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Amplified: So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
NLT: Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a sensible man who builds his house on the rock. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Therefore, everyone who is of such a character as to be habitually hearing these words of mine and habitually doing them, shall be likened to an intelligent man who is of such a nature that he built his house upon the rocky cliff. (Eerdmans)
Young's: 'Therefore, every one who doth hear of me these words, and doth do them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon the rock;
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock: Pas oun hostis akouei (3SPAI) mou tous logous toutous kai poiei (3SPAI) autous homoiothesetai (3SFPI) andri phronimo, hostis okodomesen (3SAAI) autou ten oikian epi ten petran: (Mt 7:7,8,13,14; 5:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 28, 29, 30, 31, 32; 6:14,15,19, 20, 21; 12:50; Lk 6:47, 48, 49; 11:28; Jn 13:17; 14:15,22, 23, 24; 15:10,14; Ro 2:6, 7, 8, 9; Gal 5:6,7; 6:7,8; Jas 1:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27; 2:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26; 1John 2:3; 3:22, 23, 24; 5:3, 4, 5; Re 22:14,15) (Wise Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; 119:99,130; Pr 10:8; 14:8; Jas 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) (1Co 3:10,11)
Therefore (term of conclusion) in light of the fact that there is no middle ground between profession and possession of kingdom life and the destinies are so diametrically different, Jesus reemphasizes the crucial nature and need for personal choice and genuine, not feigned obedience to His Word, in order for one to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Hearing the word and even approving of it is not sufficient unless it is accompanied by obedience.
Everyone (pas) makes this application general and leaves no room for exceptions. All must pass the test of application. Either everyone responds or does not respond, which leaves no room for middle ground. Both groups have heard the truth that Jesus is the only Way to enter the kingdom of heaven and eternal life.
Marvin Vincent commenting on "may be compared" writes that...
Hears (191) (akouo) means to hear with attention, to hear with the ear of the mind or to hear effectually as to perform or grant what is spoken. In this verse the present tense indicates this person continuously listens to Jesus' words.
Note that both "builders" heard the same message. The difference is that this builder heard and responded in faith, becoming a doer of His Word. This builder placed His trust in the Lord, while the other builder, who heard the same message, placed his confidence in himself.
Acts (4160) (poieo) means does which expresses action either as completed or continued. In this verse the present tense calls for this to be one's lifestyle. Jesus is saying that obedience to God’s Word not just the hearing of it is an evidence of true faith.
Dear pastor, how would you describe His church which you shepherd? Are you a Bible believing church or as Richard Wurmbrand asked Pastor R Kent Hughes "a Bible-living church"? A good question to ponder.
J C Ryle comments that we have here...
a striking picture of two classes of Christian hearers. Those who hear and do nothing--and those who hear and do as well as hear--are both placed before us, and their histories traced to their respective ends.
The man who hears Christian teaching, and practices what he hears, is like "a wise man who built his house on a rock." He does not content himself with listening to exhortations to repent, believe in Christ, and live a holy life. He actually repents. He actually believes. He actually ceases to do evil, learns to do well, abhors that which is sinful, and cleaves to that which is good. He is a doer as well as a hearer. (James 1:22.)
And what is the result? In the time of trial his religion does not fail him. The floods of sickness, sorrow, poverty, disappointments, bereavements beat upon him in vain. His soul stands unmoved. His faith does not give way. His comforts do not utterly forsake him. His religion may have cost him trouble in time past. His foundation may have been obtained with much labor and many tears. To discover his own interest in Christ may have required many a day of earnest seeking, and many an hour of wrestling in prayer. But his labor has not been thrown away. He now reaps a rich reward. The religion that can stand trial is the true religion.
The man who hears Christian teaching, and never gets beyond hearing, is like "a foolish man who built his house on the sand." He satisfies himself with listening and approving, but he goes no further. He flatters himself, perhaps, that all is right with his soul, because he has feelings, and convictions, and desires, of a spiritual kind. In these he rests. He never really breaks off from sin, and casts aside the spirit of the world. He never really lays hold of Christ. He never really takes up the cross. He is a hearer of truth, but nothing more.
