THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Apostle Occupation, Accomplishments & Some key Scripture references Death
Simon-Peter son of John Fisherman.  Prince of Apostles. He is the Holy Spirit inspired writer of 2 epistles to the Universal Church which bear his name.  As Christ's Vicar of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth he preached in Asia Minor 7 yrs. founding the Church in Antioch [Turkey] and later established the Church headquarters in Rome where he served as Bishop 25 yrs.  As the leader of the Church he presided over the first Great Council in Jerusalem in 49AD [Acts 15]. Jn 1:41-2; Mt. 4:18; Mk 1:16; Lk 5; Mt. 10:1-4; Mk 3:16; Lk 6:14; Mt 14:29; Mt 16:16-22*; 17:1-4; Jn 6: 68; 13:37; Lk 22:31-4; 24:12,34; Jn 21:7-19; Acts 1:13-22; 2:14-40; 3:11-4:31; 5:27-329:32-11:18; 12:1-19; 15:7-12; Gal 2:9; 1 & 2 Peter. Martyred in Rome by the Roman authorities as prophesized by Jesus in John 21:18-19.  Peter was crucifixion, at his request,  upside down ca.64?67 AD
James son of Zebedee Fisherman; business partner of Simon-Peter; brother of John and son of Zebedee and Salome.  His mother followed Jesus and helped to support Jesus' ministry. Jesus called the Zebedee brothers the "Sons of Thunder." James preached the Gospel in Sardinia and in Spain.  He is the patron saint of Spain. Mt. 4:21; 10:2; 10:2; Mk 1:19, 29; 10:41; 14:33;Lk 9:28, 54; Acts 1:13;12:2 First Apostle to be martyred [Acts 12:1-2]. Beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I circa 42?44 AD
John son of Zebedee Fisherman and business partner of Simon-Peter; brother of James; close friend of Andrew.  The Church fathers identify him as the Holy Spirit inspired writer of the 4th Gospel, and as the "beloved disciple".  Preached the Gospel in Asia Minor and honored as the father of Eastern Rite Catholics; Bishop of Ephesus; imprisoned on the penal colony of Patmos where he received the final revelation of Jesus Christ to the Church.  Jn 1:38-39; Mt 4:21;10:2; 17:1; Mk 10:35'41; 13:3; 14:33; Lk 9:28, 49, 54; 22:8; Jn 1:36?; 13:23; 18:16?;19:26; 20:1-8, 12; ; 21:7, 20-25  Acts 1:13; 3:1-11; 4:1-23; 8:14-25; Gal 2:9; Rev 1:1(twice named), 4, 9, 22:8 The only Apostle to die of old age.  His long life was prophesized by Jesus in John 21:20-23.  Tradition places his death circa 90-96? AD.  His tomb is venerated at Ephesus in modern Turkey.
Andrew Son of John Brother of Simon-Peter and worked in the fishing business with Simon and the Zebedee brothers.  Preached the Gospel in Asia Minor, Armenia, and Scythia [southern Russia]; and possible Greece.  He is honored as the patron saint of Russia. Jn 1:40-44; Mt 4:18; 10:2; Mk 1:16, 29; 3:18; 13:3; Lk 6:14; Jn 6:8; 12:22; Acts 1:13 Date of martyrdom unknown. Stoned and crucified in Scythia? on an X shaped cross
James son of Alphaeus Not to be confused with James the 1st Bishop of Jerusalem who was not an apostle but was the writer of the Epistle of St. James, and kinsman of Jesus. James son of Alphaeus preached the Gospel in Syria and founded the Syrian Church.  Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; 15:40; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13 Martyred by stoning, date unknown
Philip From the same home town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee.  Not to be confused with the deacon Phillip in Acts of Apostles.  This Jewish Apostles has an entirely Greek name meaning "lover of horses".  Like Peter, Andrew, James and John he was first introduced to Jesus at the sight of John the Baptist's baptisms [see John 1:43] where he immediately brought his friend Nathaniel to Jesus.  He was a Greek-culture Jew and gentiles who wished to approach Jesus sought him out.  According to tradition he preached the Gospel 20 yrs in Scythia [southern Russia].  It is also believed that he preached in Phrygia [Turkey], Galatia, and in Gaul [France].  He lived his last years at Hieropolis in Asia Minor with his daughters, 2 of whom were prophetesses. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 3:1; 6:14; Jn 1:43-48; 6:5-7; 12:21-22; 14:8-9; Acts 1:13 Martyred and is buried at the Turkish city of Hieropolis according to the letters of Papias, 2nd century Bishop of Hieropolis
Thomas also known as "Didymas" or "Twin" Preached the Gospel to the Jews of Mesopotamia including Babylon in modern Iraq, in Asia Minor; later preached in Parthia [what had been the Persian empire] and in India reaching Cranaganore on the Malabar coast of southwest India in ca.52AD.  Later when Jews who fled Judea after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD arrived in India he led many Jews into the New Covenant Church.  He is considered the Father of the Church in India. Indian Christians still make pilgrimages to shrines that remember Thomas.  Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Jn 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-28; 21:2; Acts 1:13. Martyred by the sword while praying at the altar of his Church in India.  The traditional burial site atop St Thomas Mount in Madras India has been venerated for at least 1,500 years.
