PETER Summary and Overview
PETER in Easton's Bible Dictionary
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona (Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably died while he was still young, and he and his brother were brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all the advantages of a religious training, and were early instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13). "Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south. In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark 1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; compare 1 Pet. 5:13). He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4). At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus, and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41). Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him (Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, compare 21:15-17). We are not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord. He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16), and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20). This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." "From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings. For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt. 17:1-9). On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt. 17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee." As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John (Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall (54-61) and his bitter grief (62). He is found in John's company early on the morning of the resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John 20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke 24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See LOVE T0002322.) After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26). It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall and all the lengthened process of previous training had been slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful, self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed, we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32; 15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter." After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple. A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts 5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten them, let them go." The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem, and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts 8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal. 1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10). After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found refuge in the house of Mary. He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met again. We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal. 2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face." After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east, and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1 Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably he died between A.D. 64 and 67.
PETER in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(a rock or stone). The original name of this disciple was Simon, i.e. "hearer." He was the son of a man named Jonas, #Mt 16:17; Joh 1:42; 21:16| and was brought up in his father's occupation, that of a fisherman. He and his brother Andrew were partners of John end James, the sons of Zebedee, who had hired servants. Peter did not live, as a mere laboring man, in a hut by the seaside, but first at Bethsaida, and afterward in a house at Capernaum belonging to himself or his mother-in-law, which must have been rather a large one, since he received in it not only our Lord and his fellow disciples, but multitudes who were attracted by the miracles and preaching of Jesus. Peter was probably between thirty and forty pears of age at the date of his call. That call was preceded by a special preparation. Peter and his brother Andrew, together with their partners James and John, the sons ,of Zebedee, were disciples of John the Baptist when he was first called by our Lord. The particulars of this are related with graphic minuteness by St. John. It was upon this occasion that Jesus gave Peter the name Cephas, a Syriac word answering to the Greek Peter, and signifying a stone or rock. #Joh 1:35-42| This first call led to no immediate change in Peter's external position. He and his fellow disciples looked henceforth upon our Lord as their teacher, but were not commanded to follow him as regular disciples. They returned to Capernaum, where they pursued their usual business, waiting for a further intimation of his will. The second call is recorded by the other three evangelists; the narrative of Luke being apparently supplementary to the brief and, so to speak official accounts given by Matthew and Mark. It took place on