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Simon, or Simeon (Mark 1:16; Acts 15:14), was Peter's birth name. (He is also referred to or identified as Simon bar Jonah (meaning "Simon, the son of Jonah")(Matthew 16:17), which is a patronymic form in reference to who his father was; and as Simon Peter (Matthew 16:16), combining his birth name with the name given to him by Jesus.) He was given the name "Peter" (or "Cephas") (from the Greek and Aramaic words, respectively, for "rock") by Jesus in recognition or foreknowledge of being the first of the apostles to acknowledge or confess Jesus as the Messiah (or Christ) and the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-19; John 1:42), which Jesus said was not knowledge that Peter had acquired through his own effort or from other people, but was a revelation that Peter had received from God the Father. By giving Peter this name, Jesus was saying that confession of His identity as the Messiah and the Son of God would be the foundational principle (or the "rock") upon which He would build His church.
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