And what is the end of this man's religion? It breaks down entirely under the first flood of tribulation. It fails him completely, like a summer-dried fountain, when his need is the sorest. It leaves its possessor high and dry, like a wreck on a sand bank, a scandal to the church, a by-word to the infidel, and a misery to himself. Most true is it that what costs little is worth little! A religion which costs us nothing, and consist in nothing but hearing sermons, will always prove at last to be a useless thing.
So ends the sermon on the mount. Such a sermon never was preached before. Such a sermon perhaps has never been preached since. Let us see that it has a lasting influence on our own souls. It is addressed to us as well as to those who first heard it. We are they who shall have to give account of its heart-searching lessons. It is no light matter what we think of them. The word that Jesus has spoken, "the same will judge us in the last day." (John 12:48.)(Matthew 7:21-29 Expository Thoughts)
J C Philpot asks that...
James also emphasizes we must be doers and not merely hearers writing...
An illustration of Jesus' call for hearing to be followed by doing is given by Chuck Swindoll in his book Improving Your Serve...
D. L. Moody once said that...
Harry Ironside wrote that...
If lips and life do not agree, the testimony will not amount to much
Puritan Thomas Brooks warned...
Reader, remember this: if thy knowledge do not now affect thy heart, it will at last, with a witness, afflict thy heart; if it do not now endear Christ to thee, it will at last provoke Christ the more against thee; if it do not make all the things of Christ to be very precious in thy eyes, it will at last make thee the more vile in Christ's eyes.
Søren Kierkegaard (bio) addressed Jesus' warning regarding hearing and doing in his animal parable on "Duckland"...
It was Sunday morning, and all the ducks dutifully came to church, waddling through the doors and down the aisle into their pews where they comfortably squatted. When all were well-settled, and the hymns were sung, the duck minister waddled to his pulpit, opened the Duck Bible and read: “Ducks! You have wings, and with wings you can fly like eagles. You can soar into the sky! Use your wings!” It was a marvelous, elevating duck scripture, and thus all the ducks quacked their assent with a hearty “Amen!”—and then they plopped down from their pews and waddled home!
Wise (5429) (phronimos from phronéo = think, have a mindset related to phren = diaphragm, regarded by ancients as seat of mental and spiritual activity, came to mean mind or understanding) is an adjective which describes one who is thoughtful, sagacious or discreet. It describes the quality of one's thinking which is the result of insight and stands in opposition to moros which means foolish. The idea is that there is understanding combined with wisdom and insight. Phronimos implies a cautious, sensible, prudent character and in Mt 10:16 refers to one as "shrewd" as a serpent. One who is shrewd has clever discerning awareness, acute perception and sharp powers of judgment. Phronimos also includes the ideas of one who is prudent, sensible and practically wise in relationships with others. There is a type of phronimos that is desirable (eg, here in Mt 7:24, 10:16, et al) and a type that is not desirable (Ro 11:26, 12:16) this latter describing the person who relies on their own innate wisdom.
In context Jesus explains that a truly wise person is the one who puts His words into practice, proving that faith in Christ's finished work on the cross (Jn 19:30, 1Jn 2:2) is genuine. On the other hand those builders who profess or pretend to have faith or who have a merely intellectual commitment are foolish builders and when the storms of life come, including and especially the final eschatological "storm" leading to the "Lake of fire", their structures fool no one, especially not the Living God.
Phronimos is used 14 times in the NT -
Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock.
Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.
Matthew 24:45 "Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?
Matthew 25:2 "And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.
Comment: Prudent in English describes one who is circumspect and who acts or shows care and thought regarding the future. Not surprisingly each of these uses of phronimos in Mt 25, describe those in a state of a preparedness. The Septuagint uses phronimos in Pr 18:15 -- "The mind of the prudent [Lxx = phronimos] acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.")
Matthew 25:4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
Matthew 25:8 "And the foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
Matthew 25:9 "But the prudent answered, saying, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.'
Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?
Luke 16:8 "And his master praised the unrighteous steward because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.
Romans 11:25 (note) For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in;
Romans 12:16 (note) Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. (cp similar use of phronimos in Septuagint translation of Pr 3:7)
1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.
2 Corinthians 11:19 For you, being so wise, bear with the foolish gladly.
There are 27 uses of phronimos in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 3:1; 41:33, 39; 1Sa 2:10; 1Ki 2:35; 3:12; 4:20, 30; 5:7; Pr 3:7; 11:12, 29; 14:6, 17, 35; 15:21; 17:10, 21, 27, 28; 18:14, 15; 19:7, 25; 20:5; Isa. 44:25; Hos. 13:13. The first use in Scripture is notable...
