Peter is Protos?!


#1

I just came across a pretty neat bit of information.
I remembered hearing on Catholic Answers Live a week or so ago it was mentioned that Matthew 10:2 uses the greek term “protos” in reference to Peter.

For some reason I just remembered this now and decided to look into the details. I found a FEW short references to this on a few very old threads but I was amazed this hasnt been brought up more often.

Anyway, here is what Matt 10:2 says:1 And having called his twelve disciples together, he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities. 2 And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first [protos], Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
I looked up the word “protos” in a online lexicon and it said there were two main definitions:

1)first in regards to time or place (eg “first I did this, then I did that.” or “I came first, he came second”)

2)first in regards to rank, ie chief

Now if it can be shown that the second definition is in fact the usage for Mt 10:2 then that is solid (explicit!) proof of Peter’s primacy.

As far as I can tell Peter was not the first (chronologically) apostle to be found or called, rather Andrew his brother was (Jn 1:40). One listing does not have “Peter, Andrew”, but rather Mk 3:15 And he gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. 16 And to Simon he gave the name Peter: 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James… 18 And Andrewindicating there isnt a strict order besides Peter at the top of the list.

In regards to the sentence structure, it says: “And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first”. After the words “are these” the phrase “the first” is kind of redundant if it is used chronologically, in fact Luke 6 says: 13 And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles). 14 Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brotherobviously Luke didnt need to inform us which came first chronologically.

The most logical answer therefore is that “first” [protos] in fact means “chief”. Thus the Bible explicitly says Peter is the chief apostle.

I am definitely going to remember this one for future reference.

I welcome any thoughts and even criticism.


#2

Looks like a strong argument. Thanks.


#3

Also found in a This Rock article about Peter and the Eastern Orthodox:

Matthew 10:2 begins, “first, Simon, who is called Peter.” Unless the word “first” was used to express some kind of preeminence in Peter, in that context the word is “a meaningless tautology.” [Michael M. Winter, St. Peter and the Popes (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1979), 3]


#4

CatholicDude, I think your exgesis is well done and sound. I think I heard that on CAL too. But I have heard at least one anti-Catholic (John MacArthur) who readily acknowledges Peter as a leader of the 12, but nothing more…no “Papacy” of course.

Of course MacArthur doesn’t see the apostolic succession in the New Testament, and the Papacy in Scripture and Tradition…but… :shrug:


#5

I agree that it does give evidence towards Peters primacy, however, it wouldn’t give “proof” for the Eastern Orthodox Christians who would acknowledge Peters primacy, yet deny his infallibility or what the Catholic Magisterium teaches about Papal infallibility or even the development of Papal infallibility. You’ve done a good job in your research, :thumbsup: But don’t expect non-Catholics to see that necessarily as “proof.” I don’t mean to be negative, just realistic.

As far as I can tell Peter was not the first (chronologically) apostle to be found or called, rather Andrew his brother was (Jn 1:40). One listing does not have “Peter, Andrew”, but rather Mk 3: 15 And he gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. 16 And to Simon he gave the name Peter: 17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James… 18 And Andrew
indicating there isnt a strict order besides Peter at the top of the list.

In regards to the sentence structure, it says: “And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first”. After the words “are these” the phrase “the first” is kind of redundant if it is used chronologically, in fact Luke 6 says: 13 And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles). 14 Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother
obviously Luke didnt need to inform us which came first chronologically.

The most logical answer therefore is that “first” [protos] in fact means “chief”. Thus the Bible explicitly says Peter is the chief apostle.

I am definitely going to remember this one for future reference.

I welcome any thoughts and even criticism.

Again, you’ve done very well and it’s a great argument, and I’d use it for sure if I were you, in fact, you might want to start a thread but if you do, it will be a VERY busy one for sure.
Without trying to sound like the grim reaper, don’t expect non-Catholics to see this as a “proof.” They often wrongly separate Peter from the development of the Papacy and from Catholic teaching on Papal infallibility which doesn’t enable them to see the truth about Peter. Otherwise great job! :slight_smile:


#6

Cool, I will have to read this later.

They say he is “first among equals” but is that the same as “chief apostle”?
In looking up that same word one verse that came up was the one where someone asked Jesus "which is the greatest/first [protos] commandment?"
Here the “greatest/first [protos] commandment” is not “first among equals” as if the other commandments were just as important.