the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, where the four disciples Peter and Andrew, James and John were fishing. Some time was passed afterward in attendance upon our Lord's public ministrations in Galilee, Decapolis, Peraea and Judea. The special designation of Peter and his eleven fellow disciples took place some time afterward, when they were set apart as our Lord's immediate attendants. See #Mt 10:2-4; Mr 3:13-19| (the most detailed account); Luke 6:13 They appear to have then first received formally the name of apostles, and from that time Simon bore publicly, and as it would seem all but exclusively, the name Peter, which had hitherto been used rather as a characteristic appellation than as a proper name. From this time there can be no doubt that Peter held the first place among the apostles, to whatever cause his precedence is to be attributed. He is named first in every list of the apostles; he is generally addressed by our Lord as their representative; and on the most solemn occasions he speaks in their name. The distinction which he received, and it may be his consciousness of ability, energy, zeal and absolute devotion to Christ's person, seem to have developed a natural tendency to rashness and forwardness bordering upon resumption. In his affection and self-confidence Peter ventured to reject as impossible the announcement of the sufferings and humiliation which Jesus predicted, and heard the sharp words, "Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me, for thou savorest not the things that be of God but those that be of men." It is remarkable that on other occasions when St. Peter signalized his faith and devotion, he displayed at the time, or immediately afterward, a more than usual deficiency in spiritual discernment and consistency. Toward the close of our Lord's ministry Peter's characteristics become especially prominent. At the last supper Peter seems to have been particularly earnest in the request that the traitor might be pointed out. After the supper his words drew out the meaning of the significant act of our Lord in washing his disciples' feet. Then too it was that he made those repeated protestations of unalterable fidelity, so soon to be falsified by his miserable fall. On the morning of the resurrection we have proof that Peter, though humbled, was not crushed by his fall. He and John were the first to visit the sepulchre; he was the first who entered it. We are told by Luke and by Paul that Christ appeared to him first among the apostles. It is observable; however, that on that occasion he is called by his original name, Simon not Peter; the higher designation was not restored until he had been publicly reinstituted, so to speak, by his Master. That reinstitution--an event of the very highest import-took place at the Sea of Galilee. John 21. The first part of the Acts of the Apostles is occupied by the record of transactions in nearly all forth as the recognized leader of the apostles. He is the most prominent person in the greatest event after the resurrection, when on the day of Pentecost the Church was first invested with the plenitude of gifts and power. When the gospel was first preached beyond the precincts of Judea, he and John were at once sent by the apostles to confirm the converts at Samaria. Henceforth he remains prominent, but not exclusively prominent, among the propagators of the gospel. We have two accounts of the first meeting of Peter and Paul -- #Ac 9:26; Ga 1:17,18| This interview was followed by another event marking Peter's position --a general apostolical tour of visitation to the churches hitherto established. #Ac 9:32| The most signal transaction after the day of Pentecost was the baptism of Cornelius. That was the crown and consummation of Peter's ministry. The establishment of a church in great part of Gentile origin at Antioch and the mission of Barnabas between whose family and Peter there were the bonds of near intimacy, set the seal upon the work thus inaugurated by Peter. This transaction was soon followed by the imprisonment of our apostle. His miraculous deliverance marks the close of this second great period of his ministry. The special work assigned to him was completed. From that time we have no continuous history of him. Peter was probably employed for the most part in building up and completing the organization of Christian communities in Israel and the adjoining districts. There is, however strong reason to believe that he visited Corinth at an early period. The name of Peter as founder or joint founder is not associated with any local church save the churches of Corinth, Antioch or Rome, by early ecclesiastical tradition. It may be considered as a settled point that he did not visit Rome before the last year of his life; but there is satisfactory evidence that he and Paul were the founders of the church at Rome, and suffered death in that city. The time and manner of the apostle's martyrdom are less certain. According to the early writers, he suffered at or about the same time with Paul, and in the Neronian persecution, A.D. 67,68. All agree that he was crucified. Origen says that Peter felt himself to be unworthy to be put to death in the same manner as his Master, and was therefore, at his own request, crucified with his head downward. The apostle is said to have employed interpreters. Of far more importance is the statement that Mark wrote his Gospel under the teaching of Peter, or that he embodied in that Gospel the substance of our apostle's oral instructions. [MARK] The only written documents which Peter has left are the First Epistle-- about which no doubt has ever been entertained in the Church-- and the Second, which has been a subject of earnest controversy.
