Little Rock, Big Rock question

A protestant stated to me, No, Aramaic was a predominantly Palestine language. consider the book Palestine Aramaic grammar. btw, i tuaghtnce Aramaic in college for a semester so i know what i am talking about. i agree, Jesus could have done whatever he wanted including using the word pope in the new testament so that is not what he wanted to do, wonder why. you need to look the Greek up in BDAG the most accept lexicon by all scholars including catholic scholars. your contention about lithos does not follow based on this lexicon. you never answered the question, why did Jesus uses two different Greek words one meaning Rock and one meaning pebble. How would respond to this?

I would ask for the tape recording proving that Jesus was speaking Greek, not the Aramaic that we know was his native language, the Aramaic that he is recorded speaking several times in the Greek New Testament.

Jesus was familiar, or spoke 3 languages. Aramaic at home, Greek in the marketplace (he was a carpenter) and Latin when dealing with the Romans.
This was taught to me by several priests and in the course of the Theology degree.
I don’t know why it matters, in particular.
He said what He said. If he has a problem with exegesis, I’d refer him to a good commentary.

Jesus wasn’t speaking Greek to the Apostles. Peter’s Aramaic name is also preserved in Scripture - usually “Cephis” or “Keffa” in transliterated English. It means rock, with no size implication.

The usual Greek word for “rock” is petra (it means rock, with no size implication). But there’s a problem calling a man petra, because it has a -a ending, making it a feminine noun (like many languages, Greek nouns have gender). To call a man “rock” in Greek, you would need a masculine ending (-os). Thus, Peter’s name in Greek would be Petros. It’s the same root word but with a masculine ending. Unfortunately, this form implies a small rock. But, in Greek, it’s the best you can do (without calling Peter a girly name).

But small rocks were not called petros in Our Lord’s day. The word is used in Scripture only as Peter’s name. Small rocks were commonly called lithos (from whence we get the word lithography). When Scripture deliberately refers to small rocks (such as when people wanted to stone the adulteress or Jesus) it uses only the word lithos. The word petros is used exclusively for Peter’s name, and only because Greek forces us to use this unusual word.

This line of argumentation doesn’t work for a number of reasons. First, Jesus spoke to Peter in Aramaic, not Greek. We know this from John 1:42, in which John clarifies that he’s translating the Aramaic Kepha (or Cephas) to the Greek Petros. Paul repeatedly refers to Peter as Cephas . This is significant, since as Brent Kercheville admits in the Christian Monthly Standard, “the Aramaic kepa , which underlies the Greek, means ‘(massive) rock’.”

So Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and Matthew translated into Greek (as he did with everything Jesus said). Why does Matthew use “Petros” instead of “Petra”? Because they meant the same thing, and Petros is the masculine version of the word for rock, Petra. That is, Matthew didn’t want to give Peter a girl’s name. And bear in mind that contrary to what Raymond claims above, in the Greek of Jesus; day it’s not true that Petros meant “small rock,” and Petra meant “large rock.” Even John Calvin, while denying that Peter was the Rock on which the Church was built, conceded that “There is no difference of meaning, I acknowledge, between the two Greek words Πέτρος (Peter) and πέτρα, (petra, a stone or rock,).”

Finally, Raymond’s interpretation just doesn’t work. As a stand-alone theological concept, sure: we can all affirm that Jesus is Rock. But in this passage, Jesus isn’t the Rock He’s referring to, just as He wasn’t the shepherd He was referring to in John 10:3. Go back to the passage. Peter is blessed because (1) God the Father revealed to him that Jesus is Christ; (2) he is Peter, Rock; (3) upon this Rock Jesus will build His Church; (4) Peter has the Keys to the Kingdom; and (5) Peter has the power to bind and loosen sins. To say that # 1, 2, 4, and 5 are about Peter, but that 3 isn’t because it refers to some other Rock (Jesus Himself, faith, etc.) leads to an interpretation which borders on incoherent. It would be as if God began to bless Abraham in Genesis 17 and then, without any way for a reader to know what was going on, started blessing a different Abraham, before coming back to the Abraham we know and love. So even though it’s true that Christ is elsewhere described as Rock, in this passage, the Rock has to be Peter, or the passage stops making sense. Even D.A. Carson concedes that “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.”

