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Who Are The Apostles In The Bible

Bartholomew Was Probably A Missionary

Legends of the Bible: the Apostles

The Greek word we translate as apostle is apostolos. It literally means one who is sent. During his ministry, Jesus sent the apostles to specific regions in pairs of two , and before his ascension, he commanded them to go and make disciples of all nations .

The Bible doesnt tell us which nation each apostle went to, but for many of them, early church records were pretty consistent. However, traditions vary about where Bartholomew went.

In the fourth century, Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that Bartholomew preached in India:

Pantænus was one of these, and is said to have gone to India. It is reported that among persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language, which they had preserved till that time. Church History

Eusebius had access to one of the greatest libraries of the ancient world, but he also made mistakes now and then . Other traditions, some of which are much less reliable , claim Bartholomew preached in places like Armenia, Ethiopia, Lycaonia, Mesopotamia, and Parthia.

Irene Baptizes And Seals

The narrative about Irene contains three more places that describe her baptizing people, for a total of four scenes of her baptizing. The second is another scene of Irene baptizing in her home city of Magedowhere first Irene and later Timothy baptized. After Irenes father finally died, a new unbelieving king came and ruled, after which Irene returned and apparently re-baptized the people whom Timothy had re-baptized. According to the text, she returned to Magedo and, The blessed lamb of Christ went into the city, and taught many, and baptized them.50 The third scene of Irene baptizing says: She was in the city of Callinicus for thirty days doing signs and wonders and she cured many in the name of Jesus. She made the deaf hear she opened the blind she cleansed the lepers and she healed all who were in pain and she baptized many.51 In yet another city, Tela, a later scribe appears to have redacted that Irene baptized, because the text says that Irene won many to Jesusbut then a priest came and baptized the people that Irene converted.52 In the fourth scene that preserves Irene baptizing, she arrived in Nisibis, and spent a long time in that city, teaching the word of God and making many disciples. And great was the praise of God because of her. And the number of all those who believed in God and were baptized by her hand were a hundred and thirty thousand souls.53

How The Apostles Died

Scripture only records the actual death of James and Judas Iscariot . In John 21:18-19, John records a statement by Jesus that is believed to indicate Peter would die by crucifixion. However, it is not specifically stated in Scripture how or when he died. In John 21:20-23, Jesus makes a statement regarding John indicating he would live a longer life, as we know he did.

Secular, including the writings of various early Christians, gives us several accounts of how the apostles died. Some of these accounts conflict with one another, bordering on the mythological, and are discounted. Each following chapter addresses some of these traditions and legends. Please remember, as noted, scripture is silent on many of the actions and death of the apostles. The information provided is not necessarily factual.

Perhaps we are asking the question about how they died in the wrong way. It was not their deaths that mattered, but their lives. The correct answer to the question of how they died is this, except Judas Iscariot, these men died faithful to the Lord they came to love, even more than their lives. Their lives and deaths serve as examples of faithfulness for us.

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The Apostles Of Jesus

However, the primary definition of apostle applies to a singular group of men who held a supreme role in the early church. The apostles were Jesus Christ’s 12 closest disciples, chosen by him early in his ministry to spread the gospel after his death and resurrection. In the Bible, they are called Jesus’ disciples until the Lord’s ascension into heaven. Thereafter, they are referred to as apostles:

“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon and his brother Andrew James son of Zebedee, and his brother John Philip and Bartholomew Thomas and Matthew the tax collector James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”

Jesus assigned these men specific duties before his crucifixion, but it was only after his resurrectionwhen their discipleship had been completedthat he appointed them fully as apostles. By then Judas Iscariot had hanged himself and was later replaced by Matthias, who was chosen by lot .

How Many Apostles Are Mentioned In The Bible

Bible Stories The Apostles

This is a common question and research shows that the answer is not commonly known. Hereis what I believe to be a comprehensive list of apostles taken, with scripturereferences from the New Testament.

Jesus is our first Apostle. We read this in Hebrews chapter 3. Jesus then called twelvemen tofollow him, and these became apostles. It is these that we call the apostles of theLamb. AfterJudas fell, he was replaced by Matthias, our 14th person named apostle.

After this there were other apostles, which we call ascension apostles because they were calledafter the ascension of Christ. The other apostles were Paul, Barnabas and James and some Greek apostles Apollos, Epaphroditus, Andonicus, Junias, Silasand Timothy. There were also 2 other unnamed apostles. This brings the total to 25 confirmedapostles in Scripture.

