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Jesus’ Janus Parallelism on PETROS in Matthew 16:18

matthew 16:18In Matthew 16:18 Simon Peter’s name Petros appears. According to Oscar Cullmann, Dalman, Billerbeck[1] to name a few, in Aramaic a Jewish proper name[2] “firstborn” existed when transliterated into Greek is petros. Its currency has been confirmed[3]. I propose the NT evidence conclusively shows Petros in Matthew 16:18 is this Aramaic-Greek Homonym and Jesus used both meanings in a Double Entendre known as a Janus Parallelism.

In the Palestinian Aramaic version Evangeliarium Hierosolymitanum Matthew 16:18 reads:

“thou art petros and on this kepha I shall build.”[4]

I propose this independent version[5] alone corresponds to the original Aramaic Jesus spoke, that kepha does not appear twice[6]. The other versions falsely retranslated the Aramaic Petros as Kepha following the same hasty generalization fallacy of the early Church believing it was Greek. [7]

Jesus crafted an asymmetric Janus Parallelism[8] double entendre on the Aramaic/Greek Petros homonym using both “first, firstborn” and “kepha stone” meanings in Qal Wahomer[9] “lesser to greater” analogy between the Greek words for “stone” and “Rock” petros and petra.

So petros parallels bath transliterated batos[10] becoming a Greek homonym. The early Greek speaking church naturally mistook petros as Greek for “stone” only and the psychological phenomena known as “confirmation bias” has maintained that hasty generalization fallacy ever since.

The precision required for Matthew to preserve Jesus’ Janus parallelism is the best explanation why Mark and Luke don’t attempt it.

The dependency on this event seen elsewhere in the NT (Rom. 10:5-13. 1 Pet. 2:2-6; Jo. 20:31) confirms the proposition this is a Janus is correct.

Interpreting the pericope this way brings to surface a precision in the grammar and metaphor that is nothing short of divine.

Other disciplines would deem elegance of this magnitude proof of correctness.


Let’s review the classic theory:

“From the beginning it was probably thought of as the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic כֵּיפָא=Κηφᾶς: J 1:42; confer Mt 16:18”- A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament And Other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 654

The common noun petros in Job 30:6 Septuagint translates kepha ( 03710 כֵּף keph).

But the supposition John is translating proper nouns in John 1:42 is a hasty generalization fallacy, unhistorically deeming the common nouns kepha and Greek petros in John 1:42 as proper nouns. The data indicates these became proper nouns later.

However, even if new research contradicts this conclusion (cf. Chrys C. Caragounis, Peter and the Rock, (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York, 1990) pp. 9-25.) it does not render the exegesis unsound as both kepha and petros are used as common nouns in John 1:42 and Mark 3:16 in description. For clarity, I will refer to these as common nouns.

John’s transliteration of kepha as Κηφᾶς certainly is a translation. He then explains a kepha is a petros “stone” in Greek:

“Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation (2059 ἑρμηνεύω hermeneuo), A stone.” (Jn. 1:42 KJV)

If we permit John’s use of 2059 ἑρμηνεύω hermeneuo guide us, John is “interpreting” the meaning of Κηφᾶς (Jn. 1:38, 42; 9:7, not translating it as petros (cp. Jn. 1:41 3177 μεθερμηνεύω methermeneuo).

Consistent with both kepha and petros being common nouns, a translation does not explain what it denotes.

Supporting this Mark groups the epithet petros with boanerges when nicknaming Simon, James and John:

16 And Simon he surnamed (2007 ἐπιτίθημι epitithemi) Peter (πέτρος petros);
17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed (2007 ἐπιτίθημι epitithemi) them Boanerges (βοανηργές boanerges), which is, The sons of thunder: (Mk. 3:16-17 KJV)

The same epitithemi applies to both, the meaning of these nicknames are added to Simon, James and John. They are not additional proper names.

Therefore, the line connecting John 1:42 and Matthew 16:18 is not from Cephas/Petros to Petros as proper names, its from kepha petros to petros as common nouns with Jesus adding stone meaning to פטרוס…

The Aramaic proper name Petros Simon already had before he met Jesus:

18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter Petros, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matt. 4:18-19 KJV)

40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s (Petros) brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone (petros). (Jn. 1:40-42 KJV)

The Janus in Matthew 16:18 is using BOTH the Aramaic and Greek meanings of the homonym, pivoting on the Aramaic proper name פטרוס and Greek petros meanings.

