Who Were The 12 Disciples (Apostles) of Jesus And Their Characteristics?

The names of the 12 disciples of Jesus were: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Judas son of James and Judas who betrayed Jesus. These names can be found in the Bible, they are recorded in

(St. Matthew 10:1-4 & St. Luke 6:12-16) 

When Jesus called His 12 Apostles, He gave them power so that they would be able to overcome the forces of darkness, cast out evil spirits and heal all manner of sickness and diseases. 

The 12 Disciples/Apostles of Jesus is a symbolical representation of the 12 tribes of Israel which typifies the reunion of the covenant between God and man. 

In the beginning of Jesus' Ministry, there were over 70 disciples following Him, However, He appointed 12 disciples specifically to be part of His inner circle and to be with Him at all times.

The 12 Apostles formed the commencement of the early church and they were the main students of the teachings of Jesus. 

The 12 Disciples of Jesus

1. Andrew. Jesus Disciple

Andrew was the first of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. 

He was born some time between AD 5 and 10 in Bethsaida of Galilee. John 1:44

Andrew was the eldest of a family of five, inclusive of his brother Peter and three sisters. He and his brother Peter were called to follow Jesus at the same time. Matthew 4:18

The name Andrew is a Greek name which is believed to mean: "manly and brave." There is no recordings of any Hebrew or Aramaic names for him. 

He and his brother Peter were both fishermen by profession. However, when Jesus called them, he told them that they would no longer catch fish, because He would rather made them "fishers of men." Matthew 4:18-19 

The year that Jesus called Andrew was 26 AD; and he was 33 years of age; which made him 1 year older than Jesus and the oldest of the other disciples. 

2. Peter. Apostle of Jesus Christ.

Peter was the second of the 12 disciples of Jesus. 

Before he became Jesus' disciple, his name was Simon. Jesus later changed his name to Peter, which means "rock." According to the Gospel of Matthew 16:18, Jesus told Peter that he is the rock upon which He would build His church. 

His date of birth is unknown, but the date of his death is believed to be in the year 64 AD. His death was also through crucifixion, but he told them not to crucify him in the same position as his Lord, because he felt unworthy to die exactly as Jesus died, therefore he was crucified upside down. 

Simon Peter did not received any formal education, and the only language he spoke was Aramaic.

Most of what is known about Peter today, is what we read in the Bible, and his stories can be found in the New Testament Scriptures. 

Peter was a fisherman by profession. His birth town was Bethsaida, Roman Empire.

3. James. Jesus Disciple

James was the third of the 12 disciples of Jesus to join the group. He is often called "son of thunder" or Saint James and he is one of the sons of Zebedee. 

He was born in Bethsaida, Galilee, Roman Empire about AD 3 and died AD 44. 

James was one of the three disciples who Jesus chooses to witness His transfiguration. 

He and his brother tried to persuade Jesus to make them sit one on His right hand and one on His left in glory. They went too far so Jesus rebuked them, and asked them if they were able to drink from the cup that He was supposed to drink from.

He then told them that what they were asking was not His decision to make but God's.  

James was one of the first disciples to die a martyr's death. 

4. John Jesus' Apostle. 

John, another of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He was the younger brother of James and both were sons of Zebedee. 

He was born in Bethsaida , Galilee, Roman Empire about 6AD and died 100 AD. At his death he was between 93 / 94 years of age. 

John the apostle was also called 'son of thunder' like his brother peter. He is also called 'the pillar of the church. Galatians 2:19 

He is responsible for the writing of the gospel according to John in the Bible. Throughout the gospel of John, he did not mention his name, he only referred to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus.

5. Philip. 

Philip, another of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He was born in Bethsaida of Galilee. The time of his birth is unknown but he died 80 AD at Hierapolis, Anatolia, Roman Empire. 

He was first a part of the group of John the Baptist. Philip the Apostle is often confused with S.t Philip an evangelist, who was selected to work with Stephen in the management of the charitable distributions, and was one of the seven deacons of the early church. Acts 6:5

Philip was the one who introduced Nathaneal to Jesus and he was also among those who attended the wedding with Jesus in Cana. 

When Jesus was at the last supper with his disciples, Philip was the one who asked Jesus to show them the Father. This gave Jesus the perfect opportunity to make known unto them that He and the Father are one. 

