Named Apostles

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Stephen, Aug 30, 2001.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen
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    We were having a discussion after Church Wednesday night about how many named Apostles are in the New Testament. I said 17 and my friend said 16. Who's right?
    Remember... men named as Apostles.

    Stephen
     
  2. Barnabas H.

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    Is this a trick question? I know of only 16.

    (12) The original Disciples
    (01) Jesus (Hebrews 3:1)
    (01) Matthias, who replaced Judas
    (01) Paul
    (01) And my namesake, Barnabas [​IMG]
    ----
    16
     
  3. DocCas

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    There are 17 men called "apostle" in the NT: The original 12 in Matt 10:2 and following. Matthaias in Acts 1:25, 26. Barnabus and Paul, Acts 14:14, James the brother of Jesus, Gal 1:19, and Jesus in Hebrews 3:1. Almost everybody misses poor Matthaias. [​IMG]
     
  4. Barnabas H.

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    O yah, I missed out on James, the half brother of Jesus. Thanks Dr. Cassidy. Boy, I am getting old! ;)

    But I see that I may wind up of getting a consolation price. You seem to misspelled my name! You didn't give me a triple-a. :D

    Stephen, thanks for the original question. I knew it wasn't a trick question, I just wanted to pull your leg. [​IMG]
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    And WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP, who will risk their rep on listing the 12 disciples/apostles? :eek:
     
  6. Raulf7

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    Some Scholars say Mathias wasnt a legitimate Apostle and was ordained by men and not by God.

    They say Paul replaced Judas in making up the 12
     
  7. DocCas

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Raulf7:
    Some Scholars say Mathias wasnt a legitimate Apostle and was ordained by men and not by God.

    They say Paul replaced Judas in making up the 12
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>No "scholar" says any such thing for just saying it would cause me to conclude the person is not scholar at all!

    The bible couldn't be more clear! Starting in Matthew 10:2 the Twelve are called "The Twelve." See also Matt 20;17; 26:14, 20; Mark 4:10; 6:7; 9:35; 10;32; etc. etc. etc. Then, after the death of Judas, they are called "The Eleven." See Matt 28:16; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:9; 24:33

    Now note Acts 1:26 where the bible tells us Matthias was "numbered with the eleven" once again making "The Twelve." And the absolute, inspired proof of this is found in Acts 6:2 "Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them," Note that Paul could not have been included in this number for he was not even saved until Acts chapter 9, so Matthias was now one of the Twelve and his name will be on the foundation of the Heavenly city.

    And that, folks, is what the bible has to say on the subject! [​IMG]
     
  8. John Wells

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    I knew this discussion was going too smoothly.! Guns! Battlestations! Shields up! :eek: :mad: :D

    What were the qualifications of an "apostle?"

    [ August 31, 2001: Message edited by: wellsjs ]
     
  9. Barnabas H.

    Barnabas H.
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    Matthias met them all! [​IMG]
     
  10. Stephen

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    Thanks for the answers gentlemen. I came up with the same verses as Dr. Cassidy except I had Ephesians 2:20 instead of Hebrews 3:1.
    But I can see were Hebrews makes it clearer.

    Stephen
     
  11. John Wells

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    Good explanation BJ! :D
     
  12. Natan'el Bar Tholmai

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    Since the list of the 12 original (not lite) disciples is sometimes confusing, I will take a shot. After all, it is MY NICKNAME that will cause all the problems.

    Peter
    Andrew
    James
    John
    Philip
    Batholomew
    Thomas
    Matthew
    James son of Alphaeus
    Thaddeus
    Simon the Canaanite
    Judas Iscariot

    Where does Nataniel come in? (I know) ;)
     
  13. DHK

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    1 Th 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    1 Th 2:6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
    --According to these Scriptures Sivanus and Timotheus are also apostles.
     