Without trying to sound like the grim reaper, don’t expect non-Catholics to see this as a “proof.” They often wrongly separate Peter from the development of the Papacy and from Catholic teaching on Papal infallibility which doesn’t enable them to see the truth about Peter. Otherwise great job! :slight_smile:

LOL, I agree there is no perfect proof, though I hope there is some apologetics article out there that presents this protos argument in a more polished fashion (ie ready to counter any objection).


#7

MacArthur is an interesting fellow, and he does have some great stuff to say. Not to say that I’m in total agreement with his views, but certainly, the fact that he doesn’t agree with you shouldn’t be held against him, making his opinions worthless to you.

Anywho, on to the point in question…

Obviously protos can be understood as a Greek root in our English language. It can indeed hold two meanings – first (ordinally) or chief (primary, of importancs).

So, in English, or any other language, if we gave a list of several items, and itentified one to be “protos” (first), would the normal understanding be a chiefness, or simply an ordinal primacy (that is, being first in the list), especially considering that we are then presented with the remainder of a list, and only the first item is identified? I’d say that an ordinal definition is far more likely. This doesn’t take much to understand.

Now if it can be shown that the second definition is in fact the usage for Mt 10:2 then that is solid (explicit!) proof of Peter’s primacy.

A primacy of some sort, indeed. But again, this passage lacks any specific mention of specialness for Peter except for saying that he’s first, which can possibly be taken in a non-authoritative fashion.

As far as I can tell Peter was not the first (chronologically) apostle to be found or called, rather Andrew his brother was (Jn 1:40).

John has Andrew, then Peter.
Matthew and Mark have Peter and Andrew at the same time.
Luke has Peter, then Andrew.

There is certainly some dispute as to who was actually first, but according to Matthew, Peter seems to have been, and as it is an ordinal list, so the use of protos makes sense.

…indicating there isnt a strict order besides Peter at the top of the list.

Well, the apostles’ order certainly is arguable, but the point here is considering it in an ordinal fashion is totally in accordance with Matthew’s recollection of the order the apostles were recruited in.

The most logical answer therefore is that “first” [protos] in fact means “chief”. Thus the Bible explicitly says Peter is the chief apostle.

That would be assuming that the definition that is by far the most common is not accurate, which should require some substantiation. Can you provide such?


#8

Actually not all of the EO’s say “first among equals” as I’ve read their EO forums, some do, some don’t.

In looking up that same word one verse that came up was the one where someone asked Jesus "which is the greatest/first [protos] commandment?"
Here the “greatest/first [protos] commandment” is not “first among equals” as if the other commandments were just as important.

I agree with you brother, but if I play the devils advocate, I could say that yes, Jesus did say there was the greatest commandment (to love God with all your heart and all of your mind) and that would be an infallible commandment but SO would all of the other commandments which shows all of the Apostles/Bishops being equal! Again, I’m playing the devils advocate here. I’ve gone back and forth with the EO’s and Protestants who

I’m not trying to dismiss your argument, for it IS a very good argument, indeed; all I’m saying is that is won’t be a for sure home run to non-Catholics who will use non relevant arguments against the vicar of Christ.

LOL, I agree there is no perfect proof, though I hope there is some apologetics article out there that presents this protos argument in a more polished fashion (ie ready to counter any objection).

There is no perfect proof and even it there were some people are vailed and can’t see the light in among the trees, some others refuse to. We have the vicar of Christ and your argument gives me and others more truths in order to be more assured that Peter IS the first leader and who Jesus appointed as the shephard over Chirstiandom.


#9

I see what you are saying, but if you think about it the phrase “the first” is unnecessary if not redundant. Further, there is no “FIRST Peter, THEN Andrew” or “FIRST Peter…finally/lastly Judas”. Note how neither Mk nor Lk felt necessary to inform us that the first (chronologically) was Peter.

A primacy of some sort, indeed. But again, this passage lacks any specific mention of specialness for Peter except for saying that he’s first, which can possibly be taken in a non-authoritative fashion.

Couple this with the fact it mentions his name was changed to “Rock” and that he is mentioned first in each list and this supports the Catholic claim.

John has Andrew, then Peter.
Matthew and Mark have Peter and Andrew at the same time.
Luke has Peter, then Andrew.

