Is Jesus The Cornerstone Or Capstone? (2023)

At Hope Chapel this year, so far, we have been going through the Book of Acts. The book deals generally with the founding of Jesus’ Church on earth. The book is variously titled sometimes as “The Acts of the Apostles” as well as just “Acts”. But its subject matter is the real meat of the Bible, and deals not only with the procedural and doctrinal points in the formation of the new church, but also with prophecy and how that relates to the believer in Jesus Christ.

Specifically, my wife Cheryl and I were re-reading our notes yesterday from Acts 3-4, the events following on the miraculous appearance of the Holy Spirit, the subsequent filling of the Apostles (with the Holy Spirit) and the first sermon preached by Peter where the Jewish listeners from all over the known world miraculously heard the Apostles and Peter speaking in their native language. The end of Chapter 2 presents somewhat of an aside, detailing the nature of the early church, and is worth quoting directly here:

Acts 2:42-47

42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

We believe firmly at Hope Chapel, that the Church today should be striving to be a church which fits that description. Much has changed, technology has advanced, but the principles of Jesus’ church on earth should never change.

On to Chapter 3 and 4 now. Cheryl and I were reading the section in Chapter 4 after Peter has healed the lame beggar (a man who was lame since birth by the way) and has now preached his second recorded sermon in Solomon’s Portico, a part of the Temple along the eastern wall. The council of the ruling Jewish Priests and elders, teachers and scribes got annoyed with Peter for preaching and teaching in the Temple (since he was an ordinary man) so they arrested both he and John and held a “Trial” of sorts the following day.

Again, our subject today deals with a small part during the trial, when Peter quotes Psalm 118:22 (in Acts 4:11) which reads:

“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.”

That particular translation is from the English Standard Version (ESV). Various translations, over time, have translated the original Hebrew word (from the Greek in the Septuagint) as variously: “Cornerstone”, or “Capstone”, or even as “Keystone”. At the point we were reading, I realized that in the New International Version translation (NIV 1984, or the old, original NIV), which is my personal Bible that I read most often, the Psalm 118:22 passage is rendered as:

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone.”

A direct Hebrew translations would render it as “Head of the corner” or “Chief stone” or as “Capstone” (as in the above). There are various translations that seemingly lose the meaning entirely by translating it as “Keystone” (The Jerusalem Bible) or as in The Living Bible (TLB) this way: “The capstone of the arch” (which describes a keystone).

So, before going further, let’s get a definition down for each of these types of building stones.

1. Top stone: a stone used at the top of a wall or another structure
2. High point: something considered the highest achievement or most important action in a series of actions
(from – Encarta World English Dictionary)

The Cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position (or orientation) of the entire structure. Over time a Cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or replica, set in a prominent location on the outside of a building, with an inscription on the stone indicating the construction dates of the building and the names of architect, builder and other significant individuals. The rite of laying a Cornerstone is an important cultural component of eastern architecture and metaphorically in sacred architecture generally.
(from – Cornerstone, Wikipedia)

A Keystone is the wedge-shaped stone piece at the apex of a masonry vault or arch, which is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch to bear weight. Although a masonry arch or vault cannot be self-supporting until the Keystone is placed, the Keystone experiences the least stress of any of the [other stones], due to its position at the apex….The term is used figuratively to refer to the central supporting element of a larger structure, such as a theory or an organization, without which the whole structure would collapse. Example: Trade is the Keystone of modern civilization.
(from – Keystone, Wikipedia)

Since these are all building terms, in fact stones used in various places in a building project, we need to carefully analyze from that standpoint both the meaning in the Old Testament sense, and the intended meaning found in the New Testament where this Psalm 118 passage is quoted. Acts 4:11 is not the only place in the New Testament where this passage is quoted in a Messianic sense. There are 5 direct uses to note:

Matthew 21:42 – “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. …

Mark 12:10 – “[Jesus said] Have you not read this Scripture: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. …

Luke 20:17 – “But he [Jesus] looked at them and said, “Then what about this that is written: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?

Acts 4:11 – “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

1 Peter 2:7 – “Therefore, for you who believe, this is an honor. But for those who do not believe: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone

Of interest is the fact that in the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark and Luke, above), Jesus quotes this passage directly, as referring to Himself. He uses it as a challenge to the Chief Priests and elders, intending to goad them out of their unbelief and hypocrisy. A clue as to the correct usage may be found in Luke:20:18 (the verse following Jesus’ usage of the Psalm 118:22 quote) –

“ Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

But, let’s go back to the original Hebrew in Psalm 118:22 (just the relevant piece) to make sure we have the meaning as intended.

