The Primacy Of Peter?

Thesis: To expose the Word voiding traditions of men (Mt 15:6; Mk 7:13) in light of the thoroughly equipping Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:3) unto the truth.

Text: Mt 16:13-19


  1. This week we will be considering that which is sometimes referred to as “the primacy of Peter”, this is a very important issue, because if it is correct, then Roman Catholicism is correct, and we and those of all other sects of Christendom need to repent and become a member of that organization, or perish eternally for it is written there is but “one Faith” (Eph 4:5). But let us keep in mind that the entity known as the “Roman Catholic church” did not exist in NT times but rather “developed” by men and through men over time.

  1. The religion of Roman Catholicism is founded on 4 claims . . .

(1) The primacy of Peter,

(2) Apostolic succession,

(3) The infallibility of the pope, and

(4) Holy Tradition

a. (Orthodox and oriental Catholicism is based on points #2 apostolic succession along with #4 “holy tradition” i.e. traditions that for the most part were conceived “after” the Faith was once for all time delivered; Jude 3; even though they may deny such)

  1. Yet when we go through the evidences we have, we can’t see why the Roman Catholics cannot see the truth as the bible teaches, they truly believe their position to be correct. Turn to Mt 16:18-19 . . .

Mat 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Mat 16:19 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."

  1. The Roman Catholic reads verse 18 as so . . .

a. “Peter is the rock that the church is built upon,” . . .

b. For when Jesus first comes in contact with Peter (John 1:42) He renames him from “Simon” which means “heard, or famous” to “Cephas” which means “a stone” which is signified (they would say) by the “rock” in our context.

  1. And in verse 19 “keys” signify “authority,” thus Peter has authority, therefore whatever Peter decides is law.

  1. We should state right here that in Mt 28:18, where it states that Christ has been given “all authority” in heaven and on earth, that leaves none left for Peter, nor Moses, nor anyone else, but we will go on.

  1. And to further substantiate their assertion of Peter’s authority they state that on every list where all the apostles are listed, his name is first (Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:16; Luke 6:12-14; Acts 1:13).

  1. And if his name is last in a list (as in 1 Cor 9:5-6), the order of importance is ascending, from the lesser to the greater.

  1. And if Peter’s name is given 2nd (as in Gal 2:9-13) what you are seeing is a pyramid arrangement with Peter on top.

  1. Therefore the church is indeed built upon him, and whatever he desires is law.


  1. Let us back up in our text a bit, starting with v 13 (Mt 16:13-20) . . .

Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

Mat 16:14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Mat 16:16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Mat 16:19 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."

Mat 16:20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

  1. Note that in our passage (Mt 16:13-20) the question is “who is Jesus?” not “who is Peter?”

    1. Peter’s given name was “Simon” meaning “famous or heard” which Christ uses here (v 17),

    1. When the Word became flesh (John 1:14), He was given the name Jesus (Mt 1:25), He was also given the name “Christ” by Peter in this context

    1. Therefore as Simon’s name is now Peter (v 18), in like manner Jesus’ name is now Christ.

    1. Thus what is seen in this passage is a play on ideas, seeing that I renamed you, (Peter “petros”) you renamed Me (Christ “Christos”)

    1. And upon this rock “petra” (feminine in gender, meaning a bed-rock, mountain or rock, an immovable ledge) I will build My church (also feminine in gender)

    1. Therefore this does not refer to the “Peter” “petros” (masculine gender meaning a rock, pebble, stone) seeing that in the Greek language the antecedent of a word must match up in gender, number and case.

    1. So the “rock” of the context must be the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the chief corner-stone of the church (1 Pet 2:6), as renamed by Peter.

    1. The Catholic rebuttal is that Jesus spoke these words in Aramaic wherein there is no difference in gender between these two words.

    1. But we need to remember that the NT is written in Greek, and when something is spoken in a different language is states such (Mat. 1:23; Mark 5:41; 15:22; John 1:38, 41; Acts 4:36; 21:40).

    1. And also when we take into consideration the “Latin Vulgate” which the Roman Catholic church considers to be “an infallible version?” Also has this gender difference. (Petrus vs. Petram)

    1. And most importantly the Greek NT is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16-17), it is perfect (1 Cor 13:10; Ja 1:25); therefore the gender difference within that text must be accepted as truth.

  1. But even besides these facts we could look at other passages which affirm this truth, for “the sum of God’s word is Truth” (Ps 119:160), turn to Rom 9:33 . . .