There is certainly some dispute as to who was actually first, but according to Matthew, Peter seems to have been, and as it is an ordinal list, so the use of protos makes sense.

You make a good point, but when it comes down to what other Scripture says, Andrew was in fact the first called and to follow. The fact Mt, Mk, Lk put the first emphasis on Peter supports the primacy claim because it effectively puts Andrew in the back seat (Mk puts Andrew fourth on the list).

Well, the apostles’ order certainly is arguable, but the point here is considering it in an ordinal fashion is totally in accordance with Matthew’s recollection of the order the apostles were recruited in.

The order is not arguable though. The order differs, Andrew is placed 4th on Mk’s list, and towards the end of the lists the last few Apostles order is swapped as well.

That would be assuming that the definition that is by far the most common is not accurate, which should require some substantiation. Can you provide such?

What do you mean ‘the most common’? You agreed above that “primacy” was indeed a valid usage, thus ‘most common’ doesnt necessarily mean anything here.


#10

All the more reason to believe that Matthew’s use was indeed superfluous – an addition added to make for a better written account of the story. If there was intentional use by Matthew to promote the primacy of Peter, why then did the other gospel authors not make such use?

Couple this with the fact it mentions his name was changed to “Rock” and that he is mentioned first in each list and this supports the Catholic claim.

Except for the listing of James, Peter and John (I Corinthians, I think). Should we then presume that Peter was the most important until later, when James took over? Your argument necessitates this belief.

You make a good point, but when it comes down to what other Scripture says, Andrew was in fact the first called and to follow.

So we accept that Andrew was the first, even though John’s the only one to say that, and it has a story which directly contradicts the other gospels?

The fact Mt, Mk, Lk put the first emphasis on Peter supports the primacy claim because it effectively puts Andrew in the back seat (Mk puts Andrew fourth on the list).

An ordinal listing is hardly emphasis. And which was he? The fourth, or the second, or the third…or the first? We see Andrew in all of these places in various listings.

The order is not arguable though. The order differs, Andrew is placed 4th on Mk’s list, and towards the end of the lists the last few Apostles order is swapped as well.

If the order differs, then the importance must be established in each gospel to be considered something that all the gospel authors recognized, and having all the gospel authors recognize Peter’s primacy is surely to be expected if such a belief is valid.

What do you mean ‘the most common’? You agreed above that “primacy” was indeed a valid usage, thus ‘most common’ doesnt necessarily mean anything here.

I mean, in cases of question, it is usually correct to assume the most common definition to be the accurate one.

In other words, assuming protos to mean chief in this instance is at best, circumstantial, and could be considered wishful thinking.


#11

That right there is a problem. If there isnt even agreement on “first among equals” then what?

I agree with you brother, but if I play the devils advocate, I could say that yes, Jesus did say there was the greatest commandment (to love God with all your heart and all of your mind) and that would be an infallible commandment but SO would all of the other commandments which shows all of the Apostles/Bishops being equal! Again, I’m playing the devils advocate here. I’ve gone back and forth with the EO’s and Protestants who

I’m not trying to dismiss your argument, for it IS a very good argument, indeed; all I’m saying is that is won’t be a for sure home run to non-Catholics who will use non relevant arguments against the vicar of Christ.

I dont follow. How can there be a “greatest commandment” if all are equal?


#12

:confused: Since when is anything written in Scripture “superfluous”?

Except for the listing of James, Peter and John (I Corinthians, I think). Should we then presume that Peter was the most important until later, when James took over? Your argument necessitates this belief.

That exception, in Gal 2 (I think), is just that (not to mention Peter is singled out in Gal as well). In the Gospels themselves Peter is listed first and has his name changed. St Paul elsewhere singles Peter out (eg 1 Cor 15:4-5).

So we accept that Andrew was the first, even though John’s the only one to say that, and it has a story which directly contradicts the other gospels?

Contradicts? Are you sure about that?
I would say John’s Gospel adds a detail the others do not, I wouldnt say something is false just because only one Gospel says it and I certainly wouldnt say there are contradictions.

An ordinal listing is hardly emphasis. And which was he? The fourth, or the second, or the third…or the first? We see Andrew in all of these places in various listings.

How can you say that? An ordinal listing with Peter at the front each time says a lot, especially considering Andrew could drop from 2nd to 4th.

