7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Peter


This name in Greek signifies a rock, as does also the name Cephas in Syriac. Peter was one of the twelve apostles, and was also called Simon, Mt 16:17, and Simeon, Ac 15:14. He was of Bethsaida, and was the son of Jonas, a fisherman, which occupation he also followed. After his marriage he resided at Capernaum, Mt 8:14; Lu 4:38, though called at a later period to labor else where as an apostle, and it would seem often accompanied in his journeys by his wife, 1Co 9:5. When first introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew, he received from Him the name of Peter, Joh 1:42, probably in reference to the boldness and firmness of his character, and his activity in promoting his Master's cause. He received his second call, and began to accompany Christ, at the Sea of Galilee near his residence, and thenceforth learned to be a "fisher of men," Mt 4:18-20; Lu 5:1-11. Many remarkable incidents are recorded in the gospels, which illustrate his character. Among these are, his attempt to walk on the water to meet Christ, Mt 14:29; his avowal of the Messiahship and divinity of the Savior, Mt 16:16; his errors as to the design of Christ's incarnation,

Mt 16:22-23; his warm attachment to the divine Teacher, Joh 6:67-69; his cutting off the ear of Malchus, Joh 18:10; his boastful determination to adhere to his Master under all circumstances, and his subsequent denial of Him with oaths, Mt 26:74; Mr 14:29; Joh 13:37-38; his poignant repentance, Mt 26:75, and our Lord's forgiveness, after receiving an assurance of his love, which was thrice uttered as his denial of Christ had been, Joh 21:15-18. The death and resurrection of Christ, and the circumstances, which accompanied them, led to a wonderful change in the apostle's mind, and thenceforward his bold and steadfast course is worthy of his name. On the day of Pentecost, he was one of the principal witnesses for the Savior; in company with John he soon after healed a lame man at the temple gate, addressed the assembled crowd, was imprisoned, and fearlessly vindicated himself before the Sanhedrin, Ac 4:8-21. We find him afterwards denouncing the judgment of God on a guilty couple who had dared to lie to the Holy Ghost, Ac 5:1-11; visiting Samaria, and rebuking Simon the magician, Ac 8:5-24; healing Eneas and raising Dorcas to life at Lydda, Ac 9:32-43; seeing at Joppa a vision which prepared him to preach the gospel to the gentile Cornelius, Ac 10; imprisoned by Herod Agrippa, and delivered by an angel, Ac 12:3-19; and taking a part in the council at Jerusalem, Ac 15:7-11. The Bible gives us little information as to his subsequent labors; but it is probable that the three apostles who were most distinguished by the Savior while upon earth continues to be favored as chief instruments in advancing his cause. Paul speaks of "James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars," Ga 2:9. Yet in the same chapter we find him publicly reproving Peter for his wavering course in respect to the demands of Judaizing Christians, which he had been one of the first to repel at Jerusalem, Ac 15:9. He seems to have labored at Corinth, 1Co 1:12; 3:22, and at Babylon, 1Pe 5:13. Papal writers affirm that he was the bishop of Rome. But the evidence is strongly against this assertion. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, giving them directions and saluting the principal persons by name; he also wrote six letters from Rome; but in none of these letters, nor in the narrative in Acts, is there the slightest intimation that Peter was or had been at Rome. And as Peter never resided at Rome, he was never made the head of the church universal. Whatever honor and authority he received from Christ, in establishing the first institutions of Christianity and declaring what it enjoined and from what it released, Mt 16:18-19, the other apostles also received, Mt 18:18; Joh 20:23; 5/3/type/kj2000'>1Co 5:3,5; Eph 2:20; Re 21:14. There is no evidence that he had any supremacy over them, nor that he had any successor in that influence which was naturally accorded to him as one of the oldest, most active, and most faithful of those who had "seen the Lord".

