There is so much desire to explain these verses away. For the record, I would like to comment on the linguistic aspect of verse 18.
This is the literal word-by-word for the Latin:
tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam
you are Peter and on this rock I-shall-build church my
To see the Greek original, go to
, and select Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000) as the first version and any English translation for the second version. Select Matthew as book and chapter 16 verse 18. Leave other controls as by default. You will see the Greek original and the translation in a separate window. The Greek will be in Greek letters, but this is, roughly, what they would be transliterated into English alphabet letter-by-letter:
kago de soi lego oti su es petros kai epi taute te petra oikonomeso mou ten ekklesian kai pulai adou ou katischusousin autes
and-I to you say that you are Petros and upon this the rock I-shall-build my the church and doors of-hell not prevail against-her
Greek words have "gender". Words ending in "os" are masculine. Words ending in "a" are feminine (they also inflect, and there are other endings beside these two, but these two are sufficient for our purpose here). "Petra" is "rock"; it is a feminine noun. Accordingly, "taute" and "te" are feminine prepositions that together mean "this [feminine thing]". "epi taute te petra" means "upon this rock", straight up, -- no wordplay.
Then there is this word, "petros". It is a masculine form of "petra". You can take any Greek word ending in "-a", and make up a similar masculine word out of it replacing "-a" with "-os". We can't do so in English because we don't have gender for inanimate nouns. We have a similar effect with some names, e.g. "Brenda" and "Brendan". But in Greek we can do so systematically. Usually, if we take a regular Greek feminine word and form a masculine counterpart, we get a non-word. "Petros" is a non-word. It suggests "petra" but is wrong, masculine, gender. How can we use such non-word? We can give a man a nickname. The nickname, e.g. Petros, will follow the proper grammar for men, but will still suggest "petra", -- Rock.
There is no record of the proper name Petros used prior to the spread of Christianity. It might have been a rarely used name, or it might have been a non-word till Christ invented it. In any event, there is nothing in the text to indicate any desire on the part of Christ to make Peter a "stone" (the word for that would be "lithos") or a "pebble". There is nothing that suggests pointing away from Peter at some rock far off.
It is possible that the actual words were uttered in Aramaic, and indeed Peter is called Cephas, Aramaic for Rock, elsewhere. In this case the Greek word formation, "petros" is how Matthew rendered the renaming while making the Greek grammar still work.
Nor, of course, is there anything in the broader context to suggest irony on the part of Christ. Simon alone recognized Jesus as the messiah; Jesus indicates that Peter has a divine revelation about that, renames him (in the tradition of Old Testament patriarchs) and promises to Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. He also explains that the "keys" will hold the power to legislate on earth in such way that Christ Himself will enforce these laws in heaven.
BTW, I'm not anti Universal Church of all those who Love The Lord Jesus . . .
I am against hierarchical organizations which end up doing the same thing the religious leaders of the most kosher RELIGIOUS organization of Jesus' dusty pathed days did to those who wanted a real realtionship with God.
The same problems in the Roman group abound in the Protestant groups. Human nature is the same in both camps and now as 2,000 years ago.
The Romans have not learned some secret about keeping organizations and their leaders humble servants to true relationships with God. It has appeared a number of decades and even centuries that actually, the Roman group was euqal to or worse than the RELIGIOUS organization and leaders ruling the roost in Jesus' earthly days.
I do NOT believe that Christ installed Peter as leader of anything.
But EVEN IF HE DID, the supposed successors have truly botched the operation big time multiple times to horrific results over and over and over.
The notion that God still rests His anointing on the Roman Group makes of God an idiot.
God is not that dumb, blind or helpless when He sees His priorities and His anointing trashed compared to His goals and standards.
Act 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
Act 28:24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
If Peter was in Rome, Paul then was building on another man's ministry, contrary to the bible and Roman theology...
Gosh, maybe for the partial answer to these questions you should consult the great Eusebius in Church History; Book III; Ch22:
"At this time, Ignatius was known as the 2nd bishop of Antioch, Euodius having been the first. Symeon likewise was at that time the 2nd ruler of the Church of Jerusalem, the brother of our Saviour having been the first."
Golly gee, I wonder who that could have been? Hmmmm.Try Galatians 1:19: "But other of the apostles saw I none, except James, the Lord's brother". Yes, James, one of Jesus's four brothers, son of Mary [Mt 13:55]. There goes your postulation and that legend of perpetual virginity in one fell swoop.
Paul in Galatians describes his meeting with the three pillars of the Church in Jerusalem: James[bishop? maybe], Cephas [Peter the Apostle], and John [the Apostle?]. Is that 2 Apostles and a Bishop? We take your Queen.
Not only do you guys not believe the Holy Scriptures but you don't even believe your own Ante-Nicene Fathers. Where do you get these great pontifications? Maybe you should meditate on the great Catholic scholar F.A. Sullivan who explained in From Apostles to Bishops, that apostles were not bishops and bishops not apostles, and that the Church in Rome until atleast the middle of the 2nd century was run by a college of presbyters. Yes, my dear deceived brethren, the first church in Rome was Presbyterian. And you have the audacity to call them "separated brethren". You all should return to the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, the church of your fathers, and quit this nonsense