PETER in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
PE'TER (stone, or rock; Syriac Cephas; Greek Petros), one of the twelve apostles, one of the three favorite disciples (with John and James), and the most active of all in word and deed (except Paul, who did not belong to the twelve). His original name was "Simon" or "Simeon." He was a son of Jonas (John, according to the reading of the best manuscripts), a brother of Andrew, probably a native of Bethsaida in Galilee. He was a fisherman by trade, and resided at Capernaum with his wife and mother-in-law, who was healed by Christ of a fever. See John 1:42; Josh 21:15; Matt 16:18; Luke 5:3-10; Matt 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38. When he forsook all to follow Christ he must have made a considerable sacrifice. His new name "Peter" ("rock-man") was given him when he was called to the apostleship, John 1:42, and was solemnly confirmed when he, in the name of all the other apostles, made that remarkable confession of the divinity of our Lord which is the fundamental creed of Christendom and the immovable foundation of the Christian Church.Matt 16:18. The name "Peter" or "Cephas" was a prophecy of the prominent position which he, as the confessor of Christ, would occupy in the primitive age of the Church. He laid the foundation of the Church among the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, and, after a special revelation, among the Gentiles also, in the conversion of Cornelius. Acts 10. He appears throughout in the Gospels and the first part of the Acts as the head and mouthpiece of the twelve. He had an ardent nature, a sanguine, impulsive, hopeful temperament, was frank, open, fresh, enthusiastic, and energetic, and born to take the lead, but apt to overrate his strength and liable to change and inconsistency. He was the first to confess and the first to deny his Lord and Saviour, yet he repented bitterly, and had no rest and peace till the Lord forgave him. He had a great deal of genuine human nature, but divine grace did its full work, and overruled even his faults for his advancement in humility and meekness, which shine out so beautifully from his Epistles. The labors of Peter are recorded in the Acts. Chs. 1 to 12 and ch. 15. He was the leading apostle from the day of Pentecost to the Council of Jerusalem, in a.d. 50. After that time his whereabouts are involved in obscurity. Paul mentions him as being at Antioch, about a.d. 52, and censures him for inconsistency of conduct, which he showed at that time toward the Gentile converts, from fear of offending the Judaizing party. The alienation of the two apostles was merely temporary. We must admire the meekness and humility with which Peter bore the sharp rebuke of his younger colleague, and with which he alluded afterward to the Epistles of his "beloved brother Paul," 2 Pet 3:15, as much as the boldness and fearlessness with which Paul stood up for principle and the rights and liberty of the Gentile Christians. Paul mentions him again, a.d. 57, 1 Cor 9:5, as engaged, in company with his wife, in missionary journeys and labors, perhaps among the dispersed Jews in Asia Minor, to whom he addressed his Epistles. 1 Pet 1:1. This allusion to Peter's wife is important as proving that he did not give up the family ties when he entered upon his spiritual calling. Clement of Alexandria expressly states that Peter and Philip had children, and that both took about with them their wives, who aided them in ministering to women at their own homes. It is a singular fact that he whom Roman Catholics hold to be the first pope should have been and remained a married man and thus protested against clerical celibacy. According to the unanimous testimony of Christian antiquity, Peter suffered Portraits of Peter and Paul. (From a Gilded Glass Cup found in the Catacombs of Rome.) martyrdom in Rome under Nero, but the length of his residence in Rome and the year of his martyrdom are uncertain. When Paul arrived at Rome, a.d. 61, and during his imprisonment, a.d. 61-63, no mention is made of Peter. It is therefore improbable that he reached Rome before the close of 63. The report of a twenty or twenty-five years' residence of Peter in Rome rests on a