John 1:42 - “A stone”, “Peter” or “Rock”?
At one of our Facebook forums a very ignorant Bible critic posted: “Jesus gave the PARTICULAR name as stone ONLY in the KJV that was founded because the POPE opposed him in his marriage offer. The true meaning we see in Paul calling Peter ONLY as Cephas which means ROCK.”
Well, our illustrious Bible critic is wrong on several counts. He is wrong about the meaning of the word petros; He is wrong in saying that ONLY the KJB translates this word as “stone”, and he is totally wrong in his reference of the marriage of king James and the Pope. He has confused king James with Henry the VIII. Other than these minor details, he is right on;-)
Let’s take a closer look
John 1:42 KJB - “ And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A STONE.” - πετρος
συ κληθηση κηφας ο ερμηνευεται πετρος
ESV (NASB, NIV, MEV, NET, Douay-Rheims, Jehovah Witness NWT) - “He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means PETER).”
Catholic New Jerusalem bible 1985 Holman Standard 2009 - “and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which means “ROCK”).
New Life Version 1969 Living Bible 1971, The Message 2002 - “You are Simon, John’s son—but you shall be called Peter, THE ROCK!”
The Greek word πετρος is only this one time translated as “a stone” in John 1:42. All other times it means Peter. But the word for A ROCK is not this word. It is a slightly different Greek word petra - πετρα. And this word petra IS translated as ROCK some 16 times in the New Testament.
It is used in such places as “built his house upon A ROCK” (Matthew 7:24), “upon this ROCK I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18), “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and ROCK of offense: and whosoever believeth ON HIM shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 9:33), “they drank of that spiritual ROCK that followed them; and that ROCK was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Petra - πετρα - is a large Rock and it refers to Christ or the foundation of a building, while PetrOs is a small rock or a stone, and refers to the apostle Peter.
Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon 1887 page 557 tells us that this word Petros - πετρος- means: “a piece of rock, A STONE while the word πετρα means A ROCK.
Likewise the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, 1957 on page 660 informs us that the word petra means “ROCK” and that the other word petros means “a STONE”.
Notice that in Matthew 16 when the Lord asks the disciples Who He is and Peter responds “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” that Jesus tells him that flesh and blood did not reveal this to him but the Father in heaven did. And then He says: “And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter (petros = a small rock, a stone), and upon THIS ROCK (not “you”, but “this rock” petra - a large rock) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Christ Himself is the Rock; not Peter. “For other foundation can no man lay that that is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST.” 1 Corinthians 3:11
Agreeing with the King James Bible where Jesus tells Cephas his name means A STONE are Tyndale 1524, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, The Geneva Bible 1587, the Beza N.T. 1599, the Mace N.T. 1729, Worsley N.T. 1770, Webster Bible 1833, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Revised English Bible 1877, Darby 1890, The Clarke N.T. 1913, Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac 1933, the NKJV 1982, KJV 21st Century 1994, The Koster Scriptures 1998, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, God’s First Truth Translation 1999, The Last Days N.T. 1999, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Complete Apostle’s Bible 2005, The Pickering New Testament 2005, The Mebust Bible 2007, The Christogenea N.T. 2009 and the Jubilee Bible 2010.
The Pickering N.T. 2005 also says: “You are Simon, the son of Jonah; you will be called Cephas” (which is translated ‘Stone’).6 “ and then he footnotes: “petros is Greek for ‘stone’ (a small object, as opposed to a 'rock'). The name ‘Peter’ is a transliteration into English of petros, but since ‘peter’ does not mean ‘stone’ in English, to put ‘Peter’ in verse 42 misses the point. “
The Modern Literal New Testament of 2014 goes even further and says: “You are Simon, the Son of Jonah, you will be called Cephas, which is by translation, A PEBBLE.”
The King James Bible is always right. Get used to it.
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