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Peter’s Death in The Bible

Peter’s death in the bible is confirmed in the Acts 12:1-3 where it clearly states that Herod, (who was the one who personally killed John the Baptist) also slaughtered many of James’ relatives. Read on for peter crucified upside down bible verse and the story of peter in the bible summary.

Since the subject of death is addressed so often in Christian literature, one might wonder what Peter’s death in the bible reveals. This article digs into this question to discover how apostolic death was understood and interpreted in both the biblical texts and apocryphal works. Peter is one of the figures in the New testament. He is well known to have been a leader of the early christians in Jerusalem and was considered Saint Peter. He was one of the first people said to have met Jesus after his crucifixion, being the first to recognize him. At one point he also denied Jesus three times before he realized what he was doing and then repented for his actions. In the bible, the apostle Peter is known for his role in the New Testament. He was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and one of the first to follow him. In Acts 12:1-19, Peter was imprisoned and miraculously freed by an angel, with whom he went on to preach Christianity.

Peter’s death is not mentioned in the bible or in any other text from that time period. However, there are several theories about how he died and where. Some believe that he died after being crucified upside down due to his denial of Jesus during his trial. Others believe that he was killed by Nero or by Herod Agrippa after being caught preaching Christianity. There is also some evidence that he survived until 68 A.D., but this is not widely accepted as fact. The death of Saint Peter is a very significant event in the New Testament.

How Do We Know Peter Was Crucified Upside Down

Peter is believed to have died as a martyr for his faith. Although his death is not described in Scripture, numerous writers of the time (or shortly thereafter) described his death as having occurred in Rome during the reign of the emperor Nero in 64 CE. His execution was ordered by the Roman Emperor Nero, who blamed the city’s Christians for a terrible fire that had ravaged Rome. Peter requested to be crucified upside down, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ.

Some traditions maintain that Peter was martyred in Rome, dying by crucifixion. In some accounts, Peter asks to be crucified upside down, feeling himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way that Jesus was. His death is dated sometime between 64-68 CE.

Peter stated that Ananias had lied not to men, but to God. Because of his actions Ananias died on the spot and was carried out. Everyone who heard about the incident feared the Lord. Three hours after Ananias’ death his wife arrived, unaware of what had happened.

Pope Saint Apostle Peter
Birth nameShimon (Simeon, Simon)
Bornc. AD 1 Bethsaida, Gaulanitis, Syria, Roman Empire
Diedbetween AD 64 and 68 (aged 62–67) Rome, Roman Empire
ParentsJohn (or Jonah; Jona)

What Scripture Says Peter Was Crucified Upside Down

Church tradition indicates Peter was crucified and asked to be hung upside down out of respect for Christ’s similar death. While this seems like a terrible fate, it implies something Peter would find encouraging: his faith would never fail him again. According to tradition, the apostle Peter was crucified upside down at his own request. While the Bible does not explicitly state the manner of Peter’s death, there are several verses that can be interpreted as supporting this tradition. Here are 10 Bible verses that shed light on Peter’s crucifixion:

1. Matthew 16:24-25

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

2. John 21:18-19

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.

3. Acts 12:3-4

When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

4. John 13:36-37

Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

5. 1 Peter 4:14-16

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

6. Matthew 26:31-33

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

7. 2 Peter 1:14-15

Since I know that it will soon be time for me to lay aside this tent of mine, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

8. Luke 22:31-32

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

9. John 13:8-9

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10. Acts 9:39-43

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Peter’s death in the bible

According to John 21:18, Peter was to be put to death.

He has a vision of his own crucifixion (Acts 10:9-16).

In this passage, Peter has a vision of his own crucifixion. He sees the Roman soldiers come to arrest him and take him away to be executed. This is an important lesson for Christians to learn: we are all going to die someday. But God will not let us die without first bringing glory to Himself through our lives here on earth, so as long as we live in obedience and faithfulness, even death itself cannot overcome us.

In the Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans, considered a pseudepigraphal work written in the 2nd century, Peter is described as having preached in Rome and suffered martyrdom there by being crucified upside down at his own request.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:19)

Jesus said to Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:19) after Peter confessed that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. The term “key” in biblical times means authority. Keys represent the authority to open or close something. Jesus gives these keys to Peter and through him, to his Church—the Catholic Church which has been entrusted with this revelation from Christ since its beginning (see Matt. 16:18).