Looking back Jesus observes the “firstborn” meaning of פטרוס Petros has become actual, the PeTeR (06363 פֶּטֶר ) has become the first πρῶτος born of the gospel He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Then pivoting forward in using Qal Wahomer “light to heavy” analogy between petros petra, Simon is now a smaller version of the massive life giving petra having drunk the spiritual drink from the petra rock about Christ (cp. 1 Cor. 10:4). Out of “the PeTeR” now flows rivers of living water, speaking the “word of faith” Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” which if anyone confess publicly, saves them (Rom. 10:9-11; Mt. 10:32; Jo. 20:31).

Peter has become the “first” “lively stone” of the church, who in temporal finite realm will be saved after Jesus’ resurrection (2 Pet. 2:5; Mt. 16:18-19) as the channel of God’s grace comes into existence as Jesus rises from the dead. But from God’s timeless perspective, Simon was “born again” at that time and his relationship with God changed, therefore Christ gives him a new name, a composite name that shows both Aramaic “firstborn” and Greek “stone” meanings have achieved actuality.

Jesus surnamed Simon petros and said to Simon “upon this rock (4073 πέτρα petra) [you just confessed] I will build my church.” Matt. 16:18 KJV)

Consistent with this, ancient interpreters believed the rock was ‘this specific point of faith that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, and upon it Jesus will build His church.’

The Greek speaking Church had lost all knowledge of the Aramaic פטרוס PetrosThat unique Palestinian Aramaic speaking Jewish culture was lost to the Greek speaking church when the Romans dispersed the children of Israel and those knowing it died off. So when they read פטרוס petros “stone” in the NT they naturally assumed it was the Greek word for “stone”.

Therefore, all rejection of the text as inauthentic because the kepha petros petra wordplay hypothesis results in ambiguity and metaphor incoherence, is unsound. What should be rejected is the hypothesis.

Moreover, it requires a suspension of disbelief a Petrine Party editor—too stupid to simply write PETROS twice or delete the demonstrative pronoun declaring “upon you I will build my church” was smart enough to corrupt every available Bible version on earth.

Confirming the pericope is authentic beyond all reasonable doubt, the Matthew 16:16-19 the event is woven in the very fabric of scripture. For example:

1. πρῶτος Σίμων ὁ λεγόμενος Πέτρος
First Simon the one called Peter=Petros firstborn. (Compare Billerbeck op. cit.)

4413 πρῶτος protos
Meaning: 1) first in time or place – Strong’s Concordance

Protos is not part of a numbering system as no second or third listed. Simon is “the first [in time], the one called “firstborn” [of the Gospel of Christ] from whose belly now flows rivers of living water. Peter’s confession is unique, the direct result of Divine Revelation as confirmed by his confession being the only one causing a Makarism blessing from Jesus (Mt. 16:17)

16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not (ἀποκαλύπτω ) revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 16:16-17 KJV)

15. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16. To (ἀποκαλύπτω ) reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (Gal. 1:15-16 KJV)

Why was God’s revelation of Jesus as “the Christ” superior to that of flesh and blood? Human origin does not bring about the new birth. We see that in Matthew 14:24-33, the confession was from human fear (Mk. 4:40-41). Nathanael’s confession human awe (Jo. 1:48-50). Flesh and blood did not reveal Christ in such a way as to change the individual, as it had with Peter. A Makarism indicates paradoxical reversal in circumstance (3107 μακάριος makarios, cp. Mt. 5:3-11).

“Simon was now Barjona, retaining the Aramaic βαρ is Matthew’s way of drawing attention to this. In contrast, its Greek when referring to his literal father Σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωνᾶ. Simon is “after the order of” prophet Jonah” doing as he, having figuratively rose from the dead preaching divine revelation (Jonah 2:1-3:1), which if any believe will be saved (Rom. 10:5-13).

Protos cannot refer to Simon’s primacy among the apostles as they were still arguing among themselves who was the greatest after the Matthew 16:18 event Mk. 8:29 cf. Mk. 9:34.