After these 25, there are other possible apostles in Scripture. We consider here the Mark, Luke,Jude, Titus and the writer of the book of Hebrews. Four of these authored scripture and this wasthe foundation of the selection of the canon of the New Testament. The fifth was similarin role and position to Timothy who was an apostle.

In addition, in 1 Corinthians 15:7 it mentions all the apostles allowing room for other unnamedapostles. There are 5 other named possibles that we are aware of, plus other unnamed possibles.

A complete list:

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Who Wrote The Bible

Over centuries, billions of people have read the Bible. Scholars have spent their lives studying it, while rabbis, ministers and priests have focused on interpreting, teaching and preaching from its pages.

As the sacred text for two of the worlds leading religions, Judaism and Christianity, as well as other faiths, the Bible has also had an unmatched influence on literatureparticularly in the Western world. It has been translated into nearly 700 languages, and while exact sales figures are hard to come by, its widely considered to be the worlds best-selling book.

But despite the Bibles undeniable influence, mysteries continue to linger over its origins. Even after nearly 2,000 years of its existence, and centuries of investigation by biblical scholars, we still dont know with certainty who wrote its various texts, when they were written or under what circumstances.

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Genre Sources And Historicity Of Acts

The title “Acts of the Apostles” would seem to identify it with the genre telling of the deeds and achievements of great men , but it was not the title given by the author. The anonymous author aligned LukeActs to the “narratives” which many others had written, and described his own work as an “orderly account” . It lacks exact analogies in Hellenistic or Jewish literature.

Acts was read as a reliable history of the early church well into the post-Reformation era, but by the 17th century biblical scholars began to notice that it was incomplete and tendentiousits picture of a harmonious church is quite at odds with that given by Paul’s letters, and it omits important events such as the deaths of both Peter and Paul. The mid-19th-century scholar Ferdinand Baur suggested that the author had re-written history to present a united Peter and Paul and advance a single orthodoxy against the Baur continues to have enormous influence, but today there is less interest in determining the historical accuracy of Acts than in understanding the author’s theological program.

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The Apostles Heal Many

12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomons Colonnade.

13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.

14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peters shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.

16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

Was Mark One Of The Disciples

Acts of the Apostles, Lesson 1: Chapters 1-2

Mark the Evangelist, commonly believed to also be a man named John Mark, is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. The Bible doesnt explicitly connect these two people, and neither do the early church fathers, but its certainly possible that theyre the same person.

John Mark was a traveling companion of Paul and Barnabus , and a man named Mark was also a close companion of Paul. Interestingly, when Peter escapes from prison in Acts 12, he flees to John Marks mothers house, which was an important gathering place for the early Christians. So Peter and John Mark likely crossed paths, and it wouldnt be surprising if they developed a lasting relationship as a result.

All that said, Mark, the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark was not one of the Twelve, and probably wasnt an eyewitness of Jesus ministry, either. According to tradition, Marks gospel is based on Peters account of his time with Jesuswhich could be why Matthew and Lukes gospels appear to be based on the Gospel of Mark, even though Matthew was an eyewitness!

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The Thecla Tertullian Knew

The most important reason to conclude that the long Life of Thecla is much older than the fifth century is that the Life is the sole writing about Thecla that comports with Tertullians complaint about the writings about Thecla. The shorter Acts does not. Tertullian, therefore, must have been complaining about a composition like the Life, not the Acts.

On Baptism

But the woman of pertness, who has usurped the power to teach, will of course not give birth for herself likewise to a right of baptizing, unless some new beast shall arise like the former so that, just as the one abolished baptism, so some other should in her own right confer it! But if the writings which wrongly go under Pauls name, claim Theclas example as a license for womens teaching and baptizing , let them know that, in Asia, the presbyter who composed that writing, as if he were augmenting Pauls fame from his own store, after being convicted, and confessing that he had done it from love of Paul, was removed from his office.84

Tertullian claimed that Theclas example in this text provided a license for womens teaching and baptism. The short Acts depicts Thecla baptizing only herselfand no one else. How could other women have used Theclas example in the Acts as a license to baptize other people? The obvious answer is that they could not.


Questions For You To Consider

  • Were you surprised by the lengthy list of people in the New Testament who were sent out as apostles? What is your initial reaction to this information?
  • How many people over the centuries who were called missionaries do you think were actually God-called apostles? Have you ever thought about it? Why do you think many apostles were never recognized for being apostolic?
  • Why do you think it is important to recognize and acknowledge the true ministry gift upon a persons life? Whom do you know right now to be true apostles? Is their apostolic gift acknowledged, or are they referred to as something else?
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    What Happened To The Apostles After Jesus’ Resurrection

    Simon Peter: Spread the Gospel in Jerusalem and abroad including Antioch. He died by crucifixion, and according to tradition, he asked to die upside-down. His death was prophesied by Jesus in John 21:18.

