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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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

That kid March 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Im jus a kid… im dat kid

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Constance A. May 21, 2019 at 8:16 pm

You know, this isn’t a chat room. If you want to make comments like that, go to a place where it’ll be appreciated. Thank you!

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Sicko mode June 23, 2019 at 9:35 pm

No you, you leave you uncultured person

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Daryl Locklear May 5, 2019 at 9:50 pm

Montpellier, France
I really like Peter. Fisherman, tough, headstrong, impulsive (Lord, we…we must build them shelters!), defender of Jesus (Garden of Gethsemane, even though outnumbered, cuts off the man’s ear), ‘Hey, i want to do that too!’ (walks on the water, briefly!), sometimes he doesn’t quite get it at first but his heart is in the right place, grows to ultimate humility upside down on his cross…Peter’s The Man! A delight. He is one of about 25 reasons I came into the Catholic Church.

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Tich November 8, 2019 at 8:48 am

But Peter was not a catholic, he was a christian.
The catholic church does not believe in St Peter’s epistles and also they do not believe in the book of “Acts”.

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Setu Petaia April 8, 2020 at 12:09 am

I agree. Peter was not a Catholic because Catholicism had not existed yet until way later … but not during the first century. Peter also opened the Kingdom (cf. Mat. 16:19) which began in Jerusalem after Peter’s sermon on Pentecost (circa 30 AD) as recorded in Acts 2:1ff; 41-47). Peter was also a married man (Mathew 8:14-17, Mark 1:29-31 & Luke 4:38)

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Constance A. May 21, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Peter and I have a lot in common, I resonate with him and He’s one of my favorite Apostles!

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Maricar V May 26, 2019 at 11:39 pm

My favorite saint is Saint Isidore….

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DeAnna September 9, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Found this a interesting read, and learn a few things I didn’t know. Thank you.
I have several people I admire from the Bible.
All 12 apostle, Ester, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Naomi, they all have certain characters that make me want to study them more. Along side with Jesus/ God/Holy spirit.

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Cindy October 22, 2019 at 12:20 am

I am blessed to be able to read about Peter and learn things I was unsure of. Thanks for sharing

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Charlie Suruban November 27, 2019 at 2:59 am

We have read the script about the biography of Peter and we were blessed about the character of Peter as a person who was determined, hard working and someone who has faith in Jesus Christ to become his first disciple.

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kelly cushman November 30, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Thank you Jack, This is well written and comphrehensive enough to actually learn from. It helps tell the story of the man and makes it easier to transition into his writings.

Ill watch for more writings with your name attached to them.

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Jack Wellman November 30, 2019 at 3:31 pm

You are so kind Kelly and thank you for the encouragement. Really, it is all about Him (Psalm 115:1; 1 Cor 4:7).

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Carey F Daly December 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm

I don’t know if this is the appropriate place for this comment, but I am having difficulty with Paul, who I believe was endorsed by the Apostle Peter. I started to read Paul’s letters and got turned off with what I read as arrogance and self praise in a subtle form. I have started questioning why Paul is recognized as an apostle when I discovered a statement that Peter had verified him as an apostle. I have serious doubt. Jesus named 12 men. One betrayed him leaving 11. I don’t see the need to make it 12 again by any of Jesus teachings?

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Jack Wellman December 1, 2019 at 6:10 pm

There will be 12 pillars and the apostles will be those 12, so we must have 12 and not 11. Scripture speaks of 12 in Revelation too, so you cannot have 11. Paul was called by Jesus Christ directly to be an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9) so you are disagreeing with what Jesus told God. Paul was a humble man who called himself the chief of sinners and the least of the apostles so that is not arrogance or self-praise but humility. He is an apostle and with Judas betrayal, that leaves 12. Matthias was never called by God but chosen by men. You never hear from or about the apostle the discples chose, but Paul you hear much about. It must be 12 so you are wrong Carey. Please study this a bit more and you will see Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles but also witnessed to hundreds of Jews. Please don’t be so harsh on Paul for God loves Paul but you can’t stand him. There’s something very wrong about that.

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Raul October 6, 2020 at 6:12 am

Amen.Paul wrote almost half the New Testament so the effort to discredit him is a subtle way of discrediting scripture.Boy is Satan subtle and brilliant!Paul said he wished he could be sent to hell for his Jewish brethren, it doesn’t get more humble than that

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Jack Wellman October 6, 2020 at 10:22 am

Amen to what you wrote sir. Thank you so much Raul.

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shirley sutterfield December 2, 2019 at 11:15 am

Peter has all ways been my favorite Apostle from the time I became a child of God.

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Boldnfire December 17, 2019 at 10:48 am

I would like to know more about Peter’s life I have been studying on his life.

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Peter Andoh December 20, 2019 at 11:20 pm

I wanted to know much about apostle Peter

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Twana January 10, 2020 at 8:18 am

I have several favorite biblical characters David being my first because he was a man after Gods on heart. I also love Queen Vashti she was just real lol and Job and paul and Ruth how she admired her mother in law and follwed her and ended up with Boaz, a great man, we all as women would want one day. Also Paul and Peter I love. I could go on and on because I love so many but Ill leave it at those few for now. God bless and keep teaching and spreading the gospel.