Bartholomew = (possibly) son of Tolmai or Talmai Saints Bartholomew and Thaddaeus are honored as the "First Illuminators of Armenia" for performing many miracles and for sowing the first seeds of Christianity in Armenia.  Both saints also traveled and preached in what is today modern Iraq and Iran.  They are patron saints of Armenia where their shrines are still venerated today. There is also some evidence that he preached in Greece and India.  Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:14; Acts 1:13 Suffered martyrdom in Armenia by being flayed alive.
Matthew also known as Levi and as son of Alpheus The tax collector and publican [official] whose tax office was located in Capernaum. As a Levite he was the only member of the ministerial priesthood of the Old Covenant who was called to be one of the 12. Some scholars believe he was a brother of James son of Alpheus but the Gospels do not make this connection. He is the Holy Spirit inspired writer of the 1st Gospel which bears his name and which was written to convert the Old Covenant people of Judea to the New Covenant. Later he is believed to have spread the Gospel in Parthia [Persia] and into Asiatic Ethiopia south of the Caspian Sea, Egypt and Macedonian Greece.  Mt 9:9-10; 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15; Acts 1:13 Martyred in Egypt or Persia? Either by the sword or spear. He is the only Apostle mentioned in the Jewish Talmud.  The Babylonian Talmud [Sanhedrin 43a] records his trial and execution.  His tomb is believed to be in Salerno, Italy.
Simon the Zealot as known as Simon the Canaanite A revolutionary against the Roman Empire who instead helped to lead the revolution to change the world.  Believed to have preached the Gospel in Cyrene, other areas of North Africa including Egypt.  Later traveling as far as Britian before returning to preach in Persia.  Mt 10:4; Mk 3:18; lk 6:15; Acts 1:13 Martyred by crucifixion either in the Persian city of Suanir? or in Roman Britain on May 10th 61AD
Thaddaeus (Judas son of James) He first preached in Samaria, then in Idumea, Lybia, Syria and Mesopotamia before traveling to Edessa in Asia Minor to preach the Gospel.  In the company of St. Bartholomew he founded the Church in Armenia.  Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:16; Jn 14:22; Acts 1:13 Suffered martyrdom in Armenia
Judas son of Simon Iscariot Some scholars believe he was from the town of Kerioth mentioned in Joshua 15:25 and that his name should be rendered ish Kerioth = "man of Kerioth".  Jesus identified him in John 6:70 as "a devil".  He was the treasurer of the group and was therefore  responsible for giving alms to the poor, but he stole from the collection.  [Jn 12:6] Mt 10:4; 26:14-16, 25, 47-49; 27:3-10; Mk 3:19; 14:10-11, 43-45; Lk 6:16; 22:3-6, 47, 48; Jn 12:4-6; 13:2, 21-30; 18:2, 3, 5; Acts 1:16.  Simon-Peter testified that it was foretold that Judas would betray Jesus in Acts 1:15-20.  One of the prophecies is found in Ps. 41:9 "Even my trusted friend on whom I relied, who shared my table, takes advantage of me [lifts his heel against me]."  The more literal translation "lifts his heel" is a Biblical link to the curse on the Serpent in Genesis 3:15 "It [she, he] will brush your head and you will strike its heel"identifying Judas as a "seed of the serpent". Also see Ps 69:25; 109:8 ;Zech. 11:12-13; Jer. 32:6-15 In despair he hanged himself.  Christian tradition records that he hanged himself from the corner of the Temple wall and when the rope broke with his weight he fell and his body burst asunder on the rocks below. See Mt 27:5; Acts 1:18-19

The Apostles are named in Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16; and Acts of Apostles 1:13. Normally the lists are compiled in 3 groups of four names each.  Although the order of the names in each list may vary the lists always begin with Simon-Peter and end with Judas Iscariot with the exception of the list in Acts where Judas has already died.

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2005 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

Sources:

  1. Stromata, Clement of Alexandria; Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume 2; # 49
  2. Church History, Bishop Eusebius, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, vol I
  3. The Search for the Twelve Apostles, William S. McBirnie, Ph.d, [Tyndale House Publishers, 1973].
  4. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
  5. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a
  6. Excerpts and Epistles of St. Clement of Rome, The Clementina [Clementine Homilies], Anti Nicene Fathers, vol, 8
  7. Lives of the Saints, vol I, Rev. Hugo Hoever, [Catholic Book Pub, New Y, 1955]
  8. Lives of the Saints vol II, Rev. Thomas J.Donaghy, [Catholic Book Pub, New Y, 1998]
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