Simon (Greek)(Used 43 times in the Gospels and Acts)
Simeon (Hebrew equivalent of Simon)(One time in Acts 15:14)
Peter (Greek)(158 times in the Bible)
Cephas (Aramaic equivalent of Peter)(Used 9 times in the Bible)
Peter's original name was Simon (Simeon) which meant "hearer." When Jesus met Peter for the
first time, He declared Simon's new name would be Peter (Cephas) meaning
"stone" or "rock"
Hometown: Originally from Bethsaida (on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee). Later moved
to a house in Capernaum which either he or his mother-in-law owned. It is believed that some
of the other disciples, and even Jesus Himself may have temporarily lived there (Mt 4:13)(Mk 1:29)(Mk 2:1), meaning it was a large house.
Occupation: A fisherman on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 16:19)(Mk 3:16)(Jn 1:42)(also his father's
occupation). It appears that Peter and his brother Andrew were fishing partners with James
and John (sons of Zebedee)(Lk 5:10) who had "hired servants" working for them (Mk 1:20). This
meant they were fairly wealthy.
His father's name was "Jona" (Mt 16:17: "Simon Barjona" meaning "Son of Jona")(Jn 1:42)
(Jn 21:16: also called "John"). His mother is not mentioned, however, tradition says that her
name was Johanna.
Peter was married, and his wife traveled with him on his missionary journeys (Mt 8:14-15)(Mk 1:29-31)(Lk 4:38-39)(1 Cor 9:5). Clement of Alexandria said her name was Perpetua. Tradition
says that before Peter was crucified, he was forced to watch his wife being crucified. He is
said to have encouraged her by saying "Remember the Lord."
In the Gospels, Peter is often shown to have a number of negative traits such as being: stubborn,
impulsive, rash, changeful, blunt, and brash. But, on the positive side, he was also bold,
energetic, full of faith, and zealously devoted to Christ. A number of times, he would display a
positive trait, and then almost immediately afterwards display a negative trait
compare: Mt 16:16 to Mt 16:22-23). However, after Pentecost, we rarely see the negative traits
displayed anymore as he became a courageous, steadfast, unchanging, fearless leader.
The Jerusalem Council declared that Peter was an "unlearned and ignorant" man (Acts 4:13).
However, this simply meant that he had no formal training as a rabbi in the study of the law.
Galileans spoke with a very distinctive and unusual accent. When Peter was denying Jesus, his
"speech betrayed him" as a follower of Jesus (Mk 14:40)(Mt 26:73)(Lk 22:59).
Before becoming disciples of Jesus, Simon (Peter) and Andrew were disciples of John The Baptist
(Jn 1:35-40). One day while Andrew was with John, he first met Jesus and rushed home to tell
Simon "We have found the Messiah" (Jn 1:41). Andrew then took Simon to Jesus, where upon meeting
him, Jesus gave him his new name Peter.
Peter was clearly the most prominent of Jesus' 12 disciples. Whenever a list of disciples is
given in the New Testament, Peter's name always heads the list (Mt 10:2-4)(Mk 3:16-19)(Lk 6:14-16)(Acts 1:13). We have more information about him in the Gospels than any other disciple.
Remember, as we discussed previously in our Survey of Mark, that the early church fathers, as
well as most scholars, agree that Peter was actually the source of what is contained in the book
of Mark, with Mark simply interpreting and writing down what Peter said.
Peter was one of three disciples (James and John) who made up Jesus' "inner circle." They were
privileged to be present at several important events that the other disciples were not:
The raising of Jarius' daughter from the dead (Mk 5:35-43)(Lk 8:49-56).
The Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-9)(Mk 9:2-9)(Lk 9:28-33)(2 Pet 1:16-18).
Jesus' agony in Gethsemene (Mt 26:36-46)(Mk 14:32-42).
Following is a list of other key moments of Peter in the Gospels:
Jesus' call to discipleship (probably when Peter was between 30-40 years of age)(Mt 4:18-20)(Mk 1:16-18).
His attempt to walk on water (Mt 14:28-32).
His confession that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16)(Mk 8:29)(Lk 9:20)(Jn 6:69).
Jesus tells Peter that he was "the rock (upon which) I will build my church" (Mt 16:18). He also gives
Peter "the keys to the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 16:19).
Peter rebukes Jesus (for saying how He would be killed) and Jesus in turn rebukes Peter (Mt 16:21-23)(Mk 8:31-33).
Asking how often one brother must forgive another brother (Mt 18:21).
Sent with John to prepare the "Last Supper" Passover meal (Lk 22:7-13)(Mk 4:12-16).
His initial refusal, and subsequently allowing, Jesus to wash his feet (Jn 13:3-11).
Jesus' foretelling Peter's three time denial (Mt 26:33-35)(Mk 14:29-31)(Lk 22:31-34)(Jn 13:36-38).
Cutting off the ear of the High Priest's servant Malchus (Mt 26:51)(Mk 14:47)(Lk 22:50)(Jn 18:10).
His denial of Jesus (Mt 26:69-75)(Mk 14:66-72)(Lk 22:54-62)(Jn 18:15-27).
Ran to Christ's tomb after it was reported empty and entered into it (Jn 20:1-10)(Lk 24:12).
The resurrected Jesus appears first to him before the other disciples (Lk 22:33-34)(1 Cor 15:4-5).
Jesus asks Peter 3 times "do you love me?" and he in turn professes his love for Jesus (Jn 21:15-17).
Present at Jesus' ascension (Mk 16:19-20)(Lk 24:50-53).
Following is a list of key moments of Peter in Acts.
Remember when we discussed in our Survey of Acts that most scholars believe that in (Mt 16:19), when
Jesus gave Peter the "keys to the kingdom of heaven," this was so that Peter could open the door to
the kingdom of heaven by bringing 3 different groups of people into God's New Covenant group by group.
This "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" occurred in Acts:
1st The Jews (Acts 2:14)
2nd The Samaritans (Acts 8:1, 4-25)
3rd The Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48)
Speaking in the "upper room" of the need to select a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:15-26).
Preaches the first sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39).
Healing the crippled beggar outside the Temple (Acts 3:1-10).
Pronounces judgment on Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).
Rebukes Simon the sorcerer who desires to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15-24).
Peter meets Paul for the first time since his conversion (Gal 1:18-19) compare to (Acts 9:26-30).
Raises Dorcas (Tabitha) from the dead at Joppa (Acts 9:36-43).
Reports to the apostles and brethren in Judea that God has granted salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 11:1-18).
Thrown in prison by Herod and subsequently released by an angel (Acts 12:3-19).
Played a key role at the Jerusalem Council in deciding if Gentiles needed to
"be circumcised and keep the
law" (Acts 15:24) in order to be saved (Acts 15:1-31).
After (Acts 12), Peter virtually disappears from Acts (apart from his appearance at the Jerusalem
Council). We do know that at one point he went to Antioch where he was rebuked by Paul for
hypocrisy (Gal 2:11-21). It is believed that he likely traveled to various Christian churches
to organize them, build them up, and hold them together.
Eventually, he ended up at Rome, where tradition says that he was crucified near the end of
Nero's reign in about 67-68 A.D. (He may have been up to 75 years old at the time.) He asked,
and was allowed, to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same
manner as Jesus. Jesus foretold his martyrdom in (Jn 21:18-19). (Most believe that Peter was
martyred just after Paul.)