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