B. Did Jesus Change Peter’s Name in Matthew 16?

This is one of the strangest arguments. To try and break the parallel with Abram/Abraham, Keith Mathison cites R.T. France to claim that “the name Peter ‘is not now given for the first time, for Matthew has used it throughout in preference to ‘Simon’ (which never occurs without ‘Peter’ until v. 17), and Mark 3:16 and John 1:42 indicate that it was given at an earlier stage’” (Shape of Sola Scriptura, p. 188). Look at those examples. Matthew, in narrating the Gospel, calls Simon “Peter,” even before his name is changed by Christ. And Mark 3:16., in a list of Apostles, starts with “Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter).” In both cases, it’s a narrative technique to make sure the reader knows that Simon and Peter are the same guy. Likewise, if you say something like “when Bob Dylan was a child…” you’re not saying he was called Bob Dylan then; you’re just using the name everyone now knows him by (saying “when Robert Allen Zimmerman was a child” will just get you confused looks).

John 1:42 is even more extreme: Jesus looked at Simon and said, “‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).” Jesus depicts the changing of Simon’s name as a future event in John 1:42. In Matthew 16:18, that prophesy comes true, when He says “you are Peter.” And John makes clear the point that the name given by Christ is Cephas, not Petros, and that Petros is what Peter’s name is "when translated."

Taken from: catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/03/pope-peter-part-v-upon-this-rock.html

Petros and Petra–Much Ado About Nothing

Opponents of the Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 sometimes argue that in the Greek text the name of the apostle is Petros, while “rock” is rendered as petra. They claim that the former refers to a small stone, while the latter refers to a massive rock; so, if Peter was meant to be the massive rock, why isn’t his name Petra?

Note that Christ did not speak to the disciples in Greek. He spoke Aramaic, the common language of Palestine at that time. In that language the word for rock is kepha, which is what Jesus called him in everyday speech (note that in John 1:42 he was told, “You will be called Cephas”). What Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 was: “You are Kepha, and upon this kepha I will build my Church.”

When Matthew’s Gospel was translated from the original Aramaic to Greek, there arose a problem which did not confront the evangelist when he first composed his account of Christ’s life. In Aramaic the word kepha has the same ending whether it refers to a rock or is used as a man’s name. In Greek, though, the word for rock, petra, is feminine in gender. The translator could use it for the second appearance of kepha in the sentence, but not for the first because it would be inappropriate to give a man a feminine name. So he put a masculine ending on it, and hence Peter became Petros.

Furthermore, the premise of the argument against Peter being the rock is simply false. In first century Greek the words petros and petra were synonyms. They had previously possessed the meanings of “small stone” and “large rock” in some early Greek poetry, but by the first century this distinction was gone, as Protestant Bible scholars admit (see D. A. Carson’s remarks on this passage in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Books]).

Some of the effect of Christ’s play on words was lost when his statement was translated from the Aramaic into Greek, but that was the best that could be done in Greek. In English, like Aramaic, there is no problem with endings; so an English rendition could read: “You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

Consider another point: If the rock really did refer to Christ (as some claim, based on 1 Cor. 10:4, “and the Rock was Christ” though the rock there was a literal, physical rock), why did Matthew leave the passage as it was? In the original Aramaic, and in the English which is a closer parallel to it than is the Greek, the passage is clear enough. Matthew must have realized that his readers would conclude the obvious from “Rock . . . rock.”

If he meant Christ to be understood as the rock, why didn’t he say so? Why did he take a chance and leave it up to Paul to write a clarifying text? This presumes, of course, that 1 Corinthians was written after Matthew’s Gospel; if it came first, it could not have been written to clarify it.

The reason, of course, is that Matthew knew full well that what the sentence seemed to say was just what it really was saying. It was Simon, weak as he was, who was chosen to become the rock and thus the first link in the chain of the papacy.

Petros in Homer’s Greek

According to Protestant apologists, the Greek word *petra *means “large rock” whereas the word petros means only a small stone or pebble. If true, this distinction would be significant since Matthew 16:18-19 refers to Peter as petros; consequently, the claim is made that Peter was only a small, insignificant stone or pebble and not the rock upon which Jesus promised to build His Church.

