Simon (Simeon) Peter Character Sketch

Simon (Simeon) Peter Character Sketch

Before we begin, I want to point out that Simon’s proper first name is Simeon (Simon being the Greek form of Simeon). Also, Pter was not Simon’s last name but, instead, it was a new name given to him by Jesus following the confession of Matthew 16:16)

In Aramaic, Peter is rendered as Kefa which the KJV displays as Cephas.  Were he to be addressed in the common language, Aramaic, he would be Shimon Kefa. 

The content below is adapted from the Life Revocery Bible and is used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. Tyndale retains all rights and privilegs related to the Life Recovery Bible

Simon the fisherman was reckless, vacillating, and often thoughtless. We would never nickname such a person Peter, which means “rock.” Jesus did. What greater evidence could there be that Jesus not only accepted Simon as he was but also envisioned what he would become? By the end of his life Simon’s nickname, Peter, appropriately described his steadfast maturity. What an amazing transformation took place in that burly fisherman!

Most of us readily identify with Simon Peter. His intentions were usually good, but he was impetuous in speech and impulsive in action. Instead of standing in awe at the Transfiguration, he blurted out the first idea that came into his head. When Jesus revealed that his divine mission would involve a painful death, Peter rashly told Jesus to stop talking that way. At the Last Supper he brazenly objected to Jesus washing his feet. When Jesus was arrested, Peter bravely but brashly cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Finally, at a critical point in his life, Peter denied Jesus three times. Even as Jesus was restoring Peter from this failure, Peter’s attention was on John rather than on what God was doing for him.

Later in Simon’s life we see what Jesus saw when he called him “Rock.” Peter presided over the meeting to select a successor to Judas. At Pentecost he preached publicly about Jesus despite the opposition he knew he would face. Peter performed several miracles and was himself miraculously rescued from prison. Peter was the apostle who had the spiritual insight to proclaim the great confession at Caesarea Philippi, stating clearly that Jesus Christ is the only means to salvation.

In Simon Peter’s life we see hope for our transformation and recovery. He was amazingly transformed by God, but we should remember that he was never made perfect. The apostle Paul described in Galatians 2:11-14 how Peter acted hypocritically. Despite his imperfections, however, his transformation had a profound effect on the world around him; his words, actions, and letters became a significant part of the early church’s spiritual foundation.

STRENGTHS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  • Simon’s natural boldness was used to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

  • He was the recognized leader and spokesman for the twelve disciples.

  • He was inspired to write letters to encourage believers (1 and 2 Peter).

  • His natural enthusiasm was later channeled into disciplined courage.

WEAKNESSES AND MISTAKES:

  • Simon often spoke and acted before he thought about the consequences.

  • His temperament was mercurial; he quickly moved from professed loyalty to betrayal.

  • Even after his transformation, he allowed a situation to govern his actions at least once (Galatians 2:11-14).

LESSONS FROM HIS LIFE:

  • Jesus Christ has enough power to transform even the most unlikely people.

  • God can transform our faults into powerful tools for use in his Kingdom.

  • When people make themselves available, they can always be used by God.

KEY VERSE:

“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’) and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18).

There is extensive biblical material on Simon Peter in the Gospels and Acts 1–15. In Paul’s letters, Peter is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; and Galatians 1:18; 2:7-14. Some material about him may also be gleaned from his two letters, 1 and 2 Peter.

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