It's Greek to me


Several days ago I was in a discussion with my sister-in-law, (a Lutheran [LCMS] convert from an AOG and Presbyterian background) regarding some faith matters. She initially called up to ask me why the Pope kissed Qu’ran and informed me that a tape she had listened to made the assertion that the Pope was trying to meld Islam and Catholicism. The ultimate goal of this would be, of course, to establish one world religion. She didn’t believe the assertion, but was disturbed to think that the Pope would have kissed the Qu’ran. After reassuring her that the Pope didn’t have a plan to make a hybrid religion between Islam and Catholicism, I did assure her that the Pope was probably interested in the world having one religion. Just that that religion would be be the one Christ established, Catholic. We then got into one of those rambling Protestant vs Catholic discussions. It ended up being mainly about the communion of saints.

One thing she has a habit of doing is appealing to the Greek behind the scripture. She only does this to refute the Aramaic or Hebrew words which would have been spoken by the Lord or the writers. Her main arguement is that “The Holy Spirit saw fit to inspire the Scriptures in the Greek, so what the Greek says is all that is perfectly inspired. This is because the Truth which God intended to be revealed was best and most clearly illuminated by the Greek language.” One example of this is her assertion that it doesn’t matter that Christ spoke Aramaic and that he renamed Simon Cephas, (making Matthew 16: 18… most clearly show the truth that Peter is the rock). She belives that what was inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Greek shows what Jesus really meant, that Peter (Petros) and the rock (petras) are two seperate things.

She won’t entertain the charitable criticism of the illogical path her belief comes from or travels to. That when she places the chosen language of the scribe over the spoken language of Jesus she is professing that what Jesus said doesn’t matter. Or answering the question as to what type of inspiration and authority the people who determined the Canon of Scripture were operating under.

I have come to the conclusion that to make any headway I must go onto her playing field. But, I am ignorant of Greek. What are some specific Greek words and phrases in Scripture which bolster specifically Catholic theology and would show inconsistancies in the non-Catholic Christian position in areas of Scriptural interpretation?



[quote=Pyrosapien]“The Holy Spirit saw fit to inspire the Scriptures in the Greek, so what the Greek says is all that is perfectly inspired. This is because the Truth which God intended to be revealed was best and most clearly illuminated by the Greek language.”

How does she know that the Holy Spirit saw fit to inspire the Scriptures in Greek, since we have NO original manuscripts of any of the scriptures? They might well have been composed in Aramaic.

And even if the original writings were in Greek, did the Holy Spirit inspire the language, or the authors?


Perhaps I shouldn’t be telling you this. Ok, it’s a secret, don’t tell anybody :wink: !

Since your friend is Lutheran, there may not be any contention for them with this, but a guy at my church (who knows Greek from Bible college) got into a disagreement with my pastor about Ephesians 1:13,14.
I understand that is a good Catholic prooftext for Confirmation, as is Acts 8:14-17.

So, regarding Ephesians 1:13,14, my pastor (I wasn’t there, this is 2nd hand) was saying that it was the sealing of the Spirit at the time when a person was justified (one time forensic act he meant), that is, when they came to faith. Well, my Bible College Greek friend was saying basically that he did’nt know exactly what the text meant and how to interpret it, but the Greek definately required us to understand it referring to a time separate than when we first came to faith. Wow, my pastor did not like that, but that’s what the Greek explicitly teaches, apparently. Hence, a proof text for Confirmation.

That’s just one.
Regarding the “Rock” I think there’s plenty of Catholic writings to show that your Lutheran friend is wrond on the Greek there.


Ask her if the Bible is a Christian’s authority in matters of faith and morals.

Then ask her if Christians in the first four centuries (including the disciples) were Christian since they lacked an assembled canon of scripture.

Ask her if Jesus said he would send us the Holy Spirit to guide the Church and be our advocate or a Bible.

Ask her if scripture itself (Peter) warns us against personal interpretation of scripture.

Ask her if accepting a gift and showing it respect and honour means that one accepts the religion of the person who gave it to you.

Has the Pope endorsed the claims in the Koran that Jesus is only a prophet?

