St Peter - Bible study activities

Home                 The story of Peter                  People in Peter's story                  Gospel texts about Peter


Find out more

St Peter, painting by Holman Hunt

Peter's story

Scroll with sacred writing

Bible text for this story

Elderly woman, Katouzian

  People in the story

Reconstruction of a 1st century fishing boat in Galilee - based on an excavated boat

A fisherman's life 

The Denial of St Peter, Gerrit van Honthorst

Paintings of Peter and Jesus

'What do I do now?' logo

on Peter's story

Map of the Jerusalem area, showing valleys and ridges

Bible Maps: places in Jerusalem Peter saw with Jesus (maps 4 & 5)

'The Kiss' (Beso), Spanish carving

The story of Judas

Basil Rathbone as King Herod 

The Herods 
Mad, bad and dangerous

Crucifixion, Matthias Grunewald, detail












'Surely you don't believe all that stuff...?'

 In Mark 8:27-30 and 14:26-31, Peter makes two vehement declarations of faith in Jesus.

 Saint Peter's Denial, Antoine or Louis Le NainYet when it comes to the crunch, when the maidservant and the two men ask him if  he is a friend of Jesus, Peter denies knowing him (Mark 14:66-72).

Have there been times when you have been embarassed to mention your own faith, or when you felt intimidated by the daily attacks on Christianity in the media?  

What advice would you give to a person who feels discouraged in a situation like this?

Think about this, or discuss it with a group of friends.

In defense of a good man

When people talk about St Peter, they often focus on the incident during Jesus' trial, where Peter denied he knew Jesus. 

Peter Imprisoned, by Rembrandt They forget 

  • the years that Peter spent with Jesus in Galilee, serving him faithfully

  • the dangerous years Peter spent spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ

  • the time Peter was imprisoned by King Herod Agrippa

  • the fact that Peter eventually gave his life and was martyred for his steadfast faith in his Lord and Saviour

Why do people focus on the negative, and overlook the positive?

Are you guilty of doing this yourself, in your dealings with family and friends?

Can you think of some instances when you did this?

Stage 1
Read Peter's story from the gospels and Acts - you'll find this at Bible Text
Think about the courage and endurance he showed. 
Concentrate on the moments when he was at his best.
Stage 2
Now do the same for yourself. Forget your failings for the moment and concentrate on your good points. 
Give yourself a pat on the back for all the times you have been at your best, being Christ to others.

Focus questions for the story of Peter

1. Read Peter's story at
Bible Text. What interests you most about the story?

2. If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends with? Which person would you avoid? Judas, of course, springs to mind, but you can find others as well.

3. The narrator/editor has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. 
What has been left out of the story that you would like to know? 
For example, 

  • what was the reaction of Peter's mother-in-law when he abandoned his work to follow Jesus as a disciple?

  • Did Peter ever have doubts about what he was doing with his life?

  • What was Peter thinking at the Last Supper?

4. Is the story relevant in some way to your own life, or to the modern world? 
Does it remind you of some aspect of your own story?

What makes a good leader?

Jesus Washing the Feet of Peter, Peter was the leader of the group of men who followed Jesus (Mary Magdalene was the leader of the women's group)

What are the qualities a good leader needs?

Think of some of the groups you've been in. Who led? Who followed? 

What qualities did these leaders have that

  • helped

  • hindered

the cohesion of the group?

Try to remember some incident where you saw good leadership in action. Go over the details of this incident in your mind.

  • What do you remember best?

  • Why has it stuck in your mind?



Step by step guide to a mediation on the story of Peter at Getting Up Again.

Everyone knows the story of Peter's denial of Jesus. 

Peter Preaching, Tomasso Masolino da Panicale Many don't realise that after this failure of nerve, Peter spent the rest of his life making up for his mistake - and succeeding brilliantly.


Peter was indeed the Rock on which Christ's church was built. From Pentecost until the day of his death, Peter taught about Jesus and preached the Gospel. 

He did not let his initial failure, his denial of Jesus, ruin his life. Rather, he built on it by turning his life around. 

We can do the same when we make mistakes. 


Read the material at Meditation on Peter, and follow Peter's example.


Paintings of Peter and Jesus

PETER: PAINTINGS has wonderful pictures of St Peter

Stage 1

Read the story and ideas at Bible People: Peter

Stage 2

Go to the link at the bottom of the painting at right. Scroll through the paintings from first to last.

Which part of the story of Peter has been the most popular with artists?

Would this have been your choice?

Artists paint what they want to paint, but they also paint with their audience in mind. Look at the paintings again. Who is the painting directed at? Explain your reasoning.

Stage 3

If you have chosen something different, ask yourself why this other incident appeals to you more than the scene favored by the artists. Spend some time quietly thinking about your response.

The Apostle Peter, an icon from the monastery at Mount Athos

The Apostle Peter, an icon from the monastery at Mount Athos

Living up to our ideals

At the crucial moment in the courtyard of Caiphas' palace, Peter lost his courage. He denied knowing Jesus, the man he loved, admired and believed in.

  • Have there been similar moments when you failed to live up to your best self?

  • Have you forgiven yourself for these incidents, as Jesus forgave Peter?




   Home                                        FAQs                                        About the Author