The Primacy of Peter
When something is first mentioned in the Bible, the meaning of it remains the same throughout the rest of the Bible.
When GOD gave authority to someone in Scripture, HE changed the name of that person.
1. GOD renamed Abram to Abraham when He made him the 'Father of a Multitude of Nations', in Gen 17:5. HE gave Abraham 'primacy' over all other men.
2. GOD renamed Sara to Sarah when HE made her the 'Mother of Nations' in Gen 17:15-16. HE gave Sarah 'primacy' over all other women.
3. GOD renamed Jacob to Israel, the name of the Jewish Nation, and Jacob became the first Israeli in Gen 32:29, 35:10.
4. GOD renamed Simon to Peter in Matt 16:18, thus giving him 'primacy' over all of the Apostles. Why else would GOD give a new name to Simon?
The 'Law of First Mention' as applied to Abraham, Sarah, and Israel, works very well indeed. Why then do some believe it does not work for Simon-Peter?
Jesus said, "Who do men say the Son of Man is?" (13)
But they said, "Some say, John the Baptist; and others Elias; and others Jeremias,
or one of the prophets." (14)
He said to them, "But who do YOU say that I am?" (15)
Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living GOD." (16)
Then Jesus answered and said, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has
not revealed this to thee, but My Father in Heaven." (17)
This verse expresses a blessing for Peter from the Son.
Did you notice that Peter was the only Apostle who knew who Jesus Christ was?
All of the rest merely expressed an opinion.
GOD the Father, Himself, told Peter alone, and not one of the other Apostles.
It was a blessing for Peter from the Father.
This is a clear sign of the Primacy of Peter from the Father.
Acts 15:7, during the first Church Council, the Council
And after a long debate, Peter got up and said to them,
"Brethren, you know that in early days GOD made choice among us, that through MY mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe."
Who made the choice? GOD did. Who did GOD choose? He chose Peter. Now that is primacy.
Some detractors of Peter's primacy try to show that James (Acts 15:13-21), held the primacy simply because he was the Bishop of Jerusalem. Well, he may have been the Bishop of Jerusalem during this Council, but Peter was the Bishop of the whole world. See Acts 1:8, where Jerusalem was only one of many Church locations to be founded by the Apostles. The books of Acts, Revelation, and a few others, record more than 30 additional locations for the Church other than Jerusalem.
Jerusalem would certainly not even have been considered by the Apostles to be the seat of Christianity, as they had been forewarned by Jesus Himself that the city would soon be totally destroyed. This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Roman legions did indeed destroy it.
See Matthew 24 beginning with verse 15.
Eusebius (263-339) Bishop of Caesarea and known as "The Father of Church History", wrote in 'The History of the Church' volume 2 chapter 1, "But Clement in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes writes thus: 'For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just, bishop of Jerusalem'."
Peters primacy: Matt 10:2,16:15-19, *Luke 22:24-33,24:34,
Acts 2:14-41, Acts *5:29,9:36-43,10:1-48,11:1-18, *Acts 15:7, 1Cor 15:5.
The names of Peter, which include Simon and Cephas, are
mentioned more times in the New Testament than any other Apostle.
"Of Peter the most is known. Peter is mentioned 195 times, the rest of the other Apostles combined are only 130 times. The one mentioned next in frequency to Peter is John, to whom there are 29 references."
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, "Life of Christ", page 106.
The name James, is mentioned a total of 38 times and of that number there were 2 persons, James the Greater, and James the Less. So if James the Less is said to have the primacy, then why is he mentioned so few times compared to Peter?
Every time the names of the Apostles are listed, except for Gal 2:9, his name appears first. In Mt 10:2 it even says that Peter is first, "Now these are the names of the twelve Apostles: first Simon, who is called Peter,...". See also Mk 3:16, Lk 6:13-14, and Acts 1:13.
Peter's name appears first also when 3 or 4 of the Apostles are listed: Mt 17:1, Mk 5:37, Mk 9:2,
Mk 13:3, Mk 14:33, Lk 5:8-10, Lk 8:51, Lk 9:28.