Hebrew: לְ ר ֹאש פִּ נָּה
Literal: l rash phne
Translated to English: to head-of corner

Often times the literal is most valuable when seeking meaning in these phrases, and here it does not fail to point us to the intended usage, at least in this author’s opinion, as well as many who have written commentaries on these passages and usages. Of key interest is the fact that in Luke 20:18, Jesus gives us the clear intended meaning, and that is corroborated by Peter’s usage in 1 Peter 2:8 which reads:

“…a stone over which they stumble and a rock over which they fall.”

Obviously, one cannot “Stumble” over a capstone, or a keystone, as those are placed high up on a structure. Capstones usually find a place on top of a wall, and keystones are used as the “Key” supporting piece, typically in an arch type structure, where they will enable both sides of the arch to support the load while bearing none of the load themselves. Clearly, a stone of stumbling is a “Cornerstone”, or the first stone laid in a building. This meaning becomes clear when you realize that Jesus is referring not only to Himself, but the doctrines of the new Christian faith that would center on his atoning death and sacrifice on the cross, his subsequent burial, resurrection and ascension into Heaven where He sits at the Father’s right hand, interceding (praying) for us continually.

I would like to make one further comment though. One article I read (by Trinitarian Don, linked below), proposed that the meaning in Luke 20:18 is a double. In other words, as Jesus uses the word play that the stone could “Trip them up” (“Everyone who falls on that stone”), but it could also fall on them (“and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him”). This is obviously not a cornerstone, since that is already on the ground (and cannot fall), so his meaning here may refer to a capstone (or even a keystone) type usage, and we would take it to mean that a person who persists in unbelief, to the point where they die without accepting Jesus as both Lord and Savior would consequently be crushed (sent to Hell in Judgement) as Jesus has all authority in Heaven and on earth to judge the living and the dead (Matthew 28:18, John 5:22).

Most recently, as I read these passages for the thousandth time (slight exaggeration only), I came to the conclusion that when Jesus says what he says about the Psalm 118 passage, specifically the comment noted in Luke 20:18, what he is doing is explaining the passage – in light of his advent. Jesus is THE stone over which we fall, spiritually, and are broken to pieces. Our way is no longer our own, our lives are no longer our own, our allegiance is no longer to any other authority, but to Jesus alone. If, for whatever reason, you reject Jesus and he subsequently falls on you, you will be crushed, at judgement and sent to Hell for all eternity. It’s your choice.

This view is corroborated in so many ways in other passages, i.e., John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” And in Matthew 28:18 “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been granted to me.” Or, as in 1 Peter 4:5 “…but they will give account to [Jesus] who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” The proof is not difficult, the evidence for Jesus is clear throughout Scripture. Unbelief at the end of your life can only have one very tragic result: Eternal punishment in the fires of Hell (“where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” – Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, etc…).



Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary – Capstone

“The Capstone” Article on Thunder of God Blog

Trinitarian Don – Cornerstone And Capstone


Is capstone the same as cornerstone? ›

Cornerstone is an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based. A capstone is a finishing stone atop an exterior wall or roof or other exterior architectural feature.

What does the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone mean? ›

The word for “cornerstone” can also be interpreted as “capstone,” indicating that Jesus becomes the crowning glory of the building that is the temple or the kingdom of God, and we will share in his glory (Romans 8:17). No longer rejected but precious; no longer worthless but important—that's our new identity in Christ.

What is the cornerstone in Matthew 21 42? ›

The builders are Israel's leaders, including the chief priests and Pharisees standing near Him. Though rejected by them, the stone, Jesus, has become the cornerstone or "head of the corner," the most important stone in the structure.

What does the cornerstone symbolize? ›

Buildings were laid out with astronomical precision in relation to points of the compass, with emphasis on corners. Cornerstones symbolized “seeds” from which buildings would germinate and rise. Various religious rituals and Bible references spread and perpetuated the cornerstone custom.

What does the cornerstone mean Bible? ›

When we read that Christ is the cornerstone, that means Jesus is our right and true foundation—perfect—and whatever is built in alignment with him will be right and true too. Sometimes we think it is up to us to make sure everything measures up.

What capstone means? ›

The original definition of a capstone focuses on the actual stone placed at the top of a wall or building, marking the successful completion of the structure. It is a significant and celebrated piece of architecture, considered to be the most important of an entire construction project.

Is the rejected stone now the cornerstone? ›

So, when we hear in today's Gospel the expression “The stone that the builder's rejected has become the cornerstone,” and that it was Jesus Himself who was rejected and set aside – and thus gave us the grace of the death and resurrection - we too can realize that in the struggles and mysteries of our life, God is doing ...

