Apostle Peter Biography: Timeline, Life, and Death

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

The Apostle Peter is one of the great stories of a changed life in the Bible. Check out this timeline and biography of the life of Peter.

Peter’s Life Before Christ

The Apostle Peter may have been the most outspoken of the twelve apostles in Jesus’ ministry on earth. He certainly became one of the boldest witnesses for the faith.  His beginnings were certainly humble in origin.  He was born about 1 B.C. and died sometime around A.D. 67.

Peter was originally named Simon.  Jesus was the One Who changed Peter’s name. Peter means “rock” or literally Petra.  He was a Galilean fisherman and was the brother of Andrew.  The brothers came from the village of Bethsaida (John 1:43, 12:21).  Peter was married.  He was also a follower of John the Baptist.  Peter, like all humans before their calling, was a sinful man.  In fact he was ashamed of his sinfulness in the presence of Jesus Christ (Luke 5:6-8).  Peter was perhaps the very first disciple that Jesus called along with His brother Andrew.

Apostle Peter Biography

Peter left his career as a fisherman to follow Jesus.

Fishermen at that time were gruff, unkempt, vile, shabbily dressed, and often used vulgar language.  The fishermen of the first century were a man’s man.  They were full of vigor and had boisterous tempers.  This is perhaps why James and his brother John were called the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17).  Their’s was a rough life since fishing was a very physically demanding job.  They must have been somewhat fearless too because some of the storms that came quickly upon the Sea of Galilee were fierce and furious.  They often caught the fishermen by surprise and could easily capsize the 20 to 30 foot boats they used.

Peter was always putting his foot in his mouth but one thing you could say about Peter was that when Jesus told them (Peter and Andrew) to “follow me” they simply walked away and left everything they had without a second thought (Luke 5:9-1).  Consider the fact that this meant that they left everything – all of their fishing boats, their fishing nets, and all the accessories that came with their trade.  How many today would be willing to leave their own business to follow Someone that had simply asked them to follow Him?

Peter’s Life with Christ

As mentioned earlier, Peter was among the first disciples called by Jesus and he was frequently their spokesman – for good or bad.  One thing that he is credited with is the special insight that he had concerning Jesus’ identity.  Peter was the first to call Jesus the Son of the Living God – the Messiah (Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20, Matt. 16:16-17).   When Jesus called him, Peter knew that He was of God and felt unworthy to be in Jesus presence (Luke 5:6-8).   Even so, Jesus did not hesitate and told Peter and Andrew that He would make them “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).

Peter was bold but often times in the wrong.  Once he even rebuked the Lord and said that he was willing to die for Jesus even though at the arrest and trial of Jesus he denied Him three times (Matt. 16:21-22).  Jesus loved the disciples and knew which of those whom would remain loyal to Him and those who would betray Him (Judas Iscariot).  Peter was an eyewitness to the many miracles that Jesus did and also witnessed the Shekhinah Glory along with John and James in the Transfiguration.  This was where Jesus’ humanity was peeled back to reveal the glory of His Divinity (Matt. 17:1-9).

Peter the Disciple to the Apostle Peter

A disciple means a “follower of” and that is what most Christians actually are today.  An apostle is “one sent forth” in the sense of sent forth by God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The biblical definition of an apostle and the only one’s that are called apostles in the New Testament had to be either with Jesus during His earthly ministry (like the disciples) or having seen the risen Christ (as did Paul who was taught three years in the desert by Jesus Christ Himself).

After Christ tells the disciples about the end of the age (Matt. 24) He gives them the charge or command of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).  This is the very last thing that Jesus tells them (Acts 1:8) and from that point on the disciples (followers of Christ) become the apostles (those sent forth).  The designation of their being apostles was never used until after the Ascension of Christ (Acts 1) because before then, they were still following Jesus.  After Christ had ascended to the right hand of the Father and was seated there (signifying His earthly ministry was done – except through the apostles) He sent them forth to go to all ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Peter was the first one to preach on the day of Pentecost after the coming of the Holy Spirit and he was the first one to proclaim Christ to a Gentile.  He was one of the boldest apostles of all.  He willingly suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even rejoiced at the fact that he was worthy to suffer disgrace for the Lord‘s sake (Acts 5:41).

The Gospel of Mark or of Peter?

There is extremely reliable evidence through church tradition and early church historians that the Gospel of Mark is actually the gospel of Peter.  Peter is said to have dictated his discipleship with Jesus to John Mark, who was a companion of his for many of the later years of his life.  If you read the Gospel of Mark you can see the extremely fine details of what appears to be an eyewitness from the perspective of Peter.  John Mark was not ever a disciple of Jesus and he was not an apostle.  There is little doubt that the work of Mark and his gospel is actually the story of Peter who retold the story and then was written down by John Mark.  This is testified by the fact that Mark was not present for Jesus’ ministry and the extremely intimate details that are described in Mark.  Some of the events where Peter, John, and James who were often alone with Jesus, like the Transfiguration, are like a first-person retelling of the story.

The next time you read the Gospel of Mark, think about Peter and see if you can not see more clearly the realization that this had to be Peter’s eyewitness account – an account that only Peter could tell.

