The Church is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, not the Apostle Peter
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
By Greg Holt
(ICB) Matthew 16:18 is an interesting verse to say the least. This verse seems to say that the very Church itself is built upon the “rock” – Peter. In fact, this interpretation is used by the Catholic Church to declare and justify that they and only they are truly descended from Peter (the Pope) and have the right and ability to declare the meaning of Scripture. Is this true?
I will dare say that common sense would dictate that Jesus was not saying that the Church would be built upon Peter, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Why would Christ build His Church upon a man first of all, and second, a man that denied Him three times. That just doesn’t make sense.
If the “Church” was truly to be built upon Peter and he was to be the foundation – then Jesus would be saying in effect that we are to place our trust in Jesus and Peter.
Jesus said that as we trust in God, we were to trust also in Him. Jesus did not ask us to trust in Me and Peter (John 14:1).
Part of the argument for the Church being “built” upon Peter is that his name means rock, well, so what? This is yet another case of misinterpretation of Scripture.
Peter’s name means “rock,” in the Greek the word is petros. The word means a detached rock, a pebble, or small stone. The “rock” Jesus refers to in the Greek is petra. The word means a large mass of rock, a native solid mass of rock, a cliff.
Some commentators say that the two words are interchangeable, I very much disagree, their meanings are not even close to one another. This is yet again a case of man making Scripture fit our needs, instead of man realizing the truth of Scripture.
Jesus was referred to as the “Rock” in many places.
“4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4
In the Greek, the word used for rock in both instances in this verse is petra, a large mass of rock, not a pebble (petros).
In 1 Peter 2:6 (via an OT prophecy), Peter refers to a “chief corner stone,” which is of course Jesus. The Greek word is: akrogóniaios, which means cornerstone. The cornerstone was what the entire building (such as the temple) was anchored on.
“8 and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:8
Again, the word used here for rock is petra, and refers to Jesus, not Peter. Nowhere does Peter refer to himself as anything special, rather he takes great pains to point out just exactly who matters – Jesus.
Jesus laid the foundation of Church, He taught the Apostles everything they needed to know in order to represent Him and to grow the Church. It was Jesus who died for our sins, not Peter. So why would Jesus “build” his Church on Peter? This is simply not true.
The Rock is Christ and no other.
About the author: Greg is a strong believer in Jesus Christ and is also a political analyst, author, and is the Editor-in-Chief for the National War Council. By day he is a self-employed non-emergency medical transport driver, as well as being an author and blogger. His articles are first published on Inspirational Christian Blogs, and I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! From there the articles are widely published on many well-known conservative websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so leaving all links intact and crediting the author and the website that the article appeared on.
Greg is the author of the newly released book: Spiritual Darkness is Destroying America and the Church