Hence, Peter not the “leader” of the group.

Suggestions it means “first among equals” is meaningless tripe.

The parsimonous reason: Simon is first born again by the public confession of the Word of Faith and THAT is why Jesus declares him “blessed,” the reversal in his status had begun.

2. “All NT passages using λίθος which are extent in the various Syriac sources, are uniformly rendered with ‎כאפא , apart from ‘mill-stone’, which has a special term in Syriac, ‎רחיא דחמרא .”-Chrys C. Caragounis, Peter and the Rock, (Berlin, NY, Walter de Gruyter, 1990) p. 32.

This indirect evidence of the Aramaic Christ spoke raises the question why John chose petros and not lithos to denote kepha. The most likely reason is allusion to the Janus parallelism on the petros homonym in Matthew 16:18.

3. Mark’s usage of the names Simon and Petros confirm the time of Simon’s surnaming (Mark 3:16) is at Matthew 16:18.

Simon appears in Mark 1:16, 29, 30, 36 and in Mark 3:16 where Petros Peter makes its first appearance, categorizing it with the epithet Boanerges. Petros makes another appearance in Mark 5:37 where Peter’s place among Christ’s inner circle was relevant (cf. Mk. 14:33). Except when quoting Christ in Mark 14:37, Simon doesn’t appear again. Consistent with Simon being surnamed petros during Matthew 16:18 event in Mark 8:29 we read “But who do you say that I am?” Petros Peter answered “You are the Christ”. Then a burst of Petros references- (Mark 8:32-33; 9:2,5; 10:28; 11:21; 13:3; 14:29, 33, 37, 54, 66-67, 70, 72; 16:7).

This indicates Jesus put upon (ἐπιτίθημι) the Aramaic Petros the Greek meaning of kepha petros “stone” at Matthew 16:18. Peter’s new name indicated a new relationship in Christ and Mark accordingly begins using it instead of Simon.

4. In Galatians [TR] Paul switches from Petros(Gal. 1:18; 2:7, 8) to Cephas then reverts back to Petros (Gal. 2:11, 14) without explaining why. He is listed with two others, James the half brother of the Lord Jesus, and John the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:20). Cephas emphasizes Peter’s special place just as it does in 1 Corinthians 9:5 “the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas.” Paul is astonished Cephas who is among the inner circle of the LORD’s apostles, First to drink the grace of God, first to open the door to the Gentiles (Ac. 10:34-35) channeling the living water from massive petra Rock that is Christ, to the world—was now so gracelessly a fountain of bile separating himself his fellow Priests in the Royal priesthood.

Therefore, Paul’s use of Cephas indicates what Paul was visualizing as he wrote, from what he had fallen.

5. Romans 10:6-13 is clearly dependent upon the Matthew 16:16-19 event. Paul speaks of Christ being brought down from heaven and the “word of faith” appearing “even in thy mouth” which is precisely what happened to Peter. The Father divinely revealed Christ’s identity and the belief and words appeared in the heart and mouth of Peter (Mt. 16:16-17). Confessing “the Lord Jesus” then is confessing Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (cf. Jo. 20:31).

6. “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (Jn. 20:31 KJV) Implicit is the Matthew 16:16-19 event where the church is built by believing the petra life giving Rock truth He is the Christ the Son of the Living God and upon that belief/public confession the church is built one soul at a time.

7. One must be consistent and follow Christ’s lead interpreting the symbols in Matthew 16:16-19 precisely as Jesus did in the wise man parable Matthew 7:24-25. Nothing pertinent to the “apples to apples” usage of these symbols contradicts that conclusion: 1. Jesus’ Divine revelation “These sayings of mine” = Father’s divine revelation “Jesus is ‘the Christ the Son of God'”; 2. “built his house” = “build my church”; 3. “he built house upon a petra rock” = “upon this petra rock I will build my church”; 4. “rain…floods…winds beat upon that house and it fell not” = “Gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Some object Matthew 7:24-25 is prophecy. That isn’t pertinent to Christ’s parallel use of symbol. Also, its clearly wrong as the text is Sermon on the Mount classic two-way Genre (cp. Dt. 30:19). That is how Paul understood it when he reworked the material in Ephesians 6:10-16: 1. “built his upon rock” = “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might”; 2. “rain…floods…winds” = “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”; 3. “it fell not” = “extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one”; 4. “built…upon a petra” = “stand firm”.

