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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Please see sermons down the left hand column of the Blog about why the Authorised Version is the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures

and why we reject the many perversions of the Scriptures, including those so beloved of many neo-evangelicals at present such as ESV & NKJV.

Beware of the Errors in The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible! 
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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Peter is the Rock upon which the Church is built. So teaches The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible!

Strange to observe that the "Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible" teaches in its footnotes that Peter is the Rock upon which the church is built, in 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 "Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible" notes at the foot of the page against this verse read:
Peter. Jesus makes a play on Peter's name, which literally means "rock." The rock that Jesus builds His Church upon is most naturally understood as Peter, together with the other apostles in their Spirit-given testimony of Him (Eph. 2:20; Rev 21:14).

This cannot be true on two grounds and it is certainly not the normal position that Protestants have taken over the years. It is wrong, firstly, in that Peter's name does not mean 'rock' but 'stone' [pebble]. Secondly, it is wrong in that the Scriptures clearly teach that Christ is the rock upon which the Church is built. 

There are two different Greek words used in this verse for "Peter" and for "rock". Nouns in the Greek language have a gender classification attached to them. The word translated 'Peter' is a masculine noun. The transliteration of this word into English would read: 'Petros'. The word translated 'rock' is a feminine noun. The transliteration would read: 'petra'. These two words are spelt differently, they have different gender classification and they have very different meanings.

These different meanings are easily observable elsewhere in the New Testament. The name 'Peter' has an equivalent in Aramaic. It is the name 'Cephas', cf. John 1:42: And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. We have, in these words, the Saviour's explanation for the meaning of the names 'Peter' & 'Cephas'. They both mean a 'stone'. Not a large unmovable stone, one unable to be lifted or moved about by men, but rather a 'small stone'. We might call it a 'pebble', using another English word. 'Petros' was the word used in the Greek language for a stone that would be picked up and thrown by youths or in the administration of the Jewish form of capital punishment. The main feature about the meaning of this word is that it refers to a small movable stone.

The word 'petra' is used in a totally different way. Again we have the usage of this word in the New Testament to compare and to contrast. The first ocurrence of the word 'petra', in the New Testament, is in Matthew 7:24,25: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. [Cf. also Luke 6:48]

This very clearly gives us the essential meaning of this word 'petra'. It is of no use building a house upon a movable stone, ie. 'petros'. What is needed is a solid, unmovable foundation. The rock is here contrasted with the movable sand. However, Peter's name does not contain this meaning of immovability but rather movability!

Other appearances of this word 'petra' in the New Testament:
(i). This is the word that is used of the rocks which rent at the time of Christ's death, cf. Matthew 27:51: And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.

(ii). This word is used of the rocks that will yet rend when Christ returns in power and great glory, cf. Revelation 6:15,16: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.

(iii). This word is used of the bedrock that was found close to the surface of the field into which the seed was sown in the parable of the sower, cf. Luke 8:6,13: And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. This was no pebble buried in the field!

(iv). This word is used of the rock that was hewn out into which Christ Jesus was buried, cf. Matthew 27:60: And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed; Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

The New Testament clearly identifies for us who 'petra', the rock, is. We are not left to surmise and speculate. The Scriptures are clear!

(v). Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4 states, referring to the rock, from which the Israelites gained water during their wilderness journeyings, which was a type of Christ: And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. The word for 'rock' here, both times, is 'petra'. Christ Jesus, and not Peter, is clearly identified as the rock upon which the Church us built. He, alone, is the unmovable rock, the rock of ages. 

(vi). Peter, himself, points us to Christ as the rock upon which the Church is built, cf. 1 Peter 2:6-8: Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. There can be no doubt that Peter here states that Jesus Christ is the rock upon which the Church is built. Paul also quotes these words, cf. Romans 9:33: As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

In all these references quoted above it is the word 'petra' that is employed, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and not 'petros'. Each one referring to an immovable rock and clearly identifying Christ to be that immovable rock.

How then could it ever be taught that Peter is the rock upon which the church is built?