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty (Heb = 'aruwm = subtle, shrewd, sly; Lxx = phronimos) than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden '?"
MacDonald rightly observes that...
Both "builders" hear His Word, and both build houses that ostensibly exhibit no differences in structure and quality, so that each house looks quite secure in good weather. However the land of Israel is known for sudden, torrential rains that can almost instantly turned dry wadis (Wadi) into potentially devastating raging torrents. It is the storm which tests the quality of the house, and specifically the nature of the foundation the builder built his or her house upon.
Jesus has a similar statement in the gospel of John declaring that...
The "rock" (4073) (petra) is "these words of Mine", the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Petra is the Greek word, not for a stone or even a boulder, but a word that describes a great outcropping of rock, a large expanse of bedrock which is solid, stable, and unmovable.
Petra is used 15 times in the NT - Matt. 7:24, 25; 16:18; 27:51, 60; Mk. 15:46; Lk. 6:48; 8:6, 13; Ro 9:33; 1Co. 10:4; 1Pe 2:8; Re 6:15, 16
The "house" that is built on the rock is the life lived according to Jesus' teaching
BUILD ON THE ROCK
ACTING ON HIS MASTER'S WORDS - Archibald Rutledge wrote that one day he met a man whose dog had just been killed in a forest fire. Heartbroken, the man explained to Rutledge how it happened. Because he worked out-of-doors, he often took his dog with him. That morning, he left the animal in a clearing and gave him a command to stay and watch his lunch bucket while he went into the forest. His faithful friend understood, for that's exactly what he did. Then a fire started in the woods, and soon the blaze spread to the spot where the dog had been left. But he didn't move. He stayed right where he was, in perfect obedience to his master's word. With tearful eyes, the dog's owner said, "I always had to be careful what I told him to do, because I knew he would do it."
If a dog can be expected to obey his master, how much more should we who know the Lord and have been redeemed be obedient to His commands! May you and I be so dependable in doing the Lord's will that our Master would be able to ay of us, "I knew he would do it!"—R. W De Haan
The Storm - Neal Beidleman survived the ill-fated 1996 expedition in which eight climbers died on Mount Everest. Some of them had paid $65,000 for a chance to scale the world's highest peak. In assessing what went wrong, Beidleman said,
On Everest, that "something" was a raging blizzard. According to journalist Todd Burgess, "If not for the storm, the climbers may have gotten away with taking so many risks. But the storm exposed their weaknesses."
The things at risk in our lives today—matters of spiritual indifference or disobedience—can overwhelm us when the storms come. Jesus told a story of the wise and foolish builders to stress the importance of obedience to His words (Matthew 7:24-27). He said, "Whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Mt 7:24).
Obedience to Christ doesn't eliminate the tempests of life, but it does determine whether we fall or stand in the storm. —David McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Living for the Lord, fearing Him each day,
The wise man builds his house on rock
How To Build A House - I am not an expert carpenter, but I did build my own house (at least most of it). In the process, I learned that I needed a detailed blueprint and the help of someone who had building experience.
The construction project referred to in Matthew 7:24-29 makes mine look like child's play. What Jesus said applies to the lifelong process of building godly character. The detailed instructions are outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. Here are some of them: We must go the extra mile (Mt 5:41-note), bless those who curse us (Mt 5:44-note), and treat others as we would want them to treat us (Mt 7:12-note).
As we try to put Jesus' instructions into practice, we face the challenge of building. No sooner do we seek to obey than we see our need for the help of someone who is wiser and stronger than we are. Jesus, the Master Builder, is that One. He lived a perfect life and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. When we receive Him as our Savior, we receive the One who was tempted just as we are, yet He was without sin (He 4:15-note). And He will never leave us (He 13:5, 6-notes).
Study the plan carefully and seek the wisdom of Jesus always. Only He can help you to build a house that is strong enough to withstand the storms of life. —Dennis J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A heavy rain had stopped falling just before a man drove down a lonely road. As he rounded a curve, he saw an old farmer surveying the ruins of his barn. The driver stopped to ask what happened. "Roof fell in," said the farmer. "Leaked so long it just rotted clear through." "Why didn't you fix it before it got so bad?" asked the stranger. "Well, sir," replied the farmer, "I just never seemed to get around to it. When the weather was good, I didn't need to. And when it rained, it was too wet to work on!"
