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1 Commentary

1.1 Acts 4:8-13

Acts 4:8 Then Peter – The author attributes Peter with speaking these words.
filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them – The “Holy Spirit . . . motivates the
prophets to speak. (Acts 4:8; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 8:26, 29, 39; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2;
16:6-7; 19:21; 20:33; 21:4, 11)”1
Rulers of the people and elders – Peter is speaking to the leaders because
they want to know where this power to heal and to draw such large crowds
is coming from.

Acts 4:9 a good deed done – Of course, this is not the real issue here because
normally the leaders want this type of action to occur since it is a part of the
Jewish and Christian teachings.

Acts 4:10 by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth – Peter and John (Acts 3:1)
do not claim that they have the power to heal the sick. Rather, this work was
don by Jesus Christ.
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – This phrase both
identifies the ones responsible for Christ’s death (even though it really was
everyone) and the power behind Christ’s life.

Acts 4:11 the stone that was rejected by you – The concept here is that the leaders
actively turned down the One sent by God.

Acts 4:12 There is salvation in no one else – The assertion here is very clear.
Only Jesus offers the healing needed for this life and the next.

Acts 4:13 they were uneducated and ordinary men – The author reports that both
Peter and John as normal people.
they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus – For some
reason it took quite a while for the leaders to recognize Peter and John.
Perhaps, the Jesus movement was not all that well known by those in power.
Carl R. Holladay; James L. Mays, editor, Chap. Acts In ‘Harper’s Bible Commentary’,
(Harper San Francisco, 1988), p. 1078.

1.2 Psalm 18:1-6, 16-19
Psalm 18:1 I love you, O L ORD, my strength. – The attributed author of the psalm
is David. This king who was known as a warrior relies on the L ORD.

Psalm 18:2 The L ORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my

rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my
stronghold. – The author lists different defensive weapons that remind him
of the L ORD.

Psalm 18:3 I call upon the L ORD, who is worthy to be praised; so I shall be
saved from my enemies. – This prayer has been abused in the past and it
continues to be misused today. The L ORD is not a talisman that promises
to bring success to every endeavor. Rather, this prayer is speaking of that
final battle where everything is at stake. Will we be eternally forgotten? The
L ORD promises to remember His followers and to grant to them eternal life.
This is clearly heard in the next verse.

Psalm 18:4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition as-
sailed me – The author clearly knows two things: death is coming for him
and he will be damned.

Psalm 18:5

Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called upon the L ORD – The L ORD listens at all


Psalm 18:16 He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of
mighty waters. – Even in the most frightening, chaotic, daemon filled, wa-
ters, the L ORD can save you.

Psalm 18:17

Psalm 18:18

Psalm 18:19 because he delighted in me. – There is nothing that we can do to

save ourselves. The L ORD does everything because He loves us.

1.3 1 Corinthians 10:1-5
This letter is one of the undisputed letters of Paul.2

1 Corinthians 10:1 I do not want you to be unaware – Paul wants to expose to his
readers the incarnation of Jesus was not limited to a certain place and time.

1 Corinthians 10:2

1 Corinthians 10:3

1 Corinthians 10:4 the rock was Christ – The One that feeds and shelters us is

1 Corinthians 10:5

1.4 Matthew 16:13-19

This is my translation of the text:
And Jesus went into the district of Caesarea Philippi and asked his disciples
13 saying, “Who are the people saying the son of the man is?”
And they said, “Some John the Baptizer, others Elijah, yet others Jeremiah
14 or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 And Simon Peter answered, “You are the anointed one, the Son of the living
And Jesus answered saying, “You are blessed Simon son of Jonah. Because
flesh and blood did not divinely reveal (this to you), but my Father in the

And I say that you are a stone and on this rocky fortress I will build my
18 church, and the gates of Hades will not win a victory (over it).
I will give you the signet of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind
19 on the earth is bound in the Heaven, and whatever you loose on the earth
is loosed in the Heaven.”
Then he ordered the disciples to tell no one that he is the anointed one.
20 2
Charles B. Cousar; Idem, editor, The Letters of Paul, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996),
Interpreting Biblical Texts, p. 18.

