28 April, 2008

A Brief Bio on the Twelve Apostles

Simon Peter - 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.

Andrew (Peter's brother) - 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.

James (son of Zebedee) - James was 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).

John (James' brother) - 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.

Philip - 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).

Bartholomew (same as Nathanel) - 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.

Thomas - 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.

Matthew (the tax collector) - Surprisingly little is know 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.

James (son of Alphaeus) - 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

Thaddaeus - 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.

Simon the Zealot - 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.

Judas Iscariot* - 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.

Provided by Mike LeDuke at http://www.thisisyourbible.com

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Anonymous Evan said...

Just a few things to say on Judas Iscariot:
-We have a bit of a problem. You mention that Judas hung himself and that Matthias replaced him. However, that is one of the two conflicting accounts in Matthew 27: 9-10, which makes no mention of Matthias replacing him.

Acts 1:18 mentions that he buys a field with the bribe money, fall headlong and burst open. Acts 1:23 Matthias replacing him. You seemed to confuse the two.

Furthermore, there's a lot of negative views towards Judas Iscariot. Without him, though, Christ would not have been betrayed and, subsequently, Christ would never have been crucified, thereby-according to Christian beliefs-damning mankind for eternity. If it wasn't Judas Iscariot, then would it be somebody else? If so, what would their fate be? Does that show that Judas Iscariot-or, if it was somebody else-was an essential part of God's Divine Plan, making it impossible to avoid his fate? If so, does he deserve damnnation-as so many show-for being a predestined catalyst of the redemption of Mankind?

As an atheist, I'm intrigued to here your response as I view Christianity as a fascinating set of mythological beliefs, even if it was based on Judaism which, in turn, was a fusion of nearby Mesopotamian polytheistic beliefs.

June 16, 2008 8:58 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


As mentioned in the initial post, Judas hung himself and Matthias was chosen to replace Judas in Acts 1. What's the conflict?

Secondly, negative views or not, the fact of the matter is Judas betrayed Christ.

June 16, 2008 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

The conflict is Acts 1:18-"With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out."

That's not hanging, is it? No, that's disembowelment.

And, think about it: the redemption of Mankind could not happen without Judas betraying Christ. If Christ was going to die, he had to be betrayed. He already knew about his betrayal, including the identity of the traitor. How did he know? Did Judas and him arrange this so that mankind could be redeemed? Was it his vision of the future?

If it was his vision of the future, than it can't have happened any other way. Christ, according to Christianity was the son of God and, if it was revealed to him by divine means, the knowledge was infallible. If he knew of the future, the future must happen in order for it to be accurate; otherwise, those revelations are false, and it shows Christ and God were not perfect. If it was going to happen any other way, then God and Christ did not know the future; therefore, they cannot be divine.

How can Judas be blamed and punished for an act that he had no choice but to do while it was this same act which redeemed mankind?

June 16, 2008 10:53 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


Yes, Judas hung himself and yes his body burst open when he fell. There's no conflict I can see.

Judas is blamed because he betrayed Christ. Judas punished himself by committing suicide.

June 16, 2008 11:26 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

When God created us, he gave us free will. Judas did have a choice, unfortunately he chose wrong.
The scriptures had to be fulfill and if it wasn't Judas it would have been someone else, there were a lot of people like him back then as there are now, that is the reason why God felt the need to send his only son to save us.
Humanity continues to chose wrong and we are as bad if not worse than the people who crucified Jesus our savior.
Death entered this world through sin, we were not destined to die, but Adam and Eve were deceived by the Devil and they sinned, that is how we became mortal. Jesus came to bring us salvation, so we can have eternal life with him, but in order to have that we need to die to sin, only then we can receive grace and eternal life again, but the road to salvation is not easy and it will never be, evil is always more appealing and a very easy road to take and that road only leads to hell, you may choose to believe there is no hell, that is your free will power but you will regreat it deeply once you die and realize that in fact Hell exist as Heaven does and there is nothing you can do then to change your fate.

December 11, 2011 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.” It was not lawful to take into the Temple-treasury, for the purchase of sacred things, money that had been unlawfully gained. In such cases the Jewish Law provided that the money was to be restored to the donor, and, if he insisted on giving it, and wouldn’t take it back, that he should be induced to spend it on something for the public welfare. So the priests take that money and buy a field with it but legally Judas has bought the field. A burial ground of a very peculiar sort, a burial ground that was used for the indigent, for the poor, and usually in that society in that day for the scouring of society. Independently of his own volition, the man was trapped to buy a grave yard for the indigent. He went out and he truly did hang himself. Judas took the cord, apparently, from around his garment and he hung himself on a tree off the edge of a cliff and the cord from his garment wasn’t strong enough, it snapped and his body fell down on the rocks below. So Luke reports Peter saying that Judas died with his eyes looking at hell, looking down. And so he fell, and as he tumbled down the side of the cliff, his body split in half and his bowels came out. The Greek word is splagchnon. All his splagchnon came out of his middle. You see the gross bloody details of his death. The reason that’s in God’s Word is because it shows God is a just God; this is what happens to those who demean His name and betray His Son.

January 03, 2013 12:32 AM  

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