It's easy to think, someday I'll take care of those little sinful habits; someday I'll start living for Christ. Such an attitude is no different from that of the farmer. Jesus said, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matt. 7:24).
We grow strong in character by applying God's Word to our daily activities. —D. J. De Haan
THE WISE BUILDER
IT is of great importance in preaching the Gospel, to discriminate between the different characters to whom we deliver our message, and to separate the precious from the vile. If this be neglected, the wicked will hold fast their delusions, and the righteous continue in bondage to their fears: but if we be faithful in the discharge of this part of our duty, those among whom we minister, will be led to a knowledge of their own proper character and condition. Our blessed Lord, at the conclusion of his Sermon on the Mount, shews us how we should apply our subjects to the hearts and consciences of our hearers. In the words before us he describes,
I. The character and condition of the godly—
Their character is drawn in simple but comprehensive terms—
[“They come to Christ:” this is absolutely necessary to their entrance on the divine life: till they have come to Christ under a sense of their own guilt and helplessness, they have no pretensions to godliness; they are obnoxious to the curse of the law, and the wrath of God&&.
After they have come to Christ, “they hear his sayings;” they sit at his feet, like Mary&&,” desiring to be fully instructed in his mind and will. With this view they study the Holy Scriptures, and “meditate in them day and night:” with this view also they attend the ordinances, and “receive the word, not as the word of man, but as it is in truth, the word of God&&.”
They do not, however, rest in hearing his sayings; but they go forth to “do them.” They desire to know his will in order that they may do it. They love the most searching discourses, because by them they discover the evil of their own hearts, and are led to aspire after a fuller conformity to the Divine image: nor would they rest, till they feel every “thought and desire captivated to the obedience of Christ.”]
Their condition is exhibited in an apt similitude—
[A man who builds his house upon a rock, shews that, however temperate the weather may be at the time he is building, he expects tempests to arise: and when the storms do come, he feels himself secure, from a consciousness that his house is so constructed as to withstand their violence.
Now a godly man resembles him in foresight and in security. He knows that, though he may at present be able to live in some tolerable comfort without religion, it will not be always so: he feels that, when misfortunes, troubles, sickness, and death shall come, he will be miserable without a well-founded hope of immortality. Hence he will not be satisfied with any religion that will not stand the test of scriptural examination; for he knows that no other will prove sufficient in the hour of trial.
When the storms blow, and the tempests beat upon him, then he finds the benefit of having “digged deep,” and laid his foundation well. Then he stands immoveable secure: the promise and oath of Jehovah are his firm support: Omnipotence itself upholds him. In vain do troubles from without, or temptations from within, assault him: even in the immediate prospect of death itself he retains his confidence, “knowing in whom he has believed&&,” and assured that Jesus will save him to the uttermost.]
In a perfect contrast to this, our Lord exhibits,
II. The character and condition of the ungodly—
Their character is the very reverse of that already drawn—
[It is worthy of observation, that nothing is said of their coming unto Christ. Here is their radical defect: had they ever come as perishing sinners to him, they should have wanted nothing for the perfecting of their salvation: but they are too proud to stoop to such an humiliating method of obtaining mercy: they do not feel their desert of God’s wrath, or their need of a mediator: and therefore, though they will compliment Jesus with the name of Saviour, they will not flee to him for refuge as those who know that without him they must for ever perish.
They will indeed “hear his sayings; but they will not do them.” They may take a pleasure in hearing the Gospel preached; and, like Ezekiel’s hearers, attend the ministration of the word with as much delight, as others listen to a musical performance&&. They may even shew an extraordinary zeal about the ordinances of religion&&, and may alter their conduct, like Herod, in many things&&: but there is some darling lust with which they will not part. When their besetting sin comes to be exposed, they draw back, unwilling to have their wounds probed, and their lusts mortified. When they are required to “pluck out their right eye, and to cut off their right hand,” they turn away, exclaiming, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it&&?”
This stamps their character as ungodly. It is not the commission of any gross sin that constitutes men ungodly; but it is the retaining of some bosom lust, the rendering of only a partial obedience to the law, the “not having the heart right with God.”]
