What Does The Bible Say About Peter?


     Introduction:  Simon was the original name of Peter, the son of Jonas, and brother of Andrew (Matt. 4: 18, 16: 17). Simon was a commercial fisherman by trade (Matt. 4: 18). Jesus changed Simon's name to Cephas (Aramaic), Peter being the Greek synonym (Jn. 1: 42, Matt. 16: 18). The name Peter (petros, meaning stone or small stone) was doubtless suggestive of the important role that Peter would have in the early church.

I. Peter, the apostle.

  A. Peter was called to be an apostle (one sent, Matt. 10: 2-4). "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," Jesus told Peter (Matt. 4: 19).

  B. Peter heads the list of the apostles, which probably suggests that Peter was the older and the leader (Matt. 10: 2).

  C. To Peter was given the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16: 19). Peter used these keys (means of entry) when he was allowed to introduce the gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles (Acts 2; 10).

    a. Peter had no special legislative authority or expiation ability, cp. Matt. 18: 18; 16: 19, Jn. 20: 23.  There is no supportive biblical teaching that suggests that Peter is the one who allows people entrance into heaven. 

  D. Peter's apostleship primarily involved the Jews (Gal. 2: 8).

  E. Peter was important in the first thirty years of the history of the church. This importance is seen in the fact that Acts 2 through 12 mainly concern the endeavors of Peter. Peter wrote two epistles, First and Second Peter.

II. Peter, the man.

  A. Peter was immediate in his actions, sometimes too immediate (Matt. 26: 33, 34).

  B. Peter denied the Lord, an event that caused him great pain (Matt. 26: 34, 69 ff.).

  C. Peter also had great difficulty giving up Jewish prejudices. In fact, Paul had to publicly rebuke Peter because of his sin of racism (Gal. 2: 11-14).

  D. As to the papacy assigned to Peter, there is not even a hint of biblical evidence. Peter was a married man who sometimes took his wife along in his preaching efforts (Matt. 8: 14, I Cor. 9: 5).

  E. As Peter matured, he lived up to the name Jesus provided him, a stone (solid). Peter appears to have died a violent death, as prophesied (Jn. 21: 18).

     Conclusion:  One of Peter's paramount desires was to the continuance of the authoritative word, in which he totally believed and relied (2 Pet. 1: 1: 15-21).