However, in The Illiad, the ancient Greek author, Homer, used *petros *to describe a very large stone. From The Illiad, Chapter 20, Lines 285-290:

285σμερδαλέα ἰάχων: ὃ δὲ χερμάδιον λάβε χειρὶ
286Αἰνείας, μέγα ἔργον, ὃ οὐ δύο γ᾽ ἄνδρε φέροιεν,
287οἷοι νῦν βροτοί εἰσ᾽: ὃ δέ μιν ῥέα πάλλε καὶ οἶος.
288ἔνθά κεν Αἰνείας μὲν ἐπεσσύμενον βάλε πέτρῳ
289ἢ κόρυθ᾽ ἠὲ σάκος, τό οἱ ἤρκεσε λυγρὸν ὄλεθρον,
290τὸν δέ κε Πηλεΐδης σχεδὸν ἄορι θυμὸν ἀπηύρα,

The last word in line 288 is petros. Was this a small stone, easily hefted? Homer has a far different image in mind. Here is the full passage translated into English:

But Achilles drew his sharp sword and leapt upon him furiously, [285] crying a terrible cry; and Aeneas grasped in his hand a stone—a mighty deed—one that not two mortals could bear, such as men are now; yet lightly did he wield it even alone. Then would Aeneas have smitten him with the stone, as he rushed upon him, either on helm or on the shield that had warded from him woeful destruction, [290] and the son of Peleus in close combat would with his sword have

classics.mit.edu/Homer/iliad.20.xx.html

Homer uses two words for the “rock” or “stone” that was described as being so large that it would require two normal men to lift. The second word in the passage above is petros. So, Homer sees *petros *as a movable stone but one that is by no means small.

Based upon a posting by Huiou Theou: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=45207&highlight=Homer

I think the point these apologists are trying to make (quite poorly) is that if one wants to refer to things like “solid foundations” petra would be the much more appropriate word.

perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=pe%2Ftra&la=greek&can=pe%2Ftra0&prior=pe/tros&d=Perseus:text:1999.04.0058:entry=pe/tros&i=1#lexicon

A petros is sort of a 'weapons grade" sized rock, something one can conceivably throw or hurl and do some damage—and thus sizes could vary greatly, but typically it’s something throwable So “pebble” doesn’t work at all, certainly. But neither would someone ever build anything on a movable petros.

My guess is that the confusion is a scribal error because petros just makes no sense in the context. The only other outside possibility is that Jesus means the statement ironically: "on this entirely inappropriate base, I’m going to build my ekklesia.

Oh, I get what they are saying:
You are Peter and on this Peterina I will build my Church…
riiight:rolleyes:

[SIGN]PETROS IS IRRELEVANT[/SIGN]

Look at those examples. Matthew, in narrating the Gospel, calls Simon “Peter,” even before his name is changed by Christ. And Mark 3:16., in a list of Apostles, starts with “Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter).” In both cases, it’s a narrative technique to make sure the reader knows that Simon and Peter are the same guy. Likewise, if you say something like “when Bob Dylan was a child…” you’re not saying he was called Bob Dylan then; you’re just using the name everyone now knows him by (saying “when Robert Allen Zimmerman was a child” will just get you confused looks).

John 1:42 is even more extreme: Jesus looked at Simon and said, “‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter).” Jesus depicts the changing of Simon’s name as a future event in John 1:42. In Matthew 16:18, that prophesy comes true, when He says “you are Peter.” And John makes clear the point that the name given by Christ is Cephas, not Petros, and that Petros is what Peter’s name is “when translated.”

Jesus gave Simon the new name, Cephas, and the size of the Kepha is not an issue.

:compcoff:

Oh, when translated into Greek it was “Petros”. Petros does not mean little rock in NT era Greek.
When translated into English it’s Peter. Peter does not mean little rock in English.

Kepha in Aramaic is the equivalent of petros in Greek. It’s a “throwing size” stone that fits in the palm (keph) of your hand.

The point is that either there’s something messed up in the transmission of the verse or the gospel writer is being quite ironic or even comedic. No one would ever build anything on a kepha/petros!

You’re the one quoting Homer. Dictionary entry please.

What something means in English is entirely irrelevant.

Perhaps you will find these Baptist scholars relevant?

