Petros/Petra vs. Rocky/Rockelle



Q. Isn’t the problem, with the Catholic argument that Peter is the Rock of Matthew 16, that the Greek word used by Jesus for the Rock foundation of His Church is petra but the name He uses for Peter is Petros?
Doesn’t Petra, meaning a BIG rock refer to Peter’s confession whereas, petros, Jesus’ name for Simon, means small stone.

A. This is a valiant attempt by non-Catholics to explain away Biblical evidence that Jesus founded His Church on Peter. However, it simply is not convincing when one looks at the facts. First, most scholars believe that Jesus spoke Aramaic. In Aramaic there is only ONE word for rock. Kepha. So what Jesus actually said would have been:

You are Kepha, and on this kepha I will build my Church.

Jesus was not making any distinctions, after all, between Peter and the petra that Christ would build His Church upon. But obviously Peter comes from the Greek word petros. So, of course, one would tend to wonder about the strength of this argument since we now call Simon–Peter and not Kepha. The explanation is simple. There actually are several places in the New Testament where the Aramaic IS used for Simon.

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas, which, when translated, is Peter.” 1 Corinthians 1:12 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.” 1 Corinthians 3:22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours,

  • 1 Corinthians 9:5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?
  • Simon’s new name has come down to us as Peter because the Greek translation of the New Testament is the stronger traditional translation used by the Church when translating into Latin and English, and other vernacular languages. Second-When the translation of the original Aramaic was made into Greek the word petra which denoted Peter was simply changed by the translator to petros because petra has a feminine ending and petros has the masculine ending. It would not be fitting to call the Prince of the Apostles by a girl’s name like Rockelle. In English we use the name Peter which is a Greek name but if we were to make a strict translation into English it would be Rock or Rocky. A man’s name. Technorati Tags: , , ,

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    11 Responses

    1. Dear bfhu and whoever may be concerned,

      As I pointed out last time you posted this, Jesus certainly did speak Aramaic along with every other language in existence. This in no way demonstrates what you hope to prove. Jesus likely spoke whatever language was expedient for His purpose in each situation.

      Additionally, the manuscript evidence shows that the original text used two different Greek words. That is why the Greek interlinear Bibles and etc. reflect this. If the Apostle used two different words in his Gospel, then we may be certain that two different meanings were intended, even if Jesus did use only one word in Aramaic. If you would like to conclude otherwise, you do so in spite of the evidence rather than because of it. The same holds true regardless of whether two different words or a single word was used. Remember that words are not univocal (always carrying only one meaning regardless of context) they are equivocal (they have multiple possible definitions depending on context. Look up virtually any word in almost any dictionary and you will see more than one definition.).

      It is also true that the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote to the Corinthians that Apollos, Paul, and even Peter were nothing but laborers in God’s field and in building God’s building, but that building, which is the church, has a Foundation which no other foundation can be laid than that which has been laid, Who is Christ Jesus.

      Furthermore, It is clear from the writings of Peter, Paul and the other Bible writers that while they were afraid of the church falling away, they never encouraged the church to follow Peter or any Pope.

      Much more could be said.

      Thank you and may God continue to bless your continued search for His truth.

    2. Paul, in 1Cor. 10v4 on the children of israel: “And they did all drink the same spriitual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
      Throughout the Psalms (and indeed, the entire Bible) “Rock” refers to He who gives us salvation… “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 62v6)
      Jesus is also referred to as “the cornerstone.”
      “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?” (Matt. 21v42)
      In verse 44 we learn of this same stone: “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”
      Jesus was speaking of Himself here.
      “On this Rock I will build my Church”… This Rock (as Peter himself would acknowledge if he was with us on earth) is the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. “The Church” are those from every nation who have come to saving faith in His once and final sacrifice for mankind.

    3. Dear Ready,

      Jesus ABSOLUTELY is the ROCK. Just as you have pointed out using scripture.. But in this passage Jesus tells Simon that he, Simon, is the Rock upon which Jesus will build His Church.

      The Protestant Culture is an either/or culture. The Catholic Culture is a both/and culture.

      Yes Jesus is THE Rock and Peter is also a Rock. Jesus even named Simon ROCK.

