Was Peter the Head of the ‘Church?’

A common religious myth is the teaching that Peter was the first ‘Pope’ or ‘Father’ of the Christian congregation, and that he ruled from (and died in) Rome. There is no Bible substantiation of these teachings and they are most likely false. Why?

Notice what Paul wrote at Galatians 2:9, ‘When they came to know the care that was shown to me, James, Cephas, and John (the ones who seemed to be pillars), gave BarNabas and I their approval to go to the nations, while they would go to the circumcised.’

So, it is clear from Paul’s words that there was no earthly ‘head of the Christian congregation’ at that time. There were three ‘pillars’ – or those who seemed to be taking the lead, Peter (Cephas), James, and John – and they were living in Jerusalem (not Rome) at the time.

Also, notice that Peter’s responsibility was not that of being the head of the congregation, but he was spoken of by Paul as being an ‘Apostle (sent one) to the circumcised’ (the Jews), as were James and John. Then, if you read the next few verses in Galatians 2, you will see how Paul then reprimanded Peter for separating himself from gentile converts, which isn’t something that anyone would do to the ‘infallible’ head of the Christian Congregation.

However, Peter did travel to visit far away Christian congregations, as both Paul and the book of Acts tell us. But, as ‘the Apostle to the circumcised,’ his home was in Jerusalem and his travel was limited primarily to large Jewish settlements, such as was true of the ancient city of Babylon, which is where he wrote a letter (the book of First Peter) from. Notice how he ended this letter (at 1 Peter 5:13), ‘I send greetings from the woman who was also chosen along with you, and Mark (my son), from Babylon.’

Also notice that this greeting comes from Peter’s wife, ‘the woman who was also chosen along with you’ (see Matthew 8:14) and from Peter’s close associate, the Gospel writer Mark.

Jesus’ words to Peter, found at Matthew 16:18, 19, don’t indicate that Peter would be the head of his ‘Church.’ For, notice exactly what he said there, ‘I also tell you this: You are Peter, and I will build my congregation on this bedrock so the gates to the grave won’t overpower it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you make binding on earth will be bound in the heavens. And whatever you set free on earth will be set free in the heavens.’

In Greek, verse 18 reads, ‘su ei Petros kai epi taute te petra oikodomeso mou ten ecclesian,’ or, ‘you are Bedrock, and on this and bedrock (I will) build my the congregation.’

Notice that Jesus didn’t say, ‘I will build my Church on you,’ he said ‘I will build my congregation on this bedrock.’ What was ‘this bedrock’ that Jesus was referring to? Was it Peter? We find a description of this congregation and its construction at Revelation 21:14, which says, ‘The city wall also had twelve foundation stones, and the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb were written on them.’

So, we can see that Peter was just one of the 12 foundation stones, not the primary foundation or bedrock. Rather, what Jesus appears to be saying (at Matthew 16:18) is that, as Peter’s name meant Bedrock, Jesus’ body (by his death) would serve as the bedrock or foundation of the Christian Congregation (or Church). In other words, the ‘bedrock’ that the Congregation would be built on, was the body of Jesus, not on Peter.

For, notice what Peter himself said at 1 Peter 2:4-6, ‘Approach him (Jesus) as though he were a living block of stone (who for a fact was rejected by men but was chosen as precious by God), [upon whom] you as living blocks are being built into a spiritual house, into a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God, through Jesus the Chosen One. For the Scripture says, {Look!} I am laying a block that I selected in Zion, a precious primary cornerstone. Anyone who believes in it will never be ashamed.’

The sentence structure at Matthew 16:18 shows our conclusion to be true—that Jesus was simply using a play on Peter’s name when he spoke of the bedrock that he would build his congregation on. Notice the structure, ‘su ei Petros kai epi taute te petra.’

Use of the word te before petra indicates that petra was used as a parallel to Petros, or that this was a play on words. Te is not a common Bible word. It is what is referred to as an ‘enclitic particle,’ which is translated as and, but is used to couple parallel thoughts. The Greek word that is normally translated as and is kai. According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, ‘. . . te is employed generally when something is subjoined which does not thus directly and necessarily follow.’ So, ‘te’ might be better translated as ‘but.’

There is certainly no indication in any other part of the Bible that Peter ever took the principal lead in governing the Congregation. In fact, when the matter of gentile circumcision was raised before the governing body in Jerusalem, the decision was given by (Jesus’ half-brother) James, not Peter.

