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The Twelve Apostles

The original twelve apostles may be considered, with one exception (i.e. Judas), to be some of the most fortunate people that ever lived. Often referred to simply as "The Twelve," they were chosen by Jesus Christ Himself, and actually lived and worked with Him during His Ministry.

Galilee The names of The Twelve are listed in 4 places in The Bible (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:12-19, Acts 1:13) with some minor differences due to the various uses of first, family, or nicknames at different times.

  • Simon. More generally known as Peter. The brother of Andrew. A fisherman from the Sea of Galilee. Considered to be the most impulsive of the group, always ready to speak up, and swing a sword on occasion (e.g. the cutting off of a man's ear at the time of Jesus' arrest - see The Fateful Night). Some traditions hold that he was eventually crucified, upside down, by the Romans. There has been a very long debate as to whether or not he was actually the first pope.

  • Andrew. He was active in bringing people to Jesus, including his brother Peter.

  • James. James was the older brother of John. He was the first of The Twelve to be martyred.

  • John. See The Apostle John and The Island Of Patmos

  • Philip. From Bethsaida, as were Andrew and Peter. Eventually martyred, possibly at Hierapolis.

  • Bartholomew. He was one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Tiberias after His resurrection. He was also a witness of the Ascension.

  • Thomas. He was also called Didymus which is the Greek version of his name. Not easily convinced, he has the nickname "Doubting Thomas" because he wanted to actually see and touch Jesus after His Resurrection. Certainly a good witness for us today, because he wanted indisputable proof of what he was expected to report about, and he got it.

  • Matthew. Formerly a tax-collector at Capernaum, he became one of the more prominent apostles.

  • James. Known as James the Younger, or James the Less, he wrote the epistle which bears his name.

  • Thaddaeus. Also known as "Judas the brother of James;" while John probably referring to the same person, speaks of "Judas, not Iscariot."

  • Simon the Zealot. The Zealots were a nationalistic sect with very strong political views. There seemed to be a wide variety of personalities among the apostles.

  • Judas Iscariot. The traitor. See Why Did He Do It?

  • Matthias. To bring the number back up to twelve after Judas fell away, Matthias was chosen by the remaining eleven apostles.

See also What Happened To The Apostles?

Fact Finder: What future positions will the original twelve apostles occupy?
Luke 22:29-30, Revelation 21:10-14


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