    Thaddeus also called Jude: Crucified at Edessa.

    Bartholomew: Said to have translated the Gospel of Matthew, is believed to have been beaten then crucified.

    Thomas also called Didymus: Went to Parthia and India, where he is believed to have been martyred.

    Simon the Zealot: Went to Africa and may have gone as far north as Britain, where tradition holds he was martyred.

    John: Travelled and spread the Gospel till he was sent to Rome. They attempted to boil him in oil which failed so he was banished to Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation.

    James the son of Zebedee: His death was the second account of martyrdom in the Bible, James was executed in Jerusalem for his faith, as recounted in Acts 12:1-2.

    Philip: Served the cause of Christ until his death in Heliopolis.

    Matthew: It is believed much of Matthews ministry was in Africa, including modern-day Ethiopia, and that he was killed with a halberd.

    James the son of Alphaeus: He served until he was stoned for his faith.

    Matthias: Not much is known of his ministry, though tradition holds he was stoned and then beheaded.

    Andrew: Preached in what is now the middle east and was crucified.

    The Gospels In Harmony

    Bible Stories The Apostles

    A wonderful help to use when studying the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is found in the Bible Dictionary, after âGospels.â The Harmony of the Gospels is a chart that tells where in each book a teaching or an incident in the life of Jesus Christ is told. You get a more in-depth understanding of events or parables when you read about them everywhere they are written. Try looking up the baptism of Jesus. You will see that it is mentioned in all four Gospels. But Jesusâs appearance to Thomas, for instance, is found only in John.

    John has the most unique material in his book. About 90 percent of the information in the book of John is not in the other three Gospels. Markâs book has the least unique material: only 7 percent.


  • Information in this article came from Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet, eds., Studies in Scripture, Volume 5: The Gospels .

  • See The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. , 1:324.

  • Illustrated by Paul Mann

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    Whats The Difference Between Disciple And Apostle

    The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia notes a significant difference between apostle and another commonly associated word, “disciple,” which means “a learner.”

    The 12 disciples are first called apostles in Matthew 10:2. According to John Gills , they were learners before now being instructed, they are sent forth to preach publicly, and therefore are called apostles, or messengers.

    Qualifications Of An Apostle

    An apostle as defined strictly by the New Testament, no longer exists today, since these three conditions had to be met: The person had to have been an eyewitness to Jesus after his resurrection had to have been chosen by the Holy Spirit and had to have ministered with miraculous signs and wonders .

    A modern-day apostle would typically function as a church planterone who is sent out by the body of Christ to spread the gospel and establish new communities of believers.

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    How Are Apostles Different From Disciples

    Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between a disciple and an apostle.

    A disciple is a devoted student and follower of a teacher. In fact, the Greek word for disciple, mathts, means a learner or pupil. Essentially, a student. They might be an apprentice under someone, but their main goal as a disciple is to learn as much as possible from their teacher.

    In actuality, Jesus had many disciples that werent part of the 12. We know this to be true because after sending out the 12 Disciples, Jesus then chose and sent out 72 others.

    The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit.

    Who Were The Twelve Disciples Of Jesus

    Acts of the Apostles Chapters 23, 24 & 25 Bible Study
    • Simon Peter was the son of Jonas who was a fisherman and lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum
    • Thomas Didymus lived in Galilee and was a pessimistic and bewildered man, yet one known for his courage.
    • After Judas Iscariot had committed suicide, Matthias was selected to replace him.

    The apostles of Jesus were called on different occasions by Jesus to aid in His own work, irrespective of where they were from or their varied professional backgrounds. Jesus saw the potential in them and told them He would make them fishers of men. Weve seen in history how they were the founders of the modern churches as they spread the good news. Irrespective of their hard work the faced various persecutions in the delivery of Good News.

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    He Is Traditionally Associated With Philip

    In three of the four lists of apostles, Bartholomew appears right after Philip, which appears to suggest an association of some kind between them. Later traditions also described the two of them doing ministry together. In the apocryphal text Acts of Philip, Philip and Bartholomew were both crucified upside down, until Philips preaching convinces the onlookers to free them.

    As well see in a moment, their association is another reason many Christians believe Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person. But his position next to Philip in the lists also might not mean anythingsince theyre not listed together in Acts.

    Fun fact:Saint Luke likely wrote the gospel that bears his name and the Book of Acts. This means he listed Bartholomew and Philip together in one of his books, but not in the other. If their association was important, you would think hed be consistent in placing them together . . . but maybe not?


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