Did the Apostle Peter Ever Go to Rome? Part I

Ok, let’s trace Peter’s movement with the Scriptures. Certain dates and events militate against the supposition that Peter was ever in Rome.

33 A.D. The Church was established on Pentecost in Jerusalem and Peter was there – he preached that day (Acts 2).

36 A.D.  Paul was converted on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
             1. Acts 9:22-25 together with II Corinthians 11:32 tells us that King Aretas collaborated with the                    Jews of Damascus who tried to capture Paul, but he was “Let down from window over the 
                 wall in a basket” and escaped.
             2. With the reign of Aretas, the date of Paul’s conversion cannot be earlier than 36 or 38 and 
                 certainly not later than 40 because Aretas’ reign ended in 40 A. D.

39 A.D. Herod died “eaten of worms” (Acts 12:23).
             1. But Peter and James were imprisoned by this same Heron in Jerusalem shortly before his 
                 death (Acts 12:1-2).
             2. The Lord delivered Peter, and he was restored to the church because “prayers were made 
                 earnestly of the church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5).

44-48 A.D. The famine prophesied by Agabus, that “would come over all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius”  (Acts 11:28)
             1. This famine is also confirmed by secular writers:
                 a. Suetonius (Claud.,xvii)
                 b. Dio Cassius (lx. 11)
                 c. Tacitus (Annals xii.43)
                 d. Orosius (vii. 6)
                 e. Josephus (Ant., XX, ii.5)
             2. These writers also relate the death of Herod in the same period of time. They confirm N.T.  
                 chronology. And Peter was not imprisoned until Acts 12 – which fits this dating.

45-49 A.D. The First Missionary Journey of Paul, Barnabas and John Mark (Acts 13-14).

46-47 A.D. Sergius Paulus was Proconsul of Cyprus – a Roman inscription found on the island confirm 
                  this date.
             1. Annius Bassus became Proconsul in 52 A.D. during the twelfth year of the reign of Claudius 
             2. So Sergius Paulus had to be Proconsul before then, which easily fits the date presented for 
                 Paul’s journey. (Acts 13:7)

49-50 A.D. The Edict of Claudius which commanded “all the Jews to depart from Rome” (Acts 18:2 does not necessarily mean that the edict was not issued until the time of Acts 18 in Luke’s reference, but that the edict was the reason Aquila and Priscilla were in Corinth, having “lately come from Italy”).

52-53 A.D. The Jerusalem Conference about the question of Gentile circumcision (Acts 15 and 
Galatians 2:1-10).
                  1. As already noted, Paul’s visit was “three years after” his conversion.
                  2. “Then after the space of fourteen years”, Paul returned “by revelation” (God commanded 
                      him to go) because of the uncircumcision question.
                  3. That makes a total of seventeen years after Paul’s conversion, and it dates the Jerusalem 
                      meeting about 52 or 53 A.D.
                  4. But at that very time: “James, Peter and John were reputed to be pillars in the church” in 
                      Jerusalem (Gal 2:9)

53-54 A.D. Gallio was Proconsul in Corinth – and that date is confirmed by Roman historians and by a 
fragmentary inscription from Delphi containing a letter from the Emperor Claudius in which mention of Gallio was made and it is dated in the twenty-sixth year of his reign.
                  1. Paul was in Corinth at that time (Acts 18:12) during his Second Missionary Journey.
                  2. From Corinth he wrote 1 and II Thessalonians.

54-55 A.D. Paul’s Third Missionary Journey – during which time he spent two years teaching in the school 
of Tyrannus in Ephesus.
                  1. From Ephesus he wrote 1 Corinthians and Galatians.
                  2. He then went to Macedonia from whence he wrote II Corinthians — probably the next year –
                      – about 57 A.D.

58 A.D.     Paul returned to Corinth where he “spent three months” (Acts 20:3).
                 1. From Corinth he wrote the Roman Letter. That hs is in Corinth at this writing is evident from 
                     the fact that ie is the guest of “Gaius, my host” (Romans 16:23). And “Erastus was the 
                     treasurer of the city.” Gaius is the same brother mentioned in I Corinthians 1:14; Acts 
                 2. In the sixteenth chapter of Romans Paul mentioned some thirty-five different brethren by 
                     name – to whom he sent salutations. But there is no mention of Peter being in Rome – and if  
                     he were there – then Paul totally ignored him. It is easier to believe he simply was not there.

