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People's Dictionary of the Bible

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Peter (pç'ter), stone, or rock; Syriac Cephas; Greek Petros. One of the twelve apostles, one of the three favorite disciples, with John and James. His original name was "Simon" or "Simeon." He was a son of Jonas (John, so read the best manuscripts), a brother of Andrew, probably a native of Bethsaida in Galilee. He was a fisherman and lived at Capernaum with his wife and mother-in-law, whom Christ healed of a fever. See John 1:42; John 21:15; Matthew 16:18; Luke 5:3-10; Matthew 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38. Peter forsook all to follow Christ. His new name "Peter" ("rock-man") was given him when he was called to the apostleship. John 1:42. He made a remarkable confession of the divinity of our Lord. Matthew 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. The church was built (not on Petros, but Petra—a rock), on his confession of the foundation, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:16; Matthew 16:18. The keys of the kingdom of heaven, to bind, and to loose, on earth and in heaven, were given to the church. Matthew 18:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 2:10. Peter was not infallible, for Paul "withstood him to the face because he was to be blamed." Galatians 2:11. He laid the foundation of the church among the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-47, and, after a special vision and revelation, among the Gentiles also, in the conversion of Cornelius. Acts 10:1-48. He appears throughout in the Gospels and the first part of the Acts as the head of the twelve. 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. The labors of Peter are recorded in the Acts, chaps. 1 to 12 and chap. 15. He was the leading apostle from the day of Pentecost to the Council of Jerusalem, in a.d. 50. After that time his labors are involved in obscurity. According to the testimony of Christian antiquity, Peter suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero, but his residence in Rome is disputed, and the year of his martyrdom is uncertain. When Paul arrived at Rome, a.d. 61, and during his imprisonment, a.d. 61-63, no mention is made of Peter. 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 suffer death in the same manner as his Master, was at his own request crucified with his head downward.

Epistles of Peter. The genuineness of 1 Peter has never been seriously questioned. It was addressed to Christian churches in Asia Minor, and written probably at Babylon on the Euphrates. 1 Peter 5:13. Some, however, interpret this of Some, and others of a town in Egypt called Babylon, near Old Cairo. 2 Peter was less confidently ascribed to Peter by the early church than the first epistle. There is no sufficient ground, however, for doubting its canonical authority, or that Peter was its author. 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:18; 2 Peter 3:1. Compare also 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5. In many passages it resembles the Epistle of Jude. Both epistles attest the harmony between the doctrines of Peter and Paul. "The faith expounded by Paul kindles into fervent hope in the words of Peter, and expands into sublime love in those of John."

Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Peter'. People's Dictionary of the Bible.​dictionaries/​eng/​rpd/​p/peter.html. 1893.