Craig L. Blomberg (Baptist)

“Acknowledging Jesus as The Christ illustrates the appropriateness of Simon’s nickname “Peter” (Petros = rock). This is not the first time Simon has been called Peter (cf. John 1:42), but it is certainly the most famous. Jesus’ declaration, “You are Peter”, parallels Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ”, as if to say, “Since you can tell me who I am, I will tell you who you are.” 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.” (The New American Commentary: Matthew, vol. 22 (Nashville: Broadman, 1992), pages 251-252, JPK pages 31-32)

Donald A. Carson (Baptist)

“On the basis of the distinction between ‘petros’ . . . and ‘petra’ . . . , many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Peter is a mere ‘stone,’ it is alleged; but Jesus himself is the ‘rock’ . . . Others adopt some other distinction . . . Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, it is doubtful whether many would have taken ‘rock’ to be anything or anyone other than Peter . . . 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 . . . Had Matthew wanted to say no more than that Peter was a stone in contrast with Jesus the Rock, the more common word would have been ‘lithos’ (‘stone’ of almost any size). Then there would have been no pun - and that is just the point! . . . In this passage Jesus is the builder of the church and it would be a strange mixture of metaphors that also sees him within the same clauses as its foundation . . .” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984], vol. 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Matthew: D.A. Carson), 368)

“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.” (Carson, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1994], volume 2, page 78, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 18)

Protestant George Salmon, author of The Infallibility of the Church which he wrote to undermine the teachings of the Catholic Church, discusses the matter of metaphorical usage:

“It is undoubtedly the doctrine of Scripture that Christ is the only foundation [of the Church]: “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Yet we must remember that the same metaphor may be used to illustrate different truths, and so, according to circumstances, may have different significations. The same Paul who has called Christ the only foundation, tells his Ephesian converts (2:20):—“Ye are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” And in like manner we read (Rev. 21:14):—“The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” How is it that there can be no other foundation but Christ, and yet that the Apostles are spoken of as foundations? Plainly, because the metaphor is used with different applications. Christ alone is that foundation, from being joined to which the whole building of the Church derives its unity and stability, and gains strength to defy all the assaults of hell. But, in the same manner as any human institution is said to be founded by those men to whom it owes its origin, so we may call those men the foundation of the Church whom God honoured by using them as His instruments in the establishment of it; who were themselves laid as the first living stones in that holy temple, and on whom the other stones of that temple were laid; for it was on their testimony that others received the truth, so that our faith rests on theirs; and (humanly speaking) it is because they believed that we believe. So, again, in like manner, we are forbidden to call anyone on earth our Father, “for one is our Father which is in heaven.” And yet, in another sense, Paul did not scruple to call himself the spiritual father of those whom he had begotten in the Gospel. You see, then, that the fact that Christ is called the rock, and that on Him the Church is built, is no hindrance to Peter’s also being, in a different sense, called rock, and being said to be the foundation of the Church; so that I consider there is no ground for the fear entertained by some, in ancient and in modern times, that, by applying the words personally to Peter, we should infringe on the honour due to Christ alone.” (George Salmon, The Infallibility of the Church [London: John Murray, 1914], 338-339).

Dave Noonan #11
The point is that either there’s something messed up in the transmission of the verse or the gospel writer is being quite ironic or even comedic. No one would ever build anything on a kepha/petros!

False.

Peter is the Rock on which Jesus built His Church.

On St Peter, scholarly commentary identifies that Cephas is merely the transliteration of the Aramaic ‘Kepha’ into Greek. Catholicism And Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, 1988, Ignatius, p 207].

“Transliteration” means to represent words in the characters of another alphabet. Convert David B Currie puts it this way: “Kepha] transliterated into English, can be written ‘Cephas’.” Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, 1996, Ignatius, p 76]. Since “Kepha” is the only Aramaic word for rock, Currie points out that Jesus said: “I tell you that you are Rock (Kepha) and on this Rock (Kepha) I will build my Church.”

“Sur” was the chief biblical word for rock, and the Psalms emphasised that God was the only Rock (sur). “Being closely synonymous with “sur”, the name Kepha could not help but evoke in pious Jews, as all the twelve were, a sentiment of awe and reverence.” And On This Rock, Fr Stanley L Jaki, OSB, 1987, Trinity Communications, p 77].