59-60 A.D. Festus succeeded Felix (Acts 24:27) and Eusebius in this book on Church History places 
this succession by Festus during the second year of the reign of Nero.
                  1. Paul had been a prisoner of Felix for almost two years when Festus succeeded him (Acts 
                  2. Only “three days” after his ascension to office, Festus went to Jerusalem (Acts 25:1) and 
                      the Jews there tried to get him to send Paul to Jerusalem from Caesarea so they could kill 
                  3. But he stayed in Jerusalem “not more than eight or ten days” (Acts 25:6). Then the day 
                      after his return to Caesarea he called Paul to stand trial (Acts 25:6).
                  4. It was then that Paul “appealed to Caesar” (Acts 25:11)

61-62 A.D. Paul’s journey to Rome and his first imprisonment, during which time he stayed “in his own 
hired dwelling” for some two years (Acts 28:30).
                  1. During this time he wrote from Rome the book of Colossians.
                      a. Timothy was with him at that time in Rome (Col 1:1)
                      b. Tychicus and Onesimus took the letter he wrote from Rome to Colossae (Col 4:7-9)
                      c. Paul sends greetings from Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Luke and Demas. (Col 4:10-14)
                      d. No mention of Peter being in Rome.
                  2. From Rome he also wrote Ephesians.
                      a. Tychicus delivered the letter to Ephesus (Eph 6:21)
                      b. No mention of Peter as Pope in the list of church offices listed in Eph 4:11
                         “and he gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists and 
                          some pastors and teachers”, but no popes.
                      c. Peter is not mentioned as being in Rome.
                  3. During this same time he wrote Philemon from Rome.
                      a. Timothy was with him (Philemon 1:1)
                      b. He also sends greeting from Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke (Philemon 
                      c. No mention of Peter being in Rome.

63 A.D.   Phillipians was written from Rome during this same period of time. It was written later than those mentioned just above – for time was required for Epaphroditus to be sent from Philippi, to get sick: “nigh unto death” (Phil 2:25-30) and then return to Philippi.
                 1. Timothy was with Paul in Rome (Phil 1:1)                  
                 2. Paul also sends greetings from “the brethren” and “especially they that are of Caesar’s 
                     household” (Phil 4:22).
                 3. No mention of Peter being in Rome.

64-65 A.D. Paul was released from the Roman prison and returned to Greece and Macedonia (I Tim 1:3)
                 1. He wrote I Timothy from Macedonia – see above.
                 2. He also wrote Titus from Macedonia – after he had returned from Crete (Titus 1:5)

65 A.D.(ca) Peter writes from “Babylon” on the Euphrates river – as indicated by the statement: “She that                       is in Babylon saluteth you.” (I Peter 5:13).
                 1. There was a strong Jewish colony in Babylon at that time and Peter “had been entrusted 
                     with the gospel of the circumcision.” (Gal 2:7)
                 2. Since Claudius had commanded “All Jews to depart from Rome (Acts 18:3), it would be 
                     difficult to understand why Peter would go there to carry out his assignment to the Jews.
                 3. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that Peter is speaking symbolically of Rome when 
                     he says “Babylon,” for there is no such symbolic usage until John’s Revelation letter.  
                 4. After 96 A.D., when Revelation was composed, the Imperial City of Rome was symbolically  
                     and classically called “Babylon” by both Christian and secular writers.
                 5. Catholic writers universally say that “Babylon” of I Peter 5:13 is Rome (which it isn’t), 
                     and then generally deny that “Babylon” of Revelation 17:5 is Rome (which it is).

67 A.D.     Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome.
                 1. II Timothy was written during Paul’s final incarceration in Rome.
                     a. He wants Timothy to “come shortly to me (II Tim 4:9)
                     b. He named some: “Demas forsook me…and went to Thessalonica” (II Tim 4:10)
                     c. “Crescens” went to “Galatia” (vs 10).
                     d. “Titus” went to “Dalmatia” (vs. 10).
                     e. “Only Luke is with me (vs.11).
                     f. “Erastus remained at Corinth” (vs. 20).
                     g. “Trophimus I left at Miletus sick” (vs. 20).
                 2. He sends some salutations:
                     a. “Eubulus saluteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia” (vs. 21).
                     b. No salutation from Peter — and no mention of him being in Rome.
                 3. If Peter was there he must have abandoned Paul, for “This thou knowest, that all that are in 
                     Asia turned away from me, of which are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” (II Tim 1:15)
                 4. “Only Luke is with me” – He stayed with Paul, and so did “Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed 
                     me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but when he was in Rome, he sough me diligently 
                     and found me” (II Tim 1:16-17).

67 A.D.     Peter writes the second epistle — II Peter and it has the same tone as the first epistle, it must have been written to the same Jewish Christians “of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” (I Peter 1:1)
                 1. The geography of the brethren to whom Peter wrote places them in the region of Asia and 
                     Asia Minor – close to national Babylon!
                 2. Paul was in Europe and wrote to European churches.
                 3. John was in Asia and wrote the “letters to the seven churches in Asia.” (Rev 2-3)

From this point in history, all inspired or even secular history about either Paul or Peter comes to an end. The next mention of Peter’s whereabouts will not appear for another eighty years. And for uninspired writers, whose writings are critically rejected for other reasons, their suggestion that he was in Rome leaves much doubt about their reliability.

All history of Peter’s travels in the New Testament do not place him in Rome, but definitely place him elsewhere.

So Peter’s definite location in too many other definite locations at too many other defnite times definitely exclude the possibility that he spent 25 years in Rome or even went there in the first place.

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