  14. John Wells

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    Don't forget Andronicus and Junias (Rom 16:7) Jesus originally gave the title to His closest circle of friends, the twelve (Luke 6:13). He especially indicated their status as emissaries He had set apart to announce the good news of the kingdom. After the first Easter, the term was expanded by the early church to refer not only to the twelve, but to a wider circle of authoritative preachers and witnesses of the resurrected Lord.
     
  15. wolverine

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    Everything you ever wanted to know about the apostles - and more. This seems an appropriate place to post this.

    ---------------------------------------------
    I copied this from the source listed at the bottom. A good resource for lots of questions about not only the early church, but also Biblical times.
    ---------------------------------------------
    I. Andrew. The day after John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus, he identified Jesus for two of his disciples and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). Intrigued by this announcement, the two men left John and began to follow Jesus. Jesus noticed them and asked what they were seeking. Immediately they replied, “Rabbi, where dwellest thou?” Jesus took them to the house where He was staying and they spent the night with Him. One of these men was named Andrew (John 1:38-40).

    Andrew soon went to find his brother, Simon Peter. He told Peter, “We have found the Messiah ...” (John 1:41). Through his testimony, he won Peter to the Lord.

    Andrew is our English rendering of the Greek word Andreas, which means “manly.” Other clues from the Gospels indicate that Andrew was physically strong and a devout, faithful man. He and Peter owned a house together (Mark 1:29). They were sons of a man named Jonah or John, a prosperous fisherman. Both of the young men had followed their father into the fishing business.

    Andrew was born at Bethsaida on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. Though the Book of John describes Andrew’s first encounter with Jesus, it does not mention him as a disciple until much later (John 6:8). The Book of Matthew says that when Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee He hailed Andrew and Peter and invited them to become His disciples (Matt. 4:18-19). This does not contradict John’s narrative; it simply adds a new feature. A close reading of John 1:35-40 shows that Jesus did not call Andrew and Peter to follow Him the first time they met.

    Andrew and another disciple named Philip introduced a group of Greek men to Jesus (John 12:20-22). For this reason, we might say that Andrew and Philip were the first foreign missionaries of the Christian faith.

    Tradition says that Andrew spent his last years in Scythia, north of the Black Sea. But a small book entitled the Acts of Andrew (probably written about a.d. 260) says that he preached primarily in Macedonia and was martyred at Patras.

    Roman Catholic tradition says that Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross, a religious symbol that is now known as St. Andrew’s Cross. It was believed that he was crucified on November 30, so the Roman Catholic church and Greek Orthodox church observe his festival on that date. Today he is the patron saint of Scotland. The Order of St. Andrew is an association of church ushers who make a special effort to be courteous to strangers.

    II. Bartholomew (Nathanael?). We lack information about the identity of the apostle named Bartholomew. He is mentioned only in the lists of apostles. Moreover, while the synoptic Gospels agree that his name was Bartholomew, John gives it as Nathanael (John 1:45). Some scholars believe that Bartholomew was the surname of Nathanael.

    The Aramaic word bar means “son,” so the name Bartholomew literally meant “son of Thalmai.” The Bible does not identify Thalmai for us, but he may have been named after the King Thalmai of Geshur (2 Sam. 3:3). Some scholars believe that Bartholomew was connected with the Ptolemies, the ruling family of Egypt; this theory is based upon Jerome’s statement that Bartholomew was the only apostle of noble birth.

    Assuming that Bartholomew is the same person as Nathanael, we learn a bit more about his personality from the Gospel of John. Jesus called Nathanael “an Israelite ... in whom is no guile” (John 1:47).

    Tradition says Nathanael served as a missionary in India. The Venerable Bede said that Nathanael was beheaded by King Astriagis. Other traditions say that Nathanael was crucified head-down.

    III. James, Son of Alpheus. The Gospels make only fleeting reference to James, the son of Alpheus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15). Many scholars believe that James was a brother of Matthew, since Scripture says that Matthew’s father was also named Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). Others believe that this James was identified with “James the Less”; but we have no proof that these two names refer to the same man (cf. Mark 15:40).