If the order differs, then the importance must be established in each gospel to be considered something that all the gospel authors recognized, and having all the gospel authors recognize Peter’s primacy is surely to be expected if such a belief is valid.

You have no case here where as I do. In each list Peter is first where as the rest are switched around.

I mean, in cases of question, it is usually correct to assume the most common definition to be the accurate one.

In other words, assuming protos to mean chief in this instance is at best, circumstantial, and could be considered wishful thinking.

No, the most common usage doesnt automatically trump the usage in a given context.


#13

In all writing, there are extra words added which are not essentially necessary to maintain the point of the story. And yet authors add them for the sake of making the story flow. Do we really need to go into the details of literary style? There are many ways Matthew could have written the list of apostles – it just so happens he chose to do it in an ordinal fashion, perhaps in order according to his account of the recruitment.

That exception, in Gal 2 (I think), is just that (not to mention Peter is singled out in Gal as well). In the Gospels themselves Peter is listed first and has his name changed. St Paul elsewhere singles Peter out (eg 1 Cor 15:4-5).

Again, surname, not rename. Secondly, why do the canon writings of the gospel authors take precedence over the canon writings of Paul?

Contradicts? Are you sure about that?
I would say John’s Gospel adds a detail the others do not, I wouldnt say something is false just because only one Gospel says it and I certainly wouldnt say there are contradictions.

John has Andrew and another as apostles of John the baptist who went and followed Jesus, with Andrew later telling Peter to come follow Jesus as well, for he was the Messiah.

Other gospels have Jesus walking along, seeing Peter and Andrew together in a boat, and calling them at the same time. Contradictory, yes. Detrimental to our faith? Not at all – the order in which the twelve were recruited is inconsequential, so much so that at least one gospel omits the order of recruitment for most of them.

How can you say that? An ordinal listing with Peter at the front each time says a lot, especially considering Andrew could drop from 2nd to 4th.

And yet Peter wasn’t always first. If order in a list surely establishes something, then we know that later, James (not the apostle) became greater than Peter. I reject that God would reorder an established hierarchy, and thus I must conclude that such listing orders do not inherently show hierarchy.

You have no case here where as I do. In each list Peter is first where as the rest are switched around.

See above.

No, the most common usage doesnt automatically trump the usage in a given context.

True, if you can establish the context. Thus, you should easily be able to show me a given rule by which we can see that the term protos, when used in a list of individuals, denotes primacy in all cases. The floor is yours.


#14

But I dont think it is fair to say anything in INSPIRED Scripture is “superfluous” as if it didnt belong.

Again, surname, not rename. Secondly, why do the canon writings of the gospel authors take precedence over the canon writings of Paul?

Paul’s Epistles are to be interpreted in light of the 4 Gospels. The NT Epistles were shorthand letters which cannt be fully understood without the foundation of the Gospels. That is a reason why so many Protestants misunderstand Scripture.

… Contradictory, yes. Detrimental to our faith? Not at all …

I would not say that was a contradiction, Andrew first came in contact with Jesus, then Andrew went to Peter and Jesus came upon them both. To say “contradiction” means you are saying the Bible is teaching error…and that is simply unacceptable.

And yet Peter wasn’t always first. If order in a list surely establishes something, then we know that later, James (not the apostle) became greater than Peter. …

I know of NO ordinal listings where Peter is not listed first.

Further, you say “James (not the apostle)”, I disagree with that. The head of the Jerusalem congregation (while Peter was off establishing other congregations) was James son of Alphaeus (Apostle) as the evidence in Scripture clearly supports.

See above.

See above. :smiley:

(cont)


#15

(cont)

True, if you can establish the context. …

As anyone who has read the first post can see I laid down my reasoning (showing that “first” chronologically didnt make sense).
I looked up all the times Matthew uses “protos”. I highlighted in green all the times “protos” is clearly used in regards to time or order:
Mt 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon…

[Mt 12:45]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+12:45&version=kjv&showtools=yes")...the last state of that man is worse than the **first**. ...

[Mt 19:30]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+19:30&version=kjv&showtools=yes")But many that are **first** shall be last; and the last shall be **first**.


[Mt 20:8]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+20:8&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   ...Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the **first**.
[Mt 20:10]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+20:10&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   But when the **first** came...
[Mt 20:16]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+20:16&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   So the last shall be **first**, and the **first** last:...


