Author: Ron Graham
The Foundation of the Church
—A study outline
Our main text for this study is a statement that Jesus made to the apostle Peter. Jesus said, "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). We will look at Peter’s place in the foundation of the church.
1 Peter was part of the foundation.
A. The church is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:19-20).
B. Diagram showing Peter as an apostle in the foundation.
2 Peter was not the corner stone,
A. Peter was no more important than any other apostle in the foundation. In the first verse of his letters he describes himself as "an apostle", not the first or chief apostle.
B. The apostles had equal authority(Matthew 19:27-28, Luke 22:24-30, Mark 10:35-45)
C. Paul did not recognise Peter as a superior (2Corinthians 11:5, 12:11-12; Galatians 2:6-14)
D. Peter himself assumed no superior place among the apostles and elders (bishops) (1Peter 1:1; 5:1-4).
E. Peter sometimes acted as spokesman, but he did not decide the issues (Acts 1:15, Acts 2:14, Acts 15:5-22).
F. Jesus Christ was the cornerstone and head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:20, 1Peter 2:5-6, 1Corinthians 3:9-11).
3 Peter was no more inspired than any other apostle
A. The apostles were the foundation of the church by virtue of the WORD revealed to them to preach (Matthew 16:16-17, 1Peter 2:7-8, Ephesians 4:11-15).
B. God gave the same revelation to the other apostles as he gave to Peter (Matthew 16:19, Matthew 18:18-19, John 14:26, John 16:12-13).
C. We have the scriptures written by the apostles and prophets, and they are our foundation (Colossians 1:23, 1Peter 5:9-12, Matthew 7:24).
D. Peter himself recognises that the rock is for some an occasion of stumbling, and stumbling over the rock is disobeying the word (1Peter 2:7-8).