"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." Matt 16:18

It is my understanding that there is still debate amongst Protestant scholars over the interpretation of this scripture, and that there may be partial protestant support for the Primacy of Simon Peter.

Is this true? If so, which denominations of Protestantism support the interpretation that Peter is the rock Christ is referring to?

  • Perhaps address petros vs. petra and what upon this rock means.
    – user13992
    Sep 24, 2014 at 1:39
  • 1
    That argument gets held up in the debate about whether Christ was speaking Aramaic or Greek while addressing the apostles.
    – ShemSeger
    Sep 24, 2014 at 2:56
  • 3
    Just wondering why you think Protestants are divided on this. It may be the case, I'm not sure, but usually it's Protestants disagreeing with Catholics on this. Sep 24, 2014 at 12:00
  • @DavidStratton Actually, I go the idea from you. "As a Baptist, this view that the Church has been built upon Christ, not Peter, is the common teaching that I'm familiar with. But that's not necessarily true in all Protestant denominations." That is what you said in your answer to this question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/14744/… That statement prompted a google search that returned this section of an article from wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Sep 24, 2014 at 15:11
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    Even if Jesus was referring to building his church on Peter, it does not necessarily follow that the Bishop of Rome must always be the supreme leader of the church forever. It is possible for someone to recognize the authority of Peter, but not the Pope.
    – Ben Miller
    Sep 25, 2014 at 13:03

2 Answers 2


No Protestant denominations that I know of support Peter being the rock of Mathew 16. They all tend to interpret this passage as Jesus indicating the revelation of who Jesus is being given Peter by the Father, as the 'rock' upon which the church is built.

Some Protestants (individuals) note that Peter appears to have a primary role amoung the apostles, evidenced by the number of times he is mentioned first in the gospels and Acts, and often as 'Peter and the others', etc. They also agree that Peter was a leader in the church at Jerusalem.

Some denominations note that Peter is thought to be Jasper stone in the wall of the New Jerusalem/The Israel of God/The Church, which was the first stone in the wall, listed in Rev. 21. This fulfills Jesus' words, if they were about Peter being a rock upon which He would build His church, the New Jerusalem being a type of the church, and the Israel of God, and Peter indicated as being a foundation stone in the wall, hence therefore Peter was a 'rock' upon which Jesus 'built his church' in the prophecy of Rev. 21.

This being said and in summary, no Protestant denominations think that Peter is 'the rock' upon which Jesus said He would build His church, and few if any have written about Peter even being 'a rock' in the foundation wall of the New Jerusalem/The Bride/The Church.

This interpretation of Mathew 16, because it is a point upon which the Roman Catholic Church justify the Papacy, is stayed away from by most, if not all of Protestantism.


I know of no Protestant denomination that supports Peter as the ONLY rock by which Jesus founded His Church. It is plain in Rev 21:14 that there are 12 foundations or rocks which are the 12 Apostles.

"Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:15-18 NKJV)

The Father, through the Holy Spirit, revealed to Peter that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of of the living God. Jesus calls Peter "Simon Bar-Jonah", his given name. But then Jesus calls him by the name He had given Simon which is "Peter" meaning "stone" or "rock". The Temple in Jerusalem was built with huge stones. But Jesus states here that He will build His church with these small rocks or stones, one stone at a time, one conversion at a time, one revelation of who Jesus is at a time over the centuries. Jesus is the Cornerstone of the church which holds all the stones together.

Rev 21 describes The New Jerusalem, The Bride of Christ, The Lamb's Wife, The Church in eternity built upon the Bible- the Old Testament-the Twelve Gates and the New Testament-the Twelve Foundations which are the Apostles-Peter being one of the foundations.

"Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. " (Revelation 21:12-14 NKJV)

  • I know of no Protestant denomination that supports Peter as the ONLY rock by which Jesus founded His Church. It is plain in Rev 21:14 that there are 12 foundations or rocks which are the 12 Apostles.
    – user17313
    Nov 27, 2014 at 0:00

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