      Why would He have done that? Why would Peter have taken the name Rock if Jesus was the one and ONLY Rock?

      • Dear readywriter, bfhu, and whoever may be concerned,

        Bfhu, why then would Jesus call Peter “Satan” just five verses later if Peter was such a “ROCK” that Jesus would make him THE foundation of His church (Matthew 16: 23)? But on the contrary, the Scripture plainly says that Jesus is THE FOUNDATION and that NO OTHER foundation can be laid, than that which has been laid (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11).

        Readywriter, Amen. Excellent point. I am sure that you are also aware of Isaiah 44: 8, “8 Do not fear, nor be afraid;
        Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
        You are My witnesses.
        Is there a God besides Me?
        Indeed there is no other Rock;
        I know not one.’”

        Dear BFHU, Notice that God knows of no other Rock. I trust that you would not claim that your Pope and other religious leaders DO know of another Rock, which God is unaware of.

        Peter then is not such a Rock. As I tried to teach you in my comment above, there are two different meanings, regardless of whether Aramaic has only one word for rock or not. Since Christ is said to be THE foundation, and NO OTHER foundation can be laid (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11), and at Matthew 16: 18 Christ is not speaking of building His church on Rocks as of two or more, but of a single church on a single Rock, then Peter is not the one in mind here. Please accept this. (Note that the Jews failed to heed the Scriptures to the very plurality of a word also. Paul corrects them saying, “16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,”[a]who is Christ.(Galatians 3: 16; NKJV).”

        Remember also that in spite of the fact that the Apostles prophesied a great falling away of the church, they did not teach the church to follow the Pope in order to avoid this. They beseeched the church in tears to heed the gospel message that had already been preached to them to keep them from going astray, but they never mentioned that they should heed the Pope in order to keep from going astray. The Scriptures know nothing of a Pope.

        Much more could be said.

        Sincerely,

        Joe

    4. Dear Bfhu and whoever may be concerned,

      Bfhu said: The Protestant Culture is an either/or culture. The Catholic Culture is a both/and culture.

      Joe D. says:
      The Christian culture is a “diligently seek the meaning God intends and hold fast to that” culture.

      A partially expressed truth may be both/and, but fully expressed it is either/or. I might say that a particular candy is the best and the worst and be telling the truth, because it is only partially expressed. In reality however, I have not expressed Truth, because I have only expressed opinions or partial truth. A fully expressed truth is Truth and is either/or. For instance, I may say that this candy is the best to “So and So” but to “What’s his face” it is the worst. This statement may not be both/and. It is not both the best and worst to “So and So” and the best and worst to “What’s his face” unless you somehow twist the meanings of these words. I am afraid that is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church leadership has done with the Word of God throughout history in order to cling to it’s doctrine.

      Both/and statements and poetic passages may be throughout the Scriptures, but the diligent student will discover the fully expressed Truth within the pages of the Scriptures and come to an understanding of God’s revealed Truth as exemplified in the posts above.

      Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.

      Sincerely,

      Joe

    5. Dear Joseph,
      Jesus did not call Peter “Satan”. He was addressing SATAN who was trying to influence Him through Peter. Jesus said,

      Get behind me Satan…

      He did not say,

      You are Satan.

      But again as you can see we have here a difference of interpretation of exactly the same words.

      We too believe that Jesus is THE FOUNDATION. Jesus did not name Peter “Foundation”

      We do believe that Peter was a chosen rock by Jesus. He said it. Jesus named him Rock. He is a rock but not a rock EQUAL to the Rock who is Christ. That would be silly.

    6. Dear Bfhu,

      The passage reads, “22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
      23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

      Peter was rebuking Jesus and then Jesus “TURNED AND SAID TO PETER, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! YOU are an offense to Me, for YOU are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

      I hope this clarifies things for you some.

      Much more could be said. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

      Sincerely,

      Joe D.

    7. Dear Joe,
      You are right it does sound more like he was talking to Peter than my quote above.

      But I still contend that Jesus was speaking to Satan and Peter, b/c Satan was using Peter to tempt Jesus. Peter was NOT Satan the Prince of the Fallen Angels.

      AND Jesus could also have been using the word meaning adversary. Because Peter’s words were not according to the will of God.