Matthew 16:13 Caesarea Philippi – This site contained a shrine to Pan.3 Emperor
Augustus gave the city to Herod, whose son Philippi rebuilt the city and
renamed the city from Panion to Caesarea Philippi in honor of the Emperor
and himself.4
he asked his disciples – This is a question that is asked of each of us. Luther-
ans would say that knowing the correct answer does not save.
the Son of Man is – The author has Jesus apply this term to Himself.5 It
seems to assume that the dicsiples have some understanding who Jesus is.

Matthew 16:14 Some say John the Baptist – See Matthew 14:1.6
others Elijah – See 2 Kings 2:11, Malachi 3:1; 3:23.7
others Jeremiah – There are illusions to Jeremiah in Matthew 23:29-24:2.8

Matthew 16:15 But who do you say that I am? – The question should really read
“But who do all of you say that I am?” since the word “you” (ὑμεῖς) is

Matthew 16:16 You are the Messiah – This is the first time in Matthew that
a disciple calls Jesus the Messiah. But others have already said the same
thing: the narrator in Matthew 1:1 and following and Herod after the visit
of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:4).
How easy it is for us to say that we know Jesus in “the church.” What do we
say in the world?9

Matthew 16:17 Simon son of Jonah – This name is traditionally rendered as John
see John 1:42 and 21:15.10
flesh and blood – This refers to the typical state of humanity.11
Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.; Idem, editor, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, Sacra Pagina
Series, (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 247.
Brian P. Stoffregen, Exegetical Notes at Matthew 16.13-20 Proper 16 - Year A, http://
Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 247.

revealed – The Greek verb used here is ἀποκαλύπτω and it indicates a divine
Is the text that is found in verse 17 and Paul’s account in Galatians 1:15, the
normal way that one spoke of calls?12
Matthew 16:18 you are Peter, and on this rock – There is word play on Πέτρος
(Peter) and πέτρα (Rock). It could be that this is a nickname, ie Rocky.13
The word πέτρα also means a rocky fortress that keeps the inhabitants safe
from attack.
First, πέτρα has meant stone since the time of Homer. Secondly, it was un-
clear if Jesus was giving Peter a new name here or describing an attribute
of Peter that was being praised. The translation of πέτρα as a rocky fortress
shows the word play between being a stone and a stone fortress.
I will build my church – This and two occurrences in 18:17 are the only
uses of ἐκκλησία in Matthew. Jesus might use this term to distinguish His
followers from those in the synagogues (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 10:17; 12:9;
13:54; 22:34) and the Dead Sea community that called itself the “assembly
of God.”14
the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. – Gates are a defensive weapon
and not an offensive one. The Church is to go to hell. The Greek here for
gates is πύλη and it literally means the gates of the city. The word translated
as prevail in Greek is κατισχύω. This verb is only used one time in Matthew
and it means to win a victory over.
ᾅδης is the name of a Greek god and it literally means “the unseen one.”15
Hades refers to the underworld or Sheol in Hebrew.16 Note that magicians
can open the gates of Hades and conduct people into and out of Hades in
Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven – Note that
the scribes and the Pharisees shut heaven (Matthew 23:13). Peter is to be a
steward.17 This interpretation would be more clear if κλείς, which is only
William Loader, First Thoughts on Passages from Matthew in the Lectionary Pentecost 15,˜loader/MtPent15.htm.
Harrington, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 247-248.
Ibid., p. 248.

used one time in Matthew, would have been translated as signet instead of

Cousar, Charles B.; Idem, editor, The Letters of Paul, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon
Press, 1996), Interpreting Biblical Texts.

Harrington, S.J., Daniel J.; Idem, editor, The Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1, Sacra
Pagina Series, (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1991).

Holladay, Carl R.; Mays, James L., editor, Chap. Acts In ‘Harper’s Bible Com-
mentary’, (Harper San Francisco, 1988), pp. 1077–1118.

Loader, William, First Thoughts on Passages from Matthew in the Lectionary

Pentecost 15,˜loader/
MtPent15.htm, Last checked on January 16, 2009.

Stoffregen, Brian P., Exegetical Notes at Matthew 16.13-20 Proper 16

- Year A,
htm, Last checked on January 16, 2009.