This is Romish teaching. The Roman Catholic church teaches that Peter is the rock upon which the church is built and bases her doctrine of the papacy upon this teaching. The Roman Catholic Catechism reads: 
552 Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve; Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord then declared to him: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Christ, the “living stone,” thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakeable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.

553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The “power of the keys” designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: “Feed my sheep.” The power to “bind and loose” connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom. 

Where is the 'play on words' if these two words 'petros' and 'petra' have the same meaning. A 'play on words' is usually found where a word is employed which has more than one meaning or that sounds like another word. Where then is the play on words in Matthew 16:18, if these two words have the same meaning and the Lord Jesus is speaking about the same person in both places?

Other related Posts on the same subject:
The Church Fathers didn't all believe that Peter was the 'rock'
Dr Paisley on who was the 'rock' upon which the Church was built

Update:
Since uploading this Blog post I have been informed, by different sources, of other issues with this Study Bible. For example, there is apparently false teaching on the subject of Justification in the hard print copies in circulation, which has had to be quietly corrected in the electronic online version. Another apparent issue raised is defective teaching on the subject of regeneration. 
Further posts will be made as these issues are followed up!

For other related posts on this Study Bible see here

16 comments:

Rev Brian McClung said...

Stephen

I will post your comment when you re-submit it, this time without the silly name calling!

Brian McClung

stephen said...

As editor, Rev McClung, you are entitled to edit any posts, leaving out unsavoury bits. My apologies if the nutty bits were offensive, but sadly that's what appears to many when they read such things. Not at all including, by the way, your good self in that. But I would say that out of fairness and accurate reporting it is only right to speak the truth and not jump to unwarranted conclusions. And that would mean quoting in full and proper contexts. Every blessing!

stephen said...

Your comments here could appear to some as being Insincere and boarder on being dishonest. Why haven't you quoted the whole of the paragraph? Let's see the whole truth of this and not your partial bias: "However, there is no indication here that Peter would have any apostolic succession in the popes; true apostolic succession lies in the confession of the gospel through the ages." And yet you accuse them of Roman Catholic teaching! The writer is clearly drawing a parallel with Eph.2:20 where the apostles, and Peter, ARE the foundation. Every blessing!

Anonymous said...

interesting article. linked here from ralph ovadals website. are you going to print the rest of the footnote which can be plainly read from the photo?

"however there is no indication here that peter would have any apostolic succession in the popes; true apostolic succession lies in the confession of the gospel through the ages. the gates of hell shall not prevail. jesus' person and work was the..."

to state the the reformation study bible, and by extension dr beeke and the men who wrote the commentary, teaches the roman catholic doctrine that peter is the rock on which the church is built is libelous calumny. the footnote is very clear when it states: "The rock that Jesus builds His Church upon is most naturally understood as Peter, together with the other apostles in their Spirit-given testimony of Him" and the rest of the notes are very explicit in their anti-papal exposition. to associate the reformation study bible with the anti-christian papacy is far beyond ridiculous. it is defamatory.

there is no way you can read anything like the doctrine of the papacy in that footnote without engaging in wilfull misrepresentation.

and as far as "the normal position that Protestants have taken over the years" take note of the geneva bible which clearly gives the normal protestant position.

from geneva bible 1560:

upon that faith whereby thou hast confessed and acknowledged me: for it is grown upon an infallible truth

from geneva bible 1599:

(5) That is true faith, which confesses Christ, the virtue of which is invincible.

(l) Christ spoke in the Syrian tongue, and therefore did not use this discourse to distinguish between Petros, which signifies Peter, and Petra, which signifies a rock, but in both places used the word Cephas: but his meaning is what is written in Greek, in which the different word endings distinguish between Peter, who is a piece of the building, and Christ the Petra, that is, the rock and foundation: or else he named him Peter because of the confession of his faith, which is the Church's as well as his, as the old fathers witness, for so says Theophylact. That confession which you have made, shall be the foundation of the believers.

do you see the significant expansion in this commentary between these two versions? how does this footnote differ essentially from the reformation study bible and how does it agree with your analysis of the use of the greek word petra?