[Mt 20:27]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+20:27&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:


[Mt 21:28]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+21:28&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   A certain man had two sons; and he came to the **first**, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
[Mt 21:31]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+21:31&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The **first**. ...


[Mt 21:36]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+21:36&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   Again, he sent other servants more than the **first**: and they did unto them likewise.


[Mt 22:25]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+22:25&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   Now there were with us seven brethren: and the **first**, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:


[Mt 22:38]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+22:38&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   This is the first and great commandment.


[Mt 26:17]("http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?passage=mt+26:17&version=kjv&showtools=yes")   Now the **first** day of the feast of unleavened bread...

Mt 27:64 …He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

What we have left is Mat 10:2; 20:27 and 22:38. The latter two clearly are in reference to “chief”, thus we know Matthew has used “protos” in the non chronological/sequence sense. In each usage of “protos” in the time/sequence sense it is undeniably indicated (in the same verse or context) with qualifiers like “last” where as no such qualifiers are in Mat 10:2.

(I edited my last two posts for size, but it turns out the attributes on my fonts like color was taking up most of the space on my 5000 character limit)


#16

[Catholic Dude;2771579]That right there is a problem. If there isnt even agreement on “first among equals” then what?

Well, I’m not sure. The EO’s have split a number of times so that each Bishop has authority over his diocese and Bishops as we know from history, disagree. And as they have no final authority to say yes or no on certain matters.

I dont follow. How can there be a “greatest commandment” if all are equal?

Well, I was playing the devils advocate. Jesus said that greatest commandment in Matthew 22:34-40 is to love God with all your heart and mind.
He also said to love your neighbor as yourself.

My point is those opposed to Petrine primacy will say just because “protos” shows Peter is the head Apostle or the greatest Apsostle doesn’t mean he is infallible as is the Catholic Pope.
And they could say that even though Jesus said there was the “greatest” commandment, doesn’t invalidate all of the other commandments, as all the commandments of God are infallible, ergo all the Bishops are also infallible just as is the Bishop of Rome so that all are equal.
Again for those reading this, I’m playing the devils advocate as I affirm and defend the Papacy.


#17

I think I caught an error in my post above. The “first and greatest commandment” actually is talking in the sense of time/order, not “chief” because in the context it says the “second greatest”.


#18

Okay, so let’s look at the ones that are not clearly simply an ordinal use…

I’ll omit Matthew 10:2 here, as it’s the passage we’re disagreeing about.

Matthew 12:45 KJVR
45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Here the key is the word last, found in connection with first. The meaning here, especially in the context of the passage, is clearly beginning and ending, in regards to a linear progression of time. This doesn’t seem to apply to our concern.

Matthew 17:27 KJVR
27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

First, here, is used in an ordinal fashion. The fish is not more important than the others – it’s just the first one they catch.

Matthew 19:30 KJVR
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Here, context of the chapter compares the wise man and the rich man, those that are, in some sense, greatest (most important, chief-est), so we can see that first in this sense is clearly defined as chief. Again, the context gives us the key that we’re comparing things of earthly greatness, rather than looking at an ordinal list.

Matthew 20:8 KJVR
8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

Given the context of the story, again this is a linear time-based listing. Not applicable. The same is the case with Matthew 20:10, so I won’t list it here.

Matthew 20:16 KJVR
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

This one is rather interesting, as it seems to fit into neither category directly.

Matthew 21:28 KJVA
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

This also includes verses 31 and 36. We see in context that this is an ordinal listing – first and second are clearly given here.

Matthew 22:25 KJVA
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:

Again, ordinal (verses 26 and 27 show second, third), not prioritative.

Matthew 22:38 KJVA
38 This is the first and great commandment.

Since we’re also given a “second” for this set, but it is clearly talking about importance, this seems to fit into both categories.

Matthew 26:17 KJVA
17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

Ordinal.

Matthew 27:64 KJVA
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Again, clearly ordinal.

What you’ll see here is that the verses do not show any set pattern. Verses like Matthew 22:38 can use words in both contexts, so we really can’t establish a clear context from the verse pattern. There is no single rule that we can apply to sort out this mess. However, since every other case in Matthew does make it clear that we’re speaking of greatness when it’s the case, we could reasonably assume that Matthew intentionally did this to clarify for his readers, and thus the lack of any such clarification in Matthew 10 indicates that protos was simply used in an ordinal fashion. Explicit? No. But it’s more likely than protos meaning “most important” in that case.


