Jesus appointed 12 disciples during his earthly ministry during his sermons and preaching. Although many bible readers know how many they were, a number of them are always wondering, “who were the 12 disciples of Jesus?”
According to Mathew 10:2-4, the disciples of Jesus were Simon (called Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Mathew, James’ son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas Iscariot.
So, who are the 12 disciples of Jesus? Which disciple did Jesus love the most? Why do people believe Nathaniel and Bartholomew are the same person? Was Mathias among the 12 disciples? Where does the Bible list all the disciples of Jesus? Compare the list of Jesus’ disciples in Mark, John, Acts, Mathew, and Luke; why does the book of John have some of Jesus; disciples with different names? Which gospel book has the most accurate list of Jesus’ disciples? Why did Jesus rename some of his disciples? Why did Jesus need disciples? Stick around to find the answers to these questions and more.
Who were the 12 disciples of Jesus?
Below are the 12 disciples of Jesus and some interesting facts about them.
Peter is our first disciple of Jesus, which we will discuss. He is among the famous disciples of Jesus, as he was closer to him and always asked questions compared to the rest of the disciples. Peter was also known as Simon Peter, Cephas or Simon.
Initially, this disciple was known as Simon, until Jesus renamed him Peter as John 1:42 records, “then he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “Your name is Simon, son of John, but you will be called Cephas.” (This is the same as Peter and means “a rock.”
Peter was called to be Jesus’ disciple through his brother Andrew, who was at the time a disciple of John. After visiting where Jesus lived with two other disciples, Andrew went to his brother Simon and told him they had found the Messiah. He then took Simon to Jesus, who made him his disciple. John 1:42.
The book of Mathew also reveals that Jesus called Simon when he was fishing in the lake, alongside his brother Andrew as Mathew 4:18-20 says
Apart from being Jesus’ disciple, Peter is most remembered in the Bible for walking on water. He is also known for denying knowing Jesus after he was arrested, as Luke 22:54-62 records. He is also known for addressing the crowd at Pentecost, which led to over 3000 people accepting the gospel and getting baptized, as stated in Acts 2:14-41.
John was also the disciple of Jesus. Jesus nicknamed him and his brother James ‘Boanerges,’ which meant “Men of Thunder.” It is unclear why Jesus chose the nickname he gave the two brothers, as little is known about their background.
John was called to be a disciple of Jesus together with his brother James while they were fishing, as Mathew 4;21-22 records.
Some religious scholars have also speculated that John wrote most of the book in the Bible, unlike the rest of the disciples. These books are Revelation, the Gospel of John, 1st John, 2nd John, and 3rd John. However, it is unclear if Joh honestly wrote these books, as the Bible does not specify that to us. John is primarily remembered in the Bible when he and James asked Jesus if he would let them sit beside him in heaven, as stated in Mark 10:35-38. It is believed that John died of old age.
James was the son of Zebedee and a brother to John, who was also the disciple of Jesus. James was called alongside his brother John one day while they were on their boat with their father, Zebedee, getting their nets ready to fish. Mathew 4:21-22.
Little is known about this disciple of Jesus other than what he did or the questions he asked Jesus together with his brother. James died from Herod’s persecution after he ordered some church members to be murdered, according to Acts 12:2.
Little details are also known about this disciple of Jesus. Philip was called to be a disciple of Jesus, and the next day, he called Simon, as stated in John 1:43-44.
In the Bible, Philip is questioning Jesus to show them the father. Jesus responds by asking him if he doubts him because he has been with him with the other disciples for the longest time. John 14:8-10
Philip is also seen in the Bible being tested by Jesus after he was asked where they were to buy enough food to feed the crowd that was following them. John 6:5. It is unclear how Philip died.
Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother and was a fisherman before Jesus called him. Before Jesus called him, Andrew was John’s disciple. The Bible mentioned Andrew in John 6:8-9 when Jesus fed the 5000 people. “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they would certainly not be enough for all these people.”
Many theologians have suggested that Andrew died by crucifixion. It is further suggested that he was crucified on an X-shaped cross after considering himself unworthy to die like Jesus.
This is another one of Jesus’ disciples who little is known about. The scriptures do not also reveal how he was called. It is also unclear how Bartholomew died, as some traditions suggested that he was beheaded, beaten, and crucified, while others imply that he was beaten and tossed into the sea to drown.
Thomas is also the least-mentioned disciple of Jesus, and little is known about him. He is famously known as the ‘Twin’ or the ‘Doubting Thomas’ after doubting the resurrection of Jesus in John 20:24-25, “One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. So, the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said to them, “unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his slide, I will not believe.”
Mathew’s call by Jesus is recorded in the Bible, as Jesus called him when he was a tax collector. Mathew 9:9 says, “Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, Mathew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.” Mathew got up and followed him.” Other gospels also refer to the tax collector as Levi, suggesting that Mathew and Levi are the same people. Mathew is also believed to have written the gospel book of Mathew.
Jude is another disciple of Jesus, also known as Judas Thaddeus, Lebbaeus, Judas of James, or Jude of James. Many traditions and modern bible scholars have suggested that Jude was Jesus’ brother, but this has not yet been verified.