What is a capstone cornerstone? ›

A capstone is a finishing stone atop an exterior wall or roof or other exterior architectural feature. The capstone protects the masonry, causing water to flow in a certain way as to mitigate erosion.

What is the purpose of a cornerstone in a building? ›

In relation to architecture, a cornerstone is traditionally the first stone laid for a structure, with all other stones laid in reference. A cornerstone marks the geographical location by orienting a building in a specific direction. Cornerstones have been around for millennia, in some shape or form.

Is Jesus the cornerstone of the church? ›

The Apostle Paul showed that Jesus Christ, as the cornerstone, was the connecting point for the two “walls” of the Church in that day: the Apostles of the New Testament and the prophets of the Old Testament, perhaps illustrating the mix of Gentile and Jewish converts (see Ephesians 2:20).

What is cornerstone in Matthew 21? ›

The death and resurrection of Jesus is “the capstone / cornerstone,” the “beginning and the end” for all of us. Oh, what blessings we have as Jesus constantly calls us to repentance, as He works in us to build our lives through His Word and Sacraments on the true cornerstone!

Where is the scripture about Jesus being the chief cornerstone? ›

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19–21).

What is the cornerstone of all life? ›

Today, we often hear people talk about our hyper-connected world and yet, what we need most of all is to connect with nature, the cornerstone of all life on Earth.

What is the cornerstone of our way of life? ›

Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness. These two areas are really all you need to master. If you do, everything else will tend to take care of itself. So, let's explore what it takes to put these cornerstones solidly in place.

What is the Hebrew word for cornerstone? ›

The Hebrew words for cornerstone are rosh pinnah (ROSHE pi-NAH). In Luke 20:17, Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22. By referring to the “the stone that the builders rejected,” he was pointing to his own rejection by many in the Jewish nation and by its leaders.

Why is the resurrection of Jesus considered as the cornerstone of our faith? ›

Christians further teach and believe that Jesus was God made flesh, who in that Crucifixion paid the penalty for the sins of the world, and that his Resurrection means all who believe in him have eternal life and will themselves rise from the dead when he returns.

What is the synonym of cornerstone? ›

Definitions of cornerstone. the fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained. synonyms: base, basis, foundation, fundament, groundwork.

What does the head of the corner mean in the Bible? ›

The "head of the corner" ( Psalms 118:22 Psalms 118:23 ) denotes the coping, the "coign of vantage", i.e., the topstone of a building. But the word "corner stone" is sometimes used to denote some person of rank and importance ( Isaiah 28:16 ). It is applied to our Lord, who was set in highest honour ( Matthew 21:42 ).

What is another word for capstone? ›

summit. nountop, crowning point. acme. apex. apogee.

What should a capstone be? ›

The capstone should be a culminating set of personal, academic, and professional experiences. In a capstone course, students synthesize, integrate, and/or apply their previous knowledge, rather than acquire new knowledge or skills. Students demonstrate mastery, not learn new knowledge/skills.

Why does capstone exist? ›

Why Schools Assign Capstones. Although the projects do showcase your educational accomplishments, they are more about demonstrating that you know how to learn. They are intended to encourage students to use the critical thinking skills they have acquired through their degree programs to solve problems.

Has now become the cornerstone? ›

Acts of the Apostles 4:11 New Living Translation (NLT)

For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, 'The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.

Who will remove the stone Bible? ›

We learn from Matthew's account that “an angel of Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled the stone away.” [Matt. 28:2] One of the spiritual dangers we face in our walk with God is wanting to have all our ducks in a row before we set out to obey God.

Who will remove the stone Bible verse? ›

John 11:39, ESV: Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” John 11:39, KJV: Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.

What are some examples of cornerstone? ›

cornerstone in American English
  • a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.
  • a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies.
  • something that is essential, indispensable, or basic.

What does cornerstone mean in church? ›

A cornerstone (Greek: Άκρογωνιεîς, Latin: Primarii Lapidis) will sometimes be referred to as a "foundation-stone", and is symbolic of Christ, whom the Apostle Paul referred to as the "head of the corner" and is the "Chief Cornerstone of the Church" (Ephesians 2:20).

What are the cornerstones of the church? ›

In 1 Thessalonians Paul writes about four cornerstones to build your life on as an individual and as a church. They are faith, love, hope, and the message of the gospel or the word of God.

Who is the chief cornerstone of the church *? ›

It is the cornerstone. Scripture describes Jesus as the "Chief Cornerstone" of our faith. As the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus ensures the stability of the whole system of our salvation. Jesus was and is the only plan of salvation.

What does Matthew 22 1 14 mean? ›

The parable of the wedding feast is a parable about universalism . Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God is open to everyone, not only Jews. This parable is told using the familiar setting of a wedding feast, however there are a few surprising events included.