It is consistent we interpret the symbols in Matthew 16:16-19 precisely as Jesus set up Matthew 7:24-25 because Jesus is our only infallible Teaching Authority Mt. 23:8.

8. Paul’s allusion to Peter’s denying Christ thrice (Mt. 26:34, 69-75; Jo. 21:15-17) requires Peter was saved before his denials (Mt. 16:17) to illustrate the eternal security of the believer: “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Tim. 2:13 KJV)”.

9. Both the grammar and metaphor of Matthew 16:18 (καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρα) exclude Peter, the demonstrative has Jesus speaking TO Simon ABOUT this the female petra rock. Neither Peter who is called Satan a few verses later (Mt. 16:23) or his confession which he thrice contradicted (Mt. 26:34, 69-75) are “rock like” consistent with the rock metaphor. One can watch a rock their entire life, it won’t change.

Both Peter and his confession changed. The only thing “rock like” in this context is the unchanging divine revelation of God the Eternal Son, that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Only that unchanging divine truth the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against can be the petrafrom which flows the “spiritual drink” (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4) giving life to the church and so building it “one soul at a time.”

10. The obvious dependency of 1 Peter 2:2-6 on the Matthew 16:16-19 event. Peter is speaking to “newborn babes” who have “tasted” the living water of the Lord, and now are “lively stones.” Note the Aramaic kepha and Greek petros petra are now lithos whether he refers to Christ or the church.

In conclusion, the Asymmetric Janus Parallelism Christ crafted in Matthew 16:18 and which Matthew faithfully preserves restores precision to grammar, syntax and metaphor used. In a word, the text’s elegance is restored, its expert weave radiates into the fabric of the NT itself. That is sufficient proof this exegesis is true to the data.

The inelegance manifest in the scholarly consensus making Peter the rock ultimately results in rejecting the context as inauthentic, sufficient proof it is the theory that should be rejected.

In the video, actual discussion of the Janus doesn’t begin till frame 32:02


Its poorly made, I apologize in advance for the deficiencies in production.

Another Janus in the NT?

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Rev. 13:18 KJV)

The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six. (Ezr. 2:13) KJV
The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven. (Neh. 7:18) KJV

John’s riddle is an OT style Janus parallelism:

This type of parallelism hinges on the use of a single word with two different meanings, one of which forms a parallel with what precedes and the other with what follows. Thus, by virtue of a double entendre, the parallelism faces in both directions. Berlin, A. (1992). Parallelism. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 5, p. 157). New York: Doubleday.

Whether we “interpret the apposition” with 666 or count forward “as with pebbles”
667-1= 666, 666 points to the same man with the same name “Adonikam”.

There is need for shrewdness here: anyone clever may interpret the number of the beast: (Rev. 13:18 NJB) [11]

John accepted both Ezra 2:13 and Nehemiah 7:18 are correct, therefore he deduced both father and son are named “Adonikam.”

666 is where the Janus pivots, using the two senses of “count” (5585 ψηφίζω psephizo), “interpret”.[12]

“Interpret” the name from the “number OF a man” :
Looking back, we interpret Adonikam’s 666 children make that number OF him.

“Count as with pebbles” to the name who has the “number OF the beast:
Looking forward, the same Adonikam has the number OF the Beast,
667-1=666 counting from Father Adonikam to firstborn son Adonikam.

Whether we “interpret the apposition” with 666 or count forward “as with pebbles”
667-1= 666, 666 points to the same man with the same name “Adonikam”.

Therefore, name of the Beast = Adonikam.



[1]That there was in Aramaic a proper name Petros (H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum NT aus Talmud und Midrasch, 1922 ff., I, 530) which perhaps meant “firstborn” (J. Levy, Neuhebräisches und chaldäisches Wörterbuch über die Talmudim und Midraschim, 1876 f., new imp. 1924, sub voce, פֶּטֶר; Gustav Dalman, Aramäisch-neuhebräisches Wörterbuch, 1901, sub voce) might have influenced the preference for Petros, but this is by no means certain.” -Oscar Cullmann, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, VI, 101 Footnote 8; Grand Rapids, MI 1968: Eerdmans.