chronological miscalculation of Eusebius and Jerome, who assume that he went to Rome a.d. 42, immediately after his deliverance from prison (Acts 12:17, "he went into another place"), and is entirely irreconcilable with the silence of Scripture, and we may say even with the mere fact of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, written in 58; for Paul says not a word of previous labors of Peter in that city, and never built on other men's foundation. Peter's martyrdom may have taken place either in a.d. 64, during the terrible Neronian persecution after the great conflagration, or in 67. He is said to have been crucified, and thus he followed his Lord literally in the mode of his death. Comp. John 21:18-19. Origen adds, however, that Peter, deeming himself unworthy to be, in the mode of his death, conformed to his Master, was at his own request crucified with his head downward. The Epistles of Peter belong to the last years of his life, and are addressed to churches in Asia Minor, chiefly planted by Paul and his companions. They contain precious consolations and exhortations, and confirm the harmony of his doctrine with that of the apostle of the Gentiles. 1 Pet 5:12; 2 Pet 3:15. They breathe a sweet, gentle, lovely, humble spirit, thoroughly mastered and softened by divine grace, and are full of joy and hope in view of the threatening persecutions. The First Epistle is dated from Babylon, 1 Pet 5:13; but commentators differ. Some refer it to the famous Babylon in Asia, which after its destruction was still inhabited by a Jewish colony, and remained for several centuries a chief seat of rabbinical learning; others refer it to Babylon in Egypt, now called Old Cairo; still others understand it mystically of heathen Rome, in which sense "Babylon" is certainly used in the Apocalypse of John. The last view is favored by the terms co-elect ("elected together with you") and Marcus my son, which occur in the same verse, and which scarcely bear a literal interpretation ("Peter's wife and son"), but probably mean the Christian Church and Mark the evangelist, who was his spiritual son. In this case the passage would be the first, and the only scriptural, proof for Peter's presence in Rome. If the letter was written during or after the terrible persecution of 64, he might have had good reason to call Rome by the name of Babylon, the ancient enemy of the people of God. Mark was a companion and interpreter of Peter in his missionary labors. The Epistle was transmitted by Silvanus, 1 Pet 5:12, a disciple and fellow-laborer of Paul, and a connecting link between him and Peter, well qualified to assure the Jewish converts in the churches of Asia Minor of the harmony of the two great apostles in all the essential doctrines of salvation. The Second Epistle is a valedictory of Peter, written shortly before his martyrdom, with warnings against Antinomian heresies, which began to disturb the harmony and purity of the Church. The external testimonies in favor of the Second Epistle are not so numerous as those in favor of the First, nor was it as much used. But the author expressly designates himself as an eye-witness of the transfiguration of Christ on the mount, 2 Pet 1:16-18, and bears ample evidence of apostolic depth and unction. It attests some of the most important facts in our Lord's ministry; it confirms the unity of apostolic teaching; it adds the doctrine of the final destruction of the material universe to make room for a new heaven and a new earth "wherein dwelleth righteousness;" and it appropriately closes with the exhortation to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever."
PETER in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See JESUS CHRIST.) Of Bethsaida on the sea of Galilee. The Greek for Hebrew Kephas, "stone" or "rock." Simon his original name means "hearer"; by it he is designated in Christ's early ministry and between Christ's death and resurrection. Afterward he is called by his title of honour, "Peter". Son of Jonas (Matthew 16:17; John 1:43; John 21:16); tradition makes Johanna his mother's name. Brought up to his father's business as a fisherman on the lake of Galilee. He and his brother Andrew were partners with Zebedee's sons, John and James, who had "hired servants," which implies a social status and culture not the lowest. He lived first at Bethsaida, then in Capernaum, in a house either his own or his mother-in-law's, large enough to receive Christ and his fellow apostles and some of the multitude who thronged about Him. In" leaving all to follow Christ," he implies he made a large sacrifice (Mark 10:28). The rough life of hardship to which fishing inured him on the stormy lake formed a good training of his character to prompt energy, boldness, and endurance. The Jews obliged their young to attend the common schools. In Acts 4:13, where Luke writes the Jewish council regarded him and John as "unlearned and ignorant," the meaning is not absolutely so, but in respect