As to Peter’s being given ‘the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven,’ this refers to the leading role that Peter would play in identifying and explaining the outpouring of God’s Holy Breath, first on the Jews at Pentecost (see Acts 2:14-39) and then the acceptance and conversion of the first gentiles (see Acts Chapter 10). All of this had to do with opening the opportunity to rule (first to Jews, then to gentiles) in the ‘Kingdom of heaven.’

Where did Peter die? Well, we do know that he died violently for his faith, since that is what Jesus foretold at John 21:18, 19. But, since Peter apparently died before the Roman attack on Jerusalem (66-70 C.E.), he was likely murdered by the Jews in Jerusalem, or possibly in Babylon. There is no Bible (or authenticated historical) record of his ever traveling to or being killed in Rome.

From http://www.2001translation.com/MATTHEW.htm#_Who_are_God’s_‘Anointed? ’



                                                      ANOTHER GOOD Reference is


                                                      C/H Wikipedia: Pope Open this result in new window

hyperlinked article explores the history, tradition, election practices, and biographies of popes throughout the years.

Category: Catholic Popes

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope - 77k - Cached - More from this site


Origin of     The Pope –

SimpleBibleTruths.net--The Alternative to Mysticism

The Reference Library       Origin of     The Pope – Catholic Encyclopedia+ Catholic Encyclopedia

From--http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm and more

Investigative  Questions? 


 For the Justification of the Fabrication for Installing a Pope--- Read The Following References

The Devine Writings Where Complete around the Year 99 A.D.


(1)  One would expect to find the strongest links before the end of the first century,

some thirty-five years after Peter died.

Yet no successor is mentioned,


The Catholic’s claim that four successors are presumed to have lived during that time.

(Ecclesiastical Latin papa from Greek papas, a variant of pappas father, in classical Latin pappas -- Juvenal, "Satires" 6:633).

The title pope, once used with far greater latitude (see below, section V), is at present employed solely to denote the Bishop of Rome, who, in virtue of his position as successor of St. Peter, is the chief pastor of the whole Church, the Vicar of Christ upon earth.

Besides the bishopric of the Roman Diocese, certain other dignities are held by the pope as well as the supreme and universal pastorate: he is Archbishop of the Roman Province, Primate of Italy and the adjacent islands, and sole Patriarch of the Western Church. The Church's doctrine as to the pope was authoritatively declared in the Vatican Council in the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus". The four chapters of that Constitution deal respectively with the office of Supreme Head conferred on St. Peter, the perpetuity of this office in the person of the Roman pontiff, the pope's jurisdiction over the faithful, and his supreme authority to define in all questions of faith and morals. This last point has been sufficiently discussed in the article INFALLIBILITY, and will be only incidentally touched on here.

The present article is divided as follows:

I. Institution of a Supreme Head by Christ

II. Primacy of the Roman See

III. Nature and Extent of the Papal Power

IV. Jurisdictional Rights and Prerogatives of the Pope

V. Primacy of Honour: Titles and Insignia


The proof that Christ constituted St. Peter head of His Church is found in the two famous Petrine texts, Matthew 16:17-19, and John 21:15-17.

MATTHEW 16:17-19

In Matthew 16:17-19, the office is solemnly promised to the Apostle. In response to his profession of faith in the Divine Nature of his Master, Christ thus addresses him:

Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven." The prerogatives here promised are manifestly personal to Peter. His profession of faith was not made as has been sometimes asserted, in the name of the other Apostles. This is evident from the words of Christ. He pronounces on the Apostle, distinguishing him by his name Simon son of John, a peculiar and personal blessing, declaring that his knowledge regarding the Divine Sonship sprang from a special revelation granted to him by the Father (cf. Matthew 11:27).

"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter. . ." He further proceeds to recompense this confession of His Divinity by bestowing upon him a reward proper to himself:

Thou art Peter [Cepha, transliterated also Kipha] and upon this rock [Cepha] I will build my Church.

The word for Peter and for rock in the original Aramaic is one and the same; this renders it evident that the various attempts to explain the term "rock" as having reference not to Peter himself but to something else are misinterpretations. It is Peter who is the rock of the Church. The term ecclesia (ekklesia) here employed is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew qahal, the name which denoted the Hebrew nation viewed as God's Church (see THE CHURCH, I).

"And upon this rock I will build my Church. . ." Here then Christ teaches plainly that in the future the Church will be the society of those who acknowledge Him, and that this Church will be built on Peter.