[2]Petros as a Jewish Name?

But it remains desirable to ask what Jewish dimensions, if any, this name is likely to have had. And is it conceivable that even the Greek name could have featured in a Hebrew or Aramaic source? It is after all only John 1:42 which, on a certain reading, might be taken to suggest that ‘Peter’ is a secondary translation of an existing name Kēfa̛. It is instructive to note, however, that two verses earlier the evangelist seems to undermine even this conventional assumption of the priority of ‘Cephas’ by referring casually to ‘Simon Peter’ (1:40). Taken at face value, the text implies that it is this Simon, nicknamed Petros, who from now on ‘shall be called Cephas’. All four gospels, indeed, allow for the possibility that Matthew 16 merely affirms and interprets in Aramaic an existing Greek nickname that Peter had all along…See Mark 3:16; Matt. 4:18; Luke 5:8; John 1:40, 42.”- Bockmuehl, Markus. 2004. Simon Peter’s Names in Jewish Sources. Journal of Jewish Studies) Vol. 55, p.71


[3] “The currency of Peter’s name is confirmed in Tal Ilan’s identification of three additional first and second-century Palestinian Jewish individuals who bear the name Petros. It is worth noting that the Palestinian Talmud and midrashim repeatedly feature an early Amoraic Rabbi Yose ben Petros, whose father constitutes proof that even this Greek name was by no means unknown in the early rabbinic period.”- Bockmuehl, Markus. 2004. Simon Peter’s Names in Jewish Sources. Journal of Jewish Studies 55:71-72</blockquote>


[4] Chrys C. Caragounis, Peter and the Rock, (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York, 1990) pp. 34.


[5]The Palestinian version Evangeliarium Hierosolymitanum is “independent of other Syriac Versions”-(Chyrs C. Caragounis, Peter And The Rock (Walter de Gruyter, NY, 1990, p. 34).


[6] Citing Aramaic and Syriac evidence Caragounis rejects kepha underlies petros petra in Mt. 16:18 (Chrys C. Caragounis, Peter and the Rock, (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York, 1990) pp. 26-43). He argues טורא and ביפא are just as likely beneath the Greek. However, his evidence for טורא appears flawed, he disputes Cullmann: “the Aramaic טורא [mount,mountain-Jastrow] corresponds more to the Heb. הַר [Hebrew 02022 הַר, hill, mountain]” rejecting correspondence to 06697 צוּר tsuwr (rock cliff, rocky wall) concluding as the “Targumin abstain from using ביפא for צוּר indicates that ביפא could not cover semantically the meaning of צוּר .-Op. cit. pp. 28-29. However, Jastrow agrees with Cullmann.-Jastrow, M. (1903). A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature and II (London; New York: Luzac & Co.; G. P. Putnam’s Sons.), Vol. 1, p. 526. The association is clear. The evidence its not kepha twice is unaffected by this flaw. A better candidate is the Aramaic/Greek homonym petros. That conclusion manifests maximum parsimony.


14…There was, on the contrary, as already mentioned (note 12), an Aramaic name פֶּטְרוֹס (Petros), which perhaps is to be connected with פטר (patar) “firstborn.” The theory that the Greek Petros was first derived from it and gave occasion for a false retranslationKepha into Aramaic is quite impossible, in view of the fact that in Paul’s letters Cephas is already the usual designation and Peter clearly was only a derivation from it.”-PETER Disciple-Apostle-Martyr, by Oscar Cullmann, translated from the German by Floyd V. Filson (Westminister Press, Philadelphia, 1953), pp18-19.

Cullmann’s argument is unhistorical. Apart from John 1:42, the chronological appearance of Peter and Cephas suggests two different people, not derivation. Especially the switch from Peter (Gal. 2:7-8) to Cephas (Gal. 2:9, 11, 14). Cephas appearing after James (Gal. 3:9) is consistent with that thesis. Therefore, Cullmanns argument is unsound.