Anglichan said...

Albert Barnes (1798 – 1870) an ordained Presbyterian minister and theologian from the USA, writes in his commentary on Matthew 16 v 18 that, ''Another interpretation is, that the word “rock” refers to Peter himself. This is the obvious meaning of the passage; and had it not been that the Church of Rome has abused it, and applied it to what was never intended, no other interpretation would have been sought for. “Thou art a rock. Thou hast shown thyself firm, and suitable for the work of laying the foundation of the church. Upon thee will I build it. Thou shalt be highly honored; thou shalt be first in making known the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.” This was accomplished. See Acts 2:14-36, where he first preached to the Jews, and Acts 10, where he preached the gospel to Cornelius and his neighbors, who were Gentiles. Peter had thus the honor of laying the foundation of the church among the Jews and Gentiles; and this is the plain meaning of this passage.''

It seems to me that these notes on Matthew 16 v 18 bear a striking similarity to those footnotes in the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible to which Pastor McClung referred. namely, 'The rock that Jesus builds His Church upon is most naturally understood as Peter.'

Another Presbyterian minister who exegetes Matthew 16 v 18 along similar lines to Rev. Barnes is Brian Schwertley, (which can be found on sermonaudio) so I hardly think that there is a need to comment that it is 'strange to observe' the fact that that the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible makes merely a footnote to a passage which clearly has more than one interpretation, even within the Protestant /Reformed/Calvinist/Presbyterian tradition.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Stephen

I don't have the ability on the Blog platform to edit comments that are posted on the Blog. They either go up in their entirety or not at all. For me to edit comments and then upload them with someone else's name attributed would be inappropriate.

Maybe you should be a little more precise in what you allege I have said. I said it is Romish teaching to claim that Peter is the rock. The following statement in the footnote has no bearing upon this fact.

Maybe it is not me who is being insincere and bordering on the dishonest!

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Anonymous

Maybe if you read what I said a little bit more closely you would be more accurate in your assertions. I never claimed that this Study Bible taught the doctrine of the papacy as you allege. I said it was Romish teaching to say that Peter is the rock.

Secondly, the Study Bible does not claim, again as you allege, that it is the Apostles' confession which is the rock. It singles out Peter and claims that he along with the other apostles is/are the rock. Amazingly, there is no room for Christ to be the rock in this Study Bible, even as a possibility!!

Furthermore, neither does this Study Bible equate with what the Geneva Bible notes teach! The Geneva Bible rules out the very thing this Study Bible says in the rock, namely that Peter and the apostles are the rock.

As John Calvin said: Though we are not yet come to that part of the discussion, I would merely observe at present, how futilely those argue who, out of the mere name of Peter, would rear up a governing power over the whole Church. For the ancient quibble which they at first used to give a colour—viz. The Church is founded upon Peter, because it is said, “On this rock,” &c.—is undeserving of notice, not to say of refutation. Some of the Fathers so expounded! But when the whole of Scripture is repugnant to the exposition, why is their authority brought forward in opposition to God? nay, why do we contend about the meaning of these words, as if it were obscure or ambiguous, when nothing can be more clear and certain?

Peter had confessed in his own name, and that of his brethren, that Christ was the Son of God (Mt. 16:16). On this rock Christ builds his Church, because it is the only foundation; as Paul says, “Other foundation than this can no man lay” (1 Cor. 3:11).

Therefore, I do not here repudiate the authority of the Fathers, because I am destitute of passages from them to prove what I say, were I disposed to quote them; but as I have observed, I am unwilling to annoy my readers by debating so clear a matter, especially since the subject has long ago been fully handled and expounded by our writers.


John Calvin won't even entertain the idea that Peter is the rock. He says this idea is: undeserving of notice and further that: the whole of Scripture is repugnant to the exposition of Peter being the rock. [emphasis mine]

You might also discover that there is other questionable teaching in the Study Bible!

Brian McClung

Rev Brian McClung said...