Peter’s Glorious Ending

In the days leading up to Peter’s death, almost all of the apostles had been martyred.  Did Jesus actually predict Peter’s death by crucifixion when He said that “when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and take you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18-19)?  The church historian Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius state that Peter’s was stretched out by his hands, he was dressed in prison garb, he was taken where no one wanted to go (a crucifixion), and was crucified.  He was said to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the way that the Lord Jesus Christ had been.

From an arrogant, cocky, man of thunder, he became a humble, willing, obedient servant of the Lord even to death. He rejoiced in that day of his death, knowing that he would be reunited with his beloved Savior.  This was a lifetime of 65 years – of which his last thirty-three would be devoted to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the Old Testament, no one could even be a priest until they were thirty years of age.  David became king at age thirty and this age is near the peak of mental and physical abilities.  Peter will be one of only 12 apostles that will rule with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The lowly fisherman became a mighty fisher of men – and one that changed and shaped the world forever and is still proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ through his gospel (written by Mark), the book of Acts, and through the epistles of 1 and II Peter.

Who is your favorite Bible character? Let us know in the comments!

Resources:

www.youtube.com – Song  ” Walk on Water” by Britt Nicole

Photo: ©  V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers



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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Azariah January 5, 2016 at 11:30 am

Great story , am grateful to God to come acrose this story. But please as a christian would like to know more about my faith, my question is, who build the first church? Cause some christian said the Roman Catholic is the first Church.

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Jack Wellman January 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm

The Roman Catholic church came centuries later. Jesus built the first church and it is His church, not humans so ultimately, God is the one Who built the church.

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Anthony stanley January 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Apostle paul

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Jack Wellman January 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Thank you sir. The “Apostle Paul?” What do you mean Mr. Stanley? We have a similar article about the Apostle Paul at this link sir if you’d be interested:http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/apostle-paul-biography-and-profile/

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Fredrick Shieyo January 13, 2016 at 1:17 am

I am atheology degree student in kenya, just pray with me for God to to provid my fee for the last one year I’ve been out of class.

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That one chick January 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

This helped me alot with an assignment that i have to do so thank you

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Lindy Swanson January 24, 2016 at 1:01 am

I enjoyed this article. Thank you for writing it. I’m studying Peter’s life right now to understand his relationship with Jesus and the impact Jesus had on his life. It would be helpful if you could clarify where you found this information:
“Fishermen at that time were gruff, unkempt, vile, shabbily dressed, and often used vulgar language. The fishermen of the first century were a man’s man. They were full of vigor and had boisterous tempers.”

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/apostle-peter-biography-timeline-life-and-death/#ixzz3y8u1qTpM

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Peggy Farrell February 1, 2016 at 12:21 am

Great article. The truth for ages to come. Thank You .

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shayne February 6, 2016 at 1:09 am

Earlier tonight, in my eyes, I failed a test. While driving down the road I was crying out to God, praying and trying to hear God’s advice. I truly love God and I do confess that Jesus Christ is my savior, the son of God. I study, I pray, yet I get so upset at myself when I failed him. I couldn’t understand. Why do I fail yet I know how I feel about the Lord? Peter came to my mind. How Peter denied Christ and was ashamed. He felt the guilt. I’m thinking he felt like I did and even more. Yet Jesus Christ still loved him, called him, used him and found him worthy. I’m trying so hard and I beat myself up so much. I have so much more of my story I could tell you, but I just wanted to say thank you. I came home and was studying Peter and came across your message. It was very helpful. God bless you

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Anthony December 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm

I know what you are feeling, I as well have felt the same as you, I truly found Jesus not to long ago and let him in my life. He is my Savior and I love him and he loves me. The one thing you have to remember is that we are sinners, we are not perfect and Jesus Christ died on the cross for us to be given a opportunity to repent and truly pray to God for forgiveness, this was his plan. Use your times of weakness and transgressions as opportunities to remember how bad you felt to not fall in to temptation when tempted again in a similar situation. Ask for forgiveness, God will listen and you don’t need to burden yourself with the sin any longer. God not only loves us but he LIKES us, he wants us to succeed and be happy. Thanks for sharing your story

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Nonghilo semy February 9, 2016 at 11:14 am

Great article, thank you sir. Wanted to know more about the book of mark.

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Jack Wellman February 9, 2016 at 11:32 am
Kristy February 26, 2016 at 2:11 am

Dear Ps Jack, thank you for writing this article, enjoy reading it! May the Lord bless you!

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Lucy March 3, 2016 at 3:04 am

Dear jack,
Thank you for the article. I have heard Peter loved Jesus more than any other disciples did but Jesus loves John the most. Is it true?

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Jack Wellman March 3, 2016 at 8:11 am

Thank you Lucy for your question. It only says that John was the disciple that Jesus loved but it never says anywhere in the Bible that Jesus loved John or Peter more or they loved Him more. So I don’t think it’s true because it’s not found in Scripture. Good question Lucy.

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Adam March 10, 2016 at 11:56 am

Where is the information regarding Paul being taught by Jesus for 3yrs in the desert from. I am only aware of his conversion on the road.