The Swiss Calvinist biblical scholar, Oscar Cullman, declared …”the Roman Catholic exegesis must be regarded as correct.” (See Peter, Apostle, Disciple, Martyr, 1953, p 18-20).
Paul calls Peter “Cephas” quite often.
[Keating, p 208-11].

Cephas is Aramaic for Rock and Petra is the Greek. When he said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,” the two words meant the same thing.

There you are, Christianized.

A) Actually, I wouldn’t even consider the above to be scholarship; quoting fundamentalists who publish things with Zondervan isn’t particularly helpful.

B) What you’ve cut and pasted here doesn’t address my questions, which comes across as obfuscation.

:rolleyes:

**Here was his reply: **
thank you for admitting you went to great lenghts to avoid the truth. According to Papias, matthew was written in Aramaic. so yes, Jesus would have said you are cephas but when I checked the Aramaic text i was right. the second word used in the Greek for rockmeans a foundation stone and it modifiesthe closest articular noun which is in verse 17. so the Aramaic attributes the phrase “upon this rock” to reer to Peter’s confession in verse 17. If you question this, then explain to me how an articular noun functions in any other way. btw, i am considered by many an expert on biblical languages. try again. How should I respond to this???

In reality, Fr Stanley L Jaki, S.J. points out that the consummate skill of Jesus in quoting the Bible was manifest in the name He gave to Simon. “Instead of calling Simon sur, he called him Kepha. The former was the chief biblical word for rock, the latter was the Aramaic version, commonly used in Jesus’ time, for the biblical keph, which occurs only a few times in the Old Testament.

“Jesus’ choice of kepha left Simon what he was, a mere man, while the very same name grafted on him, through its being closely synonymous with sur, something superhuman.

Fr Jaki concludes that “Christ’s words ‘you are rock,’ have their validity even if Yahweh had never been called Rock in the Old Testament.”[See *And On This Rock, Fr Stanley L Jaki, O.S.B., Trinity Communications, 1987, p 74-81].

Answer by Fr. John Echert (EWTN) on 07-19-2003:
Extract:
“The original Aramaic name given to Simon by our Lord was “Cepha” which means rock. The Greek equivalent is “Petra” but since this is a feminine noun in Greek, it is rendered with the masculine ending as “Petros” in the New Testament. Contrary to what some non-Catholics claim, the use of “Petros” does not manifest an intention to regard Peter as a small stone rather than a rock but is simply done in accord with the rules of grammar and convention in the Greek. Such is obvious when we consider that the actual name given him by the Lord, “Cepha,” admits of NO such distinction between a small stone and large rock.

The reality of Peter being the Rock on which Christ founded His only Church is exemplified by Peter’s the recognition of Peter’s status in Christ’s Church.

Already, Peter had exercised his supreme authority in the upper room before Pentecost to have Judas’ place filled. At the first Apostolic Council of Jerusalem Peter settled the heated discussion over circumcising the gentiles and “the whole assembly fell silent” (Acts 15:7-12). Paul made sure that his ministry to the gentiles was recognised by, Peter (Gal 1:I8).

From the N.T. we know that Christ promised that His Church would last until the end of time, which would mean the constitutional permanence of the office of head of His Church which He had bestowed on Peter alone. (Mt 16:18). Early Church history, e.g. St Irenaeus, taught by St Polycarp who had been a disciple of St John the Apostle, wrote in his great work Adversus Haereses in Bk 3, Sect 2 “The blessed Apostles, after founding and building up the Church (in Rome), handed over to Linus the office of Bishop.”

Peter often spoke for the rest of the Apostles (Mt 19:27; Mk 8:29; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:69). The Apostles are sometimes referred to as “Peter and his companions” (Lk 9:32; Mk 16:7; Acts 2:37). Peter’s name always heads the list of the Apostles (Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). Finally, Peter’s name is mentioned 191 times, which is more than all the rest of the Apostles combined (about 130 times).

After Peter, the most frequently mentioned Apostle is John, whose name appears 48 times. Peter is conspicuously involved in all the Church’s important “firsts.” Peter led the meeting which elected the first successor to an Apostle ( Acts 1:13-26). Peter preached the first sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14), and received the first converts (Acts 2:4 1). Peter performed the first miracle after Pentecost (Acts 3:6-7), inflicted the first punishment upon Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic Simon the magician (Acts 8:2 1).