The expression presents no difficulty. In both the Old and New Testaments the Church is often spoken of under the metaphor of God's house (Numbers 12:7; Jeremiah 12:7; Osee 8:1; 9:15; 1 Cor. 3:9-17, Eph. 2:20-2; 1 Tim. 3:5; Hebrews 3:5; I Peter 2:5). Peter is to be to the Church what the foundation is in regard to a house.

He is to be the principle of unity, of stability, and of increase. He is the principle of unity, since what is not joined to that foundation is no part of the Church; of stability, since it is the firmness of this foundation in virtue of which the Church remains unshaken by the storms which buffet her; of increase, since, if she grows, it is because new stones are laid on this foundation.

"And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."It is through her union with Peter, Christ continues, that the Church will prove the victor in her long contest with the Evil One:

The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

There can be but one explanation of this striking metaphor. The only manner in which a man can stand in such a relation to any corporate body is by possessing authority over it. The supreme head of a body, in dependence on whom all subordinate authorities hold their power, and he alone, can be said to be the principle of stability, unity, and increase. The promise acquires additional solemnity when we remember that both Old Testament prophecy (Isiah 28:16) and Christ's own words (Matthew 7:24) had attributed this office of foundation of the Church to Himself. He is therefore assigning to Peter, of course in a secondary degree, a prerogative which is His own, and thereby associating the Apostle with Himself in an altogether singular manner.

"And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." In the following verse (Matthew 16:19) He promises to bestow on Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

The words refer evidently to Isaiah 22:22, where God declares that Eliacim, the son of Helcias, shall be invested with office in place of the worthless Sobna:

And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open.

In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ's words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place.

"And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." Further the character and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to "bind" and to "loose" -- words which, as is shown below, denote the grant of legislative and judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification.

Objections. The meaning of this passage does not seem to have been challenged by any writer until the rise of the sixteenth-century heresies. Since then a great variety of interpretations have been put forward by Protestant controversialists. These agree in little save in the rejection of the plain sense of Christ's words. Some Anglican controversy tends to the view that the reward promised to St. Peter consisted in the prominent part taken by him in the initial activities of the Church, but that he was never more than primus inter pares among the Apostles. It is manifest that this is quite insufficient as an explanation of the terms of Christ's promise.

JOHN 21:15-17

The promise made by Christ in Matthew 16:16-19, received its fulfilment after the Resurrection in the scene described in John 21. Here the Lord, when about to leave the earth, places the whole flock -- the sheep and the lambs alike -- in the charge of the Apostle. The term employed in 21:16, "Be the shepherd [poimaine] of my sheep" indicates that his task is not merely to feed but to rule. It is the same word as is used in Psalm 2:9 (Septuagint): "Thou shalt rule [poimaneis] them with a rod of iron".

The scene stands in striking parallelism with that of Matthew 16. As there the reward was given to Peter after a profession of faith which singled him out from the other eleven, so here Christ demands a similar protestation, but this time of a yet higher virtue: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these"? Here, too, as there, He bestows on the Apostle an office which in its highest sense is proper to Himself alone. There Christ had promised to make Peter the foundation-stone of the house of God: here He makes him the shepherd of God's flock to take the place of Himself, the Good Shepherd.

The passage receives an admirable comment from St. Chrysostom:

He saith to him, "Feed my sheep". Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren. . . . If anyone should say "Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?", I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world.
["Hom. 88 (87) in Joan.", 1. Cf. Origen, "In Ep. ad Rom.", 5:10; Ephraem Syrus "Hymn. in B. Petr." in "Bibl. Orient. Assemani", 1:95; Leo I, "Serm. iv de natal.", 2].

Even certain Protestant commentators frankly own that Christ undoubtedly intended here to confer the supreme pastorate on Peter. But other scholars, relying on a passage of St. Cyril of Alexandria ("In Joan." 12:1), maintain that the purpose of the threefold charge was simply to reinstate St. Peter in the Apostolic commission which his threefold denial might be supposed to have lost to him. This interpretation is devoid of all probability. There is not a word in Scripture or in patristic tradition to suggest that St. Peter had forfeited his Apostolic commission; and the supposition is absolutely excluded by the fact that on the evening of the Resurrection he received the same Apostolic powers as the others of the eleven. The solitary phrase of St. Cyril is of no weight against the overwhelming patristic authority for the other view. That such an interpretation should be seriously advocated proves how great is the difficulty experienced by Protestants regarding this text.


