By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Jesus' Apostles

  • The person named Peter essentially has four different names.
  • Peter is one; Symeon is found in Acts (15:14); Simon is the Greek equivalent of Symeon; and Cephas is the Aramaic form.
  • Peter comes from the Greek word Petros, which is a direct translation of the Aramaic (Cephas).
  • According to Matthew, Jesus was the one who dubbed him Petros. (See Matt. 16:17).
  • Peter was known as son of Jonah (bar-Jonah).
  • Peter had a brother, Andrew, who was also one of Jesus’ disciples and who introduced Peter to Jesus.
  • Both Peter and Andrew were fishermen, working on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, which was about five miles west of Bethsaida.
  • Peter had a home in Capernaum.
  • He was married, though nothing is known about his wife.
  • We do know that Jesus healed his mother-in-law early in his ministry.
  • According to Paul, Peter took his wife on journeys to various churches.
  • Peter had an accent that identified him as a Galilean.
  • Peter quickly became spokesperson for the group of disciples.
  • His name is always first on any list.
  • He, along with James and John, comprised Jesus’ innermost circle.
  • When the woman who was hemorrhaging touched Jesus, he asked “who touched me?” Peter was the one who reminded him that they were all being jostled by the crowd, again not understanding the implications of the question.
  • The three from Jesus’ inner circle were the only ones who were allowed into the room when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter.
  • When Jesus walked on the water to join the disciples, Peter asked Jesus to bid him to come to him. He began walking towards Jesus, but became fearful and started to sink. Jesus assisted him back into the boat, admonishing him for having little faith.
  • One night after fruitless fishing, Jesus instructed them to go out again and place their nets on the right side. Peter argued that they had already tried everything, yet he acquiesced, only to pull in more fish than one boat could handle. He asked Jesus to forgive him “for I am a sinful man.”
  • Peter was the first one to confess Jesus as the Christ, though it is doubtful they agreed on what that term meant.
  • When Jesus indicated that the Christ would have to suffer, Peter rebuked him, which garnered an even stronger rebuke from Jesus. He called him, Satan, and told him to “get behind me.”
  • Nonetheless, Jesus did say, “upon you, Peter, I shall build my church.”
  • Shortly afterwards, however, Peter accompanied Jesus to the mount where he was transfigured.
  • In a moment of confusion, Peter suggested they build three booths for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
  • Peter pulled up the fish that had a coin in its mouth allowing them to pay their taxes.
  • Peter wanted to know how many times he would need to forgive his brother – as much as seven times? Jesus answered, “No, seventy times seven.”
  • Peter was interested in knowing what reward awaited them for leaving all and following Jesus.
  • Peter was uncomfortable with having Jesus wash his feet – the task for a mere slave. His compromise was that Jesus should wash all of him.
  • He also promised to never deny Jesus – even if everyone else did.
  • Peter (and James and John) accompanied Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane – then promptly fell asleep.
  • According to the gospel of John, Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
  • Peter denied Jesus three times in the courtyard of the high priest. · When the cock crowed, he remembered Jesus’ prediction and “wept bitterly.”
  • According to one of the gospels, Peter was the first to look inside the empty tomb.
  • Peter was among the group when Jesus appeared to them behind closed doors.
  • Later, however, Peter gathered his fellow fishermen and returned to fishing.
  • Three times Jesus asked him if he would “feed my sheep.”
  • Peter wondered what lay ahead for the “beloved disciple.”
  • Peter became the leader of the early church, speaking “boldly” to gathered crowds and teaching in the temple.
  • He was the “go-to” person when they needed to replace Judas as a disciple.
  • One of his early speeches was so persuasive that 3,000 converted on the spot.
  • Peter was well-versed in the scriptures, which he quoted often.
  • Peter and John healed the man who had lain at the temple, lame from birth.
  • Peter uttered those famous words, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” The man got up and walked.
  • Peter was arrested several times, but continued to defy the Sanhedrin’s directive never to preach again.
  • Peter was the one who confronted Ananias and Sapphira about withholding some of their income. Both died on the spot.
  • He was so effective that people were healed when his shadow fell upon them.
  • People invited Peter and John to come to Samaria, where many were baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Simon, the sorcerer, tried to “buy” their skills, but was rebuffed.
  • Peter healed a man, Aeneas, of palsy in Lydda.
  • Then he was called to Joppa where he raised a certain disciple named Tabitha, whose Greek name was called Dorcas. With the exception of one letter, he used the exact words Jesus used when he raised Jairus’ daughter. (His healings in Lydda and Joppa mimicked some of Jesus’ healings, thus indicating that Peter was similarly authorized and of the caliber of Jesus.)
  • Peter had a vision one afternoon that indicated all of God’s creatures were pure. That was essential for the visit with Cornelius that happened shortly thereafter. Peter instructed these gentiles and baptized them.
  • He realized in a whole new way that God does not favor certain people over another.
  • He would retell this whole story at the council of Jerusalem in 48-49 CE when the leaders were addressing the issue of circumcision for gentiles. · According to Paul, however, Peter was somewhat fickle about implementing these new views. Apparently, he caved to pressure when men came from James, then Peter refused to eat with gentiles.
  • The last story involving Peter has him arrested again. The night before he was to be sentenced, an angel let him out of the prison.
  • He went to the home of Mary, mother of John and Mark, and instructed them to tell James all that had happened. He then left the area.
  • Legend had it that Peter was martyred around 64 C.E.
  • It is unlikely that this disciple was the author of 1 Peter.


Barclay, William. "The Letters of James and Peter." Daily Study Bible. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press. 1975.

Duling, Dennis and Norman Perrin. The New Testament. Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History. Philadelphia, PA: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. 1994.

Elliot, John. I-II Peter/Jude. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing. 1982.

Gaebelein, Frank. "1 Peter." Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 1985.

Hillyer, Norman. "1 and 2 Peter, Jude." New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. 1992.

Keck, Leander, ed. "1 Peter." The New Interpreter's Bible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 1998.

Stibbs, Alan. "The First Epistle General of Peter." Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans, 1971.

Bible Characters