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Jack Wellman March 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Thank you sir. That’s a great question. We have two articles that can help you know more about Paul’s being taught by Jesus Christ. We know that Paul was taught by Jesus Christ in the wilderness for three years as it says in Galatians 1:17,18 states that Paul spent three years in the Arabian desert being taught by Jesus Christ Himself. Compare Galatians 1:11-12, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” If we reject Paul’s revelation about the church, we ought to also reject the rest of his teachings, which means we must reject the vast majority of the New Testament. Of the 27 books of the New Testament, Paul wrote 14 books, or just over half of them. Thank you for your question Adam.

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Olivia April 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Thank you for the informative account of Peter. Do you have anything on Mary Magdalene please? Thank you.

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Jack Wellman April 4, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Yes Olivia, we do have something written on this precious saint of God, Mary Magdalene at t his link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/mary-magdalene-in-the-bible-character-profile-and-lessons/

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Ruben April 27, 2016 at 11:58 pm

Jack great writing! God bless you my brother! I am preaching on the life of Peter this Friday. Great source of information.

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someone May 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm

when was this article made

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Jack Wellman May 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

I believe it was written in 2011. Is there something wrong my friend?

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Jerod June 6, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Enjoyed it. I thought you might want to know.. Remember when Nathaniel toward the end of John 1, admitted that Jesus is the Son of God. So he probably was the first and not Peter (not that it matters).

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Josh June 9, 2016 at 3:06 am

good show

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Timothy Bolduc July 25, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Great synopsis. I am quoting you in a message I am working on for some guys in a drug program. I love this statement…From an arrogant, cocky, man of thunder, he became a humble, willing, obedient servant of the Lord even to death…

One question. you said he served God for 40 years lived to 65 and was born 1 BC. If the birth of Christ splits time and he was 30ish when he began his ministry I am a little confused. what am I missing? Not trying to be critical I just really like the 40 year point you made and want to understand the math. God Bless!

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Jack Wellman July 25, 2016 at 9:30 pm

Thank you Mr. Bolduc. I went back over my notes and discovered I had the wrong number. It should be thirty-three years. I did correct it. My apologies sir and thank you for catching that…and, I pray your message goes well pastor.

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Nick Winser July 30, 2016 at 11:53 am

Eish, I’m shocked that fellow Christians are being denied so much when looking for historically supported knowledge on the church and her history.

Peter as determined clearly in Matt 16:18 was given the spiritual keys to the kingdom of heaven by Jesus; even his name given by Jesus is Greek and Latin for ‘Rock.’ On this rock Jesus said He would build His church, and all that was taught by Him was handed on through the Apostles and then the Church Fathers (St. Augustine of Hippo & St. Clement of Rome for example), who with the grace of the Holy Spirit built the church into what it became (like the opening up of a flower after the seed – Jesus – died before rising into new life). But the majority of non-traditional Christians haven’t a clue about basic church history, thus are completely unaware of what’s there.

Even if you disagree with the history mentioned, I urge anyone reading this to find a decent book about the Church Fathers; you might be surprised. May I also recommend Leona Choy’s ‘My Journey to the Land of More’ (well known in evangelical circles).

Last note: The word Catholic is derived from the Greek ‘Katolikos’, meaning worldwide, or universal. The only reason it was ever used like today is when the Reformation (Re-interpretation perhaps) tore the church up in the 1500s onwards, non-Protestant Christians had to clarify what they were ‘labeled’ as in comparison to Protestants (who were ‘protesting’ against various aspects of Christianity as it had always been and thence starting up several different alternate church traditions. Hence the term Catholic Christians or Catholic Church came about; Catholic Church – the Church in the World.

So many misunderstandings, not least that some non-traditional Christians actually believe Catholics are not Christians… Or that Catholic Christians also worship Mary too…!

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Della F Sowunmi August 13, 2016 at 8:06 pm

Peter has always been my favorite character.

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Don Downie October 3, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Jack, have to let scripture correct you on something: you stated that Paul was in Arabia for 3 years from Galatians 1. In Gal.1:17-18, Paul says he returned to Damascus after being in Arabia then returned to Jerusalem 3 years later.
Still, I will commend you on a very well written article.

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Jack Wellman October 3, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Nice. I will look into that Mr. Downie. Great catch. I would rather be corrected than incorrect. Thank you. We do know that after Paul’s conversion, he disappeared into the desert for three years, during which time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. He emerged, ready to communicate divine truth.

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Don Downie October 4, 2016 at 10:57 am

Jack, my intent isn’t to argue but for us all to be on the same page in secondary issues. How do we know that Paul was in the desert for 3 years? During the 80’s and 90’s, I had read and heard people in the ministry say Paul was in the desert from 7 to 11 years and never knew where they got this from. As with the birth of Christ. King Herod died 4 BC and yet many won’t correct their time line of the life of Jesus and His birth prior to 4 BC.
One interesting thought is the date of the writing of the book of Revelation. Interestingly how it was nominally understood to have been written prior to 70 AD but now, many want to hold on to a latter date after 70 AD.
Never the less, thank you for responding.

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Jack Wellman October 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Thank you Mr. Downie. I didn’t take it as you being argumentative at all sir. Thank you for saying that. Luke’s record in Acts gives some details for the next “many days”, but by 9:32 his narrative shifts back to Peter and his visit to Cornelius. Paul doesn’t reappear until the end of the 11th chapter, and Luke’s full focus doesn’t return to Paul until the 13th chapter. A lot transpires in Paul’s life in the meantime. Where is Paul during that time, and what is he doing? Whichever it is, I do know that Paul was taught directly by Jesus Christ. Your points are well taken sir. I am in school now and working fulltime (a bi-vocational pastor) so I might not be able to respond quickly but I do appreciate your hunger for the truth sir. Thank you.