The position of St. Peter after the Ascension, as shown in the Acts of the Apostles, realizes to the full the great commission bestowed upon him. He is from the first the chief of the Apostolic band -- not primus inter pares, but the undisputed head of the Church (see THE CHURCH, III).

If then Christ, as we have seen, established His Church as a society subordinated to a single supreme head, it follows from the very nature of the case that this office is perpetual, and cannot have been a mere transitory feature of ecclesiastical life. For the Church must endure to the end the very same organization which Christ established. But in an organized society it is precisely the constitution which is the essential feature. A change in constitution transforms it into a society of a different kind. If then the Church should adopt a constitution other than Christ gave it, it would no longer be His handiwork. It would no longer be the Divine kingdom established by Him. As a society it would have passed through essential modifications, and thereby would have become a human, not a Divine institution. None who believe that Christ came on earth to found a Church, an organized society destined to endure for ever, can admit the possibility of a change in the organization given to it by its Founder.

The same conclusion also follows from a consideration of the end which, by Christ's declaration, the supremacy of Peter was intended to effect. He was to give the Church strength to resist her foes, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. The contest with the powers of evil does not belong to the Apostolic age alone. It is a permanent feature of the Church's life. Hence, throughout the centuries the office of Peter must be realized in the Church, in order that she may prevail in her age-long struggle.

Thus an analysis of Christ's words shows us that the perpetuity of the office of supreme head is to be reckoned among the truths revealed in Scripture. His promise to Peter conveyed not merely a personal prerogative, but established a permanent office in the Church. And in this sense, as will appear in the next section, His words were understood by Latin and Greek Fathers alike. -- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm


    Compare  Comment   


 There is no-where in the Bible where Jesus says  - "Peter, you will head the church". 


When you look at the accompanying evidence in the scriptures as to how the Jesus and the Apostles worked, they all worked as a collective group with their individual tasks, accountable directly to God. 


The early church model is not of hierarchy except for God-Jesus-Apostles, but the congregation set up by the Apostles ( but not headed by them you notice ) never included further hierarchy within that except for ministerial servants and elders within the congregations and only *then* the absolute MINIMUM to keep a congregation running properly. Its natural for people to want to have structure, and in modern day Christianity for some reason people are scared to have this open organization like the early church was.


Additionally, if you want an organization to have clout and power, this can be achieved through twisting scripture and then inserting multiple layers of church structure to reduce congregation members impact on questioning spiritual direction. These excessive layers of internal church beaurocracy exist for secular reasons like power and control, so that people feel obliged to maintain and enhance layers of unnecessary overhead. It has no benefit spiritually. 

The liberating thing about true Biblical Christianity and structure of the original church in the 1st century was minimal structure layers - while there was ( and still is ) great responsibility of every individual person directly to God ( no church based confessions required.) , there is also a high degree of autonomy ( free will ) as well. The existing church hierarchy for example in the Catholic Church is very tailored to layers of structure to create and reinforce power,

money and political influence. The catholic church (and some other churches) also teach that the Bible isn’t enough and church doctrine is required as well - this further entrenches illegitimate church power (which is non-biblical) and also carefully and dishonestly distracts people AWAY FROM GOD, by convincing them that traditions have same clout as the Bible - this is plain wrong and puts church theology on the same level as God Himself - this is a huge blasphemy!


People assume all people can be Christians - Gods word clearly says many wont be in the last days (not that that stops our preaching work), but modern churches, to try and hold as many members as possible water down standards to keep numbers up, which is contrary to what the Bible says will happen in last days, even though the amount of knowledge will increase on the earth. Jesus said he would spit out spiritually Luke-warm people from his mouth (so to speak).


So its worth noting that with high degree of freedom comes a high degree of personal responsibility. Some Churches like to lull their congregations into a false sense of security through worship not how God wants it,and non-biblically saying they can forgive sins so parishioners go out and do wrong all over again thinking the priest can forgive them. This is so wrong and puts a huge blood guilt upon those who knowingly misleads a child of God.


Compare Was From-- A Scholarly Reader


Plus Compare Open Arrangement of the First Christian Churches


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Written and comes from Men’s Imagination—1 Cor 4:6-1 John 2:16  is not from the Father, but is from the world.

 Imitate.htm. The ImitateRule.htm

Christ Is Our Advocate 1John2-15-17plusChapter.htm

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