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originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona (Mt 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus (Joh 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 (Mt 27:56; Mr 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" (Ac 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 (Mr 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Ac 2:7). It would seem that Simon was married before he became an apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Mt 8:14; Mr 1:30; Lu 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his wife on his missionary journeys (1Co 9:5; comp. 1Pe 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 (Mr 1:29,36; 2:1), as well as to his own family. It was apparently two stories high (Mr 2:4).

At Bethabara (R.V., Joh 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of God" (Joh 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 (Lu 4:22; Mt 7:29); and Andrew went forth and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (Joh 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 (Mt 17:25; Mr 14:37; Lu 22:31, comp. Mt 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 (Mt 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" (Lu 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" (Mt 4:19) in the stormy seas of the world of human life (Mt 10:2-4; Mr 3:13-19; Lu 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 (Joh 6:66-69), and again at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:13-20; Mr 8:27-30; Lu 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 (Mt 16:21-23; Mr 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" (Mt 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 (Mt 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 (Lu 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 (Lu 22:31-34). He accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of Gethsemane (Lu 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 (Lu 22:47-51), one of the band that had come forth to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall (Lu 22:54-61) and his bitter grief ([luke 22:62|).

He is found in John's company early on the morning of the resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (Joh 20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Lu 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 (Lu 24:34; 1Co 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?" (Joh 21:1-19). (See Love.)

After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he again appears with the others at the ascension (Ac 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 (Ac 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 Ac 10:5,32; 15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."

After the miracle at the temple gate (Ac 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 (Ac 4:19-20). A fresh

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(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 (Mt 16:17; Joh 1:43; 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 (Mr 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 Ac 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" (Mt 26:73; Lu 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 (1Co 9:5).

The oblique coincidence; establishing his being a married man, between Mt 8:14, "Peter's wife's mother ... sick of a fever," and 1Co 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 1Pe 5:13 "she in Babylon" (compare 1Pe 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 2Jo 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" (Joh 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" (Joh 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 (Eph 2:20; 1Co 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 Lu 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" (Ge 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 Ho 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, Mt 4:18-22 and Mr 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 Mt 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 Joh 6:66-69, when others went back (2Ti 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, Ac 4:12.

He repeated this testimony at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:16). Then Jesus said: "blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee (Joh 1:13; Eph 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 (1Co 3:11; Isa 28:16; Eph 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 (Mt 4:8-10), and is therefore called "Satan," "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 (Ac 10:11-48).

Others and Paul further opened the door (Ac 14:27; 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 Isa 22:22). The "binding" and "loosing" power is given as much to the whole church, layman and ministers, as to Peter (Mt 18:18; Joh 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 (Ac 15:19; 21:18; Ga 1:19; 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" (Ga 2:10-14). (On the miraculous payment of the temple tribute of the half shekel (two drachms) each, see JESUS CHRIST.)

Matthew alone (Mt 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 (Mt 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 (Ps 8:8; Jon 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 Joh 20:17). Peter needed a "ransom for his soul" and could not pay it; but Jesus needed none; nay, came to pay it Himself (Joh 20:28), first putting Himself under the same yoke with us (Ga 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 t

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SIMON, surnamed Peter, was 'the coryph

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The son of Jonas and one of the twelve apostles. His name was originally Simon, and apparently at his first interview with the Lord he received from Him the surname CEPHAS. This is an Aramaic word, the same as Peter in Greek, both signifying 'a stone.' Joh 1:42. (In Ac 10:5 he is called "Simon, whose surname is Peter.") The next notice of Peter is in Luke 5 when he was called to the apostleship. Overpowered at the draught of fishes, he exclaimed, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord;" but at the bidding of Christ he forsook all and followed Him. Mt 4:18; Mr 1:16-17; Lu 5:3-11.