The similitude also reversed exactly describes their condition—
[A person who, because the weather is fair, builds his house without any proper foundation, will, as soon as storms and tempests arise, find reason for regret. The house, for want of a foundation, will be undermined, and fall. He will then lose all the labour and money that he has bestowed upon it, and perhaps, with all his family, be overwhelmed in its ruins.
The ungodly man “is like to him” in folly, and in danger. His religion must come to the test at last: if it bear him through his trials in life, and uphold him with some degree of comfort in death, still it can never bear the scrutiny of the judgment day: then every man’s work will be tried as by fire; and that which does not endure the fire, will be burnt up&&. How will the folly of trusting to vain delusions appear in that day! What regret and sorrow will arise in the mind of him who has laboured so much for nought! And how “great will be his ruin,” when he shall have no shelter from the wrath of God, and when the goodly fabric that he built shall crush him to atoms!
O that we well considered this; and that all of us would build as for eternity!]
Let us learn from hence,
1. The necessity of practical religion—
[Religion does not consist in mere notions, however just or scriptural; but in a conformity of heart and life to the will of God. We must not, however, mistake, as though our works were the foundation whereon we are to build (that would indeed be a foundation of sand): Christ is the only foundation of a sinner’s hope&&; the only rock on which we must build: but then we must shew that we do build on him, by the super-structure which we raise upon him: and if the superstructure be not such as to prove that we are founded on him, our hopes of standing in the day of judgment are vain and delusive.]
2. The excellence of practical religion—
[A house, whose foundation is deep, and fixed upon a rock, will stand, whatever storms or tempests may beat upon it. And thus it is with the practical and consistent Christian. His principles will bear him up in the day of adversity: he may defy all the hosts both of men and devils; for none shall ever separate him from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord&&. And when the most specious structures shall fall, to the confusion and ruin of those who erected them, the wise builder shall dwell secure amidst the desolating judgments and the wreck of worlds.]
Greek: kai katebe (3SAAI) e broche kai elthon (3PAAI) oi potamoi kai epneusan (3PAAI) oi anemoi kai prosepesan (3PAAI) te oikia ekeine, kai ouk epesen, (3SAAI) tethemelioto (3SPLPI) gar epi ten petran.
Amplified: And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
NLT: Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Down came the rain and up came the floods, while the winds blew and roared upon that house - and it did not fall because its foundations were on the rock. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: And the violent rainstorm came down and the torrents came, and the winds blew and rushed upon and beat against that house, and it did not fall, for it had been built upon the rocky cliff as its foundation and was firmly established upon it. (Eerdmans)
Young's: 'and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock.
And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock: kai katebe (3SAAI) e broche kai elthon (3PAAI) oi potamoi kai epneusan (3PAAI) oi anemoi kai prosepesan (3PAAI) te oikia ekeine, kai ouk epesen, (3SAAI) tethemelioto (3SPLPI) gar epi ten petran: (Rain Ezekiel 13:11-16; Malachi 3:3; Acts 14:22; 1Corinthians 3:13-15; James 1:12; 1Peter 1:7) (Rock Mt 16:18; Psalms 92:13, 14, 15; 125:1,2; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7; 1Peter 1:5; 1John 2:19)
BUILDED ON THE ROCK
I builded on the Rock, on the Rock of God,
Rain...floods...winds - Three metaphorical descriptions of the various types of severe testing every "building" will experience.
For (gar) introduces the critical parameter which determines whether the building survives the severe tests of the elements -- the foundation is the critical factor. The right foundation allows the building to survive the most intense testing. This picture is another description of the person who has entered the small gate and narrow path (Mt 7:13, 14). This group hears Jesus' words and obeys.
Founded (2311) (themelioo from themélios = foundational, fundamental, describing that which lies beneath, foundation, base and reference is always to something secure and permanent in itself) means to lay a foundation, found, erect or consolidate. Jesus uses the past perfect tense which describes a once for all completed action in the past which has ongoing or continuing effect or results. It had been built upon the rock and it stood.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Rock (4073) (petra feminine of the masculine noun petros) refers to a massive rock, a large expanse of bedrock or a great outcropping of rock. Vine distinguishes petra as a "mass of rock" from the masculine petros which refers to a detached stone or boulder, including a stone that might be thrown or easily moved. Jesus uses petra to refer to rocky soil in Luke 8:6, 13.