As for Gal 2:9, it was customary then, as it is to this very day, to name the Bishop of the Diocese first. If the Pope visited a Diocese, the Bishop would be named ahead of him as it is the proper protocol. In Gal 2, Peter was visiting Jerusalem, as verses 1-8 show.
It never ceases to amaze me that those who deny the Primacy of Peter, will invariably point to this one and only verse where Peter is named second and will completely ignore the many verses which list his name first. If James held the primacy as some would like us to believe, then why is he mentioned first in only one single verse?
Throughout our salvation history, GOD has always provided a 'Father Figure' to guide His people. Some examples are, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and Peter and the succession of Popes.
50 New Testament verses which show the 'primacy' of St.
* Matthew 16:18: "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." The "rock" (Greek, "petra") referred to here is St. Peter himself, not his faith or Jesus Christ. Christ appears here not as the foundation, but as the architect who "builds." The Church is built, not on confessions, but on confessors - living men (see 1 Pt 2:5). Today, the overwhelming consensus of the great majority of all biblical scholars and commentators is in favor of the traditional Catholic understanding. Here St. Peter is spoken of as the foundation-stone of the Church, making him head and superior of the family of God - that is, the seed of the doctrine of the papacy. Moreover, "Rock" embodies a metaphor applied to him by Christ in a sense analogous to the suffering and despised Messiah (see 1 Pt 2:4-8; Mt 21:42). Without a solid foundation a house falls. St. Peter is the foundation, but not founder of the Church; administrator, but not Lord of the Church. The Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11) gives us other shepherds as well (Eph 4:11).
* Matthew 16:19: "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." The "power" of the keys has to do with ecclesiastical discipline and administrative authority with regard to the requirements of the faith, as in Isaiah 22:22 (see Is 9:6; Job 12:14; Rev 3:7). From this power flows the use of censures, excommunication, absolution, baptismal discipline, the imposition of penances and legislative powers. In the Old Testament, a steward, or prime minister, is a man who is "over a house" (Gen 41:40; Gen 43:19;44:4; 1 King 4:6;16:9;18:3; 2 King 10:5;15:5;18:18; Isa 22:15,
* Matthew 16:19: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." "Binding" and "loosing" were technical rabbinical terms, which meant to "forbid" and "permit" with reference to the interpretation of the law and, secondarily, to "condemn," "place under the ban" or "acquit." Thus St. Peter and the popes are given the authority to determine the rules for doctrine and life by virtue of revelation and the Spirit's leading (see Jn 16:13), as well as to demand obedience from the Church. "Binding and loosing" represent the legislative and judicial powers of the papacy and the bishops (Mt 18:17-18; Jn 20:23). St. Peter, however, is the only apostle who receives these powers by name and in the singular, making him pre-eminent.
* Peter's name occurs first in all lists of apostles (see Mt 10:2; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13). Matthew even calls him "the first" (10:2). (Judas Iscariot is invariably mentioned last.)
* Peter is almost without exception named first whenever he appears with anyone else. In one example to the contrary, Galatians 2:9, where he is listed after James and before John, he is clearly preeminent in the entire context (see, for example, Gal 1:18-19; 2:7-8). Taken in context, Paul is in Jerusalem (2:1), the See of James. Protocol, even to this day is for the Bishop of the diocese to be mentioned first before any visitor is mentioned, even for the Pope. Saint Paul is merely following proper protocol in vs 2:9.
* Peter alone among the apostles receives a new name, "Rock," solemnly conferred (Jn 1:42;
* Peter is asked three times by Christ to feed His lambs, is regarded by Jesus as the chief shepherd after himself (Jn 21:15-17), singularly by name, and over the universal Church, even though others have a similar but subordinate role (Acts 20:28; 1 Pt 5:2).
* Peter alone among the apostles is mentioned by name as having been prayed for by Jesus Christ in order that his "faith fail not" (Lk 22:32).
* Peter alone among the apostles is exhorted by Jesus to "strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:32).
* Peter first confesses Christ's divinity (Mt 16:16).
* Peter alone is told that he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation (Mt 16:17).
* Peter is regarded by the Jews (Acts 4:1-13) as the leader and spokesman of Christianity.