    If the son of Alphaeus was indeed the same man as James the Less, he may have been a cousin of Jesus (cf. Matt. 27:56; John 19:25). Some Bible commentators theorize that this disciple bore a close physical resemblance to Jesus, which could explain why Judas Iscariot had to identify Jesus on the night of His betrayal (Mark 14:43-45; Luke 22:47-48).

    Legends say that this James preached in Persia and was crucified there. But we have no concrete information about his later ministry and death.

    IV. James, Son of Zebedee. After Jesus summoned Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, He went a little farther along the shore of Galilee and summoned “James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets” (Mark 1:19). Like Peter and Andrew, James and his brother responded immediately to Christ’s invitation.

    James was the first of the Twelve to suffer a martyr’s death. King Herod Agrippa I ordered that James be executed with a sword (Acts 12:2). Tradition says this occurred in a.d. 44, when James would have been quite young. (Although the New Testament does not describe the martyrdom of any other apostles, tradition tells us that all except John died for their faith.)

    The Gospels never mention James alone; they always speak of “James and John.” Even in recording his death, the Book of Acts refers to him as “James the brother of John” (Acts 12:2). James and John began to follow Jesus on the same day, and both of them were present at the transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-13). Jesus called both men the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).

    The persecution that took James’s life inspired new fervor among the Christians (cf. Acts 12:5-25). Undoubtedly, Herod Agrippa had hoped to quash the Christian movement by executing leaders such as James. “But the Word of God grew and multiplied” (v. 24).

    Strangely, the Gospel of John does not mention James. John was reluctant to mention his own name, and he may have felt the same kind of modesty about reporting the activities of his brother. Once John refers to himself and James as the “sons of Zebedee” (John 21:2). Otherwise he is silent about the work of James.

    Legends say that James was the first Christian missionary to Spain. Roman Catholic authorities believe that his bones are buried in the city of Santiago in northwestern Spain.

    V. John. Fortunately, we have a considerable amount of information about the disciple named John. Mark tells us he was the brother of James, son of Zebedee (Mark 1:19). Mark says that James and John worked with the “hired servants” of their father (Mark 1:20).

    Some scholars speculate that John’s mother was Salome, who observed the crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:40). If Salome was the sister of Jesus’ mother, as the Gospel of John suggests (John 19:25), John may have been a cousin of Jesus.

    Jesus found John and his brother James mending their nets beside the Sea of Galilee. He ordered them to launch out into the lake and let down their nets to catch fish. They hauled in a tremendous catch-a miracle that convinced them of Jesus’ power. “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (Luke 5:11). Simon Peter went with them.

    John seems to have been an impulsive young man. Soon after he and James entered Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, the Master labeled them “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). The disciples seemed to relegate John to a secondary place in their company. All of the Gospels mentioned John after his brother James; on most occasions, it seems, James was the spokesman for the two brothers. When Paul mentions John among the apostles at Jerusalem, he places John at the end of the list (Gal. 2:9).

    John’s emotions often erupted in his conversations with Jesus. On one occasion, John became upset because someone else was ministering in Jesus’ name. “We forbade him,” he told Jesus, “because he followeth not us” (Mark 9:38). Jesus replied, “Forbid him not ... For he that is not against us is on our part” (Mark 9:39-40). On another occasion, James and John ambitiously suggested that they should be allowed to sit on Jesus’ right hand in heaven. This idea antagonized the other disciples (Mark 10:35-41).

    Yet John’s boldness served him well at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. John 18:15 tells us that John “was known unto the high priest.” A Franciscan legend says that John’s family supplied fish to the high priest’s household. This would have made him especially vulnerable to arrest when the high priest’s guards apprehended Jesus. Nevertheless, John was the only apostle who dared to stand at the foot of the cross, and Jesus committed His mother into his care (John 19:26-27). When the disciples heard that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb, John ran ahead of the others and reached the sepulcher first. However, he allowed Peter to enter the burial chamber ahead of him (John 20:1-4, 8).

