of the following quotations are from Protestant
of New Testament Literature at Calvin Seminary
Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew
Rapids, MI: Baker, 1973), page 647
JPK page 14
meaning is, "You are Peter, that is Rock, and upon this rock,
that is, on you, Peter I will build my church." Our Lord,
speaking Aramaic, probably said, "And I say to you, you are
and on this kepha
I will build my church." Jesus, then, is promising Peter that he
is going to build his church on him! I accept this view.
conservative evangelical Lutheran theologian
Church in the Gospel of Matthew: Hermeneutical Analysis of the
Biblical Interpretation and Church Text and
Markets, NSW: Paternoster Press, 1984), page 58
JPK pages 16-17
a broad consensus has emerged which — in accordance with the words
of the text — applies the promise to Peter as a person. On this
point liberal (H. J. Holtzmann, E. Schweiger) and conservative
(Cullmann, Flew) theologians agree, as well as representatives of
Roman Catholic exegesis.
A. Carson III
and Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Seminary
quotations from different works)
Expositor's Bible Commentary:
8 (Matthew, Mark, Luke)
Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), page 368
JPK pages 17-18
it is true that petros
can mean "stone" and "rock" respectively in
earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry.
Moreover the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and
most probably kepha
was used in both clauses ("you are kepha"
and "on this kepha"),
since the word was used both for a name and for a "rock".
The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic)
makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses. The Greek
makes the distinction between petros
simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the
could not very well serve as a masculine name.
NIV Bible Commentary
Testament, vol. 2
Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), page 78
JPK page 18
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.
Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: The Gospel According to Matthew,
Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), page 293
JPK page 19
Saviour, no doubt, used in both clauses the Aramaic word kepha
(hence the Greek Kephas
applied to Simon, John i.42; comp. 1 Cor. i.12; iii.22; ix.5; Gal.
ii.9), which means rock and is used both as a proper and a common
noun.... The proper translation then would be: "Thou art Rock,
and upon this rock", etc.
(two quotations from the same work)
on the Gospel of Matthew
Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1886), pages 355-356
JPK page 20
insist on the distinction between the two Greek words, thou art
and on this petra,
holding that if the rock had meant Peter, either petros
would have been used both times, and that petros
signifies a separate stone or fragment broken off, while petra
is the massive rock. But this distinction is almost entirely confined
to poetry, the common prose word instead of petros
nor is the distinction uniformly observed.
the main answer here is that our Lord undoubtedly spoke Aramaic,
which has no known means of making such a distinction [between
and masculine petros
in Greek]. The Peshitta (Western Aramaic) renders, "Thou are
and on this kipho".
The Eastern Aramaic, spoken in Palestine in the time of Christ, must
necessarily have said in like manner, "Thou are kepha,
and on this kepha"....
Beza called attention to the fact that it is so likewise in French:
"Thou art Pierre,
and on this pierre";
and Nicholson suggests that we could say, "Thou art Piers
(old English for Peter), and on this pier."
and New Testament Professor
Reformed Theological Seminary
Commentary on the Bible
Rapids, MI: Baker, 1989), page 742
JPK page 30
the words "this rock" Jesus means not himself, nor his
teaching, nor God the Father, nor Peter's confession, but Peter
himself. The phrase is immediately preceded by a direct and emphatic
reference to Peter. As Jesus identifies himself as the Builder, the
rock on which he builds is most naturally understood as someone (or
something) other than Jesus himself. The demonstrative this,
whether denoting what is physically close to Jesus or what is
literally close in Matthew, more naturally refers to Peter (v. 18)
than to the more remote confession (v. 16). The link between the
clauses of verse 18 is made yet stronger by the play on words, "You
are Peter (Gk. Petros),
and on this rock (Gk. petra)
I will build my church". As an apostle, Peter utters the
confession of verse 16; as a confessor he receives the designation
and Professor of New Testament
New American Commentary: Matthew,
Broadman, 1992), pages 251-252
JPK pages 31-32
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.
minister and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biblical
University of Sheffield, England
Gospel of Matthew"
New Century Bible Commentary
Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1972), page 261
JPK page 34
this rock I will build my church:
the word-play goes back to Aramaic tradition. It is on Peter himself,
the confessor of his Messiahship, that Jesus will build the Church.
The disciple becomes, as it were, the foundation stone of the
community. Attempts to interpret the "rock" as something
other than Peter in person (e.g., his faith, the truth revealed to
him) are due to Protestant bias, and introduce to the statement a
degree of subtlety which is highly unlikely.
Layman's Bible Commentary: Matthew,
John Knox Press, 1961), page 93
JPK page 34
play on words in verse 18 indicates the Aramaic origin of the
passage. The new name contains a promise. "Simon", the
fluctuating, impulsive disciple, will, by the grace of God, be the
"rock" on which God will build the new community.
Word Books, 1995), page 470
JPK pages 36-37
natural reading of the passage, despite the necessary shift from
required by the word play in the Greek (but not the Aramaic, where
the same word kepha
occurs in both places), is that it is Peter who is the rock upon
which the church is to be built.... The frequent attempts that have
been made, largely in the past, to deny this in favor of the view
that the confession itself is the rock... seem to be largely
motivated by Protestant prejudice against a passage that is used by
the Roman Catholics to justify the papacy.
credit for research into the sources quoted here belongs to the
authors of Jesus, Peter & the Keys: a Scriptural Handbook on the
Papacy, by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David Hess, © 1996 by
the authors, ISBN # 1-882972-54-6
Counter Code Websites