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The Primacy of Peter
Where Is That In The Bible | Patrick Madrid

Posted on 07/10/2005 5:27:58 AM PDT by NYer

Among Catholic doctrines, those pertaining to the papacy tend to be the most misunderstood and contested by non-catholics. The following verses show the biblical basis for Catholic teaching on the primacy of Peter, the office of the papacy being established by Christ and allusions to the doctrine of infallibility. These doctrines reached their full development in the life of the Church only after centuries of contemplation and study, in councils and through the actions of the popes. And we should never forget that since the Church is likened by Christ to a “mustart seed” that grows and develops organically from a speck into a large treelike plant, therefore we should not expect to see the Church’s doctrines fully developed and visible in its present form in the pages of the New Testament. What we do find in the New Testament though, is the scriptural record of Peter’s primacy among the Apostles and the seminal outlines of the doctrines pertaining to the papacy.

The Primacy of Peter

One compelling biblical fact that points clearly to Simon Peter’s primacy among the 12 Apostles and his importance and centrality to the drama of Christ’s earthly ministry, is that he is mentioned by name (e.g. Simon, Peter, Cephas, Kephas, etc.) 195 times in the course of the New Testament. The next most often-mentioned Apostle is St. John, who is mentioned a mere 29 times. After John, in descending order, the frequency of the other Apostles being mentioned by name trails off rapidly.

When the names of all the Apostles are listed, Peter is always first. Judas Iscariot, the Lord’s traitor, is always listed last (cf. Matt. 10:2-5; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-17; and Acts 1:13). Sometimes Scripture speaks simply of “Simon Peter and the rest of the Apostles” or “Peter and his companions” (cf. Luke 9:32; Mark 16:7; Acts 2:37), showing that he had a special role that represented the entire apostolic college. Often, Scripture shows Simon Peter as spokesman for the entire apostolic college, as if he were the voice of the Church (cf. Mat. 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 8:45; Luke 12:41; John 6:68-69).

Other Citations

It is from Simon Peter’s fishing boat (cf. Luke 5:3) that Christ preaches to the crowds (this is significant in light of the fact that, since very early times, the Catholic Church has been widely referred to in patristic writings and religious art as the “barque” [archaic English for “boat”] of Peter. In these episodes, Peter plays a central role in the drama as usual).

In Mark 16:7 we see that the angels single Peter out among the Apostles when they tell the Holy Women to “go, tell his disciples and Peter” about the Lord’s Resurrection.

In Luke 24:33-35 we see that the risen Christ appears to Simon Peter first, before appearing to the other Apostles.

In Acts 1:15-26 it is Peter who leads the Apostles in selecting a replacement for Judas.

In Acts 3:1-9, we see St. Peter leading the infant Christian Church forward through difficult moments after the Resurrection. He is clearly the chief of the Apostles as he preaches in Acts 2 the first post-Pentecost sermon to the crowds, performs in Acts 3 the first post-Pentecost miracle and in Acts 4, with John,m turns the tables on the Jewish Sanhedrin by putting them on trial in the very setting where they intended to intimidate the Apostles.

In Acts 10, Simon Peter receives a special revelation from God that Gentiles are to be welcomed into the Church without having to follow Jewish Kosher food restrictiions or undergo circumcision. In Acts 11, he acts in the name of the Church in welcoming the first Gentile converts to be received according to this new revelation.

In Acts 15, at the Council of Jerusalem, Peter delivers the revelation pertaining to Gentile believers that causes the disputes to cease and the room to fall silent (cf. Acts 6-12). St. James, the bishop of Jerusalem, appears in a position of leadership alongside Peter. While James delivers the pastoral, disciplinary teaching (cf. Acts 13-21), it was Peter who delivered the binding doctrinal teaching. His primacy was recognized by St. Paul (who in Antioch “withstood Peter to his face” over the vexing issue of his refraining to eat with Gentiles) when he describes in Galatians 1:18 how he went to see Peter to make sure his teaching was in line with Peter’s.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ecumenism; General Discusssion; History; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: benedictxvi; holyfather; patrickmadrid; peter; pope; primacy; theholyfather; thepope; theprimacyofpeter; vatican; vicar; vicarofchrist; vicarofchristonearth
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For the ..... "rest of the story" .... you will have to purchase Patrick Madrid's book Where's That In The Bible.
1 posted on 07/10/2005 5:27:58 AM PDT by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...

For those who constantly raise this question :-)


2 posted on 07/10/2005 5:29:48 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer

Great thread NYer! Thanks!


3 posted on 07/10/2005 5:58:31 AM PDT by Robert Drobot (Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.)
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To: NYer

With this kind of information readily available in scripture,it is truly bewildering that so many non-Catholics and self identified catholics on both ends of the spectrum will argue against the Church's position on Peter and his Primacy.