    If John indeed wrote the fourth Gospel, the letters of John, and the Book of Revelation, he penned more of the New Testament than any of the other apostles. We have no sound reason to doubt John’s authorship of these books. (See “Outline of the Books of the Bible.” )

    Tradition says that John cared for Jesus’ mother while he was pastor of the congregation in Ephesus, and that she died there. Tertullian says that John was taken to Rome and “plunged into boiling oil, unhurt, and then exiled on an island.” This was probably the island of Patmos, where the Book of Revelation was written. It is believed that John lived to an old age and that his body was returned to Ephesus for burial.

    VI. Judas (Not Iscariot). John refers to one of the disciples as “Judas, not Iscariot” (John 14:22). It is not easy to determine the identity of this man. Jerome dubbed him Trionius-“the man with three names.”

    The New Testament refers to several men by the name of Judas-Judas Iscariot (see below), Judas the brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and “Judas, not Iscariot.” Clearly, John wanted to avoid confusion when he referred to this man, especially because the other disciple named Judas had such a poor reputation.

    Matthew refers to this man as Lebbeus, “whose surname was Thaddeus” (Matt. 10:3). Mark refers to him simply as Thaddeus (Mark 3:18). Luke refers to him as “Judas the son of James” (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). The KJV incorrectly translates Luke as saying that this man was the brother of James.

    We are not sure who Thaddeus’s father was. Some think he was James, the brother of Jesus-making Judas a nephew of Jesus. But this is not likely, for early church historians report that this James never married. Others think that his father was the apostle James, son of Zebedee. We cannot be certain.

    William Steuart McBirnie suggests that the name Thaddeus was a diminutive form of Theudas, which comes from the Aramaic noun tad, meaning “breast.” Thus, Thaddeus may have been a nickname that literally meant “one close to the breast” or “one beloved.” McBirnie believes that the name Lebbeus may be derived from the Hebrew noun leb, which means “heart.”

    The historian Eusebius says that Jesus once sent this disciple to King Abgar of Mesopotamia to pray for his healing. According to this story, Judas went to Abgar after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, and he remained to preach in several cities of Mesopotamia. Another tradition says that this disciple was murdered by magicians in the city of Suanir in Persia. It is said that they killed him with clubs and stones.

    VII. Judas Iscariot. All of the Gospels place Judas Iscariot at the end of the list of Jesus’ disciples. Undoubtedly this reflects Judas’s ill repute as the betrayer of Jesus.

    The Aramaic word Iscariot literally meant “man of Kerioth.” Kerioth was a town near Hebron (Josh. 15:25). However, John tells us that Judas was the son of Simon (John 6:71).

    If Judas indeed came from the town of Kerioth, he was the only Judean among Jesus’ disciples. Judeans despised the people of Galilee as crude frontier settlers. This attitude may have alienated Judas Iscariot from the other disciples.

    The Gospels do not tell us exactly when Jesus called Judas Iscariot to join His band of followers. Perhaps it was in the early days when Jesus called so many others (cf. Matt. 4:18-22).

    Judas acted as the treasurer of the disciples, and on at least one occasion he manifested a penny-pinching attitude toward their work. When a woman named Mary came to pour rich ointment on the feet of Jesus, Judas complained, “Why was not this ointment sold for 300 pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). John comments that Judas said this “not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief” (John 12:6).

    As the disciples shared their last meal with Jesus, the Lord revealed that He knew He was about to be betrayed, and He singled out Judas as the culprit. He told Judas, “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27). However, the other disciples did not suspect what Judas was about to do. John reports that “some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, ‘Buy those things that we have need of against the (Passover) feast ...’” (John 13:28-29).

    Scholars have offered several theories about the reason for Judas’ betrayal. Some think that he was reacting to Jesus’ rebuke when he criticized the woman with the ointment. Others think that Judas acted out of greed for the money that Jesus’ enemies offered him. Luke and John simply say that Satan inspired Judas’s actions (Luke 22:3; John 13:27).

