Matthew 16:18 ...That thou art Peter,

Spoken to: 

Peter

Context: 

After Peter calls him the anointed, the son of the Divine, the living one.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

Also I, however, to you say that you yourself are Rocky not only upon this, the rock, will I construct mine, this assembly, but also an entrance of death will not prevail over it.

My Takeaway: 

Christ's assembly is built on a rock that stands against death.

KJV : 

Matthew 16:18 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.

NIV : 

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

What is Lost in Translation: 

The beginning of this verse should be "And I, however," and seems like a response to something said that wasn't recorded. The word for "church" is misleading because the word only means a called assembly." So a home where people are called to assemble becomes in translation "the church." "Rock" is usually explained to mean a solid foundation, but the Greek is closer to the idea of a high promontory, a rocky cliff above the sea or a rocky peak. The term translated as "hell" is the Greek concept of hell. Read this article about "hell" for more information.

Greek Vocabulary: 

κἀγὼ (conj/pronoun) "Also" is from kago, a contraction of kai ego. "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just." "I" is from ego, which is the first person singular pronoun meaning "I." It also means "I at least," "for my part," "indeed," and "for myself."

δέ (conj) "And" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

σοι (pron 2nd sg dat ) "You" is from soi which is the singular, second person pronoun, "you."

λέγω (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "I say" is from lego, which means "to recount," "to tell over," "to say," "to speak," "to teach," "to mean," "boast of," "tell of," "recite," nominate," and "command." It has a secondary meaning "pick out," "choose for oneself," "pick up," "gather," "count," and "recount." A less common word that is spelt the same means "to lay," "to lay asleep" and "to lull asleep."

ὅτι (conj) "That" is from hoti, which introduces a statement of fact "with regard to the fact that," "seeing that," and acts as a causal adverb meaning "for what," "because," "since," and "wherefore."

σὺ (pron 2nd sg nom) "Thou" is from su which means "you" and "your."

εἶ (verb 2nd sg pres ind act) "Art" is from eimi, which means "to be," "to exist," "to be the case," and "is possible." -- When the verb "to be" appears early in the sentence before the subject, the sense is more like "it is" or, in the plural, "there are." -- The verb here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition.

Πέτρος,[3 verses] (noun, sg, masc, voc)  "Peter" is from Petros which is the equivalent of the name "Rocky" in English. "Rock" is from petra, which means "rock," "boulder," and "stone" as a building material. It also has the specific meaning of "rocky cliffs" of "ledges" over the sea and a "rocky peak" or "ridge."

καὶ (conj) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just." -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."

ἐπὶ (prep) "Upon" is from epi. which means "on," "upon," "at," "by," "before," "across," and "against."

ταύτῃ "(adj sg fem dat) This" is from tauta, which is a referring pronoun meaning "these," "this," "that," and "here." It can mean the nearer or the further depending on usage.

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Unstranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

πέτρᾳ (noun sg fem dat) "Rock" is from petra, which means "rock," "boulder," and "stone" as a building material. It also has the specific meaning of "rocky cliffs" of "ledges" over the sea and a "rocky peak" or "ridge."

οἰκοδομήσω [18 verses]( verb 1st sg fut ind act ) "I will build" is oikodomeô, which means "to build a house." It generally means "to fashion" and is a metaphor meaning "to build upon" or "to build up."

μου (pron 1st sg masc gen) "My" is from mou, which mean "my," or "mine."

τὴν (article sg fem acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

ἐκκλησίαν, (noun sg fem acc) "Church" is from ekklesia, which means an "assembly duly called." It come from two Greek words, "to call away from."

καὶ (prep) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

πύλαι [4 verses] (noun pl fem nom) "Gates" is from pyle, which means "one wing of a double gate," "gates of a town," and "entrance." It is used specifically in Greek literature for the gates to the nether world.

ᾄδου[3 verses](noun sg masc gen) "Hell" is from hades, the Greek term for the netherworld. It is a place of departed spirits. It is also a synonym for "death." This term is only used one other time in Matthew to describe "hell," when Jesus condemns Capernaum. The usual Greek word translated as "hell" is gehenna, the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem.  See this article for more.

οὐ (partic) "Not" is from ou which is the negative adverb for facts and statements, negating both single words and sentences. The other negative adverb, μή applies to will and thought; οὐ denies, μή rejects; οὐ is absolute, μή relative; οὐ objective, μή subjective. -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It makes a negative statement of fact.

κατισχύσουσιν [1 verse](verb 3rd pl fut ind act) "Prevail" is katischuô, which means "to overpower," "to prevail," "to have the upper hand," "come to one's full strength," and, in the transitive, "strengthen," and "encourage."

αὐτῆς: (adj sg fem gen) "It" is from autos, which means "the same," and the reflexive pronouns, "myself," "yourself," "himself," "herself," "itself," or the oblique case of the pronouns, "him," "her," and "it." It also means "one's true self," that is, "the soul" as opposed to the body and "of one's own accord."

KJV Analysis: 

And I  - "And I" is from a contraction of "I" and the conjunction usually translated as "and." Since, information about the subject is part of the verb, Christ doesn't usually use the pronoun as a subject of a sentence unless he wants to emphasize it.

say  - The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently.

also  - (WW) The Greek word translated as "also" is usually translated as "but" because it joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

unto -- This word "unto" comes from the dative case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English. The most common is a "to" for the English indirect object.

thee, -- The word for "thee" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

That  - In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because."

thou -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

art - The verb "art" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

Peter,  -- (UW) This word is more like our name "Rocky" than it is the word for "rock," which is a feminine noun.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."  The series form could be used here.

upon -- The word translated as "upon" means "against," "before," "by" or "on."

this -- The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

rock  - "Rock" is translated from a Greek word that means "rock," "boulder," and "stone" as a building material. It also has the specific meaning of "rocky cliffs" of "ledges" over the sea and a "rocky peak" or "ridge." This word is feminine, while the previous "Rocky" was masculine.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is in the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

build  - "Build" is from a verb that means specifically "to build a house." It generally mains "to fashion" and is a metaphor meaning "to build upon" or "to build up." In Englilsh,  we use "construct" similarly.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun precedes the article so "mine."  

