Isn’t the pope the successor of Peter?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The Catholic Church teaches that the pope is the successor of Peter claiming that the following verse support their belief: “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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16: 18,19).

What Does the Bible Teach?

  1. Peter, to whom these words were addressed, emphatically states by his teachings that the “rock” of which Jesus spoke referred to God. He said, “…Jesus Christ of Nazareth… is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:8-12 also 1 Peter 2:4).
  2. Jesus used the same figure of speech to refer to Himself: He said, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (Matthew 21:42 also Luke 20:17).
  3. From very early times, the figure of rock was used by the Hebrew people as a specific term for God. “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; (Psalms 18:2 also Deuteronomy 32:4).
  4. Paul affirms that Christ was the Rock: “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4 also 1 Corinthians 3:11).
  5. It is the faith in Jesus that saves. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
  6. Had Christ made Peter chief among the disciples, they would not thereafter have been involved in repeated arguments about which of them “should be accounted the greatest” (Luke 22:24, Matthew 18:1).

The name Peter is derived from the Greek word “petros” – a “stone.” The word “rock” is in Greek “petra” – large mass of rock. Obviously, a “petros,” or small stone, would make an impossible foundation for any structure, and Jesus here confirms that nothing less than a “petra,” or “rock,” would be enough.

This fact is made even more sure by the words of Christ in Matthew 7:24, ”whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them “ is like “a wise man which built his house upon a rock [Gr. petra].” Any structure built upon Peter [Gr. pertos], a weak, erring human being, as the Scriptures teach, has a foundation little better than shifting sand (Matthew 7:27). We can see clearly that Christ is the Rock that that church is build on.

Could Peter Qualify to Be the Rock?

The scriptures say no. Here is why: Jesus said, “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).

  1. The gates of Hell prevailed against Peter when He allowed Satan to speak through him (Matthew16:22). Then Jesus answered Peter saying “Get thee behind me, Satan thou art an offense unto me” (Matthew.16:23).
  2. The gates of Hell prevailed again against Peter when he denied his Lord three times (John 18:25).

Peter was an erring human but the church of God was built on the faith in Christ that he expressed: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). The Bible teaches that through faith in God, can the church prevail and triumph over all the powers of darkness.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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