    Matthew tells us that Judas in remorse attempted to return the money to Jesus’ captors: “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5). A folk legend says that Judas hanged himself on a redbud tree, which is sometimes called the “Judas tree.” In most modern works, Judas is portrayed as a zealot or extreme patriot who was disappointed at Jesus’ failure to lead a mass movement or rebellion against Rome. There is, as yet, little evidence for this viewpoint.

    VIII. Matthew. In Jesus’ day, the Roman government collected several different taxes from the people of Palestine. Tolls for transporting goods by land or sea were collected by private tax collectors, who paid a fee to the Roman government for the right to assess these levies. The tax collectors made their profits by charging a higher toll than the law required. The licensed collectors often hired minor officials called publicans to do the actual work of collecting the tolls. The publicans extracted their own wages by charging a fraction more than their employer required. The disciple Matthew was a publican who collected tolls on the road between Damascus and Accho; his booth was located just outside the city of Capernaum and he may have also collected taxes from the fishermen for their catches.

    Normally a publican charged five percent of the purchase price of normal trade items and up to 12.5 percent on luxury items. Matthew also collected taxes from fishermen who worked along the Sea of Galilee and boatmen who brought their goods from cities on the other side of the lake.

    The Jews considered a tax collector’s money to be unclean so they would never ask for change. If a Jewish man did not have the exact amount that the collector required, he borrowed from a friend. Jewish people despised the publicans as agents of the hated Roman Empire and the puppet Jewish king. Publicans were not allowed to testify in court, and they could not tithe their money to the temple. A good Jew would not even associate with publicans in private life (cf. Matt. 9:10-13).

    Yet the Jews divided the tax collectors in two classes. First were the gabbai, who levied general agricultural taxes and census taxes from the people. The second group were the mokhsa, the officials who collected money from travelers. Most of the mokhsa were Jews, so they were despised as traitors to their own people. Matthew belonged to this class of tax collectors.

    The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus approached this unlikely disciple as he sat at his tax table one day. Jesus simply commanded Matthew to “follow me,” and Matthew left his work to follow the Master (Matt. 9:9).

    Apparently Matthew was fairly well-to-do, because he provided a banquet in his own house. “And there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them” (Luke 5:29). The simple fact that Matthew owned his own house indicates that he was wealthier than the typical publican.

    Because of the nature of his work, we feel quite certain that Matthew knew how to read and write. Papyrus tax documents dating from about a.d. 100 indicate that the publicans were quite efficient with figures. (Instead of using the clumsy Roman numerals, they preferred the simpler Greek symbols.)

    Matthew may have been related to the disciple James, since each of them is said to have been a “son of Alphaeus” (Matt. 10:3; Mark 2:14). Luke sometimes uses the name Levi to refer to Matthew (cf. Luke 5:27-29). Thus some scholars believe that Matthew’s name was Levi before he decided to follow Jesus, and that Jesus gave him the new name, which means “gift of God.” Others suggest that Matthew was a member of the priestly tribe of Levi.

    Even though a former publican had joined His ranks, Jesus did not soften His condemnation of the tax collectors. He ranked them with the harlots (cf. Matt. 21:31), and Matthew himself classes the publicans with sinners (Matt. 9:10).

    Of all the Gospels, Matthew’s has probably been the most influential. Second-century Christian literature quotes from the Gospel of Matthew more than from any other. The church fathers placed Matthew’s Gospel at the beginning of the New Testament canon, probably because of the significance they attributed to it. Matthew’s account emphasizes Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. It stresses that Jesus was the promised Messiah, who had come to redeem all mankind.

    We do not know what happened to Matthew after the day of Pentecost. In his Book of Martyrs, John Foxe stated that Matthew spent his last years preaching in Parthia and Ethiopia. Foxe says that Matthew was martyred in the city of Nadabah in a.d. 60. However, we do not know from what source Foxe got this information (other than from medieval Greek sources) and we cannot judge whether it is trustworthy.

