Was the apostle Peter really a pope?

Was Saint Peter the first Pope?

The Roman Catholic Church sees Peter as the first Pope God chose to build His Church on (Matthew 16:18). It is said that he had authority over the other apostles. The Roman Catholic Church claims that some time after the record of the Acts of the Apostles Peter became the first bishop of Rome, and that the Roman bishop was accepted by the first parishes / churches as the central authority over the other churches. It is taught that God passed Peter's apostolic authority to those who came after him as Bishop of Rome. This teaching, that God passed on the apostolic authority of Peter and the subsequent bishops, is called "Apostolic Succession".

The Roman Catholic Church also claims that Peter and subsequent popes were infallible in addressing matters "ex cathedra" from their position and with authority as Pope. It is taught that this infallibility gives the Pope the authority to lead the Church without error. The Roman Catholic Church claims that it can trace an unbroken papal line back to Saint Peter, and this is cited as evidence that it is the true Church, according to its interpretation of Matthew 16:18, which reads the Christ His Church / congregation built on Peter.

But while Peter was central to the early spread of the gospel (part of the meaning behind Matthew 16: 18-19), the doctrine of Scripture, taken in context, nowhere explains that he had authority over or over the other apostles Parishes / churches. See Acts 15: 1-23; Galatians 2: 1-14; and 1 Peter 5: 1-5. Nor is it ever taught anywhere in Scripture that the bishop of Rome, or any other bishop, has authority over the church. Nor does Scripture ever list that Peter was in Rome at all. There is only one reference in Scripture where Peter writes of "Babylon," a name sometimes ascribed to Rome (1 Peter 5:13). Mainly from this and the historical rise of the influence of the Bishop of Rome comes the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the Authority of the Bishop of Rome. Scripture shows, however, that the authority of Peter was shared with the other apostles (Ephesians 2: 19-20), and the "loosening and binding" attributed to him was shared by the other local churches as well, not just by their leaders (see Matthew 18: 15-19; 1 Corinthians 5: 1-13; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Titus 2:15; 3: 10-11).

Likewise, nowhere in Scripture is it stated that, in order to deter the Church from error, the authority of the apostles was passed on to those appointed by them (Apostolic Succession). Apostolic succession is "read into" these verses that the Roman Catholic Church uses to substantiate its teaching. --2 Timothy 2: 2; 4: 2-5; Titus 1: 5; 2: 1; 2:15 ; 1 Timothy 5: 19-22). Paul does NOT call believers in various churches to receive Titus, Timothy and other church leaders because of their authority as bishops or because of their apostolic authority, but rather because they are cooperation with him. --1 Corinthians 16:10; 16:16 ; 2 Corinthians 8:23).

HOWEVER, what Scripture teaches is that false teaching would emanate even from church leaders, and that Christians should compare the teachings of these later church leaders to Scripture, which alone is infallible. --Matthew 5:18; Psalm 19: 7-8; 119: 160; Proverbs 30: 5; John 17:17; 2 Peter 1: 19-21). The Bible does not teach that the apostles were infallible except for what was written by them and put into the scriptures. Paul, speaking to the church leaders in the great city of Ephesus, makes notice of the false teachers to come, and rather recommends them to fight against such false teachings "to the apostles and those who would carry on their authority". God and the word of His grace ... "(Acts 20: 28-32). Scripture is the infallible standard for doctrine and practice (2 Timothy 3: 16-17), not apostolic discipleship. Only by carefully examining the scriptures can one tell whether a doctrine is true or false (Acts 17: 10-12).

Was Peter the first Pope? The answer, according to the Scriptures, is clearly no. Peter never claims that he has authority over the other apostles. Nowhere in his writings (1st and 2nd Peter) does the apostle Peter claim that he has a special role, authority or power over the other congregations / churches. Nowhere in Scripture does Peter or any of the other apostles state that their apostolic authority would be passed on to successors. Yes, the apostle had a leading role among the Gentiles. Yes, Peter played an extremely important role in the early spread of the gospel (Acts chapters 1-10). Yes, Peter was the "rock" foretold by Christ (Matthew 16:18). However, these truths about Peter in no way support the concept that Peter was the first pope, or that he was the "supreme leader" over the apostles, or that his authority would be transferred to the bishops of Rome. Peter himself shows us the true Shepherd and Overseer of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:25).


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Was Saint Peter the first Pope?
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