Peter’s story is an important part of the Bible.

Peter is considered the leader of the apostles. He was also the first pope, church father, and bishop of Rome. Peter was both a Jew and a Roman citizen when Jesus called him to follow his teachings.

Peter’s story is an important part of the Bible because it teaches us that anyone can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

Who Was Peter and Why Was He So Important?

Who Was Peter and Why Was He So Important?

Who was Peter?

Peter’s life is, perhaps, the greatest redemption story ever recorded. 

Fishermen in his day were considered manly men with hot tempers and vulgar language. They were traditionally uneducated but would’ve had ample wits and survival skills acquired by working hard and braving the seas and fish markets. Fishermen were stereotypically men of action, very physical, and unafraid of others, which Peter demonstrates when he cuts off the soldier’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane at Jesus’ arrest—a fleshly reaction of violence instead of love as he’d heard Jesus preach for three years. 

Yet this simple fisherman’s journey to an apostle of Christ is found throughout the New Testament. According to church tradition, the gospel of Mark is actually a collaboration with John and Mark, who wrote and put it together as a retelling of Peter’s life—a biography of sorts. Then, Peter’s plight of spreading the Good News is found in the Book of Acts, and he wrote two letters to new Christians which were adopted into the Bible.  Pictured below: Peter and fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. 

The impact of Peter’s life cannot be summed up in an article or even a few of them, because his influence is rich with knowledge, applicational studies, and relevant messages. But I’d like to present four notable points concerning Peter’s example and ministry. It is my hope these spur you on to do your own study of this complicated and imperfectly perfect man.

Peter was a sinful man, yet he became a part of Christ’s inner circle. 

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke list Peter as the very first disciple called on by Jesus, followed closely by Peter’s brother Andrew, then James and John. 

Matthew and Mark’s accounts are an almost identical telling of when Jesus approached their fishing boats. But Luke adds more detail, painting a picture of Peter and Jesus having a sincere moment at the very beginning of their relationship. Upon seeing the miracle of fish on an otherwise barren fishing trip, Peter realizes his sinful state and gives glory to the Lord before him by falling to his knees and exclaiming, “‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8 NIV). Yet Jesus looked at this wicked man and said, “‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’” (Luke 5:10 NIV). 

After His words, Peter and the other three drop everything, including their very identities as fishermen, and begin a beautiful journey with Jesus. Peter continued to make mistakes time and again, but Jesus, as is His nature, loved Peter wholeheartedly and continued to use him in His kingdom’s work. This included Peter’s proclamation that Jesus was the Messiah (Luke 9:20). 

Peter is considered a part of Jesus’ inner circle because there are quite a few incidents where only Peter, John, and James were witnesses, including the Transfiguration. This was when Jesus’ physical appearance changed to reveal His divinity (Matthew 17:2), Moses and Elijah appeared in “glorious splendor” before them (Luke 9:30 NIV), and the Father spoke from a cloud saying, “‘This is my Son, whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!’” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).

Peter’s close-knit relationship with Jesus proves that He longs for an intimacy with His followers—normal, everyday people, like Peter, and like you and me. Seeing how Jesus took an uneducated, sinful man and loved him infinitely gives us assurance He can do this for us as well.  Pictured below: Jesus washing the feet of Peter

Peter grew in maturity as a follower of Jesus.

During Jesus’ ministry, Peter was a man who wanted a mighty faith but faltered often. He stepped onto the rough sea to meet Jesus walking on water, yet even after safely taking a few steps, he begins to doubt and plunges into the waves. In this passage, Jesus saves him of “little faith” (Matthew 14:31). Later, Peter even rebuked the Lord after He foretold of His death, saying, “‘Never, Lord… This shall never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:22 NIV). And after Jesus was arrested, before the rooster crowed the next morning, Peter disowned Him three times (Matthew 26:69-75). 

Even still, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, having been restored and forgiven by His Lord, Peter becomes the spokesman for the apostles. This unschooled man spoke with boldness to crowds of thousands, bringing them the Good News and converting them to what we now call Christianity. In his 30-plus years of doing work for God’s Kingdom, he performed many miracles including bringing the dead back to life (Acts 9:36-43). He traveled all over sharing Jesus’ message, enduring persecution, imprisonment, and ultimately death, showing his maturity by living a Spirit-led life. 