Anglichan

Albert Barnes was a liberal who was tried for heresy and only acquitted because so many of his colleagues believed the same. I wouldn't put much store by what he says!

As Spurgeon said about him in his Commentating on Commentaries: If a controversial eye had been turned upon Barnes's Notes years ago, and his inaccuracies shown up by some unsparing hand, he would never have had the popularity which at one time set rival publishers advertising him in every direction….

As for Brian Schwertley I don't know anything about him!

Brian McClung

john calvin said...

here is what i have to say on matthew 16:18:

"And on this rock. Hence it is evident how the name Peter comes to be applied both to Simon individually, and to other believers. It is because they are founded on the faith of Christ, and joined together, by a holy consent, into a spiritual building, that God may dwell in the midst of them, (Ezekiel 43:7.) For Christ, by announcing that this would be the common foundation of the whole Church, intended to associate with Peter all the godly that would ever exist in the world. "You are now," said he, "a very small number of men, and therefore the confession which you have now made is not at present supposed to have much weight; but ere long a time will arrive when that confession shall assume a lofty character, and shall be much more widely spread." And this was eminently fitted to excite his disciples to perseverance, that though their faith was little known and little esteemed, yet they had been chosen by the Lord as the first-fruits, that out of this mean commencement there might arise a new Church, which would prove victorious against all the machinations of hell."

the passage you quote from the institutes is specifically refuting "those argue who, out of the mere name of Peter, would rear up a governing power over the whole Church" because "The Church is founded upon Peter, because it is said, “On this rock,” &c." the footnote in the heritage kjv study bible is not teaching that the church is founded upon peter or that the church is founded on peter. rather both the heritage bible and my own notes make clear that the confession is the rock and that jesus is indeed making a play on words with peters name. compare the two notes.

"And on this rock. Hence it is evident how the name Peter comes to be applied both to Simon individually, and to other believers. It is because they are founded on the faith of Christ, and joined together, by a holy consent, into a spiritual building, that God may dwell in the midst of them."

"The rock that Jesus builds His Church upon is most naturally understood as Peter, together with the other apostles in their Spirit-given testimony of Him"

the two notes are in substantial agreement.

you say there is "questionable" teaching in the heritage kjv study bible? well bring it on! lay it on the line. let us all see the "questionable" teachings promoted by mr dutch calvinist himself, dr beeke.

although i have it on good faith from my friend zacharis ursinus that dr beeke tenaciously clings to and teaches from the three forms of unity, and in particular the heidelberg catechism, i think the entire world would love to read all the theological error you can prove dr beeke has been teaching because as of now all that you, pastor ovadal, and rev foster can bring against dr beeke are charges concerning who he associates with and what books he sells in his bookstore. please enlighten our eyes and warn us against this new karl barth, this new herman hoeksema, this new servetus, this new wolf in sheeps clothing who is rending the flock with his antichristian teaching.

Anglichan said...

Rev. McClung,
You may, or may not, be right in your assessment of Barnes’ and of his trial on charges of heresy but calling Albert Barnes a ‘liberal’ is not supported by the very witness you cite in your own case against him, namely Spurgeon, who wrote that, ‘Albert Barnes is a learned and able divine’. And, whilst, it is true that the ‘Prince of Preachers’ does not regard Barnes’ commentary on the Gospels to be of much value, Spurgeon also writes that the sum total of Albert Barnes’ commentaries are something that, ‘ no minister can afford to be without ‘.

However, leaving that aside, there are other Protestants who make similar comments to Barnes on the verse in question. For example, Matthew Poole, whom Spurgeon said was, ‘’ not so pithy and witty by far as Matthew Henry, but he is perhaps more accurate’’ wrote: ’’ Christ is the foundation of the church, and other foundation can no man lay. But though Christ be the foundation in one sense, the apostles are so called in another sense, Ephesians 2:20 Revelation 21:14 not the apostles’ persons, but the doctrine which they preached.’’