What is the meaning of Matthew 21 41? ›

That combination literally means something like "he will bring wickedness to those wicked ones," or "the vile ones will be treated vilely." A more concise rendering, such as the ESV, simply says "He will put those wretches to a miserable death."

Where in the Bible does it say Jesus is the rock? ›

Jesus said in the gospel of John, chapter 7, verse 37, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Jesus Christ is the Rock!

What does it mean to be the cornerstone of the family? ›

something of great importance that everything else depends on: In most countries, the family unit is still the cornerstone of society.

What are the 4 cornerstones? ›

Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need.

What are the four cornerstones of life? ›

There are Four Cornerstones of a Balanced Life
  • Physical fitness – exercise, nutrition & lifestyle.
  • Emotional fitness – attitude, language, story.
  • Mental Fitness - focus, learning, & growth.
  • Spiritual fitness – gratitude, awareness & meditation.
Mar 5, 2015

What are the 4 cornerstones of success? ›

By building a foundation we refer to in our training as The Four Cornerstones of Success®. The four cornerstones consist of Attitude, Personal Accountability, Perseverance and Habit. Attitude: it is the start of everything.

What are the two cornerstone beliefs of Christianity? ›

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative, inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Peter 1:21). 2. We believe there is only one God, eternally existent in three persons -Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1; Matthew 28:19; John 10:30). 3.

What are the beliefs of cornerstone? ›

We Believe: In one God, the Creator of all things who is infinitely perfect and exists eternally in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is equally God and has divine attributes. We Believe: No one is like God, no one is equal to God and there are no other gods.

What is cornerstone ministry? ›

Cornerstone Ministries is a non-denominational church in Murrysville, PA near Pittsburgh. We offer a casual, come-as-you-are environment.

What does cornerstone mean in Greek? ›

ακρογωνιαίος λίθος {m} cornerstone.

What is the origin of cornerstone? ›

Etymology. From Middle English corner ston; equivalent to corner +‎ stone. The figurative sense in part after Psalm 118:22, quoted several times in the New Testament.

What does corbon mean in Hebrew? ›

cor·​ban ˈkȯr-ˌban. : a sacrifice or offering to God among the ancient Hebrews.

What did Cornerstone University used to be called? ›

Baptist Bible Institute of Grand Rapids to CU

What is now Cornerstone University began on Jan. 7, 1941, in Wealthy Street Baptist Church. The evening Bible studies would become daytime classes, which then evolved into degree programs.

What is similar to cornerstone? ›

Competitors and Alternatives to Cornerstone OnDemand
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  • Saba TalentSpace.
  • SumTotal.
  • PeopleFluent.
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How do you use capstone in a sentence? ›

The capstone had slipped down into the grave chamber. Defensive towers were usually crowned with pyramid-shaped roofing built in steps and topping with a sharpened capstone. On top of the marble base was a rectangular capstone with curved sides, which was also pierced through the center.

What form is used for the capstone? ›

Capstones must be completed between 3-12 months from date of separation or retirement. The process ends when Commanders, or commander designees, review and sign the DD Form 2648 (eForm) that is completed during the appointment.

How many types of capstone are there? ›

Types of Capstone Projects

In-depth research projects. Developing the concept of a product, tool, or service. Expositions. Experiments.

Who is the head of Cornerstone? ›

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19–21).

What religion is the cornerstone? ›

Cornerstone Fellowship
CountryUnited States
6 more rows

Who is the founder of Cornerstone Church? ›

Pastor John Hagee

Pastor Hagee is the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational evangelical church with more than 22,000 active members. John Charles Hagee has served the Lord as a minister of the gospel for over 63 years.

What is a cornerstone in life? ›

Word forms: cornerstones

The cornerstone of something is the basic part of it on which its existence, success, or truth depends. [formal]

What is another word for cornerstone in Bible? ›

A cornerstone (Greek: Άκρογωνιεîς, Latin: Primarii Lapidis) will sometimes be referred to as a "foundation-stone", and is symbolic of Christ, whom the Apostle Paul referred to as the "head of the corner" and is the "Chief Cornerstone of the Church" (Ephesians 2:20).

What are these four cornerstones? ›

In 1 Thessalonians Paul writes about four cornerstones to build your life on as an individual and as a church. They are faith, love, hope, and the message of the gospel or the word of God.

How do I find my cornerstone? ›

To claim a cornerstone find one of the dark gray pads with signposts next to them. If the signpost has a question mark, then that cornerstone plot is unclaimed. To claim it, press the E key on the sign. Once you have claimed the cornerstone, an arrow will appear that indicates that the game is loading your cornerstone.

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