Peter the Apostle

Let’s get to know some of the people of the Bible! Look up the verses listed below and learn more the remarkable people whose names are registered in God’s Holy Word. You will find it to be a very beneficial study!


The Apostle Peter is known by four different names. Peter is one; Symeon is another, (found in Acts 15:14 of the ASV); Simon is the Greek equivalent of Symeon; and Cephas is the Aramaic form of his name (John 1:42). The name, 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 (Matt. 16:17). Peter was also known as the “son of Jonah” (bar-Jonah). The first mention of Peter is found in Matthew 4:18, with the final mention in 2 Peter 1:1. Peter is referred to some 183 times in nine books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 Peter, 2 Peter). Peter’s name is always listed first on any list.


Peter had a brother, Andrew, who was also one of Jesus’ disciples and is teh one who introduced Peter to Jesus. Both Peter and Andrew were fishermen, working on the Sea of Galilee. Peter had a home in Capernaum (Mar 8:14). He was married, though nothing is known about his wife. We do know that Jesus healed his mother-in-law early in his ministry (Luke 4:38-39). Peter apparently had an accent that identified him as a Galilean (Matthew 26:73).


We often call Peter, the “Impetuous One,” because he always seemed to act out of impulse and emotion. For example: he wanted to walk on water with Jesus (Matt 14:28); he wanted to build a tabernacle for Jesus when he saw Him transfigured (Matt 17:4); instead of just the feet, he asked to be “completely” washed (John 13:9); he cut off Malchus ear when they came to arrest Jesus (John 18:10); he jumped in and swam to Jesus (John 21:7-8). There are many other instances in the New Testament where Peter showed his more impulsive side. In any case, Peter quickly became a spokesperson for the group of disciples and he, along with James and John, are depicted as being Jesus’ innermost circle.


Peter was a dedicated follower (John 6:68). He was confident, brave and willing to die (Matt. 26:51-52; Mark 14:47; Luke 22:49-51; John 18:10-11; Acts 4:13). Perhaps, one of the most significant aspects of Peter’s character and his tendency to act on impulse, was the day he stood up and delivered the very first Gospel sermon (Acts 2:14-41). From that day forward, empowered with the Holy Spirit, Peter became a prominent figure among the apostles in establishing the church of Christ. He was also the one who witnessed Christianity opened up to the Gentiles (Acts 10). After Jesus rose from the grave, He addressed Peter personally as the discredited leader of the Twelve in John 21 which provided him an opportunity for repentance and restoration to leadership.


Although Peter attempted many acts of faith, he often failed. For one, he had tendencies toward Jewish legalism, such as: not eating with Gentiles (Gal. 2:11-21) and adhering to Jewish food laws (Acts 10:9-16). Along with the other Apostles, Peter did not fully understand Jesus’ new teachings or their implications (Acts 1:6; Mark 9:5-6; 18:10-11; John 12:16). In fact, he was personally and severely chastised by Jesus (Mark 8:33; Matt. 16:23). He was found sleeping instead of praying in Jesus’ great hour of need in Gethsemane (Mark. 14:32-42; Matt. 26:36-46; Luke 22:40-60) and, of course, his worst offense was repeatedly denied knowing Jesus (Mark 14:66-72; Matt. 26:69-75; Luke 22:56-62; John 18:16-18,25-27).

We can certainly learn a lot from Peter! One, it’s okay to be emotionally driven, just make sure it’s guided by God’s will; two, Peter failed often, but he always got back up, was willing to learn, and he remained faithful to Jesus.