The Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church Controversy, Matthew 16:18 (KJV)
This verse has been taken and misinterpreted by the Catholic church that Jesus said to Peter his apostle his Church would be built upon him and Peter is the first Pope.
To understand verse 18 more and how it came about I’ll go back to verse 13 and start with some paraphrasing. In verse 13 when Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples. Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Their answer was Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
- In verse 15 He saith unto them, “But whom say ye that I am?”
- 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
- 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
- 18 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.
What the verse is actually saying using two Koine Greek words, Petro and Petra: Petro is Peters surname, Petra is the rock Christ will build his church on.
The next verse is from the Amplified Bible, which is a good companion bible to go along with your favorite bible., as it expands the verse making it more understandable.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Petro, (a stone that can be thrown), and upon this Petra, (a massive bedrock that cannot be moved), I will build my church;
In other words his church is build on bedrock, not Peter, its permanent, nothing can change it. “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”
Koine Greek, is the Greek language the New Testament was written in. Koine was the common” Greek, the everyday business language used throughout the Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire at that time. This common Greek, which also is known as “Koine,” (from the Greek word for “common”) or Hellenistic Greek, was a simplified version of classical Greek and was spread by Alexander the Great throughout the Mediterranean world.
The wonderful thing about Koine Greek it became a dead language, so the definition of a word staid the same. It is extremely important in defining any particular verse in the New Testament.
Petros and Petra can be checked out in these two commentaries:
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon (definitions)…
NT:4073* petra, petras, hee,
a rock, ledge, cliff
c. metaphorically, a man like a rock, by reason of his firmness and strength of soul: Matt 16:18
*NT:4074 Petros, Petrou, ho
Peter, the surname of the apostle Simon, Matt 8:14
NT:4075* petroodees, petroodes
rocky, stony: Matt 13:5,20
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words..
1. petra (pe/tra, NT:4073) denotes “a mass of rock,” as distinct from petros, “a detached stone or boulder,”
or a stone that might be thrown or easily moved.
For the nature of petra, see Matt 7:24,25; 27:51,60; Mark 15:46; Luke 6:48 (twice), a type of a sure
foundation (here the true reading is as in the RV, “because it had been well builded”);
Rev 6:15,16 (cf. Isa 2:19,ff.; Hos 10:8); Luke 8:6,13, used illustratively; 1 Cor 10:4 (twice), figuratively,
in Rom 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:8, metaphorically, of Christ;
in Matt 16:18, metaphorically, of Christ and the testimony concerning Him;
here the distinction between Petra, concerning the Lord Himself, and Petros, the apostle, is clear (see
This should give a good explanation that the Church is not built on the apostle Peter, but on a massive bedrock that can not be moved.
The great schism between the Roman Church and the Greek Eastern Orthodox Church began in the seventh century.
The split came in 1054. And has continued unabated until the present day.
Righteous men longed to be rid of the corruptions that prevailed, these fearless men arose to break the chains
of the Roman hierarchy.
In the 14th century John Wickliffe of Oxford England was one of the first, He taught that “The Scripture are the only law of the church.” Soon he was followed by more influencing men who sought to reform what had been taught for centuries.
List of Men Known as Reformers
- John Wickliff, (1328 to 1384)
- John Hus, (1373 to 1415)
- Jerome Savonarola, (1452 to 1498)
- Philip Melanchthon, (1479 to 1560)
- Martin Luther, (1483 to 1546)
- John Calvin, (1509 to 1564)
- Henry VIII, (1491 to 1544)
- John Knox, (1505 to 1572)
Martin Luther is credited with starting the Reformation movement on October 31, 1517, when he nailed his 95 page thesis to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg Saxony now Germany.
Although there was much efforts during the Reformation movement it never succeeded reforming the Roman Catholic church.
The article The Reformation goes into a more detailed discussion.