How Much Do You Know About the Life of Saint Peter?

By: Torrance Grey

How Much Do You Know About the Life of Saint Peter?
Image: Catholic Online

About This Quiz

There are few more complex figures in the New Testament than Saint Peter, known as "the apostle Peter" to Protestants. Born in a fishing town on Lake Gennesaret, he likely expected to live and die a simple working man. Instead, he became one of the founding figures of Christianity. The first disciple to declare to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," he was also the one who denied knowing Jesus three times on the night of Jesus's arrest. A rash, impulsive man in the gospels, Peter grew to be the thoughtful leader and spokesperson of the apostles in the church's earliest years. He was the leader in the decision-making process that chose a new apostle to replace the traitor Judas. He was the one who rose and preached a stirring open-air sermon on Pentecost. Later, he brought Jesus's message to Jews and Gentiles alike. 

Today, St. Peter is venerated by Catholics and Protestants, by the Eastern Orthodox church (where he is known as the first Patriarch of Antioch), and by Islam. He is honored by one of Christendom's most beloved churches, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. He is said, today, to have the very keys to heaven. How much do you know about his life and works? Find out now, with our quiz!

What was Peter's profession before he was a disciple of Jesus?
cupbearer
fisherman
Peter was one of several disciples -- the first ones called -- who were fishermen. One theory goes that Jesus, trained as a carpenter, repaired fishing boats, and thus knew Peter and his friends from that trade.
physician
tax collector

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On which sea did Peter fish?
Arabian
Black
Galilee
Peter worked on the Sea of Galilee, also called the Lake of Gennesaret. It remains a popular site for religious tourism in Israel.
Red

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Was Peter married?
definitely
probably
Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law early in the gospels, clearly indicating his marital status. However, Peter's wife is never mentioned in the gospels, or anywhere else in the New Testament. Even so, tradition holds that she was an early Christian martyr.
probably not
definitely not

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Which of these terms is commonly used to identify Peter?
the disciple who Jesus loved
the first pope
St. Peter is commonly called the first pope. The Eastern Church, which split off from the Roman Catholic church in the middle ages, likewise calls him the first Patriarch of Antioch.
the doubter
the dancing saint

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How, according to tradition, did Peter die?
burned at the stake
crucified
crucified upside down
According to tradition, Peter did not believe himself worthy to be crucified in the same way as Christ. Therefore, he was crucified upside down.
of old age

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Which of these apostles was Peter's brother?
James the Greater
James the Less
Thomas
Andrew
Peter and Andrew were fishermen, as were James (the Greater) and John, sons of Zebedee. They were all among the first disciples called, but Peter rose to much greater prominence in Christian history than his brother.

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Peter was one of only three disciples to see Jesus transformed into his divine glory. What is this event called?
the Ascension
the Great Commission
the Road to Damascus
the Transfiguration
"Transfigured" is a close synonym to "transformed." On a mountaintop, Jesus became a divine figure, and spoke with Moses and Elijah.

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What was Peter's name, before Jesus renamed him?
Dov
Gideon
Jonah
Simon (or Simeon)
Peter is either known as Simon or Simeon in his pre-discipleship days. "Peter" means "rock," and Jesus thus predicted he would be the foundation of the church.

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By what Greek name, also meaning "rock," is Peter sometimes called?
Andros
Cephas
You'll see this name in some translations of the Bible. Paul writes about "the rest of the apostles, and Cephas" in 1 Corinthians.
Niarchos
Stavros

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In what town did Peter grow up?
Bethlehem
Bethsaida
Bethsaida was a town on the Sea of Galilee. Its exact location is not known today.
Jerusalem
Tarshish

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Peter is believed to be the disciple who attacked a soldier in the Garden of Gethsemane. What body part did Peter cut off?
his ear
Though Peter is never named in the synoptic gospels, tradition holds that he is the one who struck the soldier and cut off his ear. Jesus healed the soldier, his final miracle as a mortal.
his hand
his nose
his thumb

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Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before what happened?
Jesus was arrested.
Jesus perished.
The rooster crowed.
Loosely, this means "by dawn." Peter vowed he would not deny knowing Christ, but this did indeed happen.
The moon set.

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According to the gospel of John, after his resurrection, what question did Jesus ask Peter three times?
"Do you love me?"
Jesus asks the question three times. After each of Peter's affirmations that he does, Jesus gives a slightly different response: "Feed my lambs," then "Tend my sheep," then "Feed my sheep." In this way, Peter goes from fisherman to shepherd, following in Christ's steps.
"Do you thirst?"
"Whither goest thou?"
"Who do people say that I am?"

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On Pentecost, why did people think Peter and the other disciples were drunk?
They saw things no one else could see.
They were very emotional.
They were singing in the streets.
They were speaking many different languages.
On Pentecost, the Holy Ghost descended on Peter and the others and gave them the gift of tongues. It was Peter who stood up to defend them all against accusations of drunkenness.

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Which disciple was with Peter when he cured the lame man at the Beautiful Gate?
James
John
This happens in Acts of the Apostles, chapter 3. Extra-Biblical sources say that gate outside the temple was called "Beautiful" because it was made of bronze and ornamented with silver and gold.
Nathanael
Thomas

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Peter condemned Ananias and his wife _______ for withholding money from the early church.
Judith
Hadassah
Jael
Sapphira
According to Acts 5, the couple kept some of the proceeds from the sale of land. Peter says that their sin was lying about it, not withholding the money itself. But the penalty is harsh: Ananias falls down dead at Peter's condemnation. When Sapphira arrives later, Peter says, "The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out." She, too, then dies.