Rom 9:33 as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

a. This is a quote from Isa 8:14; 28:16, the word stone here is “lithos.” And the word “rock” again is our word that the church is built upon “Petra” this passage is speaking of Christ, not Peter.

b. Now turn to 1 Cor 10:4 . . .

1Co 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

c. Here again we see our word again “Rock”, (“Petra”), Christ, not Peter, (“Petros”)

d. And look at 1 Pet 2:4-8 . . .

1Pe 2:4 unto whom coming, a living stone, rejected indeed of men, but with God elect, precious,

1Pe 2:5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1Pe 2:6 Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.

1Pe 2:7 For you therefore that believe is the preciousness: but for such as disbelieve, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner;

1Pe 2:8 and, A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; for they stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

e. The stone here is “lithos,” and the “rock” again is our word that the church is built upon “Petra,” this passage is speaking of Christ, not Peter.

f. Thus in this passage, written by Peter himself (inspired of the Holy Spirit; 2 Tim 3:16), shows us that his understanding is that the Christ is the “lithos” and the “Petra” which the church is built upon, not himself.

  1. Now we do see a figure in the Scriptures referring to the foundation of the church being the apostles, but them as a group, not Peter alone (turn to Rev 21:14; Eph 2:20).

Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Eph 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

  1. And those foundational apostles (which refers to the 12 at the beginning of the church; Acts 1:21-26) along with other NT prophets had Christ as their chief cornerstone (1 Pet 2:6), not Peter.

  1. Also in Gal 2:6-14 Paul says that Peter “stood condemned, to be blamed,” not that he had some sort of primacy.

    1. In 2 Cor 11:28; 1 Cor 15:9 Paul says “he” had care for all the churches, not Peter

  1. Paul discusses offices of the church in 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11-16, 1 Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9, but there is not one mention of Peter nor the Papal office! If the Papal office is so important, why doesn’t he mention it?

  1. The Catholic church claims that Peter was in Rome from AD 42-67. If this is true how come there was no mention of Peter by Paul in the prison epistles which were written at Rome in AD 61-63?

    1. In 2 Tim 4:16 during Paul’s 2nd imprisonment in Rome, it states that all forsook Paul, if Peter was there it means he was among those that did such.

    1. In the Epistle to the Romans (AD 58) Paul mentions 21 people that were in Rome by name, but no mention of Peter, if his is prominent and in Rome, surely this would be the case.

    1. Also in Rom 1:11 Paul states that he desired to impart a spiritual gift to the Christians in Rome, if Peter is there, why can’t he? (as he did in Acts 8:14-18 with John) It seems that no apostle had been there before AD 58.

    1. In Acts 8:14 Peter is sent by the apostles to the Samaritans, that violates Christ’s teaching on preeminence in John 13:16 . . .

Joh 13:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. (NASB)

    1. Therefore Peter is not prominent

  1. In AD 44 during the Herodian dispersion, Acts 12 has Peter in prison, yet the Roman Catholic church has him in Rome.

a. In AD 49-50 (Acts 15) Peter is at the inspired council in Jerusalem, not Rome. In which James presides over the meeting, not Peter.

  1. Clearly one ought to be able to see that this doctrine concocted to justify the Catholic system of hierarchy falls far short in light of the totality of God’s Truth (Ps 119:160).

Psa 119:160 The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.

  1. The truth is the papal office (and the entire system of Catholic hierarchy) was something that developed over a number of years, it is a tradition of men, the 1st universally recognized pope was Boniface III, the title “pope” or “universal pope” was given to him by the Roman emperor Phocas in AD 606, and this is over 500 years after the Faith was once and for all time confirmed, revealed, recorded, and delivered (Jude 3)

Jud 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

  1. Therefore it is not part of the once for all delivered Faith but rather the traditions of men, of which it is written (Col 2:8) . . .

Col 2:8 Take heed lest there shall be any one that makes spoil of you (takes you captive) through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:

  1. Also concerning the traditions of men our Lord stated (Mt 15:9) . . .

Mat 15:9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"

  1. Paul wrote this in 2 Cor 11:3 . . .

2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward (in; YLT) Christ.

  1. The gospel of Christ is a simple system from a complex God, and popes, arch bishops, cardinals, fathers, reverends, etc. are not a part of it (1 Pet 4:11a; 1 Cor 4:6b)

1Pe 4:11a If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;

1Co 4:6b that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.


