The Christian guidebook is the Bible, and it’s one of the world’s most-read books. With at least 66 books tied to it, many characters are mentioned, each playing a unique role. One of the most common names in the Bible is Simon, and this has aroused curiosity among Christians. So, who is Simon in the Bible?
In the Bible, there are at least 9 Simons mentioned. All nine are mentioned in the New Testament, each playing a unique role. Two of the Simons were disciples of Jesus; one is mentioned in the Bible as the brother of Jesus, and one was the father of a disciple of Jesus. We also have Simon the Pharisee, Simon the sorcerer, Simon the leper, Simon of Cyrene, and Simon the tanner.
This article will cover all the nine Simons found in the Bible and also mention their specific roles. After you finish reading, you will have a clear picture of all the 9 Simons in the Bible. This will be paramount in avoiding confusion during your Bible study.
How many Simons are there in the Bible?
Nine Simons are mentioned in the Bible and specifically in the New Testament. Some were closely related to Jesus, the inspiration behind the New Testament, while some got into contact with the disciples of Jesus. In one way or another, all the Simons connected with Jesus directly or through his disciples. Here are the 9 Simons mentioned and their role in the New Testament.
He is also regarded as St Peter, the apostle, but his original name was Simon or Simeon, and he happens to be the most mentioned Simon due to his role in Jesus’ ministry. He was a disciple of Jesus and was recognized as the leader of the 12 disciples by Christians of the early church. The Roman Catholic Church also regard him as their first pope.
Simon Peter was called from his job as a fisherman to become a disciple by Jesus Christ at the beginning of his ministry. Simon was the son of john, as mentioned in john 21:15 “So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” and a brother to Andrew, another disciple of Jesus. His family came from Bethsaida, galilee, as mentioned in john 1:44. However, he lived in Capernaum during the time of Jesus’ ministry.
The call of Simon peter is emphasized in the gospel of Luke 5:1-11. The synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, have recorded that the call of Simon Peter happened in Galilee as Jesus was launching his ministry. The same gospels also seem to agree that he was the disciples’ spokesperson, had more authority in the disciples’ group, and was treated with more respect than the rest.
He was always quick in his dealings and, in Mathew 15:15, asked Jesus to clarify a parable on behalf of the disciples. In Mathew 19:27, 28, he made a plea on his behalf and behalf of the other 12 apostles that they are rewarded with preference in the kingdom of heaven for their faithful service. Simon Peter’s home had the privilege of hosting Jesus when he went to heal his mother in law as highlighted in Mathew 8:14. When Jesus was instructing the crowd, in Luke 5:3, “He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat”, he used Simon peters boat.
Simon Peter also fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy that one of his disciples would betray him, as narrated in Matthew 26:69-75, mark 14:66-72 and Luke 22:54-61. Simon Peter was also the first apostle of Jesus to see him after his resurrection, as written in Luke 24:34. Simon peter was also the disciple of Jesus who was charged to “take care and feed Jesus’s lambs,” as quoted in john 21:15 and 16.
Peter’s importance is vastly seen in his role as the lead disciple of Christ. He is highly recognized in the four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He is depicted as humble, curious, and sometimes temperamental. His temper is recognized at the time when he cut a soldier’s ear when Jesus was getting arrested. Jesus nicknamed him Cephas, which means the rock, and is sometimes regarded as Peter the Rock. He is credited with writing the two letters of Peter. Historical Christian records imply that he died around 64 ad as he was crucified upside down upon his request.
Simon, the Zealot
Simon the Zealot was also a disciple of Jesus. In the New Testament, he is mentioned at least four times. These verses are Matthew 10:4, “Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him,” mark 3:18, “Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James Son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot,” Luke 6:15 and acts 1:13. The King James Version of the Bible mentions him as “Simon the Canaanite.”
Some historical Christian records imply that when Jesus was calling him, he was a staunch member of the Zealot’s party. Since Jesus demanded his disciples to change their ways completely, it is believed that Simon must have quit his political party to dedicate his time fully to spreading the gospel. His nickname, ‘The Zealot,’ may have been maintained to differentiate him from Simon Peter. Traditional Christianity states that Simon the Zealot preached in Persia. Who eventually killed him after he refused to offer sacrifice to the sun god.
Simon, the brother of Jesus
He is well mentioned in Mark 6:3 alongside other brothers of Jesus. Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Some Christian scholars have named him as a stepbrother of Jesus, with some claiming that he was simply a cousin to Jesus. Both scholars do not have tangible evidence to support their claims; therefore, sticking to the Bible’s description is advisable.
Simon of Cyrene
Simon of Cyrene is described as a Hellenistic Jew born in Cyrene and present during Jesus’s crucifixion at Jerusalem. As he returned from the country, he offered to help Jesus carry the cross that had become too heavy for Jesus.
He is mentioned in Matthew 27:32 “As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross,” mark 15:21, Luke 23:26, “As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.” Mark also added that he was the father of alexander and Rufus, his only mentioned relatives.
Simon the Pharisee
Simon the Pharisee is mentioned in Luke 7:40 “Jesus answered him. “Simon, I have something to tell you. “Tell me, teacher,” he said.” Jesus visited his house, and this is also the place where a woman anointed Jesus’s feet and head.
Simon, the father of Judas Iscariot
He is mentioned in the gospel of John 6:71 “(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who thought one of the twelve will betray him.”), 13:2, 13:26. He is only used as a reference to Judas’s father, and more personal information about him is unknown. Judas Iscariot was the disciple who crucified Jesus.
Simon the Leper
Simon, the leper, was a resident of Bethany and was one of the people miraculously healed by Jesus. It was also at his house where Mary anointed Jesus in preparation for his death and burial. This is mentioned in Matthew 26:6, “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper.”, and Mark 14:3, “While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper a woman came with an alabaster jar of costly perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.”
Simon the Tanner
Simon, the tanner, was a Christian convert living in Joppa. Peter stayed at his house, as mentioned in Acts of the Apostles 9:43 “Peter Stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.” His house was located by the seaside, making it convenient for Peter to access the sea. These are mentioned in acts 10:32 “Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.”
Simon the Sorcerer
He was a magician and sorcerer from Samaria. He is first mentioned in Acts of the Apostles 8:9; “Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great.” He was a distinguished magical arts practitioner.
Such is the success of his sorcery that he was credited for having the great power of God as mentioned in acts of the apostles 8:10 “and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “ This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” After listening to the teachings of Phillip and watching his miracles, he accepted baptism. He was fascinated by the miracles performed by Peter and john that he desired to have similar power.
He offered the two money in exchange for that rare gift but was met with a reprimand from Peter for trying to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. After the reprimand, he asked the two to pray to the lord that whatever they had cursed him with would not happen to him. He was critical in demonstrating to Christians that the power of the Holy Spirit is priceless and cannot be exchanged for anything.
Is there a Simon in the Old Testament?
There is no Simon in the Old Testament. The name that comes close to Simon in the Old Testament is Simeon, the son of Jacob mentioned in Genesis 29:33 “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.”
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.