James’ son of Alphaeus
Just like some disciples, little is known about him apart from the fact that he was one of the twelve disciples, and his father might have been called Alphaeus.
Simon, the Zealot
Simon the Zealot was another disciple of Jesus, and the Bible does not reveal much about him. There are some implications of how Simon the Zealot died, as some traditions imply that he died of old age, while others believe he was crucified in Samaria.
Judas Iscariot can be described as the most hated disciple of Jesus, as he was the one that betrayed him with a kiss. Mathew 26:48-50 says, “the traitor had given the crowd a signal; “the man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him!” Judas went straight to Jesus and said, peace be with you, Teacher, and kissed him.’
Matthias (replaced Judas Iscariot)
Mathias was the last to be among Jesus’ disciples, as he joined the other 11 after Jesus died. The other apostles appointed him to replace Judas Iscariot after he betrayed Jesus and hung himself. Acts 1;23-26
Which disciple did Jesus love the most?
The book of John is the only one that talks about the disciple whom Jesus loves the most but does not name who he was. Although the scriptures do not reveal who he is, most theologians and religious scholars believe it was Apostle John, the brother to James and son of Zebedee. The scriptures that talk about this are John 13:23 and John 19:25-27.
Why do people believe Nathaniel and Bartholomew are the same person?
People believe Nathaniel and Bartholomew are the same people because they believe that since Bartholomew was Aramaean, he would have been known by a second name, possibly Nathaniel. Additionally, in the book Mathew, Mark, and Luke, Bartholomew is only mentioned as referring to an apostle of Jesus, and no other information or details are given regarding him. However, in the book of John, the name Bartholomew needs to be added to the apostles’ names; instead, we see a new name, Nathaniel. Jesus never replaced his disciples, which means that Nathaniel and Bartholomew were the same person.
Philip Kosloski, a bible scholar from the Aleteia organization, also suggests that whenever Bartholomew was mentioned in the Bible, he was always paired with the apostle Philip. In the book of John 1:45, Nathaniel is paired with John, giving us the possibility of this argument.
Was Mathias among the 12 disciples?
No, Mathias was not among the 12 disciples since he replaced Judas Iscariot after his death. Acts 1;23-26 says, “so they proposed two men: Joseph, called Barsabbas and Mathias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these two you have chosen to serve as an apostle in place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs. “Then they drew lots to choose between the two men, and the one chosen was Mathias, who was added to the group of eleven apostles.”
Where does the Bible list all the disciples of Jesus?
The Bible lists all the disciples of Jesus in Mathew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Acts 1:13, and the book of Luke 6:13-16. Some of the disciples’ names vary slightly in the three gospel books. It is only in the book of John that John lists only seven of Jesus’ disciples instead of 12.
A Comparison of Jesus’ disciples list in Mark, John, Acts, Mathew, and Luke
|Simon (Peter)||Simon (Peter)||Simon (who he named Peter)||Peter|
|James (son of Alphaeus)||James (son of Alphaeus)||James (son of Alphaeus)||James (son of Alphaeus)|
|Simon (the patriot)||Simon (the patriot)||Simon (who was called the patriot)||Simon (the patriot)|
|Thaddaeus||Thaddaeus||Judas (son of James)||Judas (son of James)|
|Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot||Judas Iscariot|
Why does the book of John have some of Jesus’ disciples with different names?
The book of John has a new name for one of the disciples, ‘Nathanael.’ It is yet to be clarified why it is so by the scriptures, but it is believed Nathanael is the same as Bartholomew. Additionally, Bible scholars from Got Question ministries argue that since no one truly knows why John used different names, it is essential that one acknowledges that all of these disciples significantly contributed towards the growth of churches and Jesus’ ministries instead of who, why, and how they were called.
Which gospel book has the most accurate list of Jesus’ disciples?
It is impossible to determine which book has the most accurate list of Jesus’ disciples, as the book of Luke, Mark, Mathew, and Acts has all 12 disciples except John, which mentions only seven disciples. Theologians and teachers from Cliffs notes suggest that the book of Mark has the most accurate list of Jesus disciples, as Mark was the oldest of all the other gospel writers, and therefore his records are said to be the most accurate.
Why did Jesus rename some of his disciples?
No scripture reveals why Jesus renamed some of his disciples, but It is speculated that he renamed some of them to give their new names a more spiritual anointing they had been given. Anthony Zarella, a theologian, also suggests that other nicknames that Jesus gave his disciples were nothing but just nicknames (in the case of James and John, who were nicknamed Boanerges), as they kept being referred to by their real names, implying that the nicknames had no impact on their identities.
Why did Jesus need disciples?
Jesus needed disciples because he had come on earth as a teacher and automatically wanted students to teach nature, who would later replace him and his teachings after his death, as Mathew 28:19-20 says. Theologians also suggest that Jesus needed disciples who would help him run daily activities during his ministries because he could not have done everything himself. For instance, when he was on his way to Jerusalem, he sent two of his disciples ahead to bring him a donkey instead of doing it by himself.
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They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.