A. Turn back to (Mt 16:19) . . .

Mat 16:19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (ASV)

Note that it does state that Peter (“thee” – singular; ASV; KJV) will be given the “keys” in this passage. Roman Catholics assert that “keys” here signify “authority” thus Peter here was given the authority to legislate for God. first of all I would disagree with their interpretation of what is being said here, it seems to me that “keys” are that which opens something that is locked, that would be contextually the Way to Heaven through the Gospel, through Jesus, Jesus Himself said “no one has ascended into Heaven” (Jn 3:13) but that would be changing through the Gospel, Christ the Firstfruits and they that are Christ’s at His coming (1 Cor 15:23) would be ascending into Heaven, and Peter would be among the first to preach the Gospel in its fullness on that first Pentecost after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus in Acts 2, also we need to remember that the “sum (totality) of Thy word is truth” (PS 119:160), not just “some of it.” Only a part of it may not give us a correct answer.

  1. This is basically what Satan tried to pull on our Lord in the wilderness where he quotes Ps 91:12 in Mt 4:6 (turn there) . . .

Mat 4:6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"

    1. Well it looks like Satan is right, it is written, and the scripture can’t be broken (Jn 10:35) . . . but with the totality of scripture, specifically Deut 6:16 in view, which our Lord quotes in the next verse (Mt 4:7) . . .

Mat 4:7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

    1. With the totality of scripture in view, the Son of God does not jump off the pinnacle of the temple,

    1. But if He did just take that one scripture and obey it at that time, he would have been in error, and He knew it, and Satan knew it too.

  1. Therefore when we consider the matter of this binding and loosing and Peter, is that it was also given to the other apostles (Mt 18:18; John 20:23), we must consider that Peter therefore was not prominent (look at Mt 18:18),

Mat 18:18 Verily (truly) I say unto you (plural), what things soever ye (plural) shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye (plural) shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (ASV)

    1. He (Peter) was the subject in Mt 16:19 because of his confession of Christ, his name change, Jesus’ name change, and the play on words being used.

    1. The “you” and “ye” here in the older versions (ASV; KJV) is plural and it refers to all the apostles, but anyone that does this in the realm of Christ’s given authority would be included (Mt 28:20), in other words, this by application refers to the church as a whole, but the context is that of church discipline.

    1. Turn to John 20:23 . . .

Joh 20:23 whose soever sins ye (plural) forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye (plural) retain, they are retained. (ASV)

    1. Again, this is speaking to “all” the apostles, not just Peter, for we see the plural “ye” in the context as correctly denoted in the older versions.

    1. And this is specifically referring to the forgiveness that people would receive through the gospel of Christ which these men were about to bring forth into the world.

    1. For without the gospel of Jesus Christ there is no forgiveness, for no one comes to God except through Jesus (Jn 14:6). The retaining of sins can be seen in Acts 18:6 (Acts 18:4-6) . . .

Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Act 18:5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.

Act 18:6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."

    1. And it (the matter of sins being forgiven or retained) also likely has a secondary application to intercessory prayer as we see in Acts 8:22-24 concerning Simon (Acts 8:22-24; Ja 5:16).

Act 8:22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

Act 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity."

Act 8:24 And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

Jas 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

  1. And last but not least, our verse (Mt 16:19) should be rendered as NASB and YLT has it, turn back there . . .

Mat 16:19 and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. (NASB)

Mat 16:19 and I will give to thee the keys of the reign of the heavens, and whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.' (YLT)

    1. And it is the same in Mt 18:18, turn there . . .

Mat 18:18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. (NASB)

Mat 18:18 `Verily I say to you, Whatever things ye may bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever things ye may loose on the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens. (YLT)

    1. “Shall have been bound” is in what is grammatically called the “future perfect passive tense”, therefore what these verses are truly saying is that they (Peter and the other apostles) really have no authority of their own at all, they are merely men whom God is using as His mouthpiece, proclaiming His inspired word by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which was forever settled in heaven (Ps 119:89)

Psa 119:89 For ever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven. (NASB)

Psa 119:89 Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. (ESV)

    1. And the way they did this (bound and loosed what was already bound and loosed, i.e. using the keys) was through their initial preaching of the gospel, which Peter and this group of men (minus Judas, plus Matthias) did on that first Pentecost in Acts 2 in which they were the first to reveal the gospel in all its fullness, the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and our living hope of following our Forerunner.

