The Holy apostles Peter and Paul

The content of the article

  • The apostles Peter and Paul: two different paths to Jesus
  • Saint Peter (Simon)
  • St. Paul (Saul)
  • The apostles Peter and Paul

Glorifying the Holy apostles Peter and Paul in one day, the Church seems to want to remind us about the diversity of human characters and the paths leading to God. The day of memory of the apostles Peter and Paul – July 12.

The apostles Peter and Paul: two different paths to Jesus

Both apostles are called the chief, but the championship is not the same. Peter was one of the closest disciples of Christ during His earthly life and Paul had no relationship to the gospel events. He began to preach much later, and wasn’t even “officially approved” as one of the twelve apostles. Still, we can compare in General terms two these destinies.

Saint Peter (Simon)

The apostles Peter and Paul

Simon, later called Peter, and his brother, Andrew, was a simple Galilean fisherman. Galilee was the farthest from Jerusalem area of Palestine, there lived many of the Gentiles. The capital’s residents belonged to the Galileans down upon as provincials. They even spoke with a noticeable accent, which Peter once identified in the courtyard of the high priest. And the fisherman is the most simple and lowly profession. Fished on the sea of Galilee mostly at night, so the fisherman don’t always have time to sleep, he smelled the fish smell, the income he was too unpredictable, everything depended on luck. In General, the life of the Galilean fishermen were not too enviable, and maybe that is why Simon and Andrew, barely hearing the invitation of a traveling Preacher: “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”, immediately obeyed Him, threw even the network that after every fishing was supposed to be cleaned and repaired. And so were the first called apostles.

St. Paul (Saul)

Paul, or rather Saul (as he was called before his conversion to Christ), by contrast, were from the former elite. He was born in the Hellenistic city of Tarsus, the provincial capital of Cilicia, was of the tribe of Benjamin, as king Saul, after whom it was named. At the same time he by birth was a Roman citizen — a rare for provincials privilege, which gave him a lot of special rights (for example, to demand personally from the court of the Emperor, than he later used to get to Rome at public expense). P aulus , that is “small”, it’s Roman name, probably he had it from the beginning, but only after conversion to Christianity, he began to use it instead of the previous name, Saul. He received his education in Jerusalem, the most authoritative theologian of that time, Gamaliel. Saul belonged to the Pharisees, zealots of the Law who sought to observe all its requirements and all the “tradition of the elders”. Though Christ denounced the Pharisees, but we know of several examples where the Pharisees became His devoted disciples, so that Saul-Paul was not alone in this.

The apostles Peter and Paul

But in the character of Simon and Saul had a lot in common. Having trained under Gamaliel, Paul was not immersed in the interpretation of the mosaic Law. No, he had to apply and even enforce this Law in practice and the most suitable scope it seemed to him the fight against a newly emerged “heresy”, whose supporters were told about a resurrected Jesus and that faith in Him is more important than the deeds of the Law! This Saul could not demolish. When such preaching stoning of the deacon Stephen, he’s just guarding the clothes a smoke, but soon zealous young man had gone off to punish the infidels in Damascus. It is on this path will encounter that forever changed his life.

But Simon, from the outset, a former disciple of Christ? He is the same ardent and impatient. So Christ orders him, another fisherman, not the Apostle, re-cast the nets after an unsuccessful night of fishing — and he obeys, but when the network brings extraordinary catch, says the Master: “Vy di me, o Lord! because I am a sinful man ” (LK. 5: 8). So acutely aware of his unworthiness and uncleanness… But later saw the Savior walking on the water, it immediately asks: “… Bid me come unto Thee on the water” (Matt. 14: 28). Yes, he doubted and began to sink, but the rest of the apostles, even I didn’t dare taste! When the Simon a miracle happens, he must immediately respond to him, everything he accomplished here and now. And not coincidentally, he unhesitatingly pronounces their religion, long before the Resurrection of Christ: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16: 16) . But even John the Baptist sent to Christ’s disciples with the question, whether He was in fact… Peter, no doubt, and in response to these words of Christ and calls him the rock upon which He build His Church. Aramaic and Greek words for rock, respectively, Cephas and Peter, become the new names of Simon.

Read also – the Feast of Peter and Paul

For every one of them was the tipping point that made them who they became. Saul was on the road to Damascus the Risen Christ and asked him: “Saul, Saul! why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts. 9: 4). From this point on in his life everything has changed — or rather, his own this life already was, she was devoted to preaching him Whom he had previously persecuted.

And for Peter, this moment became, on the contrary, renunciation. On the eve of the crucifixion, he promised the Christ, and that under pain of death not to leave Him, but Christ said, “…In this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times” (Matt. 26: 34). Maybe if it immediately began the executioners, he bravely went to execution, but there was a long night, full of fears and uncertainty… And Peter imperceptibly denied Christ, everyday, he didn’t notice — right up to the cock. For example the first of the apostles saw how easy it can be to become last. And only after the penitential tears of Peter had heard addressed to him the words of the Savior: “…feed My sheep” (Jn. 21: 17). But first He asked him a very simple question: “do you Love Me?” Asked him three times, so Peter is even upset, but after a night with his cock it was not superfluous: the forsaken thrice thrice confessed his love.

And that this love will have to pay for tranquility and comfort, both of them, and Peter, and Paul, knew. Immediately after the confession by Peter of his love, Jesus prophesies about his death: “stretch out thy hands, and another will gird up and will lead you where you do not want” (Jn. 21: 18) Martyrdom was a kind of a condition of apostleship, and how not to understand it was Peter who saw the crucifixion of the Teacher, and how not to understand Paul, which he first tortured the Christians! Both were executed in Rome in the sixties from BC, even before it was finished the last book of the New Testament.

About their preaching says the book of Acts. From the beginning the gospel was directed primarily “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, and Peter needed a vision, to be sure, the pagans God similarly calls for faith as Jews. However, he mostly preached to his brethren in the faith, and it is difficult, perhaps, was a simple Galilean fisherman to refer to foreign infidels and audience. But it is good have educated Paul, who said: “I was entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, as Peter to the circumcised” (Gal. 2: 7).

In General, the differences between them quite a lot. For example, Peter before the meeting with Christ was married, and Paul decided to always remain single, to the family business do not interfere with his main vocation. However, and Peter Paul himself said that his wife was his companion (see 1 Cor. 9: 5), so family life does not have to be a hindrance to missionary work.

To compare the two apostles, who were subsequently called the chief, can be long and detail noting of General and special in the life of each of them. But it is best to give the word to them, that they told us what it’s like to be the first among the apostles.

Peter: “Pastors, you, I, coaster and a witness of the sufferings of Christ and partner of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind, neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock; And when the chief shepherd you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 pet. 5: 1-4).

Paul: “…I, circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, concerning zeal, persecuting the Church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But what was an advantage for me, for the sake of Christ I have counted loss. Yes, and I count it all as loss for the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord: for Him, I refused, and I count it all as rubbish that I may gain Christ… I’m not Saying this because I have already attained, or perfected; but I seek, I do not reach, as has reached me Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3: 5-8, 12).


Andrei S. DESNITSKY, candidate of philological Sciences, senior researcher of the Institute of Oriental studies, consultant at Institute for Bible translation, a graduate of Moscow state University.

Have you read the article the Apostles Peter and Paul. See also:

  • The apostles Peter and Paul: the way of a true disciple, and a fierce persecutor
  • The day of memory of the apostles Peter and Paul
  • Petrov post in 2018 from 4 June to 11 July

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