NIDNTT writes that in classical Greek...
petra means rock, a mass of rock, boulder, and stone as material; it is used as early as Homer for a symbol of firmness (Od. 17, 463), and from the 5th cent. B.C. onwards of hard-heartedness (Aesch., PV 2, 244; Eur., Andromache 537). petros, likewise attested from earliest times, means a (broken off) piece of rock, stone (lithos). A strict distinction of meaning cannot however be maintained: petros can mean, rock, and petra, stone (cf. Homer, Od. 9, 243; Hesiod, Theog. 675; Soph., OC 1595; O. Cullmann, petra TDNT VI 95; and Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr, A Historical and Theological Study, 19622 (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Here are the 15 uses of petra in the NT...
Matthew 7:24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock.
Matthew 7:25 "And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.
Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.
Comment: For discussion of this controversial verse see MacArthur's messages - Matthew 16:18-20: The Church that Christ Builds 1; Matthew 16:18-20: The Church that Christ Builds 2) and/or S Lewis Johnson's message Is Peter the Rock?
I agree with Kenneth Wuest's interpretative translation of Mt 16:18
You are Petros, a Rock-like man, and upon this petra, this huge Gibraltar-like rock, my deity, I will build my Church.
Matthew 27:51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,
Matthew 27:60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.
Mark 15:46 And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
Luke 6:48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
Luke 8:6 "And other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
Comment: Compare to Mark 4:5 where the cognate petrodes (petra + eídos = shape or appearance) is used to mean rock like. The idea here seems to be a thin layer of top soil beneath which is solid rock. I have a patch like this in my front lawn and needless to say no grass grows in that spot. Jesus is presenting the picture of thin soil on top of solid rock, allowing no chance for deep roots that would enable the plants to survive just as those who heard the seed of the word on similar "soil" did not persevere (see Mk 4:16, 17).
Luke 8:13 "And those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.
Romans 9:33 (see note) just as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed."
1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
Comment: See use of petra below in the OT parallel passage, Exodus 17:6.
1 Peter 2:8 (note) and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.
Revelation 6:15 (note) And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
Revelation 6:16 (note) and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb;
Petra is used 75 times in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ex 17:6; 33:21f; Nu 20:8, 10, 11; 24:21; Deut. 8:15; 32:13; Jos. 5:2; Jdg. 1:36; 6:20f; 13:19; 15:8, 11, 13; 20:45, 47; 21:13; 1 Sam. 13:6; 14:4; 23:25, 28; 2Sa 21:10; 22:2; 1 Ki. 19:11; 2 Ki. 14:7; 1 Chr. 11:15; 2 Chr. 26:7; Neh. 9:15; Job 14:8, 18; 19:24; 22:24; 24:8; 39:1, 28; Ps. 27:5; 40:2; 61:2; 78:15f, 20; 81:16; 104:18; 105:41; 114:8; 136:16; 137:9; 141:6; Prov. 30:19, 26; Song. 2:14; Isa. 2:10, 21; 5:28; 8:14; 16:1; 22:16; 31:9; 33:16; 42:11; 48:21; 50:7; 51:1; Jer. 4:29; 5:3; 13:4; 18:14; 23:29; 48:28; Ezek. 3:9; Amos 6:12; Nah. 1:6; Hab. 2:1.
One of the most famous uses of petra is in Exodus where God declared to Moses...
Exodus 17:6 "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock (Heb = tsuwr = masculine noun = large rock or boulder; Lxx = petra) at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Comment: The physical rock in Exodus serves as what is referred to as a type of Christ (as taught by Paul in 1Co 10:4). Typology is one of those fields of study where one can go extremes - either dismissing it almost entirely ("throwing the baby out with the bath water" so to speak) or finding "types" in far more OT passages than can be reasonably substantiated by NT passages. For more discussion on the interesting study of typology see Typology - Study of Biblical types. As an aside Patrick Fairbairn in his two volume treatise on Typology of Scripture has this summary of what he considers valid OT types...