* Peter is regarded by the common people in the same way (Act 2:37-41;5:15).
* Jesus Christ uniquely associates himself and Peter in the miracle of the tribute money
* Christ teaches from Peter's boat, and the miraculous catch of fish follows (Lk 5:1-11) perhaps a metaphor for the pope as a "fisher of men" (Mt 4:19).
* Peter was the first apostle to set out for, and enter, the empty tomb (Lk 24:12; Jn 20:5-6).
* Peter is specified by an angel as the leader and representative of the apostles (Mk 16:7).
* Peter leads the apostles in fishing (Jn 21:2-3,11). The "bark" (boat) of Peter has been regarded by Catholics as a figure of the Church, with Peter at the helm.
* Peter alone casts himself into the sea to come to Jesus (Jn 21:7).
* Peter's words are the first recorded and most important in the Upper Room before Pentecost
* Peter takes the lead in calling for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:22).
* Peter is the first person to speak (and only one recorded) after Pentecost, so he was the first Christian to "preach the Gospel" in the Church era (Acts 2:14-36).
* Peter works the first miracle of the Church Age, healing a lame man (Acts 3:6-12).
* Peter utters the first anathema (Ananias and Sapphira) emphatically affirmed by God
* Peter's shadow works miracles (Acts 5:15).
* Peter is the first person after Christ to raise the dead (Acts 9:40).
* Cornelius is told by an angel to seek out Peter for instruction in Christianity (Acts 10:1- 6).
* Peter is the first to receive the Gentiles, after a revelation from God (Acts 10:9-48).
* Peter instructs the other apostles on the catholicity (universality) of the Church (Acts 11:5-17).
* Peter is the object of the first divine interposition on behalf of an individual in the Church Age
(an angel delivers him from prison - Acts 12:1-17).
* The whole Church (strongly implied) prays for Peter "without ceasing" when he is imprisoned (Acts 12:5).
* Peter presides over and opens the first council of Christianity, and lays down principles afterward accepted by it (Acts 15:7-11).
* Paul distinguishes the Lord's post-resurrection appearances to Peter from those to other apostles
(1 Cor 15:4-5).
* Peter is often spoken of as distinct among apostles (Mk 1:36; Lk 9:28,32; Acts 2:37; 5:29;
1 Cor 9:5).
* Peter is often spokesman for the other apostles, especially at climactic moments
(Mk 8:29; Mt 18:21; Lk 9:5; 12:41; Jn 6:67).
* Peter's name is always the first listed of the "inner circle" of the disciples
(Peter, James and John - Mt 17:1; 26:37,40; Mk 5:37; 14:37).
* Peter is often the central figure relating to Jesus in dramatic Gospel scenes such as walking on the water (Mt 14:28-32; Lk 5:1, Mk 10:28; Mt 17:24).
* Peter is the first to recognize and refute heresy, in Simon Magus (Acts 8:14-24).
* Peter's name is mentioned more often than all the other disciples put together: 191 times
(162 as Peter or Simon Peter, 23 as Simon and 6 as Cephas).
John is next in frequency with only 48 appearances, and Peter is present 50 percent of the time we find John in the Bible. Archbishop Fulton Sheen reckoned that all the other disciples combined were mentioned 130 times. If this is correct, Peter is named a remarkable 60 percent of the time any disciple is referred to.
* Peter's proclamation at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41) contains a fully authoritative interpretation of Scripture, a doctrinal decision and a disciplinary decree concerning members of the "House of Israel" - an example of "binding and loosing."
* Peter was the first "charismatic," having judged authoritatively the first instance of the gift of tongues as genuine (Acts 2:14-21).
* Peter is the first to preach Christian repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38).
* Peter (presumably) takes the lead in the first recorded mass baptism (Acts 2:41).
* Peter commanded the first Gentile Christians to be baptized (Act 10:44-48).
* Peter was the first traveling missionary, and first exercised what would now be called "visitation of the churches" (Acts 9:32-38,43). Paul preached at Damascus immediately after his conversion (Acts 9:20), but had not traveled there for that purpose (God changed his plans). His missionary journeys begin in Acts 13:2.