to professional rabbinical training "lairs," "ignorant" of the deeper sense which the scribes imagined they found in Scripture. Aramaic, half Hebrew half Syriac, was the language of the Jews at that time. The Galileans spoke this debased Hebrew with provincialisms of pronunciation and diction. So at the denial Peter betrayed himself by his "speech" (Matthew 26:73; Luke 22:59). Yet lie conversed fluently with Cornelius seemingly without an interpreter, and in Greek His Greek style in his epistles is correct; but Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and Tertullian allege he employed an interpreter for them. He was married and led about his wife in his apostolic journeys (1 Corinthians 9:5). The oblique coincidence; establishing his being a married man, between Matthew 8:14, "Peter's wife's mother ... sick of a fever," and 1 Corinthians 9:5, "have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as Cephas?" is also a delicate confirmation of the truth of the miraculous cure, as no forger would be likely to exhibit such a minute and therefore undesigned correspondence of details. Alford translated 1 Peter 5:13 "she in Babylon" (compare 1 Peter 3:7); but why she should be called "elected together with you in Babylon," as if there were no Christian woman in Babylon besides, is inexplicable. Peter and John being closely associated, Peter addresses the church in John's province, Asia, "your co-elect sister church in Babylon saluteth you"; so 2 John 1:13 in reply. Clemens Alex. gives the name of Peter's wife as Perpetua. Tradition makes him old at the time of his death. His first call was by Andrew his brother, who had been pointed by their former master John the Baptist to Jesus, "behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:36). That was the word that made the first Christian; so it has been ever since. "We have found (implying they both had been looking for) the Messias," said Andrew, and brought him to Jesus. "Thou art Simon son of Jona (so the Alexandrinus manuscript but Vaticanus and Sinaiticus 'John'), thou shalt be called Cephas" (John 1:41-42). As "Simon" he was but an hearer; as Peter or Cephas he became an apostle and so a foundation stone of the church, by union to the one only Foundation Rock (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:11). Left to nature, Simon, though bold and stubborn, was impulsive and fickle, but joined to Christ lie became at last unshaken and firm. After the first call the disciples returned to their occupation. The call to close discipleship is recorded Luke 5:1-11. The miraculous draught of fish overwhelmed Simon with awe at Jesus' presence; He who at creation said, "let the waters bring forth abundantly" (Genesis 1:20), now said, "let down your nets for a draught." Simon, when the net which they had spread in vain all night now broke with the multitude of fish, exclaimed, "depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" He forgot Hosea 9:12 end; our sin is just the reason why we should beg Christ to come, not depart. "Fear not, henceforth thou shalt catch to save alive (zoogroon) men," was Jesus' explanation of the typical meaning of the miracle. The call, Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, is the same as Luke 5, which supplements them. Peter and Andrew were first called; then Christ entered Peter's boat, then wrought the miracle, then called James and John; Jesus next healed of fever Simon's mother-in-law. His call to the apostleship is recorded Matthew 10:2-4. Simon stands foremost in the list, and for the rest of Christ's ministry is mostly called "Peter." His forward energy fitted him to be spokesman of the apostles. So in John 6:66-69, when others went back (2 Timothy 4:10), to Jesus' testing question, "will ye also go away?" Simon replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." Compare his words, Acts 4:12. He repeated this testimony at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:16). Then Jesus said: "blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee (John 1:13; Ephesians 2:8) but My Father in heaven, and ... thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prewill against it." Peter by his believing confession identified himself with Christ the true Rock (1 Corinthians 3:11; Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20), and so received the name; just as Joshua bears the name meaning "Jehovah Saviour", because typifying His person and offices. Peter conversely, by shrinking from a crucified Saviour and dissuading Him from the cross, "be it far from Thee," identified Himself with Satan who tempted Jesus to take the world kingdom without the cross (Matthew 4:8-10), and is therefore called "Satan," cf6 "get thee behind Me, Satan," etc. Instead of a rock Peter became a stumbling-block ("offense," scandalous). "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven," namely, to open the door of faith to the Jews first, then to Cornelius and the Gentiles (Acts 10:11-48). Others and Paul further opened the door (Acts 14:27; Acts 11:20-26). The papal error regards Peter as the rock, in himself officially, and as transmitting an infallible authority to the popes, as if his successors (compare Isaiah 22:22). The "binding" and "loosing" power is given as much to the whole church, layman and ministers, as to Peter (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23.) Peter exercised the power of the keys only in preaching, as on Pentecost (Acts 2), He never exercised authority over the other apostles. At Jerusalem James exercised the chief authority (Acts 15:19; Acts 21:18; Galatians 1:19; Galatians 2:9). Peter "withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed," "not walking uprightly in the truth of the gospel," but in "dissimulation" (Galatians 2:10-14). (On the miraculous payment of the temple tribute of the half shekel (two drachms) each, see JESUS CHRIST.) Matthew alone (Matthew 17:24-27) records it, as appropriate to the aspect of Jesus as theocratic king, prominent in the first Gospel. Peter too hastily had answered for his Master as though He were under obligation to pay the temple tribute; Peter forgot his own confession (Matthew 16:16). Nevertheless, the Lord, in order not to "offend." i.e. give a handle of reproach, as if lie despised the temple and law, caused Peter the fisherman again to resume his occupation and brought a fish (Psalm 8:8; Jonah 1:17) with a starer, i.e. shekel, in its mouth, the exact sum required, four drachmas, for both. Jesus said, "for ME and thee," not for us; for His payment was on an altogether different footing from Peter's (compare John 20:17). Peter needed a "ransom for his soul" and could not pay it; but Jesus needed none; nay, came to pay it Himself (John 20:28), first putting Himself under the same yoke with us (Galatians 4:4-5). Peter, James, and John were the favored three alone present at the raising of Jairus' daughter, the transfiguration, and the agony in Gethsemane. His exaltations were generally, through his self sufficiency giving place to weakness, accompanied with humiliations, as in Matthew 16. In the transfiguration he talks at random, "not knowing what to say ... sore afraid," according to the unfavourable account given of himself in Mark (Mark 9:6). Immediately after faith enabling him to leave the ship and walk on the water to go to Jesus (Matthew 14:29), he became afraid because of the boisterous wind, and would have sunk but for Jesus, who at the same time rebuked his "doubts" and "little faith" (Psalm 94:18). His true boast, "behold we have forsaken all and followed Thee," called forth Jesus' promise, "in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel," and Jesus' warning, illustrated by the parable of the labourers in reproof of the hireling spirit, "the last shall be first and the first last ... many be called ... few chosen" (Matthew 19:27-20;Matthew 19:16). Peter, Andrew, James, and John heard the solemn discourse (on the second advent (Matthew 24). At the last supper Peter shrank with a mixture of humility and self will from Jesus' stooping to wash his feet. Jesus replied, cf6 "if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me" (John 13). With characteristic warmth Peter passed to the opposite extreme, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Jesus answered, cf6 "he that is bathed (all over, namely, regenerated once for all, leloumenos) cf6 needeth not save to wash (nipsasthai, a part) cf6 his feet, but is clean every whit." Simon in anxious affection asked, "Lord, where guest Thou?" when Jesus said, cf6 "where I go, ye cannot come." Jesus promised Peter should follow Him afterward, though not now. Then followed his protestations of faithfulness unto death, thrice repeated as well as the thrice repeated warnings (Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:29-31; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:33-34; John 13:36-38). Satan would" sift" (Amos 9:9) all the disciples, but Peter especially; and therefore for him especially Jesus interceded. Mark mentions the twice cockcrowing and Peter's protesting the more vehemently. Love, anti a feeling of relief when assured he was not the traitor, prompted his protestations. Animal courage Peter showed no small amount of, in cutting off Malthus' ear in the face of a Reman band; moral courage he was deficient in. Transpose the first and second denials in John; then the first took place at the fire (Matthew 26:69; Mark 14:66-67; Luke 22:56; John 18:25), caused by the fixed recognition of the maid who admitted Peter (Luke 22:56); the second took place at the door leading out of the court, where he had withdrawn in fear (Matthew 26:71; Mark 14:68-69; Luke 22:58; John 18:17); the third took place in the court an hour after (Luke 22:59), before several witnesses who argued from his Galilean accent and speech, near enough for Jesus to cast that look on Peter which pierced his heart so that he went