Need help explaining Matthew 16:13-20


I need help explaining Matthew 16:13-20:

First he explain that the word Peter means Petros: as small rock or stone. I explained to him that the Greek translation has masculine and femenine words and since Petra is femenine they called him Petros since Peter was a man and Petra means Rock. This website actually backs it up both he and I are saying so there is confusion and I can't change his mind as to the meaning.

Then he goes on the say the second word Rock is actually referring to Jesus not Peter.

So he says that Matthew 16:13-19 reads like this:

" I also say to you that you are Petros (Peter), and upon this rock (Jesus) I will build my church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it.

and he uses this other passage to back up that it is really Jesus Matthew is talking about:

The word "rock" in Matthew 16:18, has the same Greek word of the "rock" in 1Corinthians 10:4 which says, "and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4 NASB)

This is the true meaning of this passage that when Jesus said in verse 18. "Upon this rock I will build My church" , Jesus was referring to Himself based on the confession that Peter just made in verse 16 " you are the Christ, the Son of the living God". This is the true meaning of this passage and that's why you can never see in any passage anywhere in the Bible that Peter is the first pope.

This is a person I really care about that used to be Catholic, and was convinced that we are a pegan religion. Am I ever going to change is mind?


I forgot to mention if this has already been answered, please forward me to the thread. I have been searching for it and can't find it.

Sorry if this question has already been answered.


[quote="vfinnegan, post:1, topic:321610"]
I need help explaining Matthew 16:13-20:

Am I ever going to change is mind?


It may have been answered... I would guess so, but I'll try to give my best answer...

It's important to examine everything in context. While the New Testament was written in Greek, Jesus in all likelihood was speaking Aramaic, though he may well have spoken Greek living so close to the Hellenistic city of Sepphorus (<4 miles from Nazareth). So the Greek words may not be the best way to see what Jesus said.

The other thing is to look at how many times Jesus changed the names of other people... pretty lacking. And notably, it's not just in Matthew that Jesus changes Peter's name.

It's not just the Gospels either. Paul frequently refers to Peter as Cephas (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1; Galatians 2). If name changing wasn't a big deal, why was Peter going around using the name Cephas and why was Paul calling him that?

Also look at how Paul talks about his own conversion in Galatians 1 and 2. He gets his revelation, goes wandering in the desert and returns to Damascus. After 3 years, he goes to stay with Cephas for a couple weeks. Why was Paul going to Cephas?

In Galatians 2, Paul rebukes Cephas for his hypocrisy in eating only with Jewish Christians from Jerusalem. This is a big deal for Paul, because it centers on the unity of the Eucharist (one loaf, one cup...) and the necessity of all Christians eating the meal together (1 Corinthians 11). Back then "eating" probably meant the agape meal, the first form of the Eucharist.

Overall, there is far too much evidence in the Bible, by different independent attestations, of the importance of Peter among the Twelve. It's in all four Gospels, Acts, Paul, and more. To say that Matthew 16 on its own can be twisted over the issue of masculine/feminine rock words is just hyper-simplistic and out of context.

Paul himself had his name changed from Saul, a name referencing the pre-Davidic king of Israel who lost God's favor in favor of the line of David.

Another thing to examine is what God changing someone's name in the OLD Testament / Tanakh was. When Abram was selected, God changed his name to Abraham as a sign that he was the founder of the new covenant. Jacob's name is changed to Israel after struggling and prevailing with God and men. Hosea's children's names were changed to reflect God's mercy. In all cases, a name change reflects something of divine significance. For Jesus to change Simon's name to Peter or Cephas or Kephas is a really big deal.

The Gospels do point out Peter's profession of Jesus as the Messiah in all four Gospels, which makes it interesting and curious. Paul also attests that Cephas is the first to see the risen Christ in 1 Corinthians 15.

That being said, Matthew 16 was not used until the 3rd century to explain the supremacy of the bishop of Rome.


But the whole context of Mt 16:13-19 doesn't fit with your friends interpretation. So Jesus basically said

"Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I say to you, you are an insignificant pebble, but on this rock which is me I will build my Church."

Yeesh! Talk about a backhanded compliment!:D Why bother changing his name at all? It only confuses people.

Actually, Jesus doesn't even use the word "but" in Greek, which is what you would have to use if you were trying to make a contrast. He uses * Kai* which is and, the word you would use when making a comparison!

But you might also want to point out that there actually is a word in koine Greek that always meant small stone or pebble. But it wasn't Petros, it was Psephos. We see that in Revelation 2:17, which says, "To him who conquers, I will give him a white * STONE *(Psephos) with a new name on it." If Jesus really wanted to emphasize Peter was just a pebble, he would have used this word, not petros.:thumbsup:


Unfortunately he will not accept that the second rock is Peter. He says its Jesus. So it reads like this:

Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter and upon this Jesus I will build my church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it.


[quote="vfinnegan, post:1, topic:321610"]
This is a person I really care about that used to be Catholic, and was convinced that we are a pegan religion. Am I ever going to change is mind?


You might not be able to. It depends on his openness to the Spirit, and you might eventually find it best to forgo argument and hope you planted a seed. Anyway, here is some pertinent info. for resources on Peter as Rock:

Is Peter Rock
Origins of Peter as Pope
Peter the Rock
Peter Rock Keys Primacy

These all delve into the Greek of the passage.



The argument that the name Petros is not a masculinization of petra is absurd for at least two reasons.

(1) The pun would need to preserved in Aramaic.
(2) The word petros is nowhere used in the New Testament other than as Peter's name.

As I see it, reason two completely demolishes this sort of interpretation. How can there be a pun if there is no distinction in meaning between the two words in the language of the New Testament. Challenge your friend to find an instance of the word petros in the Bible that is not applied to Peter.


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