* Paul went to Jerusalem specifically to see Peter for 15 days at the beginning of his ministry (Gal 1:18), and was commissioned by Peter, James and John (Gal 2:9) to preach to the Gentiles.
* Peter acts, by strong implication, as the chief bishop/shepherd of the Church (1 Pet 5:1), since he exhorts all the other bishops, or "elders."
* Peter interprets prophecy (2 Pet 1:16-21).
* Peter corrects those who misuse Paul's writings (2 Pt 3:15-16).
* Peter wrote his first epistle from Rome, as its bishop, and as the universal bishop (pope) of the early Church, according to most scholars. "Babylon" (1 Pet 5:13) is regarded as code for Rome.
This section of the 50 New Testament Verses was written by:
Dave Armstrong - a convert to Catholicism from Evangelicalism.
Is Peter "Rock", or is he only a
Non-Catholic Christians charge that Peter is not the "rock" because the Greek word used for "rock" in this verse means a little pebble. Right away, it is obvious from the very beginning, that there is a translation problem here. Scholars have determined that Matthew was not written in Greek, but in Aramaic, and was soon translated into Greek, so we have to go to the original written language to find the true meaning of this verse.
Peter was called "Cephas" or "Kepha(s)" in Aramaic, by Christ in Matthew 16:18, and it means a large massive stone or rock. Christ said this at Caesarea Philippi, the site of a large rock mass. See Matthew 16:13. The Aramaic word for a small stone or pebble is "evna". "Kepha", when translated to the Greek language means "Petra" (a large rock) or "Petros" (a small stone). However, unlike Aramaic words which have no gender, Greek words do have gender, and "Petra" is feminine. Translators from the Aramaic to the Greek, changed the word to the masculine gender or "Petros" because they were unwilling to assign a name with feminine gender to a man.
In Matthew 16:18, it is correct to say that Jesus would have said, "You are 'Kepha', and upon this 'Kepha', I will build My Church." In Greek, it would translate to, "You are 'Petros', and upon this 'Petra', I will build My Church." It was the translation of the Aramaic word, "Kepha" (Cephas), into the Greek language that caused the confusion among some who look upon Peter as not being called "rock", but only a "pebble".
Matthew 16:13, 18, John 1:42, 1Corinthians 1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5, Galatians 2:8-9
Detractors argue that Peter could not be the rock because GOD is, 2Samuel 22:2. Well, not only does Scripture call Peter the rock, but it also calls Abraham the rock, in Isaiah 51:1-2. Also, who is the Light of the World? Jesus Christ is in John 8:12, but yet the Disciples are in Matthew 5:14.
The words "Rock" and "Light of the World" are not limited to describe GOD alone.
Here are some of the attributes of Jesus Christ which He passed on and shared with Peter by working through him...
The Good Shepherd, John 10:11-14
Shepherd of the Church, John 21:17
The Door of the Sheep, John 10:7
John 20:21-23, 21:17
The Rock, 1Corinthians 10:4
The Foundation, 1Corinthians 3:11
Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 2:20
Able to walk on water, Matthew 14:25
The Key Holder, Revelation 3:7
Infallible, John 14:6
Luke 10:16, 22:28-32
The Recipient of GOD's Word, John 5:30
Matthew 16:17, Acts 15:7
Having the Authority, Matthew 28:18
Matthew 18:15-20, Acts 2:14-40, 15:7
A Worker of Miracles, Mark 2:2-12
Acts 3:6-12, 5:15
Able to raise the dead, John 11:43-44
The Invisible Head of His Church, Eph 5:23-24
The Visible Head of Christ's Church, Matt 16:18
Church Fathers were the closest to the Apostles and
whatever we have, came to us through them.
To qualify as a Church Father, four conditions had to have been met.
1. He had to have lived before the year 800. The last Father in the East was St. Damascene 674-749, and of the West was, St. Bede the Venerable 672-735.
2. He had to have followed the orthodox teaching, faithful to the true doctrines of the Church.
3. Sanctity, all major Fathers and most minor Fathers were canonized Saints, and lived virtuous lives.
4. He had to have the sanction of the Church, a general acceptance.