out and wept bitterly. The maid in the porch knew him, for John had spoken unto her that kept the door to let in Peter (John 18:16.) On the resurrection morning Peter and John ran to the tomb; John outran Peter (being the younger man; John 21:18 implies Peter was then past his prime, also the many years by which John outlived Peter imply the same), but Peter was first to enter. John did not venture to enter until Peter set the example; fear and reverence held him back, as in Matthew 14:26, but Peter was especially bold and fearless. To him Jesus sends through Mary Magdalene a special message of His resurrection to assure him of forgiveness (Mark 16:7). To Peter first of the apostles Jesus appeared (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). "Simon" is resumed until at the supper (John 21) Jesus reinstates him as Peter, that being now "converted" he may "feed the lambs and sheep" and "strengthen his brethren." Peter in the first 12 chapters of frontACTS, THE BOOK OF is the prominent apostle. His discourses have those undesigned coincidences with his epistles which mark their genuineness. (Acts 2:20; 2 Peter 3:10. Acts 2:23-24; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Peter 1:21. Acts 3:18; 1 Peter 1:10-11.) As in the Gospels, so in Acts, Peter is associated with John. His words before the high priest and council (Acts 4:19-20), "whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard," and again Acts 5:29, evince him as the rock-man; and after having been beaten in spite of Gamaliel's warning, Peter's rejoicing with the other apostles at being counted worthy to suffer for Christ (Acts 5:41) accords with his precept (1 Peter 4:12-16; compare 1 Peter 2:24 with Acts 5:30 end). Peter's miracle of healing (Acts 3) was followed by one of judgment (Acts 5) (See ANANIAS.) As he opened the gospel door to penitent believers (Acts 2:37-38), so he closed it against hypocrites as Ananias, Sapphira, and Simon Magus (Acts 8). Peter with John confirmed by laying on of hands the Samaritan converts of Philip the deacon. (See BAPTISM; LAYING ON HANDS.) Insofar as the bishops represent the apostles, they rightly follow the precedent of Peter and John in confirming after an interval those previously baptized and believing through the instrumentality of lower ministers as Philip. The ordinary graces of the Holy Spirit continue, and are received through the prayer of faith; though the extraordinary, conferred by the apostles, have ceased. Three years later Paul visited Jerusalem in order to see Peter (Galatians 1:17-18; historeesai means "to become personally acquainted with as one important to know"; Acts 9:26). Peter was prominent among the twelve, though James as bishop had chief authority there. It was important that Paul should communicate to the leading mover in the church his own independent gospel revelation; next Peter took visitation tour through the various churches, and raised Aeneas from his bed of sickness and Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:32). A special revelation, abolishing distinctions of clean and unclean, prepared him for ministering and for seeking the gospel (Acts 10). (See CORNELIUS.) Peter was the first privileged to open the gospel to the Gentiles, as he had before to the Jews, besides confirming the Samaritans. Peter justified his act both by the revelation and by God's sealing the Gentile converts with the Holy Spirit. "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ (the true test of churchmanship), what was I that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:17-18.) The Jews' spite at the admission of the Gentiles moved Herod Agrippa I to kill James and imprison Peter for death. (See HEROD.) But the church's unceasing prayer was stronger than his purpose; God brought Peter to the house of Mark's mother while they were in the act of praying for him (Isaiah 65:24). It was not Peter but his persecutor who died, smitten of God. From this point Peter becomes "apostle of the circumcision," giving place, in respect to prominence, to Paul, "apostle of the uncircumcision." Peter the apostle of the circumcision appropriately, as representing God's ancient church, opens the gates to the Gentiles It was calculated also to open his own mind, naturally prejudiced on the side of Jewish exclusiveness. It also showed God's sovereignty that He chose an instrument least of all likely to admit Gentiles if left to himself. Paul, though the apostle of the Gentiles, confirmed the Hebrew; Peter, though the apostle of the Jews, admits the Gentiles front, implying others); thus perfect unity reigned amidst the diversity of the agencies. At the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) Peter led the discussion, citing the case of Cornelius' party as deciding the question, for" God which knoweth the hearts bore them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit even as He did unto us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith," "but