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Eric October 14, 2016 at 9:26 am

Good afternoon Pastor Wellman,

I am confused by a line in your article. What do you mean by, “Peter, like all humans before their calling, was a sinful man.”? Do you mean that Christians do not sin once they are saved? Or that the apostles did not sin after following Jesus?

Thank you

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Jack Wellman October 14, 2016 at 9:28 am

No, we were all sinful before being saved Eric. We all do sin after being saved but we do sin less. So everyone sins after they are saved (1 John 1:8, 10).

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Jerry October 17, 2016 at 4:29 am

please when did you write this article, I need to know so I can use it for citation

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Jack Wellman October 17, 2016 at 7:32 am

Thank you Jerry. This was written in July 21st, 2014.

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Retha Geehan October 25, 2016 at 11:01 am

Loved your reading on Saint Peter. Just got back from Rome and I thank God for that trip. Will never forget St.Peter’s, , The catacombs, St.Paul’s, The Vatican ect. Looking forward to your daily readings.
God bless you,
Retha

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Jeffrey November 20, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I’m curious as to how Peter’s wife dealt with him walking off the job to hang out the Someone he just met. I know that Peter’s mother in law is healed later….so this may have earned Pete some brownie points…… But that was sometime later…

You would expect some women to encourage husbands to give up their fishing HOBBY to get right with God as the wives and children would benefit….but if the hobby was the job…….how would that work…even NOW?

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Jack Wellman November 20, 2016 at 6:33 pm

I don’t know how that worked, but I do know it did work. I do remember Jesus saying ““If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26), which is Jesus’ way of using hyperbole or extreme exaggeration to say that compared to loving Him, it would look like hate. Everyone who follows Christ must give something up, right? He says, “Follow Me,” and not “Follow Me, unless you’re married or have a job or both.”

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Hugh Mungus December 8, 2016 at 3:53 pm

Peter was bold but often times in the wrong. Matthew 16:21-22.

I Looked On Here And I Didn’t See The Correlation?

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Mason Wade December 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Great description of Peter.

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Anthony December 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I know what you are feeling, I as well have felt the same as you, I truly found Jesus not to long ago and let him in my life He was my Savior and I love him and he loves me. The one thing you have to remember is that we are sinners, we are not perfect and Jesus Christ died on the Christ for us to feel the way we do but to be given a opportunity to repent and truly pray to God for forgiveness, this was his plan. Use your times of weakness and transgressions as opportunities to remember how bad you felt to not fall in to temptation when tempted again in a similar situation. Ask for forgiveness God will listen and you dont need to burden yourself with the sin any longer. God not only loves us but he LIKES us, he wants us to succeed and be happy. Thanks for sharing your story

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Megan January 4, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Why was Peter crucified?

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Jack Wellman January 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm

For preaching the gospel.

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Ellen February 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I think Peter is my favorite apostle because he was the “Rock” by which the Church was built. He was bold yet impulsive. Meaning that even though he made many human mistakes, he was still forgiven and used by God to start His Church. Peter loved Jesus and was the first apostle to recognize Him as the Son of the Living God.

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Jack Wellman February 6, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Thank you Ellen, however Christ does not say that He is making Peter the head of His church. The key to understanding this scripture lies in the correct translation of the Greek words here rendered “Peter” and “rock.” The Greek word translated “Peter” is petros, meaning “pebble” or “small stone,” while the word rendered “rock” is petra, meaning “big rock” or “huge boulder.” Christ says He would build His church on the boulder, not on Peter the pebble. Christ is the rock (1st Corinthians 10:4). He is also the “chief cornerstone,” upon which the church is built (Ephesians 2:20).

Although Peter is shown in a leadership position among the apostles throughout the gospels and Acts, the early church leaders did not function in a strict hierarchical manner. Read and study Acts 15:1-29. Here is a ministerial conference called to discuss a matter of doctrine causing division in the church (verse 6). Peter makes his point (verses 7-11), which is later adopted by the other apostles and elders (verse 22). But it is James, the physical brother of Jesus Christ and pastor of the Jerusalem church, who sums up the conference’s decision (verses 13-19). This helps us to understand how the apostles (plural) form the foundation of the church with the prophets (Ephesians 2:20).

Peter was not infallible. Read Matthew 16:21-23, where Jesus has to rebuke Peter severely for a wrong attitude immediately after His statement about the “rock.” In addition, the apostle Paul later corrects him publicly for returning to the Jewish practice of refusing to eat with Gentiles (Galatians 2:11-14).

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Colleen Snyder February 15, 2017 at 5:28 am

Where was Peter crucified?

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Jack Wellman February 15, 2017 at 8:50 am

Hello Colleen. The Bible doesn’t tell us where Peter died but church tradition says that Peter probably died by crucifixion (with arms outstretched) at the time of the Great Fire of Rome in the year 64. The writings of the 1st century Church Father Ignatius of Antioch refer to Peter and Paul giving admonitions to the Romans, indicating Peter’s presence in Rome.