Peter is the first Apostle to raise a person from the dead (Acts 9:36-4 1). Peter first received the revelation to admit Gentiles into the Church (Acts 10:9-16), and commanded that the first Gentile converts be baptized (Acts 10:44-48).

The denial of this reality for multitudinous self-expression is what has caused the errors that followed.

, Fr Stanley L Jaki, O.S.B., Trinity Communications, 1987, p 74-81].

Answer by Fr. John Echert (EWTN) on 07-19-2003:
Extract:
“The original Aramaic name given to Simon by our Lord was “Cepha” which means rock. The Greek equivalent is “Petra” but since this is a feminine noun in Greek, it is rendered with the masculine ending as “Petros” in the New Testament. Contrary to what some non-Catholics claim, the use of “Petros” does not manifest an intention to regard Peter as a small stone rather than a rock but is simply done in accord with the rules of grammar and convention in the Greek. Such is obvious when we consider that the actual name given him by the Lord, “Cepha,” admits of NO such distinction between a small stone and large rock.

The reality of Peter being the Rock on which Christ founded His only Church is exemplified by Peter’s the recognition of Peter’s status in Christ’s Church.

Already, Peter had exercised his supreme authority in the upper room before Pentecost to have Judas’ place filled. At the first Apostolic Council of Jerusalem Peter settled the heated discussion over circumcising the gentiles and “the whole assembly fell silent” (Acts 15:7-12). Paul made sure that his ministry to the gentiles was recognised by, Peter (Gal 1:I8).

From the N.T. we know that Christ promised that His Church would last until the end of time, which would mean the constitutional permanence of the office of head of His Church which He had bestowed on Peter alone. (Mt 16:18). Early Church history, e.g. St Irenaeus, taught by St Polycarp who had been a disciple of St John the Apostle, wrote in his great work Adversus Haereses in Bk 3, Sect 2 “The blessed Apostles, after founding and building up the Church (in Rome), handed over to Linus the office of Bishop.”

Peter often spoke for the rest of the Apostles (Mt 19:27; Mk 8:29; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:69). The Apostles are sometimes referred to as “Peter and his companions” (Lk 9:32; Mk 16:7; Acts 2:37). Peter’s name always heads the list of the Apostles (Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). Finally, Peter’s name is mentioned 191 times, which is more than all the rest of the Apostles combined (about 130 times).

After Peter, the most frequently mentioned Apostle is John, whose name appears 48 times. Peter is conspicuously involved in all the Church’s important “firsts.” Peter led the meeting which elected the first successor to an Apostle ( Acts 1:13-26). Peter preached the first sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14), and received the first converts (Acts 2:4 1). Peter performed the first miracle after Pentecost (Acts 3:6-7), inflicted the first punishment upon Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic Simon the magician (Acts 8:2 1).

Peter is the first Apostle to raise a person from the dead (Acts 9:36-4 1). Peter first received the revelation to admit Gentiles into the Church (Acts 10:9-16), and commanded that the first Gentile converts be baptized (Acts 10:44-48).

The denial of this reality for multitudinous self-expression is what has caused the errors that followed.

Thank You!!!

“So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter)." John 1:42

“Kepha”, aramaic for “big rock” transliterates into koine as Kephas, or Cephas as Paul refers to him (Gal 2:9, & 1 Cor 1:12).

When translated into koine greek, Kepha MUST depart from the usual feminine gender of “Petras” and be rendered as “Petros” as a proper masculine title or name. If you don’t, it would be the equivalent of calling a man Michelle instead of Michael.

Whoever first TRANSLATED Kepha (as opposed to the transliteration “Cepha”) into “Petros” AS A NAME-TITLE was doing a unique and new thing. Cephas/Kepha means “big immovable rock” like the escarpment at Caesar Phillipi. “Petra” (feminine) is the direct translation of Kepha into koine, but one cannot respectfully call a MAN a feminine name-title, so “Petros” becomes a proper masculine title and name. If you don’t, it would be the equivalent of calling a man Michelle instead of Michael.

