Peter was the name Jesus gave to Simon son of Jonah (or son of John), a Galilean fisherman and one of the first called to follow Jesus (John 1:42). The Greek word petra means “rock,” as does the Aramaic equivalent, “Cephas.” Peter and his brother Andrew came from Bethsaida, a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee. Simon Peter was a prominent member of Jesus’ twelve disciples and part of the inner circle formed by himself, James, and John. Many stories in the Gospels single out Peter for special attention: he hailed Jesus as the Christ at Caesarea Philippi, he tried to walk on water with Jesus, but he denied his master three times after Jesus was arrested.
After Jesus’ resurrection, John’s Gospel describes a unique conversation between Jesus and Peter (John 21:15-19). In the first five chapters of the book of Acts, Peter plays a central role as the most prominent member of the Jerusalem church. Later in that book, he sees a vision and is led to meet Cornelius, resulting in his statement that “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). Before exiting the narrative of Acts, he is miraculously freed from imprisonment and is instrumental in persuading fellow believers to receive Gentile converts into the church without requiring the males among them to be circumcised (Acts 12:1-17; 15:6-21).
Paul, in Galatians 2:11-14, recounts a dispute he had with Peter in Antioch. The books of 1 Peter and 2 Peter are attributed to Peter.