we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they"; compare his epistles in undesigned coincidence (1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:9). James gave the decision. Peter neither presided, nor summoned, nor dismissed the council, nor took the votes, nor pronounced the decision; he claimed none of the powers which Rome claims for the pope. (On his vacillation as to not eating with Gentiles, and Paul's withstanding him at Antioch (Galatians 2), see PAUL.) The Jerusalem decree only recognized Gentiles as fellow Christians on light conditions, it did not admit them necessarily to social intercourse Though Peter and Paul rightly inferred the latter, yet their recognition of the ceremonial law (Acts 18:18-21; Acts 20:16; Acts 21:18-24) palliates Peter's conduct, if it were not for its inconsistency (through fear of the Judaizers) which is the point of Paul's reproof. His "dissimulation" consisted in his pretending to consider it unlawful to eat with Gentile Christians, whereas his previous eating with them showed his conviction of the perfect equality of Jew and Gentile. Peter's humility and love are beautifully illustrated in his submitting to the reproach of a junior, and seemingly adopting Paul's view, and in calling him '"our beloved brother," and confirming the doctrine of "God's longsuffering being for salvation," from Paul's epistles: Romans 2:4 (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter apparently visited Corinth before the first epistle to the Corinthians was written, for it mentions a party there who said "I am of Cephas" (1 Corinthians 1:12). Clemens Romanus (1 Corinthians 4) implies the same, Dionysius of Corinth asserts it, A.D. 180. Babylon, a chief seat of the dispersed Jews, was his head quarters when he wrote 1 Peter 5:13, not Rome as some have argued. (See BABYLON, frontMYSTICAL.) The mixture of Hebrew and Nabathaean spoken there was related to his Galilean dialect. The well known progress that Christianity made in that quarter, as shown by the great Christian schools at Edessa anti Nisibis, was probably due to Peter originally. Mark (Colossians 4:10), Paul's helper at Rome, from whence he went to Colosse, was with Peter when he wrote 1 Peter 5:13. From Colosse Mark probably went on to Peter at Babylon. Paul wished Timothy to bring him again to Rome during his second imprisonment (2 Timothy 4:11). Silvanus, also Paul's companion, was the bearer of Peter's epistle (1 Peter 5:12). All the authority of Acts and epistle to the Romans and 1 and 2 Peter is against Peter having been at Rome previous to Paul's first imprisonment, or during its two years' duration (otherwise he would have mentioned Peter in the epistles written from Rome, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians), or during his second imprisonment when he wrote to Timothy. Eusebius' statement (Chronicon, 3) that Peter went to Rome A.D. 42 and stayed twenty years is impossible, as those Scriptures never mention him. Jerome (Script. Ecclesiastes, 1) makes Peter bishop of Antioch, then to have preached in Pontus (from 1 Peter 1:1), then to have gone to Rome to refute Simon Magus (from Justin's story of a statue found at Rome to Semosanctus, the Sabine Hercules, which was confounded with Simon Magus), and to have been bishop there for 25 years (!) and to have been crucified with head downward, declaring himself unworthy to be crucified as his Lord, and buried in the Vatican near the triumphal way. John (John 21:18-19) attests his crucifixion. Dionysius of Corinth (in Eusebius, H. E. 2:25) says Paul and Peter both planted the Roman and Corinthian churches and endured martyrdom in Italy at the same time. So Tertullian (contra Marcion, 4:5; Praeser. Haeret., 36:38). Caius Romans Presb. (in Eusebius, H. E. 2:25) says memorials of their martyrdom were still to be seen on the road to Ostia, and that Peter's tomb was in the Vatican. He may have been at the very end of life at Rome after Paul's death, and been imprisoned in the Mamertine dungeon, crucified on the Janiculum on the height Pietro in Montorio, and buried where the altar in Peter's now is. But all is conjecture. Ambrose (Ep. 33) says that at his fellow Christians' solicitation he was fleeing from Rome at early dawn, when he met the Lord, and at His feet asked "Lord, where goest Thou?" His reply "I go to be crucified afresh" turned Peter back to a joyful martyrdom. The church "Domine Quo Vadis?" commemorates the legend. The whole tradition of Peter and Paul's association in death is probably due to their connection in life as the main founders of the Christian church. Clemens Alex. says Peter encouraged his wife to martyrdom, saying "remember, dear, our Lord." Clemens Alex. (Strom. 3:448) says that Peter's and Philip's wives helped them in ministering to women at their homes, and by them the doctrine of the Lord penetrated, without scandal, into the privacy of women's apartments. frontMARK on Peter's share in that Gospel.)