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Bartholomew and Nathanael

Bartholomew and Nathanael are recorded in the listings of the twelve apostles, but never together. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, Bartholomew is listed as one of the twelve, but Nathanael is not. Conversely, in John, Nathanael is listed, but Bartholomew is not. From that, many logically assume that Bartholomew and Nathanael were actually the same man who was known by two names, just as, for example, Peter was also known as Simon. Another clue that Bartholomew and Nathanael were the same apostle is that they are commonly mentioned with the apostle Philip e.g. "Philip and Bartholomew" (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14) or "Philip findeth Nathanael" (John 1:45 KJV).

"Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"

In Matthew, Mark and Luke ("the synoptic gospels"), Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Nathanael is never mentioned.

Fish and Bread

"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him" (Matthew 10:2-4 KJV)

"And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon He surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him" (Mark 3:14-19 KJV)

"And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles; Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor." (Luke 6:13-16 KJV)

On the other hand, in John, Philip and Nathanael are mentioned together, but nothing is said of Bartholomew. Jesus Christ approved very much of Nathanael's character when He said of Nathanael, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" (guile means deception).

"Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

"And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" [to understand why he said "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth", see Nazarene; see also Christianos for the surprising origin of the term "Christian"]

"Philip saith unto him, Come and see."

"Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"

"Nathanael saith unto Him, Whence knowest Thou me?"

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee."

"Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel."

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (John 1:44-51 KJV)

Nathanael / Bartholomew (keeping in mind that Matthew, Mark and Luke speak of Bartholomew but never mention Nathanael, while John speaks of Nathanael but never mentions Bartholomew) was among the apostles to whom the risen Christ appeared before His ascension.

"After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed He himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus." (John 21:1-4 KJV)

In the book of Acts, Bartholomew is mentioned while Nathanael is not. If Luke was the author of the book of Acts (as he almost certainly was since Luke and Acts are identically addressed to a man named Theophilus i.e. Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 - see Luke's Lessons To Theophilus) this would be well in keeping with Luke's always mentioning Bartholomew, but never Nathanael, in the gospel book of Luke.

"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James." (Acts 1:11-13 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why or how is it that the apostles did not always recognize Jesus Christ after His resurrection?
See What Does Jesus Look Like Now?

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