The question to be asked in seeking to grasp the literal
meaning of Matthew in conveying what Christ had in his
mind in these words to Peter is
what was understood by Peter and the other apostles
what was handed on (
) by the Apostolic Church
and the constant faith and practice of the Church
regarding the meaning of these words of Christ.
Some basic facts about the author, Matthew, are in order to
aid the proper search for the meaning of his gospel.
Matthew is the tax collector called by Christ in 9:9-13;
Matthew is one of the twelve Apostles, an eye witness;
Matthew's gospel is directed to a Jewish audience;
Matthew's gospel is a Gospel of the Church, the only
evangelist to use the word "church," and use it
16:18 and 18:17.