4 posted on 07/10/2005 9:02:17 AM PDT by saradippity
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To: NYer

I love that book! I have the other two, also. Can't remember the names right now and am too tired to look them up. They are equally as wonderful and concise as that one.


5 posted on 07/10/2005 8:36:48 PM PDT by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Bump! Think you may enjoy this.


6 posted on 07/11/2005 7:29:39 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: Kolokotronis

Your thoughts?


7 posted on 07/11/2005 7:30:15 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer; Mrs. Don-o

Thanks, NYer! This is great. When I get a minute (busy day) I'm going to re-read it more carefull and memorize his main points for future FRemedial Catechism lessons... :->


8 posted on 07/11/2005 8:02:24 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life.)
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To: NYer

Gee, I was watching the local Calvary Chapel preacher on cable a few weeks ago when he hit Matthew 16 and the keys to the kingdom. He certainly had a novel approach.

He didn't spend a lot of time on it considering the gravity of what he was proposing for belief.


9 posted on 07/11/2005 9:30:04 AM PDT by siunevada
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To: NYer

"Your thoughts?"

I think I've seen much better arguments than this! I will say that the appropriate canonical position of the Pope is that of first in honor, the primus inter pares not simply the "primus". When a Pope is elected who teaches the The Faith in all its fullness as preserved in the Orthodox Church and lived out by the People of God, then the proper canonical order will be restored...but not before that.


10 posted on 07/11/2005 9:36:09 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: siunevada
He certainly had a novel approach.

Do you recall any of what he said?

11 posted on 07/11/2005 9:46:18 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: Kolokotronis
I think I've seen much better arguments than this!

What were they?

12 posted on 07/11/2005 10:10:19 AM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: NYer
Do you recall any of what he said?

The keys are the words of Sacred Scripture and the words Jesus said to Peter apply to every ordained minister.

13 posted on 07/11/2005 10:16:36 AM PDT by siunevada
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To: siunevada

Interesting intrepretation.

I believe Mr. Madrid would return to (sorry I am Catholic and cannot quote by chapter and verse) the section where "you" is used in addressing Peter and is thus thought of as individual investiture.

If I recall correctly, isn't there a second investiture after Peter when the remaining Apostles are invested?

Perhaps he focuses on the second more that the first....or perhaps very simply he has a translation that doesn't include the same wording.

In the spirit of respect for other religions I must confess that were each Christian to consider themselves corporate in the works of the "Church" (as used by Touchstone Magazine to refer to every Christian regardless of degree of Communion) the same as this minister seems to, perhaps Ut Unam Sint wouldn't be so far off.

Or at the very least there would be more amicable ecumenical relations.


14 posted on 07/11/2005 10:44:09 AM PDT by Cheverus
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To: Cheverus
If I recall correctly, isn't there a second investiture after Peter when the remaining Apostles are invested?

Mt. 18:18?

Perhaps he focuses on the second more that the first....

Nope. He was reading Mt. 16:19. The keys to the kingdom.

15 posted on 07/11/2005 11:42:25 AM PDT by siunevada
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To: NYer; gbcdoj

"I think I've seen much better arguments than this!

What were they?"

In my opinion, gbcdoj is the "go to" guy on this subject. I'll leave the defense of the Latin's idea of the role of the Papacy to him! :)


16 posted on 07/11/2005 12:14:13 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: NYer

Taking this discussion out one more step. Is there a similar such article which refers to tradition?

Since Catholic do take the both/and approach (yes I poached that from Grodi), any discussion would seem to merit the additional points from tradition.


17 posted on 07/11/2005 12:23:41 PM PDT by Cheverus
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To: Cheverus
Is there a similar such article which refers to tradition?

Yes .... the topic includes Tradition. The book, however, is at home. I'll have to look it up this evening. ;-D

18 posted on 07/11/2005 1:01:56 PM PDT by NYer ("Each person is meant to exist. Each person is God's own idea." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: Cheverus

There *are* indeed to separate investitures, one to Peter singularly, and the other to the apostles collectively: An ecumenical council's unanimous decrees are also considered infallible. But they have to represent the *collective* faiths of the all of the bishops (the heirs of apostolic authority), for no two people can have divergent views and be infallible!


19 posted on 07/11/2005 2:23:27 PM PDT by dangus
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To: NYer
The best arguments I've seen for the primacy and infallibility of St. Peter and his successors are the following series of articles from Dom John Chapman's Studies on the Early Papacy:

St. Cyprian on the Church and the Papacy
St. Athanasius, Arianism, and the Holy See
St. John Chrysostom and the Apostle Peter
St. Jerome and Rome
The Condemnation of Pelagianism Part I
The Condemnation of Pelagianism Part II

These really sum up quite well the evidence from the early Church, and the article on St. John Chrysostom also treats of the Scriptural evidence through his interpretive grid. Well worth reading.

20 posted on 07/11/2005 2:24:21 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Without His assisting grace, the law is “the letter which killeth;” - Augustine.)
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