (Rock), and on this Cephus (Rock) I will build my Church." In Aramaic, the identification of Peter as the rock is clear. There is no way for Jesus to make a distinction between little stone/pebble and big rock. The Aramaic language doesn’t allow it. Also biblical evidence in Jn 1:42 Jesus used Aramaic naming Peter. "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).
I don't think the Aramaic argument is a valid one. God knew the NT was going to be written in Greek. We should go by the Greek.
So what does it mean to you that Peter is the rock on which the church is built?
Well, I have to disagree with Trueblood. There is no indication that this was said as humor - that is entirely eisegesis on Mr. Trueblood's part.
Also, Christ does not have to depend on anyone.
I believe that Jesus is giving a leadership role in the church to Peter that is not duplicated by any other person in the NT. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost at the inauguration of the age of the Spirit's coming. Twice later, in the book of Acts, Peter acts at key junctures to show clearly that Gentiles are included in the age of the Spirit. Peter was the human leader whom God employed to make the teaching plain to the church. In this sense, he was the rock.
Matthew was written in Aramaic. There is evidence that Matthew was written in Aramaic. Papias and Irenaeus tells us that in the 2nd century. Plus as I have said before Jesus would have spoken his discourse of Matt 16 in Aramaic. In the Roman Empire the language was Greek but most of the Jewish people Jesus spoke to were not fluent in it. They spoke Aramaic. Also in Jn 1:42 Jesus used Aramaic in the naming of Peter. “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).”
Let's see what Donald Carson, John Broadus, Donald Hagner, and Craig Blomberg have to say.
These were the commentarys that were talked about:
(Baptist) Donald A. Carson in his Commentary says:
"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 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 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."
(Baptist) Donald A. Carson in his Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary — New Testament, vol. 2 says:
The word Peter petros, meaning “rock” (Gk 4377), is masculine, and in Jesus’ follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken “rock” to be anything or anyone other than Peter.
(Baptist) John A. Broadus in his Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew says:
Many insist on the distinction between the two Greek words, thou art Petros and on this petra, holding that if the rock had meant Peter, either petros or petra would have been used both times, and that petros signifies a separate stone or fragment broken off, while petra is the massive rock. But this distinction is almost entirely confined to poetry, the common prose word instead of petros being lithos; nor is the distinction uniformly observed.
But the main answer here is that our Lord undoubtedly spoke Aramaic, which has no known means of making such a distinction [between feminine petra and masculine petros in Greek]. The Peshitta (Western Aramaic) renders, “Thou are kipho, and on this kipho”. The Eastern Aramaic, spoken in Palestine in the time of Christ, must necessarily have said in like manner, “Thou are kepha, and on this kepha”.... Beza called attention to the fact that it is so likewise in French: “Thou art Pierre, and on this pierre”; and Nicholson suggests that we could say, “Thou art Piers (old English for Peter), and on this pier.”
(Protestant) Donald A. Hagner says in his Word Biblical Commentarys says:
The natural reading of the passage, despite the necessary shift from Petros to petra required by the word play in the Greek (but not the Aramaic, where the same word kepha occurs in both places), is that it is Peter who is the rock upon which the church is to be built.... The frequent attempts that have been made, largely in the past, to deny this in favor of the view that the confession itself is the rock... seem to be largely motivated by Protestant prejudice against a passage that is used by the Roman Catholics to justify the papacy.
(Protestant) Craig Blomberg in his Commentary says:
The expression "this rock" almost certainly refers to Peter, following immediately after his name, just as the words following "the Christ" in v. 16 applied to Jesus. The play on words in the Greek between Peter's name (Petros) and the word "rock" (petra) makes sense only if Peter is the rock and if Jesus is about to explain the significance of this identification.
But we don't have Matthew in Aramaic. We have it in Greek. Surely God knew that would be the case.
Aash, you didn't answer my question I posed to you above:
So what does it mean to you that Peter is the rock on which the church is built?
Doesn't mean that Jesus didn't speak in Aramaic to Peter. The problem with Greek is Petra is feminine while Petros is masculine. But the feminine/masculine phrases also indicate size Large rock pand small rock. this may not have original intent with Jesus when he spoke in Aramaic: "you are Ke'pha" and "upon this Ke'pha". You couldn't very well use a feminine word to ascribe to peter so you change the wording in translation to show masculine. artificially indicating Peter is Petros (small rock) and upon this Petra (large rock) in order to provide the proper masculine.
Marica, I will answer the question when I feel it is appropriate to answer it. The earliest manuscripts we have of any of the books of the NT are Greek; BUT NOT A SINGLE book is an original. They are all copies (translation). From the mere fact of Greek manuscripts we can't conclude that the originals must have been written in Greek.
In 130 AD Papias, wrote, "Matthew compiled the sayings [of the Lord] in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could".
Eusebius said: "Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue [Aramaic], so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote"
Also Marcia, Petros and Petra are the masculine and feminine form of a word with the same root and the same definition, Rock. So you can't say small rock in this way in the Greek either. (there is lithos which I will talk about later) Petra is the common word for Rock in Greek. It is used many times to mean rock, rocks, or rocky. Petros was not a commonly used term. In fact is it was NEVER used in the NT except when Jesus changed Peter's name from Simon to Peter. So when Matthew was translated into Greek, Petra would have been used for "rock" but Petra is a feminine noun. And it is improper to call Peter "Petra" so the masculine form was used Petros.