Leaving out of view the tabernacle, with its furniture and services, which, as a whole, is affirmed in the epistles to the Hebrews and the Colossians to have been of a typical nature, the following examples are what the writers now referred to usually regard as having something like an explicit sanction in Scripture:
1. Persons or characters: Adam (Ro 5:11, 12; 1Co 15:22); Melchizedek (Heb 7:1, 10, 11, 15, 17); Sarah and Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac, and by implication Abraham (Ga 4:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35); Moses (Ga 3:19; Acts 3:22, 23, 24, 25, 26); Jonah (Mt. 12:40)...
2. Transactions or events: the preservation of Noah and his family in the ark (1Pe 3:20); the redemption from Egypt and its Passover-memorial (Lk 22:15, 16; 1Co 5:7, Ex 12:21, 22, 23, 24); the exodus (Mt 2:15); the passage through the Red Sea, the giving of manna (Ex 16:31, 32, Jn 6:31, 32, 33, 34, 35), Moses veiling of his face while the law was read (2Co 3:13, 14, 15); the water flowing from the smitten rock (1Co 10:4); the serpent lifted up for healing in the wilderness (Jn 3:14, Nu 21:7, 8, 9), and some other things that befell the Israelites there (1Co 10:5, 6, 7, 8, , 9, 10, 11; Jn 5:33; Rev. 2:17). (Patrick Fairbairn. Typology of Scripture Volume 1)
Numbers 20:8 "Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock (Heb = cela' = crag, cliff, rock; Lxx = petra) before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock (Heb = cela' = crag, cliff, rock; Lxx = petra) and let the congregation and their beasts drink."
Comment: In Nu 20:11 instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock which was judged by Jehovah as a sign of Moses' unbelief, the punishment being that Moses would not be able to physically lead Israel into the promised land of Canaan.
2Sa 22:2 And he (David) said, "The LORD is my rock (Heb = cela' = crag, cliff, rock; Lxx = petra) and my fortress and my deliverer
Jehovah was the foundation and the strength of His people Israel in the OT and of believers in the NT. Do you know Him as your Rock?
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
An illustration of our foundation on the rock. It seems that in as we turned into the 21st century, the number of hurricanes spawned in the Atlantic seemed to increase dramatically. Andrew, one of those powerful hurricanes hit southern Florida in 1992, literally leveling thousands of homes. In most areas what was left looked like the after effects of a atomic bomb, but in the backdrop of devastation, one house remained firmly anchored on its foundation. When a reporter asked the homeowner why his house had not been blown away, he replied, "I built this house myself. I also built it according to the Florida state building code. When the code called for 2" x 6" roof trusses, I used 2" x 6" roof trusses. I was told that a house built according to code could withstand a hurricane-- and it did." After explaining the righteousness necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven to the multitudes, our Lord sought a decision from each hearer. Would they be wise men and build their "spiritual home" on the "Solid Rock" of His message, by acting (by grace through faith in Christ) on what He had taught. Jesus' message on that Mount gives us the code that will withstand all storms and His message on the other Mount (Calvary) gives us the power to carry this out in our lives. If we build according to His code, which calls for obedience to His Word (in the power of His Spirit and for the glory of His Father), we will not be swept away when the crises hit with hurricane-like force. The tempests of temptation and the storms of suffering will not be able to sweep us off the solid foundation of faith and obedience in Christ Alone. Adversity may come, yet because we have built according to the code of the unshakable Rock, Jesus Christ, we can emerge with our character strengthened. As someone has said, smooth seas don't make skillful sailors! Are you building your live according to Jesus' code?
The storms of our life prove the strength of our anchor.
A Rock-Solid Foundation - As Christians we can become so preoccupied with our earthly affairs that we shift our confidence from Jesus Christ to faith in our own intellect. Then something happens to shake the foundation on which we had been building.
Phillip E. Johnson, a gifted lawyer and primary spokesman for the Intelligent Design movement, suffered a stroke and was likely to have another. Plagued by frightening thoughts during those first few days after his stroke, he was profoundly touched when a friend came and sang, "On Christ, the solid rock, I stand—all other ground is sinking sand."
Johnson writes, "What was the solid rock on which I stood? I had always prided myself on being self-reliant, and my brain was what I had relied on. Now the self with its brain was exposed as the shaky instrument it had always been. I was a Christian, even an ardent one in my worldly fashion, but now all the smoke was blown away, and I saw Truth close up." He resolved to keep Jesus at the center of his life and is now a different man.