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Zahir Omar March 9, 2017 at 6:26 pm

It make sense to me that Gospel of Mark is also Gospel of Peter as Mark was his son.

There was no trinity formula in Mark and so was Peter not using the formula when baptising.

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David Sheppard March 21, 2017 at 6:17 pm

I really like this summary of Peter’s life, but I wanted to know what the sources were on this? Was this all from previous knowledge or experience, because not all of this came from the bible, like the bit about him being crucified upside-down.

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Jack Wellman March 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

Thank you Mr. Sheppard. These are from early church histories that are basically so well known that the sources are the early church itself.

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Edward DeRocher March 23, 2017 at 1:43 am

PETER THE ROCK THAT AGES OR JESUS THE ROCK OF AGES
There is no indication of Peter being the prime Bishop in Rome or Rome as the governmental center for the whole Church. In 50 A.D. Claudius commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. “…Since the Jews were continually making disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he (Claudius) expelled them from Rome…” (Suetonius 75-160 A.D. Suet. Vita Claudii . xxv. 4 ) This would include Peter who was an apostle to the Jews. If Peter was obedient he would have left with the Jews that were expelled as his commission was to reach them. If not he would have been killed with the other Jews.
When Paul writes to the Romans in 58 A.D. He does not address the letter to Peter nor does he even make mention of him, although he takes the time to list 27 other names to greet. Paul does not refer to Peter in any of his 4 letters written from a Roman prison 60-61 A.D. (Eph. Col. Phil. Philemon) Why is this?
Most Agree that Babylon was code word for Rome (see Rev.17:1-9, 18:10,21)Peter writes
1 Pet 5:13 “She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you “ If Peter is writing from Rome then he is calling it Babylon. It would be hard to accept him ruling over Babylon. What does this mean if it is applied today?
Jerusalem, Judea was the center of the Jewish church of which Peter was the apostle to. The first 15 chapters of Acts and the book of Galatians we see Peters ministry to Jerusalem and surrounding areas until 45 A.D. We find that it was Paul who was sent to the gentiles, the other apostles said they would stay with the Jews (this includes Peter). Rome was a long ways from Jerusalem and was never considered a Jewish province. It was Paul who went out (with Barnabas and Mark) to the gentiles, the other apostles stayed in the area of their brethren. In Acts 15 we see multiple leaders of the Jerusalem church meet. When a dispute arose, Paul initiated a meeting. They gathered in Jerusalem church which James the Lords half brother was in charge and Peter was just one of the many elders. (James is called the brother of Jesus. In Gal.1:19 Jude calls himself the brother of James. These are the same brothers mentioned as Mary’s family that came to find Jesus several times Mt.13:55 and Mk.6:2-3 ). James had the leadership role stating “Wherefore my sentence is on his declaration the letter was sent back to Antioch. Acts 16:4 “ they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.” Notice it was decided by all not one, not by James and not Peter, and it was not in Rome. There was no doctrine incorporated by the Roman church found in the Bible.
Lets not forget who actually wrote the majority of the New Testament. In Scripture Peter wrote 2 letters, Paul wrote 12. We find that Peters 2nd letter was not fully accepted as inspired for a long time which certainly conflicts with him being the Pope, the head of the Church. Writing an inspired letter that is in scripture would not be questioned by the mother church for they would validate it. (The Gospel of Peter was rejected as also the Apocalypse of Peter -probably forgeries). Who decided this letter was to be included? Certainly not the church Peter was ruling over otherwise there would have been no delay.(canonizing the bible )
In Acts 18:2 it writes that Emperor Claudius commanded all the Jews to leave Rome, this would have included Peter. Unless of course he stayed, he would then be executed for disobeying (some say he did die in Rome which means he couldn’t have been a Pope over the whole Church). In 2 Timothy written from Rome just before Paul was martyred he writes, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Tim. 4:11). So there is no biblical justification for a Papacy and a single church ruling from Rome over all the church.
Church historian Michael Walsh in the illustrated history of the Popes, …Papal authority as it is now exercised, with its accompanying doctrine of Papal infallibility, cannot be found in theories about the Papal role expressed by early Popes and other Christians the first 500 years, Philip Schaff one of the greatest church historians writes the oldest links in the chain of Roman bishops are veiled in impenetrable darkness.
The Pope is considered the head of the Church (Catechism 883) the Bible teaches something quite different. Eph. 5:23 “Christ is head of the church”;Col.1:17-18 “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church.” We can be deceived if we are “not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”( Col. 2:19) Our spiritual growth is not dependent on the Church but Christ as the head.
The Pope is called the only authority over the church (Catechism 816). We find Peter considered himself a fellow elder (one among many) and is treated this way throughout scripture( 1 Pt.5:1-2). He is not the apostle overall the other apostles. In Peters 2nd epistle he states he is an apostle, not THE apostle. While Roman Catholics point to his name being first all the time this is simply not so in (although it often is). In Gal.2:9 he is named as One of the pillars, not THE pillar, and James is mentioned first and John last. Leadership in the New Testament is always Plural, never Singular. Peter makes No unique claims for himself but calls himself an eyewitness with the other apostles 2 Pt.1:16. So one cannot find this coming from his own mouth.
The subject of the papacy is one of great importance, claiming to be the “Vicar of Christ,” is the very foundation of Romanism. Without it, Roman Catholic Church cannot be what she is today. ( there can be no apostolic succession because it is from Peter). It is on this doctrine to keep in mind that the Romanism today stands or falls.
