It is to be distinguished from the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, also known as papal primacy or Roman primacy, whose link with the primacy of Peter is disputed.
The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology illustrates the leading role that Peter played among the Apostles, speaking up on matters that concern them all, being called by Jesus by a name linking him with the rock on which Jesus would build his church, being charged with pasturing the flock of Christ, and taking the leading role in the initial church described in the Acts of the Apostles.
There is general agreement among scholars on the preeminence that the historical Peter held among the disciples of Jesus, making him "the most prominent and influential member of the Twelve during Jesus' ministry and in the early Church".
In one interpretation the prominence that the New Testament and other early Christian writings attribute to Peter is due to their seeing him as a unifying factor in contrast to other figures identified with disputed interpretations of Christianity.
Controversy has surrounded one particular text that is linked with the Aramaic nickname name כפא (Cepha), meaning "rock," that Jesus gave the man previously known as Simon. The Greeks translated it as Πέτρος (Petros), a new form, appropriately masculine, of the standard feminine word πέτρα (petra), also meaning "rock;" and the Latins translated it as Petrus.