    IX. Philip. John’s Gospel is the only one to give us any detailed information about the disciple named Philip. (This Philip should not be confused with Philip the evangelist-cf. Acts 21:8.)

    Jesus first met Philip at Bethany beyond the Jordan River (John 1:28, RSV). It is interesting to note that Jesus called Philip individually while He called most of the other disciples in pairs. Philip introduced Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:45-51), and Jesus also called Nathanael (or Nathanael Bartholomew) to be His disciple.

    When 5,000 people gathered to hear Jesus, Philip asked his Lord how they would feed the crowd. “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little,” he said (John 6:7).

    On another occasion, a group of Greek men came to Philip and asked him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip enlisted the help of Andrew and together they took the men to meet Him (John 12:20-22).

    While the disciples ate their last meal with Jesus, Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8). Jesus responded that they had already seen the Father in Him.

    These three brief glimpses are all that we see of Philip in the Gospels. The church has preserved many traditions about his later ministry and death. Some say that he preached in France; others that he preached in southern Russia, Asia Minor, or even India. In a.d. 194, Bishop Polycrates of Antioch wrote that “Philip, one of the twelve apostles, sleeps at Hierapolis.” However, we have no firm evidence to support these claims.

    X. Simon Peter. The disciple named Simon Peter was a man of contrasts. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” Peter immediately replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:15-16). But seven verses later we read, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. ...” Going from one extreme to another was characteristic of Peter.

    When Jesus attempted to wash Peter’s feet in the Upper Room, the intemperate disciple exclaimed, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” But when Jesus insisted, Peter said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (John 13:8-9).

    On their last night together, Peter told Jesus, “Although all shall offend thee, yet will not I” (Mark 14:29). Yet within hours, Peter not only denied Jesus but cursed Him (Mark 14:71).

    This volatile, unpredictable temperament often got Simon Peter into trouble. Yet the Holy Spirit would mold Peter into a stable, dynamic leader of the early church, a “rockman” (Peter means “rock&#8221 ;) in every sense.

    The New Testament writers used four different names in referring to Peter. One is the Hebrew name Simeon (Acts 15:14), which may mean “hearing.” A second name was Simon, the Greek form of Simeon. A third name was Cephas, Aramaic for “rock.” The fourth name was Peter, Greek for “rock”; the New Testament writers apply this name to the disciple more often than the other three.

    When Jesus first met this man, He said, “Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas” (John 1:42). Jonah was a Greek name meaning “dove” (cf. Matt. 16:17; John 21:15-17). Some modern translations render this name as “John.”

    Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18; Mark 1:16). He spoke with the accent of a Galilean, and his mannerisms identified him as an uncouth native of the Galilean frontier (cf. Mark 14:70). His brother Andrew led him to Jesus (John 1:40-42).

    While Jesus hung on the cross, Peter was probably among the group from Galilee that “stood afar off, beholding these things” (Luke 23:49). In 1 Peter 5:1 he wrote, “I ... am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ....”

    Simon Peter heads the list of apostles in each of the Gospel accounts, which suggests that the New Testament writers considered him to be the most significant of the Twelve. He did not write as much as John or Matthew, but he emerged as the most influential leader of the early church. Though 120 followers of Jesus received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the Scripture records the words of Peter (Acts 2:14-40). Peter suggested that the apostles find a replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:22). And he and John were the first disciples to perform a miracle after Pentecost, healing a lame man at the Beautiful Gate of Jerusalem (Acts 3:1-11).

    The Book of Acts emphasizes the travels of Paul, yet Peter also traveled extensively. He visited Antioch (Gal. 2:21), Corinth (1 Cor. 1:11), and perhaps Rome. Eusebius states that Peter was crucified in Rome, probably during the reign of Nero.

    Peter felt free to minister to the Gentiles (cf. Acts 10) but he is best known as the apostle to the Jews (cf. Gal. 2:8). As Paul took a more active role in the work of the church and as the Jews became more hostile to Christianity, Peter faded into the background of the New Testament narrative.