The word Petra for rock is used 16 times in the New Testament. 11 times of a massive cliff rock, a bedrock, 5 times symbolically of Christ himself. (EX.1 Cor.10:4 The rock in the wilderness is Christ)
The name Peter (Petros) a masculine noun means small rock or stone. In Mt. 16:18 is the first time it is used saying “I will build my church”, a future event when the Spirit is sent and the body of Christ is formed. Jesus said “ I say unto you ,you are Peter (Petros) and upon this Rock (Petra feminine noun meaning a massive rock) I will build my church.” First we see who the rock is, second we see it is Jesus building the church not Peter. it is Jesus who states I will build my church, he protects it and gives increase to it. When we think about a foundation for a building it needs to be reliable, this comes through testing. There is only one who the Bible speaks as the rock that cannot be moved, that is Christ. All one has to do is look at Peter and we find he was moved numerous times showing he cannot be the foundation of the Church. The church is built upon the rock, Christ.
If Jesus were actually referring to Peter as the rock, Jesus would not have used the MASCULINE word petros for the rock. Jesus instead used a different Greek word for “this rock” a FEMININE word petra indicating something other than Peter. Since the Holy Spirit guided the apostles writings into all truth we should expect the precise words used to convey the meaning (John 14:26; 16:13). Arguments such as they spoke in Aramaic don’t hold up either. Maybe they did speak this language but it was written in the Greek and therefore the distinction. The ones that were there and heard what Jesus said wrote it in Greek.
The Scripture also states the Church is also built upon the foundation of the apostles who were connected directly to Christ (Eph 2:20). The first stones of that building (the church) were laid next to the chief cornerstone (the rock) by their ministry. We find their names written in the foundations of the new Jerusalem, (Rev. 21:14). Notice they are collectively together, nowhere do we find Peter separately. Petros means a (piece of) rock; but the Scripture is saying very clearly Peter is related to the Rock because of his confession, not the rock himself. And he is not the only one to have this confession. The true rock (Petra) is massive. For the Church to spread throughout the world this rock it is built upon must be large enough to extend throughout the world and through time to support the Church. The word “church” literally means “those called out,” from the world. it can be applied to the church visible- or invisible, i.e., all those who are real Christians, a visible assembly or an “unassembled assembly” a spiritual house that is sometimes visible.
It was not Peter who was the rock, for the Old Testament of which both he and Paul both agree on explains who the rock is. Ps.18:31: “For who is our God except the Lord and who is our rock except our God. who is the church built on? Throughout the Old Testament the rock was synonymous with God 2 Sam 22:32: “For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? Deut 32:15: “Israel forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” Deut 32:18: “Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you.” Ps. 62:2: “He only is my rock and my salvation” Ps. 95:1: “calls God, “ the Rock of our salvation.” In 1 Cor.3:10 Paul claims to as a master builder saying there is no other foundation that can be laid, which is Jesus Christ. Christ is the one we build on and if built on any other, it will not endure the fire of testing for our work. “If anyone’s work which he has built on endures, he will receive a reward”(1 Cor.3:14). Paul’s statement is No human being was ever referred to as a rock in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, neither are they found in the New Testament. The “Rock” (stone, cornerstone) is reserved only for Jesus Christ (Matt 21:42; Isa. 28:16; Cor. 3:11; 10:4; Eph 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-8).
Isa. 44:8: “Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” This should settle any idea of anyone else being called the foundation stone for the Church.
Moses was told by the Lord in Exod. 17:6: “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” Paul using the Old Testament example explains in 1 Cor. 10:4: “and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” In the New Testament it is the same rock.
The altars built in the Old Testament were a type of the rock who was God. They were altars of offering and sacrifice, the rock that was laid in Zion was the foundation stone and the Church was built on this rock, a offering and sacrifice. The Church is made of those who confess just as Peter (through revelation) that he was the Son of the living God, God the savior. This is why they were told not to tell others what Peter had said, but to allow others to come to this conclusion on their own.
For one to confess this it means that they also believe in the gospel to save them. Not a Church , sacraments, baptism or any other thing. But the gospel itself instantly and gloriously transfers God’s mercy to the sinner by admitting his guilt and believing on the saviors work. (1 Cor.15:1-4)
Matt 7:2:4 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” The saying were pointing to the Messiah, to act on what he said was to build on the foundation of the rock. Is this Peter? No of course not, it is Christ (Lk.20:17-19 tells us it is Jesus who is the rock).
Who would know better than anyone else what Jesus meant? Peter right! Lets see how Peter interprets what the church now claims is applied to him.1 Pt.2:6 Peter quotes this verse of Rom.9:33 which is from Isa.28:16. The Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language and the rock refers to Christ, Paul agrees with Peter on the rock that stumbled Israel and uses the very same Old Testament scripture. Rom 9:31-33: “but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Is Peter the first Pope? When you read Peter’s statement in context, one understands immediately what he is talking about, it is that simple. Roman Catholicism says the rock is Peter, Peter says otherwise. Peter, the very one to whom Jesus is speaking to states in 1 Pt.2:4 “Coming to Him (Christ) as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men. It was Christ we come to. Peter here tells every Christian that he is a small stone along with the rest of us vs.5,” built up into a spiritual “temple,” and Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone (the rock). Peter quotes Isaiah, the prophet, who was speaking of prophetically of the coming of The Messiah. This question must be explained by the Catholic. God Himself and has built the Church. If Peter really was the “cornerstone “Why didn’t Isaiah say “Behold I lay in Rome a chief cornerstone?” Because it was laid in Zion not Rome.This crucial to understand where the authority lies. And what kind of a stone is he that wavers in his faith. So the rock couldn’t possibly be Peter who is just man. Imagine no ekkleesia (Church) without Peter? Since when is God so dependent on one man to do his work? God has not entrusted any human being to build the ekkleesia or have it built on them. He built it upon HIMSELF, by Jesus Christ.