      The TRUTH of our Faith is so multifaceted that to force it all into a framework of either /or; Black or White; Right or wrong all the time will result in constricting the fullness of the beauty and cogency of Truth unnaturally into a narrow and distorted understanding .

      Don’t get me wrong there are some things that are either / or but not everything. Many things in Scripture have a literal meaning but also a deeper spiritual significance.

      • Dear bfhu,

        Yes, or course you are correct that Peter was not the serpent of The Garden, nevertheless, he is certainly the object of the sentence, to whom Jesus called Satan, an enemy. Peter was being an enemy, and yes, he was tempting Jesus, but Jesus says that he called Peter satan because he was mindful of the things of the world rather than the things of God when he refused to believe that Jesus would be crucified.

        Yes, things in Scripture do have dual meanings. We must remember that God reveals those dual meanings to us, if we diligently study His Word. We can’t just make things up because they seem beautiful to us.

        The Apostles warned of men who would come from within the group of bishops themselves and lead many astray. They did not say that this might happen, they said that it would happen, and it has happened. Men teach according to their own fancy, untethered to the Scriptures. They teach things that many people feel are beautiful things. But as Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, his servants are transformed into servants of righteousness.

        Jesus spoke of one church being founded on one Rock. There are two meanings of the word. God did not found his church on a rock of the quality of Peter who immediately demonstrated his mindfulness of the things of the world rather than of God and was called satan by Jesus. God did found His church on Christ, who is a Rock unlike any other.

        As I said above:

        Bfhu, why then would Jesus call Peter “Satan” just five verses later if Peter was such a “ROCK” that Jesus would make him THE foundation of His church (Matthew 16: 23)? But on the contrary, the Scripture plainly says that Jesus is THE FOUNDATION and that NO OTHER foundation can be laid, than that which has been laid (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11).

        Readywriter, Amen. Excellent point. I am sure that you are also aware of Isaiah 44: 8, “8 Do not fear, nor be afraid;
        Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
        You are My witnesses.
        Is there a God besides Me?
        Indeed there is no other Rock;
        I know not one.’”

        Dear BFHU, Notice that God knows of no other Rock. I trust that you would not claim that your Pope and other religious leaders DO know of another Rock, which God is unaware of.

        Peter then is not such a Rock. As I tried to teach you in my comment above, there are two different meanings, regardless of whether Aramaic has only one word for rock or not. Since Christ is said to be THE foundation, and NO OTHER foundation can be laid (1 Corinthians 3: 10-11), and at Matthew 16: 18 Christ is not speaking of building His church on Rocks as of two or more, but of a single church on a single Rock, then Peter is not the one in mind here. Please accept this. (Note that the Jews failed to heed the Scriptures to the very plurality of a word also. Paul corrects them saying, “16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,”[a]who is Christ.(Galatians 3: 16; NKJV).”

        Remember also that in spite of the fact that the Apostles prophesied a great falling away of the church, they did not teach the church to follow the Pope in order to avoid this. They beseeched the church in tears to heed the gospel message that had already been preached to them to keep them from going astray, but they never mentioned that they should heed the Pope in order to keep from going astray. The Scriptures know nothing of a Pope.

        Much more could be said.

        Sincerely,

        Joe

    8. Dear Joe,

      Isn’t it odd about this sentences: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon myself, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

      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.”

      (If it’s true that Jesus meant the “rock” as himself… don’t you think they way He said it was really odd?… He was switching subjects twice in those two sentences? I guess He was speaking Aramaic in God’s grammar!!!) — btw, English is my second language, so base on what I learned from the ESL, the grammar of the first sentence just doesn’t sound right!

      It is also interesting that in John, Chapter 21, Jesus privately asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?”, and told him, “Feed my sheeps!”, “Feed my lambs”. Why did Jesus not say that to all the Apostle?

      It is also interesting that Peter represented the Apostles to give the very first Sermon at the Pentencost. He was also the person who settled the dispute about whether the new converts need to be circumcised or not! Why was the issue settle by a majority votes? But by Peter, instead?

