Bible Basics

By Earl Robertson

Jesus Is The Foundation

In the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples whom they thought He was, He was confessed to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter made that confession, and Jesus responded, “And I say also unto then, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:13-20).

Upon the eternal truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord here promises to build His church. Under the figure of a building, He approaches this subject. The church has a foundation; it is not Peter, but Christ. Some allege that since Jesus called Peter Cephas, and that Cephas means stone (John 1:42), He promised to build the church on Peter. “Peter” translates Petros which is the Greek word for “Cephas” which is Aramaic. Petros (Peter) is nominative, singular in case, masculine in gender, and means a small stone or detachment of a massive ledge. “Thou art Peter” (Petros), said Jesus, “and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church.” The rock on which Jesus promised to build is not Petros but petra-a large stone. Petra is dative singular in case and feminine in gender. Jesus never promised to build His church upon a man, but upon the eternal truth confessed-“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

A church without Christ as the foundation is not a church of Christ. Paul wrote, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:10,11). Christ was laid as the foundation for the church .in Corinth when Paul preached Christ (2:2; 15:1-4). The church of Christ exists in fact only where Christ is preached and obeyed (Acts 18:8). To preach Christ, His name (authority), His kingdom (church), and His authorized water baptism must be faithfully proclaimed (Acts 8:5,12). There are no exceptions to this! Churches of men exist without such, but not the church of Christ. Christ is the only foundation, the only head, Savior, and builder of His church (1 Cor. 3:11; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23; Matt. 16:18). One cannot build upon Christ the foundation without building as His word directs. Build on Christ today!

Truth Magazine XXII: 7, p. 122
February 16, 1978