It is the stone that the builders rejected that became the chief cornerstone, the rock that the church is built on. As Peter says God laid in Zion a stone a chief cornerstone which is the foundation stone to the building, which is the Church. A cornerstone is a huge rock, this is the rock that Christ was speaking of. And it must be something that is eternal, a living stone to last through all the ages.
In 1 Pt.2:7, “Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious stone (Peter is not saying I am precious) and he who believes on him will by no means be put to shame.” Is this Peter we are to believe on? Peter goes on saying in v.7 “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, “and “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.” Who was rejected? Christ. What is the church built on? Christ. Who is one to believe on? Christ. Who do you trust and believe in? Christ. If one trusts in Peter they will be ashamed. Certainly not Peter nor any other apostle called themselves the foundation or had one to believe on them. we are told to believe on the stone, speaking of Christ. 1 Pt.5:4 Peter goes on to identify the chief shepherd as Jesus. Not himself!
Therefore to you who believe he is precious but to those who are disobedient (disbelieve) the stone that the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone. Who was rejected? Christ. what is the church built on? Christ. Who is one to believe on? Christ. who do you trust? Christ. If one trusts in Peter they will be ashamed, he is the wrong foundation. Ps.18:31 “For who is our God except the Lord and who is our rock except our God. who is the church built on? In 2 Cor.3:10 Paul claims to be a master builder and says there is no other foundation that can be laid, which is Jesus Christ. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Eph.2:20, “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” The cornerstone was a massive rock cut as the foundation stone which is put in the corner and out of both sides would come the apostles and prophets. Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone between the old and new testaments
The Builder and Maker of the church is Christ himself; as he states, “I will build it”. The Church is a living temple which is a dwelling place for the holy Spirit and we are temple made up of living stones which He is building together. Peter writing to the Christians dispersed through the Roman provinces in Asia (1 Peter 1:1) in 1 Pt.2:5 You also as living stones are being built up to a spiritual house.” Heb.3 “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” V.6 “But Christ as a Son over his own house whose house we are.” Christ is the head of the house which is the body of Christ. He is the architect (builder) of all things even the church is built by and on Christ. Christ is the head of the body, together and as individuals we are directed by Him, not by a priesthood or a Pope.
The Popes say that Peter was the rock, but Peter himself said Jesus is the rock (1 Peter 2:4-8). He even preaches this to all of Israel in Acts 4:11speaking of Christ, “This is the stone the builders rejected (Christ) which has become the chief cornerstone”, he then proclaims there is salvation in no other “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” That rock is our salvation, this is what the Church is built upon. Salvation is found in the person of Christ not in the church or in sacraments. It is found in the rock just as Jesus said, he would build his church on this confession. The rock was the confession of Peter’s revelation, this is the very reason why he is commended. This is something the Father testified all through Christ’s ministry. Sometimes it was audible as at the baptism and the transfiguration when the Father spoke “this is my beloved son” and accompanied it by supernatural signs. It is this confession of Jesus being the Son of God that the universal church is built on.
Luke 20:17-19: “Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone?” Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people– for they knew that He had spoken this parable against them.” Have you fallen on this stone who is Christ? Which stone are you on? For if you have not fallen on the stone, it will one fall on you and crush you.
Was (only) Peter given the keys of the kingdom (Mt.16:19)
“I will give you the keys of heaven,” if this means it is to Peter only, than there can be no Roman Catholic justification for it being given to anyone afterwards. Yet there is no scripture that entertains this idea of apostolic succession.
“I will give you the keys” at the time was future tense, meaning after Jesus’ resurrection; when He ascended on high, He gave those gifts (Eph. 4:8) empowered the apostles with the Holy Spirit so they may employ their authority under Christ. Peter had the pronouncement of the keys given to him first but not him alone. This power of authority was actually given, not to Peter only, but to all the apostles. This is a delegated spiritual power; it is a power pertaining to all the things of the kingdom of heaven. The figure of the keys is of a building with keys that are used to open from the outside. Jesus gives to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, meaning that he will make him the instrument of opening the door of faith to the world, first to preach the gospel to the Jews and then the Gentiles. In this way what is bound on earth is bound in heaven.
It is Christ the Risen Lord who has “the keys of death and of Hades” (Rev. 1:18; 3:7) He has “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” which he gives to Peter (and the others) as a “gatekeeper.”
