Understanding The Bible
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Return to "The Kingdom Postponed" III. C. "The Way to the Cross," Mat. 16:21-27:39
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
WHO IS THE STONE?
Philip Schaff on Matthew 16:18
There is a note by Philip Schaff in Lange on Matthew, against the Romish interpretation of this passage, containing sufficient material on ancient customs to give an excerpt of it here.
"The Romish interpretation is liable to the following objections:
IS PETER THE ROCK?
Henry J. Heydt
"Not only have interpretations varied regarding this passage in Matthew 16, but individuals themselves have held to various interpretations at different times and, for that matter, at the same time. We shall list the most important of these.
It has been debated if the same distinction obtains in the Koine Greek of Jesus' time, but Heydt points out that in classical Greek "petros" means "a piece of a rock, a rock, a stone." Homer uses it of Ajax throwing a stone at Hector, and of Patroclus grasping and hiding a jagged stone in his hand.
Petra means a rock, and is used of a ledge of rocks, or a rocky peak. Homer uses this of the rock which Polyphemus placed at the door of his cavern. It was so large that twenty-two wagons could not move it. Peter was truly a stone, but THE rock is Christ, and here petra refers to what Peter just testified concerning Him, His Messiahship and His Deity. The word petra is feminine, while Petros is masculine. This is a further indication that Christ did not mean Peter.
It is well known by this time that Christ used a play on words, "thou art Petros, and upon this petra I will build my church." We have given the literal translation here. It seems to us quite obvious from this that He could not have meant Peter or He would have simply said, "Thou art Petros and upon thee I will build my church."
If Christ meant the confession of Peter, it would be applicable because the Greek for confession is homologia, a feminine word.
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