    1. When they did this they opened the door to Heaven through Jesus, the only way to God’s actual presence (Jn 14:6)

    1. And when we enter into God’s kingdom through faith and obedience through the means of the perpetual great commission (Mt 28:18-20), we also, in like manner are expected to use the keys of the kingdom (within our God ordained roles) in order that other individuals also may have their sins forgiven, and do the same.


  1. Truly it is the through the word of God, God’s revealed teaching, that Christ exercises His all encompassing authority, as clearly stated in Mt 28:18-20 (turn there) . . .

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:

Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (age). (ASV)

  1. You see here Christ announces His all compassing authority (v 18) and exercises it (in v 19-20) by sending the apostles into all the nations, to make disciples (learners), baptize them, and “teaching” them to observe the “things” “HE” commanded them.

    1. And they were to be aided by the power of the Holy Spirit in order that “all the truth” (not just parts of it) would be given and written down (John 14:26; 16:12-13)

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.

Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

    1. But I want you to note here (Mt 28:18-20) that Christ’s authority sends them to make disciples, baptize them, and “teach them everything,” which includes future disciples making disciples, baptizing, teaching, and so on, and so, and so on.

    1. And with Jude 3 in view the “once for all time delivered faith” would be fixed, and those that attempted to change it, through councils, through creeds, through catechisms, through the traditions of men (holy tradition), need to be contended against, to keep the Faith of Jesus Christ in all its pureness and simplicity (2 Cor 11:3).

  1. And also 2 Tim 2:2 teaches us that it is the teaching that was to be passed down, not apostolic authority (look at 2 Tim 2:2).

2Ti 2:2 And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (and so on, and so on, and so on, ect). (ASV)

    1. Note that the men may change throughout time, but the teaching is fixed, settled forever in Heaven (Ps 119:89), it can’t be changed by men, or councils, or earthly decisions (Jude 3).

    1. Also note that this is perpetual, as is Mt 28:20 . . .

Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: (which includes, making learners, baptizing them, and teaching them all things, and so on, and so on, and so on, etc.).

    1. Therefore with the authority being locked up in “the teaching,” and considering the fact that it is perpetual, and all encompassing, (“all things”; John 14:26; “all the truth”; John 16:13) and that it is “fixed” in the heavens (Ps 119:89), “once for all time delivered”(Jude 3) there is none left for Papal, or apostolic succession to change.

  1. The Biblical stance on where the authority lies is thus . . .

“The church is an absolute monarchy, wherein “Christ” rules in the hearts of individuals from heaven, seated at God’s right hand, the position of authority (Mt 28:18; Eph 1:22-23), He does this through His Word, the NT, working upon those hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:12-14).

a. The Father gave Christ the words (Jn 12:49-50) . . .

Joh 12:49 For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

Joh 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto me, so I speak.

b. Christ gave them to the apostles and NT prophets (Jn 17:8, 14; Gal 1:12) . . .

Joh 17:8 for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me.

Joh 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Gal 1:12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

c. They were empowered by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit which enabled them . . .

1) To remember without error “all the things” Christ had spoken unto them (John 14:26),

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.

2) Also the Holy Spirit taught them “all things”, (John 14:26) the remaining body of “all the truth” (John 16:13), which they could not absorb while Christ was upon the earth (John 16:12)

Joh 16:12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

3) And declared the things that were to come; prophecies (Jn 16:13)

4) They wrote them down in a manner that when we read them (Eph 3:4) we can understand them, and is that which we call the NT, the Gospel, and are the word, the very commands of God (1 Cor 14:37; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Thess 3:14).

1Co 14:37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.

1Th 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

2Th 3:14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.

5) And when believed and obeyed from the heart (Rom 6:17), they are able change people (Jn 6:63; Heb 4:12), and make them righteous in the sight of God (2 Cor 5:21), and gives them the hope of eternal life (Acts 20:32).

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are sanctified.

6) For it is by that same Word that each one of us will be judged by to determine where will spend eternity (John 12:48; Rom 2:16; Rev 20:12)

Joh 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

Rom 2:16 in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books (of the bible), according to their works.

    1. This leaves no room for the doctrines of men, through which we are taken captive (Col 2:8), and results in vain worship (Mt 15:9).

    1. Therefore let us continue in the simplicity and the purity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3), as it is written (Col 3:17; Jn 8:31-32).

Col 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name (by the authority) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Joh 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

Joh 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."