In other words, obvious allowances HAVE to be made that depart from strict grammatical usage (Obvious except to anyone determined to use strained and tortuous “reasoning” to justify already-held counter-beliefs)

Despite many Protestant or lay-Orthodox claims, “Petros” in koine does NOT mean “little rock” or “pebble”–it STILL means “big rock”. While it means “little rock” in ATTIC greek (the “classical” greek of 400 BC) that is NOT the case for the koine which the New Testament was composed [per Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), 507; D.A. Carson, “Matthew,” AND in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), vol. 8, 368.]

The conflation between the ATTIC usage and the KOINE usage seems to be a residual interpretation derived from the (unsupported) assumptions of 18th and 19th Century protestant or secular NT scholars. These scholars believed the koine texts MUST have been corrupted translations from earlier attic texts—said attic texts were thought to be lacking support for Catholic claims (protestant assumption) or supernatural claims (secular assumption). Since the late 19th Century, the idea of “original attic composition” has been abandoned with the discovery of far earlier koine texts, not just of the NT, but all sorts of documents, demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that koine was the normative written language of scholarship, commerce, and theology throughout the early Roman Empire.

For fundamentalists to continue to assert Petros means “pebble” in koine (usually citing the biased and inaacurate Vine’s Concordance) against the vast weight of 100+ years of scholarly findings is just to demonstrate their automatic and irrational rejection of ANYTHING that might support the Catholic interpretation of scripture. It is already present anti-Catholicism that clearly drives the fundamentalist interpretation, rather than actual linguistics, which provides any supposed evidence against Catholicism.

–Especially within the first 5 centuries of the Church, most of the ECFs were either native koine (greek) speakers or had aquired a firm grasp (if not mastery) of this international language of scholarship and commerce. THESE men, far more than anyone 1200+ years later with an anti-catholic bias, would KNOW what the text said and meant, KNOW that there was NO difference between “Petra” and “Petros”, KNOW Peter was “this very rock”, and KNOW Peter by receiving “the keys” was singled out for special authority from the other apostles.]

Per W. F. Albright, the very eminent Protestant scholar (w/ CS Mann, author of the commentary in The Anchor Bible: Matthew, 1971) “…there is NO evidence of Peter or Kephas as name prior to Christian times…Peter as Rock will be the foundation of the future community [ecclasia, “church”]…In view of the [aramaic] background of verse 19…one must dismiss as confessional interpretations, any attempt to see this rock as meaning the faith, or the messianic confession of Peter. To deny the pre-eminenent position of Peter among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence…”

Besides, there is already in koine a word for “small rock” or even “pebbles” a person can pick up in their hands, that word is “lithoi” and is used several times in the NT in that context:

Matt 4:3, “lithoi” is used for the stones the Devil challenges Jesus to turn into bread.

In John 8:59 & 10:31 some scandalized Jews pick up stones to hurl at Jesus and the word again in both cases is “lithoi”.

Likewise, in 1 Pet 2:5, Peter describes believers as “living stones” to form a spiritual house and once again “lithoi” is used in the context of easily handable stones.

Petra/Petros in koine is used exclusively as a big, massive, immovable rock formation, which is EXACTLY the context it is used in both Matt 16 and Matt 7:24-27. Actual Greek Orthodox theologians do not claim “Petros” means “pebble”, only that it is a masculine play on “petra” to refer to Peter’s foundational faith–and this is a tenuous allegorical interpretation to avoid the uncomfortable literal meaning that the koine-speaking ECFs repeatedly declared.

Additionaly, IF Jesus had wanted Simon Bar-Jonah to be known as “Little Rock” or “Pebble” He would have used the aramaic “Evna” which means exactly that and Paul would have followed suit. Aramaic does not have the same genders as koine to confuse the issue.

Actually, it’s just the opposite. In Aramaic a kepha is a hand-sized rock, used to refer to flint-stones used to start a fire, or a stone or making tools, or a stone used in hand food processing–for final grinding or pressing. A kepha is hardly by definition “a big immovable rock.” While it’s certainly not “pebble,” a kepha is something you can hold in your hand, something you can use as a tool, or something you can throw at someone and expect to do some damage.

In general, evnah refers to the material itself “…made of stone” but can also be used to refer to things like massive foundation stones. If Jesus wanted to clearly refer to Peter as something/someone appropriate and good for building on, evnah would actually have been a good choice.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.