    9. Dear TQ,

      Very good questions. I think that you may have misunderstood what my claim was. I do not blame you for the misunderstanding but rather my poor writing skills. My claim is that Jesus was referring to Peter’s confession about who Jesus is as the Rock upon which He would build His church. So, one might say something to the effect of, “… and upon the foundation stone of the confession that I am the Messiah, I will build my church.”

      Yes, He indeed did give Peter the keys to the Kingdom so that he, with the agreement of the other Apostles, might loose or bind on Earth the things God already determined in Heaven should be loosed or bound, just as He did to all the Apostles (See Matthew 18: 18).

      The John chapter 21 passage is wonderful! I thank you for reminding me of it. I think, that there may be a number of reasons for which the Lord may have said such things to Peter, not the least of which may be because Peter was so adamant about proclaiming his love for the Lord and that he was ready to die for and with Him, only to then deny Him three times. Perhaps Jesus was lifting Peter up and giving Him needed guidance on how He wanted him to channel the love he did have for the Lord. But, that is mere speculation. Many people entertain various speculations about the disciple whom Jesus loved also. Some claim extra special status for him also. They are arguing from silence. All of these claims are uncertain because the Lord did not tell us why He said those things to Peter. It is not necessary for us to know.

      On the Day of Pentecost, Peter “stood up with the eleven” and proclaimed the wonderful works of God (Acts 2: 11-14). All twelve Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and were preaching Jesus in various languages to Jews from a number of different nations (Acts 2: 4-14). The Scripture says that Peter was speaking specifically to the Jews of Judaea and those who dwelt in Jerusalem (Acts 2: 14).

      It seems likely that each of the twelve were speaking in a different language to a different set of Jews then and there present who spoke the particular language each individual Apostle was then speaking. The Spirit may have moved some or all of them to switch language at various times as necessary to reach another audience. Peter was not necessarily the first one preaching, and it is certain that he was not the only one. Probably, Jews of several of these languages received and obeyed the Word on that day. It is unwarranted to assume that Peter was the only one involved in the conversions that took place that day.

      It is an untrue statement to claim that Peter was the one who settled the Acts 15 dispute you mention. If Peter were in fact the Pope, all that would have taken place is that they would have asked Peter to tell them what was true and proper, and he would have told them. We do not see that. Rather we see a group of godly men, the apostles and bishops, coming together to consider what they knew assuredly God had already said and done. They knew that these things were from God, not because Peter assured them that they were, rather because they looked to the Scriptures, which are breathed by God, and they looked to facts established by several trustworthy eyewitnesses that they knew personally and who had been present for cross-examination.

      Peter pointed back to a well-established and well-known factual event from their personal history that they well knew was an act of God (Acts 10). That matter had already been discussed and settled in Acts 11, In which it looks as if Peter had to explain himself to equals or even superiors, rather than that he was the highest authority. Notice especially Acts 11: 2 where the circumcised Jewish Christians contended with and accused him because of his actions. The Scriptures tell us that Peter rehearsed the entire matter from the beginning (Acts 11:4). Why didn’t Peter simply say, I am the Pope and what I have done, I have done. Or something to that effect. He did not have to rehearse the entire thing to his subordinates if it was his call to make. It was not Peter’s call to make, but rather God’s. Peter was relating to them what God had said and done. He also had at least six respectable Jewish Christians who were eyewitnesses with him, to whom he referred in support of his testimony (Acts 11: 12). If he had been the Pope, no such support would be necessary.

      We also do well to remember that by Acts 15, the inclusion of gentiles into the Christian faith and salvation of God was very well established and accepted. Some were simply having a difficult time giving up the Old Covenant notion of the necessity of circumcision. Notice that the men who were commanding circumcision were actually preaching the gospel to gentiles. They knew gentiles were accepted. So all that happened in Acts 15 is that they reminded one another of the prophesy of Scriptures that the gentiles would be part of the faith, that God accepted the gentiles and made them clean while yet uncircumcised, and that the Jews, while circumcised, still needed to be made clean by faith in Jesus.

      It was all about what God had said and done, not about what Peter said and did. Peter did not settle it, God did. These faithful men simply considered what God did, and came into subjection to that. Some even claim that James presided over the meeting. I also disagree with that claim. It is unwarranted.

      Much more could be said.

      Thank you TQ for your time and thoughtful consideration.

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