(Baptist) John Broadus wrote in this commentary:
"As Peter means rock, the natural interpretation is that ‘upon this rock’ means upon thee. . . . It is an even more far-fetched and harsh play upon words if we understand the rock to be Christ and a very feeble and almost unmeaning play upon words if the rock is Peter’s confession"
(Presbyterian/Reformed) Eduard Schweizer says in the book The Good News According to Matthew:
"The 'rock' is Peter himself, not his confession. Only on this interpretation does the pun make sense."
(Presbyterian) Albert Barnes in his Notes of the New Testament wrote:
"The meaning of this phrase may be thus expressed: ‘Thou, in saying that I am the Son of God, hast called me by a name expressive of my true character. I, also, have given to thee a name expressive of your character. I have called you Peter, a rock. . . . I see that you are worthy of the name and will be a distinguished support of my religion"
(Protestant) Suzanne de Dietrich commentary says:
The play on words in verse 18 indicates the Aramaic origin of the passage. The new name contains a promise. “Simon”, the fluctuating, impulsive disciple, will, by the grace of God, be the “rock” on which God will build the new community.
:laugh: How long do we wait for the pearls of wisdom?
Yes, I know that. And God knew that would be the case.
But we don't have those writings in Aramaic. And we only have the words of these 2 guys for it. I am not saying we should dismiss it, but surely God knew the ms we would have to work with would only be in Greek. Otherwise, since we know Jesus probably spoke mostly in Aramaic, why not translate the Greek NT into Aramaic and use that instead of the Greek?
If you re-read what I've posted so far, you'll note I was not defending or promoting this view.
I think all this was said before.
Thanks, but you haven't said anything to enlighten me on this.
I am not much into speculations on what the Aramaic underlying Matthew had when people suggest making it overshadow Scripture.
Matthew did write something in Aramaic. It was translated into Greek and eventually reworked as the current gospel of Matthew. The current gospel of Matthew is Scripture.
The Aramaic writing that Matthew wrote is lost. This conversation occurred in Greek. For all we know, Matthew transliterated "Petros" and "petra" into Aramaic and wrote the likes of `little kepha' and `big kepha' to preserve the point. Someone may say I am speculating: exactly, as I am, and as is anyone else who speculates about the specifics of lost Aramaic material.
We do know what is in the gospel of Matthew, which is Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16a says “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (ESV). The Greek word translated “Scriptures” means “what has been written,”* and refers to the text of written documents.** Whatever was said during Christ’s earthly ministry, whatever God’s written Word has is a 100% reliable and authoritative representation of what was intended to be communicated.
* Richards, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words, page 544.
** Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, page Greek Dictionary 20; Vine et al, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, page 552 NT.
Sorry, I can't accept this. Without a doubt, Jesus had a sense of humor and He used it on occasion to make a point, but not here. Look at the context.
In v. 17 Jesus affirms Peter by indicating the correctness of his answer. In v. 19 Jesus also affirms Peter by giving him the "keys of the kingdom" along with the authority to bind and loose. It makes no sense to sandwich a sarcastic quip between these two very serious affirmations of Peter.
Jesus was probably referring to Peter being the rock, although He might have been referring to Peter's confession. Either is possible but to say that Jesus was implying that Peter was shifting sand is just wrong.
Is anyone going to address the implications of v. 19?
It just wasn't given to Peter. It was given to all the Apostles:
Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Most likely. Are your translating Ye into Y' all?
Exactly. So should we snip out part of 16:19 because it is redundant? And what about the keys?
There is absolutely no evidence that Matthew was ever written in Aramaic. It is wishful thinking only. We don't have any extant manuscript in Aramaic, nor did one ever exist. No one has ever found one. It is all speculation. The speculation has come primarily from the RCC who want a basis for making Peter the first pope. Our authority is the Word of God, not the church Fathers, who have had so many wild and spectacular ideas that are totally anti-biblical that they cannot be trusted as a source of valid information. Earlier does not mean better, or more authoritative. It does not mean a hill of beans if Jesus spoke in Aramaic. The all knew Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and possibly some other languages as well. They may have been speaking in Hebrew. We don't know. We weren't there.
What we do know is this. The NT (especially Matthew), was written is Greek. God inspired the NT in the Koine Greek language, not in Aramaic or in any other language. Thus, we can put to rest any speculation of Aramaic, because it is not inspired of God. The words petra and petros were used. All other words are moot. They are meaningless and uninspired. They don't count. God didn't use them; we don't use them. The Bible is our only authority in all matters of faith and doctrine.
Petros was the name of Peter's name--little stone.
Petra means massive rock, referring to the testimony of Peter, or Christ Himself--the chief cornerstone upon which the church would be build. He is the rock of 1Cor.10:4. Throughout the Scripture He is referred to as petra, the chief cornerstone, upon which is a stumbling block to the Jews; but a rock upon which we obtained mercy (1Pet. 2:4-10).
Your argument is silly. They Bible repeats itself many times when it says: Whosoever believes on me shall be saved. Should we snip out every verse where Jesus or the apostles repeat themselves concerning this wonderful truth????
The keys are the keys of knowledge. In other words they represent the gospel, which every believer has. Look at Scripture.
Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
The Pharisees and the lawyers had taken away the key of knowledge from the people--the key of eternal life--the right way to heaven.
The key to eternal life is through the gospel. We all have that key, not just Peter. It was given to all the apostles, and (Acts 1:8), they were to give it to all the world, that is, all who believed.