At Matthew 14:25-28 we read:

And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.

I like to believe that the saying of Peter, "if it is you," is a weak translation of the original text. Only after getting the confirmation that he was looking at Jesus, and not a ghost, does Peter place his request. So there is no point in his using the 'if' word.

I wish to know if there are other forms in which the original text could have been translated into, say, "now that it is you." What do the Catholic interpretations say on such a perspective?

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    Hi Kadalikatt! This is an interesting question. You might get better answers, however, by asking it on Biblical Hermeneutics.SE (just be sure to remove the last sentence asking for Catholic interpretations). It's highly doubtful that the RCC itself has directly answered this question, so the best that can be done here is to provide the analysis of any Catholic theologians who have dealt with this issue. But if that's what you are looking for, then it's fine as is. Thanks! Aug 25, 2017 at 11:54
  • Did you review an approved English Translation of the verse in the New American Bible (which has the imprimatur and nihil obstat from the Catholic Church)? Given how many translations there are of the bible, it is somewhat important to identify which translation you are working from in your question. Nov 16, 2017 at 14:19

2 Answers 2


This is not a Catholic-specific question; however, the translation (which appears in the ESV) accurately represents the Greek: εἰ σὺ εἶ (“if it is you”). (See the corresponding entry in the Liddell & Scott dictionary.)

That the Catholic Church basically accepts this interpretation is confirmed by looking at the Latin Vulgate (the translation favored by most Catholics for centuries): si tu es.

Note that in the Greek, the word “you” is redundant (εἶ—the one with the circumflex accent—by itself already means “you are” or “it is you”). Thus, Peter here is emphasizing the “you”: that is, “if it is you (and not someone else)….”


D.A. Carson writes "Peter's protasis ('if it's you') is a real condition, meaning 'since it's you.' Earlier Satan has said 'if you are the Son of God', where 'if' means 'since', not 'maybe'.

Here is a greek analysis if you're interested: εἰ (ei) Strong: G1487

GK: G1623

if, Mt. 4:3, 6; 12:7; Acts 27:39, freq.; since, Acts 4:9; whether, Mk. 9:23; Acts 17:11; that, in certain expressions, Acts 26:8, 23; Heb. 7:15; by a suppression of the apodosis of a sentence, εἰ serves to express a wish; O if! O that! Lk. 19:42; 22:42; also a strong negation, Mk. 8:12; Heb. 3:11; 4:3; εἰ καί, if even, though, although, Lk. 18:4; εἰ μή, unless, except, Mt. 11:27; also equivalent to ἀλλά, but, Mt. 12:4; Mk. 13:32; Lk. 4:26, 27; εἰ μήτι, unless perhaps, unless it be, Lk. 9:13; εἴ τις, εἴ τι, pr. if any one; whosoever, whatsoever, Mt. 18:28. The syntax of this particle must be learned from the grammars. As an interrogative particle, whether, Acts 17:11; in NT as a mere note of interrogation, Lk. 22:49

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    The OP asked about the Catholic perspective. You answer would be improved by adding some sources that this interpretation is consistent with the Catholic view.
    – bradimus
    Aug 25, 2017 at 14:59

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