How quickly we rely on our intellect and reasoning, only to find that it is a "shaky instrument." Let's never forget that Jesus is the only rock-solid foundation of truth on which we can always depend. —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
My hope is built on nothing less
A century ago an ocean liner sank off the southwest coast of England, taking many people down with it. A 16-year-old galley boy, who was tossed up along the rugged shore, survived by clinging to a rock all night long. When he was finally rescued, he was asked, "Didn't you shake as you were clinging all night to that rock?" The boy replied, "Yes, of course. But the rock never shook once."
The ancient Israelites learned from their experiences in the desert that rocks were more than masses of stone. A rock could serve as shelter from a sudden storm. It could provide a cool shadow from oppressive heat. It was a stronghold and a place of safety from enemies (Ps. 61:2,3; 62:1,2; Isa 32:2).
Just as the Hebrews found the rock of their salvation in the Lord who brought them up out of Egypt, so we find our rock of salvation in the One who through His Son delivered us from bondage to sin. When storms of trouble threaten to overwhelm us, we can cling to Him in faith, thankful that our Rock is our unshakable refuge. —V. C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Edward Mote the writer of "My Hope is Built" gives the following account related to the writing...
Life with Christ is an endless hope;
Play and Sing it unto the Lord our Rock...
My Hope is Built
A Fortified House - According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, some people in the US are building houses stronger than ever before.
Hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes have caused billions of dollars in property damage in states across the nation. So, at the urging of businesses, government, and hard-pressed insurance companies, some builders are constructing fortress-like homes with windows that can withstand 130 mile-per-hour winds, roof nails so strong they can only be cut off, and framing material that can weather the tremendous forces faced by a supersonic jet. In Bolingbrook, Illinois, a community damaged by a tornado in the 1990s, a company is constructing such a “fortified” house in hopes that the idea will catch on.
We who know the Lord Jesus realize that when it comes to building our spiritual foundation, it must be strong and secure. In today’s Scripture, Christ made it clear what that foundation must be when He referred to “these sayings of Mine” (Matt. 7:24), which included His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).
When we receive by faith Christ’s words and His work on our behalf, our spiritual lives are “founded on the Rock,” Christ Jesus. —David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
I do not stand on shifting sand
BUILDING TO CODE - No other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. --1 Corinthians 3:11
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed thousands of homes in South Florida. Yet in an area where the wreckage looked like a war zone, one house remained standing, still firmly anchored to its foundation.
When a reporter asked the homeowner why his house had not been blown away, he replied, "I built this house myself. I also built it according to the Florida state building code. When the code called for 2" x 6" roof trusses, I used 2" x 6" roof trusses. I was told that a house built according to code could withstand a hurricane -- and it did."
Jesus talked about the importance of building our lives on a solid foundation. He said that the person who obeys His Word is like "a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matt. 7:24). If we build according to His code of obedience, we will not be swept away when crises hit with hurricane-like force. The tempests of temptation and the storms of suffering will not be able to sweep us off a solid foundation of faith and obedience. Adversity may come, yet because we have built according to the code of the unshakable Rock, Jesus Christ, we can emerge with our
Are we building our lives according to Jesus' code? - Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Living for the Lord, serving Him each day,
The storms of our life
In context the rock metaphor clearly symbolizes genuine faith in Christ as evidenced by one's obedience to His words (and God's Word in general). The metaphor of Christ as a Stone or Rock is intimately woven by the Spirit throughout both the Old and New Testaments and makes for a fascinating and encouraging study
Suggestion: This study would make an edifying series in a Sunday School class and would be very enlightening to those who are not that familiar with the Old Testament. Remember to carefully observe the context to arrive at the most accurate interpretation, interrogating each each "base" verse with questions such as... When does this take place? Where does this take place? What are the circumstances surrounding the use of this metaphor? Who is in the "cast of characters"? Who used the name Rock? What attributes do you discover about the Rock or Stone? How should we apply this truth to our life today -- not Can we? - it is God's Word of Truth and it is ALWAYS applicable to our life. The more relevant question is "Will we allow the Spirit to speak the Word of Truth to our innermost being and respond with unhesitating obedience"?)...here are the Scriptures...and as they say when your delicious meal is served, "Enjoy!"