    The Roman Catholic church traces the authority of the Pope back to Peter, for it is alleged that Peter was bishop of the church at Rome when he died. Tradition says that the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome is built over the spot where Peter was buried. Modern excavations under the ancient church demonstrate a very old Roman cemetery and some graves hastily used for Christian burials. A careful reading of the Gospels and the early segment of Acts would tend to support the tradition that Peter was the leading figure of the early church. The tradition that Peter was the leading figure of the apostolic church has strong support.

    XI. Simon Zelotes. Matthew and Mark refer to a disciple named “Simon the Canaanite” (modern translations have “Canaanean,” which is more correct), while Luke and the Book of Acts refer to one named “Simon Zelotes.” These names refer to the same man. Zelotes is a Greek word that means “zealous one”; “Canaanite” is an English transliteration of the Aramaic word kanna&lt;ah, which also means “zealous one”; thus it appears that this disciple belonged to the Jewish sect known as the Zealots. (See “Jews in New Testament Times.” )

    The Scripture does not indicate when Simon Zelotes was invited to join the apostles. Tradition says that Jesus called him at the same time that He called Andrew and Peter, James and John, Judas Iscariot and Thaddeus (cf. Matt. 4:18-22).

    We have several conflicting stories about the later ministry of this man. The Coptic church of Egypt says that he preached in Egypt, Africa, Great Britain, and Persia; other early sources agree that he ministered in the British Isles but this is doubtful. Nicephorus of Constantinople wrote: “Simeon born in Cana of Galilee who ... was surnamed Zelotes, having received the Holy Ghost from above, traveled through Egypt and Africa, then Mauretania and Libya, preaching the Gospel. And the same doctrine he taught to the Occidental Sea and the Isles called Britanniae.”

    XII. Thomas. The Gospel of John gives us a more complete picture of the disciple named Thomas than we receive from the synoptic Gospels or the Book of Acts. John tells us he was also called Didymus (John 20:4) the Greek word for “twins” just as the Hebrew word t&lt;hom means “twin.” The Latin Vulgate used Didymus as a proper name and that style was followed by most English versions until the twentieth century. The RSV and other recent translations refer to him as “Thomas called the Twin.”

    We do not know who Thomas might have been, nor do we know anything about his family background or how he was invited to join the apostles. However, we know that Thomas joined six other disciples who returned to the fishing boats after Jesus was crucified (John 21:2-3). This suggested that he may have learned the fishing trade as a young man.

    On one occasion Jesus told His disciples that He intended to return to Judea. His disciples warned Him not to go because of the hostility toward Him there. But Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16).

    Yet modern readers often forget Thomas’s courage; he is more often remembered for his weakness and doubt. In the Upper Room, Jesus told His disciples, “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” But Thomas retorted, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:4-5). After Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas told his friends, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). A few days later Jesus appeared to Thomas and the other disciples to give them physical proof that He was alive. Then Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

    The early church fathers respected the example of Thomas. Augustine commented, “He doubted that we might not doubt.”

    Tradition says that Thomas eventually became a missionary in India. It is said that he was martyred there and buried in Mylapore, now a suburb of Madras. His name is carried on by the very title of the Marthoma or “Master Thomas” church.

    XIII. Judas’s Replacement. Following the death of Judas Iscariot, Simon Peter suggested that the disciples choose someone to replace the betrayer. Peter’s speech outlined certain qualifications for the new apostle (cf. Acts 1:15-22). The apostle had to know of Jesus “from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us.” He also had to be “a witness with us of his resurrection” (Acts 1:22).

    The apostles found two men who met the qualifications: Joseph surnamed Justus and Matthias (Acts 1:23). They cast lots to decide the matter and the lot fell to Matthias.