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

church;  - (CW) "Church" is from a Greek which means an "assembly duly called." It come from two Greek words, "to call away from."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."  The series form could be used here.

the -- There is no Greek article "the" here in the source, but the noun is plural and in English an article is used before plural nouns in phrases like this.

gates  - "Gates" is translated from a Greek word that means "one wing of a double gate," "gates of a town," and "entrance." It is used specifically in Greek literature for the gates to the nether world. This is the first indication that what is referred to here is not our concept of "hell" but the Greek idea of the nether world, the realm of the dead. Jesus uses this word in the Sermon to refer to the narrow gate to life and wide gate to destruction.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

hell  - (CW) "Hell" is from the Greek term for the netherworld. It is a place of departed spirits. It is also a synonym for "death." This term is only used one other time in Matthew to describe "hell," when Christ condemns Capernaum. The usually terms translated as "hell" is gehenna, the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem. See this article on the words for "hell."  

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is in the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause.

prevail  - "Prevail" is from a word Jesus only uses here that means "to overpower," "to prevail," and "to have the upper hand."

against -- This word "against"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession. However, it can also mean "belonging to," "part of," "which is," "than" (in comparisons), or  "for," "concerning" or "about" with transitive verbs. It also comes from the prefix of the verb that means "from."

it. -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. The form matches "church."

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "also" should be something more like "however."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "Peter" means "Rocky." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "rock" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "church" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "church" means "a called assembly."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "hell" is not the common word usually translated as "hell.

NIV Analysis: 

And I  - "And I" is from a contraction of "I" and the conjunction usually translated as "and." Since, information about the subject is part of the verb, Christ doesn't usually use the pronoun as a subject of a sentence unless he wants to emphasize it.

missing "however"  -- (MW) The untranslated word  "however" is usually translated as "but" because it joins phrases in an adversarial way. Since it always falls in the second position, translating it as "however" often captures its feeling better.

tell - The word translated as "say" is the most common word that means "to say," and "to speak," but it also means "to teach," which seems to be the way Christ uses it more frequently.

you -- The word for "you" is the indirect object form of the singular, second-person pronoun. 

that  - In the Greek source, this is a word here that means "that" or "because."

you -- This is from the second-person, singular form of the verb.

are - The verb "are" here is the common form of "to be" in Greek. It means to have a certain characteristic or remain in a certain condition. It also equates terms or assigns characteristics.

Peter,  -- (UW) This word is more like our name "Rocky" than it is the word for "rock," which is a feminine noun.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."  The series form could be used here.

on -- The word translated as "on" means "against," "before," "by" or "on."

this -- The "this" is a pronoun that can mean "this" or "that," the nearer or the further depending on usage.

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

rock  - "Rock" is translated from a Greek word that means "rock," "boulder," and "stone" as a building material. It also has the specific meaning of "rocky cliffs" of "ledges" over the sea and a "rocky peak" or "ridge." This word is feminine, while the previous "Rocky" was masculine.

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

will -- This helping verb "will" indicates that the verb is in the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

build  - "Build" is from a verb that means specifically "to build a house." It generally mains "to fashion" and is a metaphor meaning "to build upon" or "to build up." In Englilsh,  we use "construct" similarly.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun precedes the article so "mine."  

untranslated "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, "the." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

church;  - (CW) "Church" is from a Greek which means an "assembly duly called." It come from two Greek words, "to call away from."

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also."  The series form could be used here.

the -- There is no Greek article "the" here in the source, but the noun is plural and in English an article is used before plural nouns in phrases like this.

gates  - "Gates" is translated from a Greek word that means "one wing of a double gate," "gates of a town," and "entrance." It is used specifically in Greek literature for the gates to the nether world. This is the first indication that what is referred to here is not our concept of "hell" but the Greek idea of the nether world, the realm of the dead. Jesus uses this word in the Sermon to refer to the narrow gate to life and wide gate to destruction.

of -- This word "of"  comes from the genitive case of the following word that requires the addition of a preposition in English.  The most common is the "of" of possession.

Hades-  (UW) "Hades" is from the Greek term for the netherworld. It is a place of departed spirits. It is also a synonym for "death." This term is only used one other time in Matthew to describe "hell," when Christ condemns Capernaum. The usually terms translated as "hell" is gehenna, the burning trash dump outside of Jerusalem. See this article on the words for "hell."  

will -- This helping verb "will " indicates that the verb is in the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

not -- The Greek word translated as "not" is the Greek negative used to deny objective facts, not opinions. It means "no," "not," or"no truly." It makes a negative statement of fact. Adding "really" to the sentence captures the same idea. When a negative precedes the verb, it affects the whole clause.

overcome - "Overcome " is from a word Jesus only uses here that means "to overpower," "to prevail," and "to have the upper hand."

it. -- The word translated as "it" is the Greek word commonly translated as third-person pronouns in English. The form matches "church."

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "however" is not shown in the English translation.
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "Peter" means "Rocky." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "rock" is not shown in the English translation.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "church" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "church" means "a called assembly."
  • UW - Untranslated Word -- The word "Hades" means "underworld" or "death." It is the untranslated Greek word adopted into English.

Front Page Date: 

Feb 13 2021