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Dan Renziehausen January 10, 2020 at 2:31 pm

Wonderful wonderful reading !!
Thank you so very much

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Jack Wellman January 10, 2020 at 3:08 pm

Thank you Mr. Renziehausen.

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Denise January 20, 2020 at 11:13 pm

Peter was the perfect example that God does not have to wait for his people to become perfect before He can utilize them for the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you, Mr. Wellmen for this brief insight on the Apostle Peter.

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elizabeth gallahan January 21, 2020 at 9:45 am

do you think we could have the apostles as guilds as they were born in the month as us?

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Jack Wellman January 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Hello Elizabeth. Not sure what you mean by can we have the apostles as guilds? Do you mean guides? We don’t know what month they were born in.

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LUCY ANNE J January 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm

I like Peter so much i have so much in common…

ps

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Mark vincent Mkar April 9, 2020 at 10:21 am

Peter is one of the the Apostles that the Lord Jesus Christ has put all his trust and his spirit in him,I love Peter his is a grade servant of God.

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Lal Gangte April 28, 2020 at 7:30 am

I have a few things i wld like to knw, if i can be helped here pls.
Why was Peter Fishing the whole Night, before he met Jesus in the morning, or was it a normal thing for a fishermen to do, during that time? ( Was he going through a challenging time as depicted in the Movie The Chosen? )

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Jack Wellman April 28, 2020 at 9:47 am

Hello Lal. I believe Peter thought the Lord had lost faith in him so he went back to fishing, but Jesus’ came to Him and restored him. It was normal for fishermen to fish at this time…the best time for catching fish I hear is early morning and overnight, but there is no biblical evidence Peter fished all night or the whole night.

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joycelyn davis September 5, 2020 at 11:33 am

I want to answer comments that Tich made about Catholics not believing in Acts and Peter. This is not true. Catholics believe that all books in the bible are divinely inspired by God and are read as such by them. Also, before his conversion, Paul was a Pharisee who persecuted Christians, and he saw a light asking him why he was doing it? Another comment by you was that Paul learned about Christ in the desert and no mention of Paul’s missionary journeries/trips. Also, the Apostle Peter was made head of the Christ.

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Jack Wellman September 5, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Hello Joycelyn. Thank you for your comment but you said “the Apostle Peter was made head of the Christ” but this is not found in Scripture. Peter was part of the foundation like the prophets, Jesus being the Cornerstone (Heb 1-1-2) and Eph 2:19-22 says the church is part of “the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Peter was not the first Pope. In fact, the papacy is a product of man’s design, not God’s. Peter was not even the outstanding leader of the apostles. He was a fisherman turned disciple and apostle by God’s grace. He even denied the Son of God during Jesus’ trial (Matthew 26.33-35, 69-75). He was a busybody about John’s ministry (John 21.15-22). Peter gave in to legalism during a trip to Antioch and Paul had to correct him (Galatians 2.11-14). Yet Peter was also the disciple who answered Jesus’ question, “But who do you [all] say that I am?” with “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

Jesus responded to Peter’s correct statement by telling him, “And I also say to you that you are Peter” (petros, a stone or rock). This is nominative masculine singular; it refers to Peter. “And upon this rock (petra, a massive rock or rocky place…it refers to Peter’s statement about Christ) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus was telling Peter that he was correct and that Jesus would build his church on himself (Jesus Christ), the doctrine of which was embodied in Peter’s statement “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Neither historically, linguistically, nor theologically did Jesus build his church upon Peter. This was never Peter’s church nor is it our church but Jesus’ said He will build His church. Peter cannot run the church in Judea because he is gone to heaven, so if the church was built on Peter…that’s bad because his body died and he’s not here on earth anymore.

Because Peter answered correctly, Jesus told Peter “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Keys refer to authority and right to make decisions. This was an honor for Peter, apparently because he responded in faith to revelation about Jesus. Verse 19 has been taken in various ways. The understanding turns on what is meant by the “kingdom of heaven” in this context. There are really two choices. Either it refers to the apostolic ministry in the opening years of the church or it refers to the messianic kingdom promised in the Old Testament. Which ever interpretation one takes, but clearly, the Roman Catholic Church has no basis for their doctrine of priesthood in this passage.

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Peter September 15, 2020 at 1:52 am

this information is impotent to me and i love this website.

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Felicity Ivins October 4, 2020 at 1:35 am

Thank you so much for the write up about Peter, I do believe all Jesus apostles had something special to give and continue to give thought scripture.

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LeRoy Billy October 29, 2020 at 6:44 pm

The question of the twelve was answered in the upper room while awaiting the “promise”, Holy Spirit, when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. As far as Peter. He never claimed to be the Vicar of Jesus Christ and would have shuddered if anyone kneeled to him and I doubt he wore a ring to be kissed. If you want to know about the remake of the Babylonian system of religion check it out and it will lead you to the correct conclusion. Fisherman’s “hat” and all. Just the facts. And, I am truly sorry, but that’s the way it is.

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