The master of the house gives the keys to the steward, but it was not to only one, but many. This promise was renewed and given to all the disciples Mt.18:18. Put in context is about church discipline. Notice it says “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven…Again I say to you that if TWO of you agree on earth concerning anything they ask…” The keys included doctrine, called the key of knowledge. As the apostles were instructed by Christ they taught others, and by the teaching of the Holy Spirit. “Since the power of binding and loosing, which is here conferred upon Peter, is ascribed (Matt 18:18) to the apostles generally, the power conferred upon the former is set in its proper light, and shown to be of necessity a power of a collegiate nature, so that Peter is not to be regarded as exclusively endowed with it, either in whole or in part, but is simply to be looked upon as first among his equals” (Meyer on Matt 16:19; 18:18).
As Scripture teaches Peter is not exclusively gifted with the keys but only first among his equals. For it says that two or more must agree not just one as in speaking Ex Cathedra. Whatever this meant, it was extended to all the apostles and to the Church to practice today. As Christ’s followers through all ages have the power to admit into the church under his command Go, disciple all nations, baptizing them and teaching those who profess faith in Christ.
Peter had the privilege to use the keys by presenting the gospel in Acts 2 to the Jews first, in Acts 8 to the Samaritans and in Acts 10 to the Gentiles. But he was called to be the apostles to the Jews which certainly would disqualify him from being in Rome ruling over gentiles. (That was Paul’s ministry. If he did visit Rome it was not to stay or rule there.)
To “bind and loose” in the vernacular of the Jews at that time, signified to prohibit and permit; to teach or declare a thing to be unlawful was to bind; to be lawful, was to loose. As the leadership was ripped from non believing Israel and given to the apostles; some things forbidden by the law of Moses were now to be allowed, as the eating of such and such meats; some things allowed there were now to be forbidden. Acts 10:13-16And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.” By God loosening the restrictions permitting non kosher foods to be eaten Peter understands the vision through the gentiles. Peter used these keys in a legislative sense of ‘loosing” as Peter saw God’s spirit moving to declare the gentiles clean. Just as it was revealed to him in previously by a vision in Acts 10:9-48. The Lord was telling him to eat what was on the sheet. Peter refused because it was forbidden to eat unclean animals under the mosaic Law. After three times of the Lord saying to eat because they are now clean, Peter then begins to contemplate what the vision meant. This had a two-fold meaning that the foods once forbidden were now permitted from this Peter concludes as he sees that the Lord had cleansed all by his blood so to the gentiles can be saved.
Peter also used the keys in judicially “binding” punishing Annanias and Sapphirra for their lying to the Holy Spirit.
“Now there arose a dispute among them, which of them was reputed to be the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and they who exercise authority over them are called Benefactors. But not so with you. On the contrary, let him who is greatest among you become as the youngest, and him who is chief as the servant.’“ (Luke 22:24-26).
The Pope has people bow down to him and kiss his ring (this was often a sign of worship). When men bowed to Peter in Acts 10:25-26 he refused them telling them to “stand up, I myself am a man” If Peter is to be the example should not the Pope follow it?
The fact that the apostles had an argument among themselves shows they certainly did not understand that Peter was to be Pope. Jesus had the chance to correct them if this were so. Also, the occasion of the argument was the night of the betrayal- the last night of the Lord’s earthly ministry- and yet the apostles still did not understand that Christ had given Peter a position of primacy. Even after the so called “ exaltation of Peter” in Mt.16:16 where Jesus said He would give Peter the keys of the kingdom, less than two chapters later we see that He gave it to them all (Mt.18). Why do this if it is exclusive? Because ALL the apostles were to be the foundation not only one of them. The Lord settled the argument, not by stating that He had already made Peter head, but by declaring that the Gentiles have their head rulers, “But not so with you.” Jesus very plainly taught that no one would occupy any such place as a ruler (or Pope) exercising authority over the whole church. Peter said they will all abandon you but not I. What did Jesus say? Before the night is over ( the rooster crows) you will deny me 3 times. Not a good sign for one who would lead the Church.
1 Peter 1:1 Peter’s letters employ his apostleship in the introduction. Because he is addressing churches which he had no immediate connection with him, but with Paul. Paul later states: “For I consider that I am not at all INFERIOR to the most eminent apostles” (2 Cor. 11:5). Notice that Paul uses the plural form “APOSTLES,” not “A or THE apostle.”
The Bible makes it clear the foundation of the church is not on one apostle but all of them.
Eph 2:20 “ having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.” It is not built on Peter as Roman Catholicism claims. In heaven as on earth god recognizes them equally. “Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” There is not Peter with the eleven, he is included with the twelve.( Rev 21:14)
Eph 4:11-12 “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” There is no pope mentioned for the church’s instruction. Peter states in 2 Pet 3:2 “that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior”

Without the Papacy and the succession of Peter there is no Roman Catholicism. Their church stands or falls upon this teaching. The true Church stands and falls by its teachings and practices of Christ from the word of God in the Bible alone. Jesus said “if you continue in my word you are certainly my disciples.” When Jesus gave this power to the apostles, He meant that whatsoever they forbid or permit in the church would have authority in conducting His teachings. This same authority is written of in the Scripture and used for governing the church today.

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Ellen Collins April 23, 2017 at 11:28 am

I’m currently doing a school project and can’t seem to find some bibliography information. Can anyone help?

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Jack Wellman April 23, 2017 at 12:55 pm

What is it you are looking for Ellen?

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