    The name Matthias is a variant of the Hebrew name Mattathias, which means “gift of God.” Unfortunately, Scripture tells us nothing about the ministry of Matthias. Eusebius speculated that Matthias would have been one of the 70 disciples that Jesus sent out on a preaching mission (cf. Luke 10:1-16). Some have identified him with Zaccheus (cf. Luke 19:2-8). One tradition says he preached to cannibals in Mesopotamia; another says he was stoned to death by the Jews. However, we have no evidence to support any of these stories.

    Some scholars have suggested that Matthias was disqualified and the apostles chose James the brother of Jesus to take his place (cf. Gal. 1:19; 2:9). But there appear to have been more than 12 men thought of as apostles in the early church and Scripture gives us no indication that Matthias left the group.

    Taken from: James I. Packer, Merrill C. Tenney and William White, Jr., editors, Nelson’s illustrated manners and customs of the Bible [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, 1997, c1995.[
    Saint Paul


    Whenever the storms of controversy within the Christian Church have cast a shadow on the Cross of Jesus Christ, the clouds have been rolled back by the spiritual brighteness, undiminished by the centuries, of the magnificent St. Paul. Most Christians agree that were it not for St. Paul, the new faith of Jesus Christ would have never taken hold to become the mainstay of Western civilization. The total commitment of St. Paul to the Messiah, for which he ultimately sacrificed his life, brought the message of Jesus to the nucleus of Christians over a period of thirty years and assured the permanency of the truth of the Savior. It was Christ, of course, who planted the seeds, but it was St. Paul who nourished the garden of Christendom.

    St. Paul was born in Tarsus, a flourishing crossroads city in Cilicia, Asia Minor. He received his religious training in Jerusalem under the renowned rabbinical tutor Gamaliel, from whom he absorbed the teaching of the Pharisees with intensity and sincerity. He deplored the acceptance of the Messiah as heresy to his religion and as an affront to the Law of the ancient covenant. Armed with articles of condemnation from his council, he set out for Damascus with an avowed purpose of wiping out this new belief in Jesus Christ.

    On the road to Damascus he met Jesus. This is perhaps the most dramatic turnabout in history, one that was destined to alter the course of the world. St. Paul embraced as the Messiah the man whom he had set out to destroy; thereafter he devoted himself with deep conviction to the truth of Christianity. The conversion alone of this profoundly religious man is in itself testimony to the reality of the Messiah\'s divinity.

    Although not one of the twelve disciples of Christ, Paul linked himself with the apostles and became the greatest apostolic missionary of all time. A brilliant orator and writer, he was sensitive to the needs and moods of the various tribes of both Greek and Near Eastern backgrounds. Furthermore, he was intelligent enough to cope with the problems that beset the new faith at every turn.

    St. Paul, a man of small physical stature, cast a giant shadow upon the missionary scene as he traveled the length and breadth of the ancient Eastern world. He had success following success in the vast areas of Asia, Greece, Cyprus, Macedonia, and eventually Rome, where his most noble purpose was to prove his undoing. He had a fondness for Jerusalem, for whose poor he continually solicited funds. Moreover, he envisioned a union of the Jewish and Christian communities, a project which was to prove dangerous. He met James in Jerusalem and together they sought a means to bring this laudable plan into being. However,
    he encountered not love but outright hostility. In fact, he had to be saved from an angry mob by the Roman authorities, who placed him aboard a ship bound for Rome, where he arrived after a tossed voyage.

    St. Paul had always wanted to use the eternal city with its strategic position in the empire, from which the spread of Christianity could be projected. Although he preached in Rome for two years, his ambitions were never completely realized, except for the production of his masterful Pastoral Letters.

    Despite his frail health he continued his work for Christ at an accelerated pace, but his enthusiastic love for the Savior also brought him the resentment of certain influential elements in Rome. When his enemies had done their worst, he was brought to trial and met a marytr\'s death about A.D. 67.

    The true greatness of Paul is discerned in his writings, particularly his epistles. As author of almost half of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, he has influenced Christianity as no other man with the exception of Jesus himself. Even after nearly two thousand years, St. Paul\'s candor, freshness, clarity, and perceptiveness in his writings are as welcome as sunrise.
     

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