Given my preference for the “Received Text”, Cullmann’s argument remains unhistorical. Galatians (AD 49-50) written five years before 1 Corinthians Petros is the usual designation (Gal. 1:18; 2:7, 8, 11, 14) and Cephas appears only in 2:9 [TR]. By then Cephas had assumed a subordinate position to James (Ac. 15:13) which explains being listed after James. Paul’s use of Cephas no doubt was inspired by his astonishment “the Cephas” “lively stone”, the one who first channeled God’s grace to the Gentiles (Ac. 10:48) was now secreting the bile of sectarianism (Gal. 2:11-14).

Unfortunately, the precise false retranslation hypothesis Cullmann rejects is unknown to me, but he failed to make a valid case against the premise. False retranslation of the transliterated Aramaic Petros would predict many of the anomalies in Syriac translations noted by Caragounis (Chyrs C. Caragounis, Peter And The Rock (Walter de Gruyter, NY, 1990, pp. 30-43). It would be odd indeed translators do otherwise, given the universal hasty generalization of פטרוס with petros “stone”.


[8] Janus Parallelism. This type of parallelism hinges on the use of a single word with two different meanings, one of which forms a parallel with what precedes and the other with what follows. Thus, by virtue of a double entendre, the parallelism faces in both directions. Berlin, A. (1992). Parallelism. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 5, p. 157). New York: Doubleday.

Not poetry only: Christensen, D. “Janus Parallelism in Genesis 6:3,” Hebrew Studies 27 (1986) 20–24. Also scroll down to bottom of this post, for the near Janus in Revelation 13:18.


[9] That is, using the logic of a rabbinic “light to heavy” qal wahomer argument: You are Cephas/kepha/petros/lithos “lively stone” out of whose belly flows rivers of living water because you drank from the massive petra Rock of Christ spiritual drink that has given you eternal life.


[10] The Aramaic name Petros פטרוס is a homonym of Greek πέτρος when transliterated just like the Hebrew BATH (01324 בַּת 1 Ki 7:26, 38 & c.) and Aramaic BATH (01325 בַּת Ezra 7:22) are spelled the same when these are transliterated: βάτος (943, Lk. 16:6); βάτος (942, Mk 12:26; Lk 6:44; 20:37).

[11] Here is wisdom (4678 σοφία sophia). Let him that hath understanding (3563 νοῦς nous) let him count * 5585 ψηφίζω psephizo) the number of the beast.

Its the same “wisdom…understanding/mind” combination in Rev. 17:9 where critically thinking on the symbols given is required. That cannot occur without Holy Scripture, the book of Daniel:

And here is the mind (3563 νοῦς nous) which hath wisdom(4678 σοφία sophia). (Rev. 17:9 KJV)

Hence the New Jerusalem Bible nails it:

There is need for shrewdness here: anyone clever may interpret the number of the beast: (Rev. 13:18 NJB)

Wisdom is cleverness, shrewdness, the ability to look critically at a problem and see it from various perspectives and discern the wisest way to proceed:

Since the LXX normally uses σοφία/σοφός for the Hbr. stem חכם, in essentials this alone need be considered. The verb חכם occurs 26 times (q 18, pi 3, pu 2, hi 1, hitp 2), חָכָם as adj. or noun occurs 135 times, the noun חָכְמָה 147 times and in the plur. חָכְמוֹת 485 times. 73 instances are in the historical books (חכם 3, חָכָם 31, חָכְמָה 39), 41 in the prophets (חכם 1, חָכָם 24, חָכְמָה 16), 13 in the Psalms (חכם 4, חָכָם 2, חָכְמָה 7),86 180 in the Wisdom lit. proper (חכם 18, חָכָם 76, חָכְמָה 86),87 and 5 in the other books. Thus about three-fifths of the total may be found in the Wisdom books. It is worth noting that in the historical books the words mostly denote technical or artistic ability or cleverness and knowledge such as the wisdom of Solomon.-Wilckens, U., & Fohrer, G. (1964–). σοφία, σοφός, σοφίζω. G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 7, p. 476). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

① to add up digits and calculate a total, count (up), calculate, reckon (lit. ‘w. pebbles’) …
② to probe a number for its meaning, interpret, figure out τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου Rv 13:18.- TW.-Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 1098). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.