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Who were the Apostles in the New Testament?

Were there only 12?  More?

There were 12 Apostles, possibly as many as 14 if you count Judas, Matthias and Paul. Here is a list and a brief description of each of the Apostles:

1. Simon Peter - He was a fisherman on the sea of Galilee and one of the first of the 12 to be called by Jesus. He was in the "inner circle" of disciples - "Peter, James, and John" and was regarded as the leader of the disciples after Christ.He was a fisherman as were James and John from the area around Beth-Saida on the sea of Galilee. He took the lead on the day of Pentecost when 3,000 Jews were converted to Christianity. He was also involved in the first conversion of Gentiles to the Gospel (Acts 10) and played a key role in the differentiation of Christianity from Judaism at the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15. He wrote 1 Peter and 2 Peter and tradition has it that he was executed in Rome not too long after Paul's execution by Nero.

2. Andrew (Peter's brother) - Also a fisherman on Galilee. Not too much has been written about Andrew. He was a fisherman like his brother, Peter and a disciple of John the Baptist until he was directed to Jesus by John. Andrew introduced Peter to the Lord.

3. James (son of Zebedee) - He was a fisherman and the elder brother of the apostle John (writer of the gospel and letters). Interestingly, while he was alive, he was more influential than John. He was always mentioned before his brother and just after Peter. I believe that he wrote the epistle of James, usually attributed to James, the Lord's brother, in response to the death of Stephen recorded in Acts 7 and that's why Herod had him killed. (note the scathing attacks in that letter on the rich and powerful persecutors).

4. John (James' brother) - Also a fisherman and an early disciple, younger brother of James and friend and co-worker of Peter and Andrew. He wrote the Gospel of John, the 3 epistles which bear his name and the book of Revelation and so, in the end, became the most influential of all the apostles. John's brother, James, was the first apostle to die but John was the last. He died in Ephesus about A.D. 100 at a good old age. He was the only apostle not to have died a violent death.The ones we don't know about from scripture, we are told about in the early church writings. For a time he was exiled by the Emperor Domitian to the island of Patmos off the coast of present-day Turkey and while there wrote the book of Revelation.

5. Philip - Previous occupation unknown. He was the brother of Andrew and Peter and an early disciple of John the Baptist. In John 1:43-45, after being directed by John the Baptist to Jesus, he brought Andrew to the Lord. Philip the Apostle is not the same person as Philip the Evangelist who appears in Acts. (See Acts 8).

6. Bartholomew (same as Nathanel) - Previous occupation unknown. Not much is known about him. He is mentioned in Mt 10:3, Mk 3:18, Lk 6:14, and Acts 1:13 but only by name. In John, in 1:45-51 we get a better glimpse of him. What would any of us give to have the Lord say of us as he did of Nathanel "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile!" He was from Cana in Galilee and it may have been at his house where the wedding was held at which Jesus turned the water into wine.

7. Thomas - Previous occupation unknown. We know almost nothing about Thomas except that his name means "twin" in Aramaic. He is sometimes called "Didymus" which means "twin" in Greek. The incident in John 20:24-29 is where he earns his nickname "doubting Thomas" when he had to touch the wounds of the Lord before he would believe that he had truly risen from the dead.

8. Matthew - He was a tax collector - Surprisingly little is known about Matthew other than the fact that he was a tax collector (perhaps a friend or even an employee of Zaccheus?).He was the brother of James, son of Alphaeus. He wrote the gospel of Matthew.

9. James (son of Alphaeus) - Previous occupation unknown. He has been called "James the less" to differentiate him from James the son of Zebedee. Mark 15:40. He is mentioned in Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13

10. Thaddaeus - Previous occupation unknown. He is "Jude" and is also called "Lebbaeus". See Luke 6:16; John 14:22; Acts 1:13;As Lebbaeus Matthew 10:3; As Thaddeus Mattthew 10:3; Mark 3:18. As another son of Alphaeus perhaps? He is referred to as "the brother of James." See Jude 1 - is he the writer of this epistle? I think so.

11. Simon the Zealot - Political activist. The Zealots were a terrorist group bent on freeing Judea from the Romans. In Christ, Simon found his true Liberator. Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13 He is also called "the Canaanite" another name for the same terrorist organization.

12. Judas Iscariot* - Previous occupation unknown. The surname "Iscariot" could mean "of the dagger" and indicates that he might have been an assassin before coming to Jesus. The surname could also mean "Man of Kerioth" in southern Judea and so, the only one of the Apostles not from Galilee. What do we know of him? He was a thief. He betrayed Jesus and when he repented of his sin, he went back to his partners in crime to set things straight instead of to the Lord. There was no help for him there and he hanged himself. Matthew 10:4; 26:14-27; Mark 3:19; 14:10, 43; Luke 6:16; 22:3-48; John 6:71; 12:4 13:2-29; 18:2-5; Acts 1:16-25

*After Judas betrayed Christ, Matthias was chosen by the other disciples to take his place. Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle was chosen by Jesus. (Acts 9:3-6). After Matthias was chosen in Acts 1, we never hear of him again. Matthias' previous occupation is unknown.

I hope you have found this helpful.

God bless,
Mike
thisisyourbible.com


 
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