For in 1 Peter 2:2, Peter, himself, says, “Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (NIV). You see, Peter recognized time spent with Jesus should produce maturity in the believer’s relationship as it had with him. This can be evidenced by one’s obedience to His Word and the spiritual fruit one bears. I pray with each passing day my growth in understanding of Jesus strengthens, so He can use me in ministry like He did with Peter. 

Peter showed the world non-Jews can be Christians. 

The significance of Acts 10 through Acts 11:18 cannot be understated. After a vision, Peter went to the house of a Gentile named Cornelius. At this time, it was “against our (Jewish) law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.’” (Acts 10:28 NIV). Yet, knowing what the Lord wanted, Peter led Cornelius and his family to Christ and witnessed them receiving the Holy Spirit. Peter then baptized the family in the name of Jesus. 

Peter is questioned about this by the Jewish believers. He told them his story, saying, “‘if God gave them the same gift (the Holy Spirit) he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?’” (Acts 11:17 NIV).

Because of Peter’s faithfulness, the Jewish Christians responded by having “no further objections and praised God saying, ‘So then, even to the Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:18 NIV).

Isn’t it amazing? God wanted to be sure the whole world knew that when He gave His life for all, He meant for all. And He used Peter to make this clear, to show us just how big His love is and just how capable His grace is—that it can forgive the sins of all and give all everlasting life. For as the book of Romans 3:22-24 states, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” 

Peter’s stumble as a Christ-follower doesn’t cancel his identity in Christ. 

I don’t believe in coincidences. So when Jesus said the exact same words in His first few sentences to Peter as His last, we should take note. In their first interaction, Jesus told Peter to follow Him (Matthew 4:19). Then after Jesus’ resurrection, and at the special breakfast on the shore where Jesus restored Peter, His last recorded words to him were once again, “Follow me!” (John 21:19).

I can imagine Peter also noticed the repeat of these words. When you follow someone, you imitate what they do from your position behind them. Peter went behind Jesus and shadowed Him, seeking to learn and be like Christ in all his ways. Of course, Jesus is perfect, and therefore Peter would not achieve a perfect imitation on earth, but he dropped everything to try. 

Once a decision to follow Jesus is made, He becomes our identity. We are then Christ-followers. This identity trumps our given last name, our title at work, and even our position at the church. We have been made His image-bearers, following behind our Lord. 

And the beauty in the repetition of these words is that even when Peter failed Jesus by denying he knew Him, Jesus forgave his offense. Since He took on human form, He understands our weaknesses and pardons our failures when we repent and turn back to Him. Pictured below: Peter denying Jesus

“Upon this rock I will build my church” – Jesus Calls Peter

After this restoration, Jesus gifted Peter back his identity, which was the most important thing about him—His belonging to God. 

Jesus reminded Peter of his identity and importance in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The name Peter means “a rock or stone” – Jesus knew the destiny of Peter! 

I am so grateful for my identity in Christ, and I am just as thankful that He forgives me when I mess up. As stated before, our relationship with Christ should mature, and we should gain strength in combating the world and its pitfalls. But how sweet it is that when we do fail, our Lord loves us enough to look into our eyes and tell us again to follow Him. 

story of peter in the bible summary

Peter’s death in the bible

The New Testament of the Bible tells us that Peter was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He is said to have been born in Galilee and was a fisherman by trade. He is also said to have been converted by Jesus, after which he became one of his most trusted followers.

In the Book of Acts, we learn that when Jesus was crucified, he told his followers that after he died they should go back to Jerusalem and wait for him there for forty days until he would rise again on the third day. After this had occurred and Peter returned to Galilee, he went fishing with some friends and had a vision in which Jesus appeared before him saying “Follow me”.

When Peter did follow him he found himself at Caesarea Philippi where he had a second vision in which Christ spoke again: “You are Peter (meaning rock)”. This is when he made his famous confession that Jesus was indeed Messiah – God’s chosen one who would save his people from their sins. From then on it seems as though Peter began preaching about Jesus’ death and resurrection throughout Palestine but especially in Jerusalem where many Jews were angered at what they saw as blasphemy against their religion.