Has the Pope endorsed claims in the Koran that the Blessed Mother was not a virgin?

Ask her why the church should not consider tradition and scripture as the basis of her teaching. After all doesn’t one gospel writer say that not even a fraction of the things Jesus said and did were recorded.

If families, persons and corporations have unwritten traditions, why cannot the church use this knowledge in its teaching authority.

That is the problem with Protestantism - it presupposes literacy.

A Catholic can be illiterate, a protestant must be able to read.

So much for having the simple faith of a peasant girl as J.P. DeCaussade urged us to have. Now each Christian must try to make sense of the massive contradictions, allegorical language, literal meaning and symbolism in that book.

Her problem is that she is a bibliolater and there is no evidence in the book she is using that the Bible is what she says it is - the inerrant word of God.

The Church alone has the authority to interpret Christ’s teaching.


Tell her that the original Matthew is written in Aramaic. St Papias attests to that.

Papias actually said it’s written in Hebrew, but he could also mean Aramaic since “hebrew” can also mean “aramaic”. Which is also supported by Irenaeus and Eusebius.


Whether in Greek or in any other language, why would Jesus give one of His apostles a new name meaning “rock” (or even “pebble”) and then immediately talk about building His church on a rock, if He didn’t mean for the Church to be built on that apostle? Was Jesus intentionally being confusing? If not, why the new name for Peter, and why then, of all times? In Enlgish, Aramaic, and even Greek, the face-value meaning of the text is that Jesus is building His Church on Peter. Basic grammar tells us that the pronoun “this” generally refers to the nearest noun. Granted, this doesn’t always happen, but that rule should have especially strong weight when “this” is used as an adverb describing a rock, and another “rock” (even if only a small one) was just mentioned a few words ago!

I’ve also heard it said that Jesus must have pointed towards himself, when he said “this rock,” or that some other arbitrary referent was intended. It might be useful to point out that those who maintain that Our Lord did this kind of thing have no grounds for criticizing Bill Clinton for saying “I did not have sex with that woman” or “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”


When Jesus blessed Peter and renamed him “Rock” He was standing in a town where one of its unusual sites was a large cliff of sheer rock, and on top of this cliff was an old pagan temple.

For Jesus to stand near this site and issue his blessing to Peter sends a clear message.
Just as the pagan temple sat upon a LARGE rock (no pebble for sure!) Jesus intended to build HIS church upon a large solid rock.

Why would Jesus hand the keys to the kingdom of heaven over to a little pebble?


Jesus didn’t change Simon’s name to Peter in Matthew 16:18, He gave him the new name when Simon first became His disciple in John 1:42, however you can point out to your sister that Jesus uses Aramaic in this instance since John records Jesus calling Simon, Cephas.



Regarding the meaning of petra and *petros *in New Testament Greek, the Catholic Answers tract Peter the Rock might be helpful,

Jimmy Akin’s tract on the papacy might also be helpful in understanding Matthew 16:18,


I would scratch my head, look inquisitive and ask " where is this in the Bible?"

It appears that at least extra-biblical belief is held. I would suggest Mark Shea’s “By What Authority” to understand more the logical contradiction, especially by the most literalist of Christians. (I believe this person holds to the verbal plenary theory of inspiration)


Another poster referred you to the tracts on CA and Jimmy Akins. These are excellent for your agrument with your sister-in-law.

And, just another thought - Jesus changed the name of Simon to Peter for a reason. If you remember, God changed the names of those men that He had a specific mission for, i.e., Abram to Abraham - to be the father of a holy nation, Saul to Paul - to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, etc.

Of all the apostles there, Simon was the ONLY one who got a name change signifying his specific mission - of being the leader of Jesus’ church on earth. With or without the Greek - it still remains that Jesus gave Peter the special mission of heading His church.


Thanks to all of you who have given answers and advice. It has been very helpful in directing my study. I only came back to the Church 4 years ago after being away for 14 years. I am working on my entire family now, (brothers and their wives, cousins and spouses). It’s difficult to see ones family persist in error, especially when their justifications lack faith and reason. The Irony of Protestants holding on so tightly to their new traditions is a wonder to behold.



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