I confess that I can’t really see how the footnote in The Reformation Study Bible is really any different, in essence from the comments of Matthew Poole.
" The rock that Jesus builds His Church upon is most naturally understood as Peter, together with the other apostles in their Spirit-given testimony of Him (Eph. 2:20; Rev 21:14).’’

By the way, according to the Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church webpage,’’ Pastor Brian Schwertley is a graduate of Reformed Episcopal Seminary (Philadelphia, PA) with a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America in 1996 and has served as a church planter and minister in Michigan and Wisconsin. In January 2006, Rev. Schwertley, along with other ministers and ruling elders formed the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States in order to have a presbytery committed to biblical worship and full subscription to the Westminster Standards.’’

Anglichan said...

Rev McClung,
I'd like you, please, to add a 'footnote' of my own to my last comment, should you decide to publish it as a correction to something I wrote in my first comment. Brian Schwertly, in his exposition of Matthew 16 v 18 actually says that all three interpretations of that verse have equal merit, namely, that Christ, Peter or Peter's confession could be the rock upon which Christ builds His church. If you'd like to listen to it then it can be found on YouTube under the title,''Peter's Great Confession, Part 5: Thou Art the Rock' Covenanted Reformation.

stephen said...

Below is a recent Facebook reply to someone:

"Yes, we can misread the above passage if you want to. Just as you can the KJV, Rom. 5V1 'Therefore BEING justified by faith we...' No, I am NOT 'being justified' at all, it is past tense, 'Having BEEN justified...' I wonder if Mr McClung is going to do a blog post on correcting the erroneous KJV translation? I doubt it. Besides, there is a bloke called James who has been misunderstood for centuries in teaching justification by works. And he even wrote a book in the Bible."

Rev Brian McClung said...

John Calvin [serious case of impersonation here!]

The problem with your reply is that the Study Bible doesn't teach that it is the confession of the Apostles that is the rock upon which the church is built but rather it is particularly Peter and then the other apostles, which simply can't be right!

Anglichan
The same applies to you as said above. I am aware of others, without and within the FPC, who understand the footnote as I do and are most unhappy with it.

Stephen
I just don't understand what you are on about!

Brian McClung

john calvin said...

brian mclung said:

"The problem with your reply is that the Study Bible doesn't teach that it is the confession of the Apostles that is the rock upon which the church is built but rather it is particularly Peter and then the other apostles, which simply can't be right!"

sir you are dead wrong. here is the quote from the hrs bible with he most important part in caps:

"The rock that Jesus builds His Church upon is most naturally understood as Peter, together with the other apostles IN THEIR SPIRIT-GIVEN TESTIMONY OF HIM"

there you go. plain as day. this footnote, contrary to what you write, says it is "the confession of the Apostles that is the rock upon which the church is built." there is not even the hint of the doctrine of papal succession or the primacy of peter in this footnote. don't stop reading at the word "apostles" finish the whole sentence. how are you missing this? why do you insist on wilfully misinterpreting this footnote?

Rev Brian McClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev Brian McClung said...

John Calvin

I know John Calvin didn't speak much English so maybe this is where the problem lies!

The construction of the sentence in the English language teaches that Peter and then the other Apostles are the rock. Ask an English teacher! Whatever else the statement may say about them is irrelevant to this point.

The words you highlight in capital letters just emphasis my point. They refer back again to Peter and the Apostles. The word 'THEIR' proves the point. They may indeed give testimony to Him. But it is not the content of their testimony that is the rock but rather those who are giving the testimony. Therefore, Peter and the Apostles are the rock.

The very fact that the Study Bible has to go on and make the next qualifying statement again proves the point: However, there is no indication here that Peter would have any apostolic succession in the popes…

Why would the Study Bible have to make this qualifying statement if it was Peter and the Apostles' confession which is the rock. There would be no suggestion of apostolic succession. No one would ever think that, if it was their confession that was the rock. The fact that the qualifying statement is deemed necessary just proves the original thesis - Peter is particularly singled out in this footnote as the rock.

I am aware of other men, more learned and capable than me, who read it as I do.

Brian McClung