Lesson #3 - The Apostle Peter (Pt A)Series: The Fourteen Apostles
LESSON #3 – THE APOSTLE PETER (ptA)
1. What was Peter’s name and background?
~ Simon, who is called Peter (Mt.10:2).
~ He was Simon the son of John or Jonas (Jn.1:42a). i.e., Simon “Johnson”.
Simon is a later modification of the original Hebrew name Simeon. cf. Acts 15:7 & 14 and 2Pet.1:1.
~ Jesus gave Simon the “nickname” Peter or the Aramaic Cephas (Jn.1:42b). cf. Mk.3:16 and Lk.6:14.
The name Peter means “a stone”. We get our English words petroleum and petrified from the same root word.
~ Peter was a fisherman, as was his brother named Andrew (Mk.1:16).
James and John, the sons of Zebedee were fellow fishermen and likely business partners.
~ Peter resided in Capernaum (Mk.1:21) with his wife, mother-in-law and brother. cf. Mk.1:29f
Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, Capernaum also because his home city (Mt.4:13 & 9:1).
Mk.1:32-34 indicates a sizable house (the whole city gathered at his door), which may indicate prosperity.
~ Peter (and all of the apostles) were Galileans, noted for being more open-minded than typical Judeans.
Perhaps this is why Jesus selected Galileans to be The Twelve - - they were more moldable.
~ Educationally, Peter was viewed by the Jewish leaders as being uneducated and untrained (Acts 4:13).
Peter's educational experience was probably limited to the synagogal training undergone by most Jewish males.
Peter references Paul's writings, acknowledging some things hard to understand (2Pet.3:15-16).
2. Was Peter the first pope?
~ The language of “the papacy” is really foreign to Scripture.
Nowhere in the Bible do we read of a pope or a hierarchy that included ruling cardinals and elevated bishops.
Elders/Bishops (overseers) were appointed in all the churches (Acts 14:23), but beyond that nothing is commanded.
~ It is true that Peter is mentioned first in the list of The Twelve provided by each of each of the four gospels.
It is also true that in listing The Twelve, Matthew's account notes, the first, Simon, who is called Peter (Mt.10:2).
The word “first” (Greek, protos) can mean “chief” or simply “first”.
The keys of the kingdom given to Peter by Jesus (Mt.16:19) were for all of the apostles, not just Peter. cf. Mt.18:18
There is no indication that Peter “ruled” over the other apostles. When James and John asked Jesus
to grant them “chief seats” in the kingdom (Mk.10:37), Jesus didn't tell them such was reserved for Peter.
In fact, on one occasion Peter is rebuked by Paul for acting hypocritically (Gal.2:11).
~ Jesus words in Mt.16:18 (you are Peter, and upon this ROCK I will build My Church) reflect on Peter's
grand confession, “Thou are The Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Mt.16:16), not on Peter's person-hood.
It was a play on words: Peter was a stone or pebble, but the rock/cornerstone was Christ! cf. 1Pet.2:6-7
~ Indeed, Peter was a “saint”, but then the New Testament uses that term for all Christians.
3. What New Testament books did Peter author?
~ Peter wrote two epistles bearing his name - - 1Peter and 2Peter. cf. 1Pet.1:1 and 2Pet.1:1.
Some scholars argue that 2Peter was not authored by the same man as 1Peter, but 2Pet.3:1 indicates otherwise.
Peter's target audience were first-century Jews scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.
~ There is an non-canonical apocryphal writing called, Acts of Peter, of dubious origin.
~ Early tradition associates Mark's Gospel with Peter.
Some have suggested that Mark's Gospel was written under the influence of Peter (i.e., with Peter's input).
When reading Mark's gospel it is not difficult to imagine a Peter-perspective on things.
Peter closes his first epistle with a reference to “my son, Mark” (1Pet.5:13b).