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What does Simon mean?

HomeChristianity and the BibleWhat does Simon mean?

Simon Peter was one of Jesus’ first disciples. His given name was Simon, sometimes spelled Symeon. Simon is the English rendering of the Hebrew name Shimon. Shimon comes from the Hebrew word shema.

Shema (also shama) technically means “to hear” but, like many ancient Hebrew words, it suggests much more than that. It means to listen, to understand, and to respond…and more.

You may be familiar with Deuteronomy 6:4-7, which are very significant words for observant Jews:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

The first word is “hear,” which is shema. It instructs the hearer to not only listen and understand, but to respond appropriately. Below is a great video explanation of Shema from The Bible Project…it’s worth watching again and again.

When you hear the name Simon, remember to hear what God says, and to understand it, and to do it.

Thanks to Drew for this question.

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10 responses to “What does Simon mean?”

  1. Monica Drake says:

    I loved the video, very helpful. Plain and to the point. I will definitely use it again in my study.

    Thank you

  2. Simon Olaniyan says:

    Why do some people say that Simon means “unstable” or “leaf”? Is there a scriptural backing to that?

    • Tony says:


      Thanks for asking. No, there’s no Scriptural backing for that. There’s all kinds of nonsense out there, unfortunately… both in Nigeria and in America, and everywhere else. Several people have asked a similar question, having heard that “Jesus” means “earth pig.” I have no idea who made up such an idiotic thing, but Simon doesn’t mean ‘unstable’ or ‘leaf.’ There’s nothing in the name to even hint at either.

      Do you know someone who teaches this? I’d like to know more about it… even wrong beliefs are fascinating to me.

  3. Simon Calder says:

    What is your depiction on how Simon means listen and to be heard. I understand how listening is more than just hearing but what your clip refers to as obey (follow). But I also see it as respond. Simon to my knowledge, Simon also means to be heard. Which at first contradicts itself. How can you listen if you’re expecting to be heard. But I imagine the “to be heard” part is the response part. The second meaning to Simon.

    • Tony says:


      I’m not sure you’ve understood. Simon doesn’t mean “to be heard.” It means “to hear,” which is very different. It carries with it the idea that hearing is more than listening… it’s listening and responding appropriately. When God speaks, for example, one shouldn’t just listen (notice what He says) but also DO what He says. Just listening isn’t enough, and saying something back isn’t part of the equation. It’s noticing what God has said and responding appropriately… which, in the case of God, is always to obey.

      Simon’s meaning goes in one direction: toward the one being told to listen. They can hear or not hear, obey or not obey… but responding – speaking back to the speaker – isn’t part of the meaning of the word. Make sense?

    • David says:

      I’ve spent a fair amount of time with Deaf people, and a common complaint is that we Hearing people just don’t LISTEN. I believe that intense, full bodied listening is what “Simon” means.

  4. Simon says:

    Some research approved that the meaning of Simon is Obedience. What light can be throw on this please.

    • Tony says:


      As you can see in the video on this article, Simon really means “to hear.” It’s a bit more than that, though: it’s also a request for action. It’s not enough for a child to HEAR a parent’s instructions, for example. They’re expected to do something about what they hear. When God is speaking, the idea is that He is God and we are His subjects… so obedience isn’t really optional. We’re expected to do what He tells us to do.

      It’s a good thing that God loves us, and would only give us instructions that help us, isn’t it?

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