He had a sort of prominence among the apostles: when a few of them were selected for any special occasion, Peter was always one of them, and is named first. The three names 'Peter, James, and John' occur often together, still we do not read of Peter having any authority over the others: cf. Mt 20:25-28. Peter was in character energetic and impulsive: he wanted to walk on the water to go to Christ, and his strong affection for the Lord led him to oppose when the Lord spoke of His coming sufferings, for which he was rebuked as presenting Satan's mind. His self-confidence led him into a path of temptation, in which he thrice denied his Lord. But the Lord had prayed for him that his faith should not fail, and his repentance was real and instant. He was fully restored by the Lord, who significantly demanded thrice if he loved Him, and then committed to him the care of His sheep and His lambs. John 21.

When Peter confessed to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," the Lord said that He would build His church upon that foundation, and added, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven," with assurance that what he bound or loosed on earth would be ratified in heaven. Matt. 16. On the day of Pentecost we find Peter accordingly using these keys, and opening to three thousand Jews the doors of the kingdom. He afterwards admitted Gentiles in the person of Cornelius and those that were gathered with him.

Peter was the apostle of the circumcision, as Paul was of the Gentiles, and was a long time getting entirely clear of Jewish prejudices. Paul had to withstand him to the face at Antioch, for refusing under Jewish influence to continue eating with Gentiles. On the other hand, Peter, while confessing that in some of Paul's writings there were things hard to be understood, recognises them as scripture.

In the beginning of the Acts Peter's boldness in testimony is conspicuous. He was leaning on One stronger than himself and was carried on by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was miraculously delivered out of prison. The Lord had intimated to him that he would die the death of a martyr (Joh 21:19), and historians relate that he was crucified, and with his head downward by his own request: they also state that his wife died with him. He was the writer of the two epistles bearing his name.

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(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 Palestine 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]

See Mark, Gospel of

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.

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PETER, the great Apostle of the circumcision, was the son of Jona, and born at Bethsaida, a town situated on the western shore of the lake of Gennesareth, but in what particular year we are not informed, Joh 1:42-43. His original name was Simon or Simeon, which his divine Master, when he called him to the Apostleship, changed for that of Cephas, a Syriac word signifying a stone or rock; in Latin, petra, from whence is derived the term Peter. He was a married man, and had his house, his mother-in-law and his wife, at Capernaum, on the lake of Gennesareth, Mt 8:14; Mr 1:29; Lu 4:38. He had also a brother of the name of Andrew, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist, and was called to the knowledge of the Saviour prior to himself. Andrew was present when the venerable Baptist pointed his disciples to Jesus, and added. "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;" and, meeting Simon shortly afterward, said, "We have found the Messiah," and then brought him to Jesus, Joh 1:41. When the two brothers had passed one day with the Lord Jesus, they took their leave of him, and returned to their ordinary occupation of fishing. This appears to have taken place in the thirtieth year of the Christian era. Toward the end of the same year, as Jesus was one morning standing on the shore of the lake of Gennesareth, he saw Andrew and Peter engaged about their employment. They had been fishing during the whole night, but without the smallest success; and, after this fruitless expedition, were in the act of washing their nets, Lu 5:1-3. Jesus entered into their boat, and bade Peter throw out his net into the sea, which he did; and now, to his astonishment, the multitude of fishes was so immense that their own vessel, and that of the sons of Zebedee, were filled with them. Peter evidently saw there was something supernatural in this, and, throwing himself at the feet of Jesus, he exclaimed, "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man." The miracle was no doubt intended for a sign to the four disciples of what success should afterward follow their ministry in preaching the doctrine of his kingdom; and therefore Jesus said unto them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men;" on which they quitted their boats and nets, and thenceforth became the constant associates of the Saviour, during the whole of his public ministry, Lu 18:28.