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What did Peter heal Aeneas of?
consumption
issue of blood
paralysis
According to Acts 9, Aeneas had been paralyzed for eight years. Peter commands him to rise: "Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!"
snakebite poisoning

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In Acts 10, Peter has a dream in which he is told he may eat any kind of animal. What did he take this to mean?
that he no longer should adhere to dietary laws
that he should no longer be a fisherman
that it was all right to preach to Gentiles
Dietary laws do come into play here, as part of the metaphor. In the dream, Peter refuses to "kill and eat" the creatures he sees because they are unclean under Jewish law. God tells him that "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." Peter later understood this to mean the Gentiles.
that he was the successor to Adam, the keeper of Eden

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What was the name of the Gentile whom Peter converted?
Cornelius
Cornelius was an Italian (in modern terms); he served in Rome's army. He had a vision telling him to send for Peter, just as Peter was having the vision that instructed him that he must not call anything profane that God has made clean.
Gaius
Constantine
Tiberius

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In what city did Peter raise Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead?
Jerusalem
Joppa
Joppa is the city known nowadays as Jaffa. The devout widow whom Peter raised from the dead was named Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek.
Sidon
Tyre

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During which Jewish festival did King Herod have Peter arrested?
Hanukkah
Passover
Interestingly, Jesus's arrest and execution was also during Passover. In both cases, Roman authorities seem to be trying to please the Jewish authorities and people by arresting religious "outlaws."
Purim
Sukkot

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Which apostle had Herod already executed at the time of Peter's arrest?
John
James
Acts 12:2 says, "He (Herod) had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword." James was an early martyr, but not the earliest -- that was St. Stephen.
Philip
Thomas

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Who helps Peter escape from prison in Jerusalem?
his brother Andrew
an angel
Peter at first thinks he is having a vision when the angel comes to his cell and leads him out. Only when he is safely clear of the prison, " ... Peter came to himself, and said 'Now I am sure the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod.' " (Acts 12:11)
two unnamed early Christians
a Roman centurion

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After his escape, when Peter arrives safely at the believers' house, what does the "maid named Rhoda" do?
cries
faints
leaves him standing at the gate and runs to tell the others
Rhoda is so surprised she simply runs into the house to tell the other early Christians. They don't believe her, until they hear Peter knocking again and go see for themselves.
accuses him of being an impostor

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In which city did Peter preach and live in his last years?
Corinth
Ephesus
Rome
Peter spent his last years in the city with which he is inextricably linked. Whether the Catholic Church is based in Rome was because of his preaching and martyrdom there, or because it was already the center of an empire, is a matter of opinion.
Tarshish

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Despite Peter's conversion of Cornelius, which apostle is known as the "apostle to the Gentiles"?
John
Luke
Matthias
Paul
About halfway through the book of Acts, the focus shifts from Peter to Paul. This is not because Peter stopped preaching, but because Paul had the more "global" ministry. That is, the story of Paul's travels is the story of how Christianity stopped being a sub-sect of Judaism and became a world religion of its own.

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Did St. Peter and St. Paul know each other?
yes
Paul mentions Peter several times in his letters. They evidently didn't always agree on points of theology and Christian practice: Paul says in Galatians 2:11, "When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face."
no
this is not clear

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How many of Peter's letters are included in the New Testament?
one
two
Secular scholars (always raining on the parade!) suggest that Peter didn't write either book himself. However, the author of 1 Peter calls himself "Peter," saying that he writes with the help of a scribe, Silvanus. 2 Peter uses the salutation of "Simeon Peter," reverting to his traditional Jewish name. Christians tend to take these identifications on faith.
three
none

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By what "code name" does Peter refer to Rome in 1 Peter?
Babylon
By calling Rome "Babylon," Peter is linking it with the great pagan city of old. It is, therefore, a place of great power, sometimes great wickedness, but also great promise.
the City of God
Gehenna
Ur

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Approximately what year did St. Peter die?
33 A.D.
68 A.D.
Since Peter and Jesus were roughly the same age, a death date of 210 A.D. would make Peter 200 years old at the time of his death -- very unlikely! Rather, he is thought to have lived about twice as long as Christ's earthly life, to about his late 60s.
104 A.D.
210 A.D.

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Which emperor evidently presided over Peter's execution?
Constantine
Julius Caesar
Nero
Nero is believed to have ruled the Roman empire during both the deaths of Peter and Paul. He is also known for not having both oars in the water -- he's the one who reportedly "fiddled" while Rome burns.
Octavian

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Finish the quote: "Upon this rock I will build my church, and the ________ will not prevail against it."
chief priests and magistrates
gates of hell
Peter, of course, is the rock. "Gates of hell" is a poetic way of saying "all the powers of hell."
powers of Rome
sons of man

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Where is St. Peter believed to be buried?
the Dome of the Rock
the Garden of Gethsemane
St. Peter's Basilica
According to tradition, he is buried under the altar of this great church in Rome. St. Peter's Basilica is one of the main pilgrimage sites in Christianity.
the Roman catacombs

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What was the name of Peter's father?
Gideon
Jonas
Peter's full name, before Christ's renaming, was "Simeon Bar-Jona." Some translations of the Bible have Jesus addressing him this way.
Kyros
Judas

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Is there a gospel of Peter?
Yes, it's in the Bible.
Yes, but it's not in the Bible.
There are a number of gospels that are "non-canonical," meaning not included in the Christian Bible. Peter's, which may or may not have been written by the apostle himself, was discovered in Egypt.
No, there is no such testament.

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