#19

It appears you are right, this verse should only be used in conjunction with the other major Peterine “proof texts” because on its own it doesnt prove much beyond “head Apostle” (though that is a good start).

As you already know I agree with this and clearly stated it in my last post.

Matthew 17:27 KJVR
First, here, is used in an ordinal fashion. The fish is not more important than the others – it’s just the first one they catch.

Looking up this verse the greek word is not protos but rather ‘proton’ and it is clearly time/sequence.

Matthew 19:30 KJVR
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.Here, context of the chapter compares the wise man and the rich man, those that are, in some sense, greatest (most important, chief-est), so we can see that first in this sense is clearly defined as chief. Again, the context gives us the key that we’re comparing things of earthly greatness, rather than looking at an ordinal list.

I didnt realize this originally, but I would agree.

I would also point out you forgot Mat 20:27:
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Clearly used in the sense of “chief”.

Matthew 20:16 KJVR
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.This one is rather interesting, as it seems to fit into neither category directly.Matthew 22:38 KJVA
38 This is the first and great commandment. Since we’re also given a “second” for this set, but it is clearly talking about importance, this seems to fit into both categories.

Interesting.

What you’ll see here is that the verses do not show any set pattern.

I would disagree. In each where the usage is in reference to time/sequence there is clear support in the context. In 20:27 (and arguably in 20:16) no such context exists.

Verses like Matthew 22:38 can use words in both contexts, so we really can’t establish a clear context from the verse pattern.

But regardless, if it means BOTH then that supports my claim anyway right?..because it says “chief” is included.

Now that I think about it, I could actually argue Mat 10:2 is applies BOTH as well!

There is no single rule that we can apply to sort out this mess.

I disagree as I said above, the “rule” I am using is that if there is any reference to “second”, “last”, etc THEN you are free to throw it out, BUT if no such terminology exists in the context (eg 20:27) THEN I would say the usage is “chief”, and given 10:2 doesnt mention “second”, “last”, etc means “chief” is a valid conclusion.

Further, your point regarding the dual usage (eg 20:16 and 22:38) means “chief” CANNOT be ruled out.

However, since every other case in Matthew does make it clear that we’re speaking of greatness when it’s the case, we could reasonably assume that Matthew intentionally did this to clarify for his readers, and thus the lack of any such clarification in Matthew 10 indicates that protos was simply used in an ordinal fashion. Explicit? No. But it’s more likely than protos meaning “most important” in that case.

See above. :smiley:


#20

It doesn’t even prove that.

I would also point out you forgot Mat 20:27:
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Clearly used in the sense of “chief”.

Whoops, I missed that one because it was listed under the rendering of chief instead of the rendering of first, which is where all the other uses fell. But yes, this verse is clearly chief, especially noted by the comparison to the word servant, and the surrounding context which is speaking of greatness.

I would disagree. In each where the usage is in reference to time/sequence there is clear support in the context. In 20:27 (and arguably in 20:16) no such context exists.

So the lack of a defining characteristic means that it’s automatically a reference to authority? What about the verses that seem to fit neither category directly, or could be argued to fit both?

But regardless, if it means BOTH then that supports my claim anyway right?..because it says “chief” is included.

No – that some can use both does not mean that any or all must use both. The point is that there’s no distinct rule by which you can discern. You’re left with context, and in Matthew 10:2, there’s almost no context regarding the use of protos.

I disagree as I said above, the “rule” I am using is that if there is any reference to “second”, “last”, etc THEN you are free to throw it out, BUT if no such terminology exists in the context (eg 20:27) THEN I would say the usage is “chief”, and given 10:2 doesnt mention “second”, “last”, etc means “chief” is a valid conclusion.

So, chief is meant only when there is no “last” present? What about Matthew 19:30 (not to mention various uses in other scripture passages)? It uses first and last, which on the surface would seem to be ordinal, but in fact is clearly speaking of chief-ness, as easily seen by context?

No, that rule doesn’t fit.

Further, your point regarding the dual usage (eg 20:16 and 22:38) means “chief” CANNOT be ruled out.

Sure it can – every use of protos as meaning chief that I’ve seen has a clear context which indicates this, a context lacking in Matthew 10.


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.