From the instant of his entering upon the apostolic office, we find St. Peter on almost every occasion evincing the strength of his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, and the most extraordinary zeal in his service, of which many examples are extant in the Gospels. When Jesus in private asked his disciples, first, what opinion the people entertained of him; next, what was their own opinion: "Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Mt 16:16. Having received this answer, Jesus declared Peter blessed on account of his faith; and in allusion to the signification of his name, added, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth," &c. Many think these things were spoken to St. Peter alone, for the purpose of conferring on him privileges and powers not granted to the rest of the Apostles. But others, with more reason, suppose that, though Jesus directed his discourse to St. Peter, it was intended for them all; and that the honours and powers granted to St. Peter by name were conferred on them all equally. For no one will say that Christ's church was built upon St. Peter singly: it was built on the foundation of all the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. As little can any one say that the power of binding and loosing was confined to St. Peter, seeing it was declared afterward to belong to all the Apostles, Mt 18:18; Joh 20:23. To these things add this, that as St. Peter made his confession in answer to a question which Jesus put to all the Apostles, that confession was certainly made in the name of the whole; and, therefore, what Jesus said to him in reply was designed for the whole without distinction; excepting this, which was peculiar to him, that he was to be the first who, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, should preach the Gospel to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles: an honour which was conferred on St. Peter in the expression, "I will give thee the keys," &c.

St. Peter was one of the three Apostles whom Jesus admitted to witness the resurrection of Jairus's daughter, and before whom he was transfigured, and with whom he retired to pray in the garden the night before he suffered. He was the person who in the fervour of his zeal for his Master cut off the ear of the high priest's slave, when the armed band came to apprehend him. Yet this same Peter, a few hours after that, denied his Master three different times in the high priest's palace, and that with oaths. In the awful defection of the Apostle on this occasion we have melancholy proof of the power of human depravity even in regenerate men, and of the weakness of human resolutions when left to ourselves. St. Peter was fully warned by his divine Master of his approaching danger; but confident in his own strength, he declared himself ready to accompany his Lord to prison and even to judgment. After the third denial "Jesus turned and looked upon Peter;" that look pierced him to the heart; and, stung with deep remorse, "he went out, and wept bitterly." St. Peter, however, obtained forgiveness; and, when Jesus had risen from the dead, he ordered the glad tidings of his resurrection to be conveyed to St. Peter by name: "Go tell my disciples and Peter," Mr 16:8. He afterward received repeated assurances of his Saviour's love, and from that time uniformly showed the greatest zeal and fortitude in his Master's service.

Soon after our Lord's ascension, in a numerous assembly of the Apostles and brethren, St. Peter gave it as his opinion, that one should be chosen to be an Apostle in the room of Judas. To this they all agreed; and, by lot, chose Matthias, whom on that occasion they numbered with the eleven Apostles. On the day of pentecost following, when the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles and disciples, St. Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice; that is, St. Peter, rising up, spake with a loud voice, in the name of the Apostles, as he had done on various occasions in his Master's lifetime, and gave the multitude an account of that great miracle, Ac 2:14. St. Peter now began to experience the fulfilment of Christ's promise to make him a fisher of men, and also that he would give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. His sermon on this occasion produced an abundant harvest of converts to Christ. Three thousand of his audience were pricked to the heart, and cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" St. Peter proclaimed to them the riches of pardoning mercy through the divine blood of the Son of God; and they that gladly received his doctrine were baptized and added to the church, Ac 2:37-43. The effects produced on the mind of this great Apostle of the circumcision by the resurrection of his divine Master, and the consequent effusion of the Holy Spirit, were evidently of the most extraordinary kind, and such as it is impossible to account for upon natural principles. He was raised superior to all considerations of personal danger and the fear of man. And though all the Apostles could now say, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind;" yet an attentive reader of the Acts of the Apostles cannot fail to perceive that upon almost every occasion of difficulty St. Peter is exhibited to our view as standing foremost in the rank of Apostles. When St. Peter and John were brought before the council to be examined concerning the miracle wrought on the impotent man, St. Peter spake. It was St. Peter who questioned Ananias and Sapphira about the price of their lands; and for their lying in that matter, punished them miraculously with death. It is remarkable, also, that although by the hands of the Apostles many signs and wonders were wrough

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