Recently, I had a reader ask a question that I thought was pretty good and a very viable question at that.
Note — I want you all to know that if a person comments on a post on this blog, it does not automatically end up becoming a new post for me. The only reason that I repost this text is because I thought it might edify other members of the Bride of Christ – The Church.
And now on to the lesson:
Good day sir, please i have a question for you. how many Churches did Christ build in the bible? Mathew 16:18
Wow – thank you so much for your question.
I’m not exactly certain where you are going with this question but I think I will attempt to answer more than just your initial question as well as an other question which many others (as well as you might fall into this category as well) have asked regarding this text. I’m sorry ahead of time for the probability for this answer being a bit long but I believe for a complete answer to your question, it is required.
You reference, Matthew 16:18:
[KJV] 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.”
Just breezing through this text, one would presume that it is indicating just one church, Peter’s, correct? The Catholic Church believes that Peter was the founder of their faith also being their first pope. That is strange considering that Peter lived in the first century A.D. and the Catholic Church wasn’t founded until nearly 400 A.D. You do the math.
Actually, many believe that this text is indicating that Jesus is telling Peter that He will be building His church on him (Peter), believing that the Greek word for “Peter” and the Greek word for “rock” is the same greek word, “Petra” (G4073 πέτρα petra (pe’-tra) n.).
Here is a brief study on the original words that were used in this verse. The belief is that the verse (belief of the above statement) is stating that Peter is the head of the Church from that point forward; There is one Church (branching into many other sects), the Roman Catholics, that believe this such statement.
Here is the truth to this verse:
The Greek word for “rock” is: G4073 (Strong’s number), πέτρα (the Greek spelling), petra (English translation), (pe’-tra) (the pronunciation of the word in English), n. (indication of the type of word it is, in this case it is a noun – person, place, or thing.
- (properly) a mass of solid rock (such as a solidly massive foundation or as jutting upward for hewing out a large family chamber tomb).
- (person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua.
- (Note) The solid rock is in distinct contrast to a piece of rock or a rock fragment.
The Greek word for “Peter” is: G4074 (Strong’s number), Πέτρος (the Greek spelling), Petros (English translation), (pe’-tros) the pronunciation of the word in English), n/p. (indicating that this could be used as a noun or a pronoun, indicated by context, not personal preferences – in this case it is used as a noun.)
- a (piece of) rock.
- as a name, Petrus, an apostle.
Notice the differences between these two words.
The word “petros” is being used as the “name of an apostle”, but if it were looked at as a form of rock, it would only be a small piece of rock… not much to put a church on.
The word “Petra” is being used as “(person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua”. If it were looked at as a form of rock, it would be a massive amount of rock, such as a foundation (bedrock).
Comparing the two, it, in my mind, and I think it is obvious the way the accurate translation should be, it should be the “rock” that is being used in this instance to build the Church upon is Jesus, The Solid Rock, The Bedrock, The Foundation of our Faith.
I have to answer your question as: There is only ONE Church being created in the verse, Matthew 16:18. The Church is NOT the Catholic Church, but rather the Church of Christians.
Christ-ian – literally means “little Christs” or “Christ-like, following Christ’s teachings and lifestyle”.
Where Peter was very instrumental in the early Church, especially in reaching the Jews with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul (previously Saul) was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Neither of which started their own sect or “religion” under their own names. They only spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
(All specific references to words used in the Bible come from, Mickelson’s Enhanced Strong’s Dictionaries of the Greek and Hebrew Testaments)
- Guilty, Yet Free
- Assurance Of An Eternal Heaven
- When I Say, “I Am A Christian”!
- Are You Ashamed?
- The Burning Man
- Nominal Christianity