6. Bartholomew / Nathaneal 

Bartholomew was also one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He was introduced to Jesus by Philip, and immoderately Jesus made him one of the apostles. John 1:43-51

He was born in the first century AD, in the land of Cana, Galilee, Roman Empire. He died in Albanopolis, Armenia in the first century AD. 

The name Nathanael was not mentioned in the first three gospels, they used Bartholomew instead. The only gospel that used the name Nathaneal was John. 

However, most modern scholars do not believe that Bartholomew and Nathanael is the same person. They claim that the early recordings of Bartholomew came centuries after he was dead and some of the writings was attributed to him falsely. 

It is believed that after the ascension of Jesus, Bartholomew went to India to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ, and when he was leaving, he left a copy of the gospel according to Matthew with them. 

Disciples of Jesus

7. Matthew

Matthew/Saint Matthew, one of the Apostles of Jesus, was also known as Levi and most times referred to as Saint Matthew. Both his birth and his death took place in the first century AD. The name of the place of his birth was Capernaum and he died somewhere near Hierapolis, Ethiopia. 

The Bible mentioned Matthew as a tax collector and a publican. Matthew 9:9 and Matthew 10:10

He was called to follow Jesus while he was sitting at the seat of custom. After Jesus called Matthew to follow Him and made him one of His 12 disciples, Matthew invited Jesus to a feast at his house. 

Now the Scribes and Pharisees have a habit of watching Jesus' every move, and when they saw that Jesus was feasting at Matthew's house, they criticized Him for dining with sinners and publicans; but Jesus answered them and said: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Mark 2:17 

He is the author of the gospel of Matthew. 

8. Thomas / Didymus

Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus was also called Didymus. He is most times referred to as "doubting Thomas," because when they told him that Jesus was risen from the dead, he did not believed but doubted. John 20:25

Thomas was an Apostle, a preacher and a Christian martyr. He was born in Galilee, 1st century AD and he died in Mylapore near Chennai India  AD 72. 

The first place we read where Thomas spoke in the Bible is in John 11:16. This was the time when Lazarus died and Jesus was about to go and raise him from the dead. Thomas didn't want to go back to Judaea, because previously they sought to stone Jesus there. 

So Thomas's response was: "Let us also go that we may die with him." 

Another place where Thomas spoke was in John 14:5. This was when Jesus told them that He was going away to prepare a home in heaven for them and they will join him one day. 

Thomas's reply was; "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way? 

It is believed that Saint Thomas was martyred at St Thomas Mount in Chennai AD 72 and his body was laid to rest in Mylapore. 

9. James son of Alphaeus

James the son of Alphaeus was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. This disciple is often referred to as James the less. Mark 15:40 Some of the nicknames that he goes by were: 

  • The Younger
  • The Little
  • The Minor
  • The Lesser

James the son of Alphaeus is not to be confused with James the son of Zebedee. The two Jameses are distinguished from each other by the name of their fathers. The four times that he appeared in the New Testament were in a list of the 12. 

He was born in 1st century BC and died 62 AD. The place of his birth was Galilee, and he died at Jerusalem, Judaea. 

The first time that James son of Alphaeus was mentioned was by the Evangelist Mark. He was mentioned in a list with the other disciples. Mark 3:16-19

There is not much to be said of James, he was more of the kind who sits quietly in the back but was obedient to the teachings of the Lord. 

10. Simon the Zealot 

Simon the Zealot was an Apostle, a Preacher and also a Christian martyr. He was born in Cana of Galilee 1st century and the place of his death is believed to be Persia, Edessa. 

To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is called Simon the Zealot. The Bible never identify Simon the Zealot as Simon the brother of Jesus in Mark 6:3. 

It is believed that he preached the gospel in Egypt and afterward joined with Thaddaeus in Persia where he was martyred by being cut into two halves.

Simon was another obscured disciple of Jesus and there is not much more to be said about him. 

11. Judas son of James. 

Judas son of James one of the 12 disciples of Jesus was also called Jude Thaddaeus or Judas Thaddaeus. Sometimes he is identified with Jude Jesus' brother, but Judas the son of James is not to be confused with Judas Iscariot. 

His name was changed to Jude by early translators from Greek to English as they sought to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. 

Jude born 1st century AD at Galilee and he died 1st century at Armenia.

His name Jude/Judas is mentioned 6 times in the New Testament. (Not Iscariot.)

  • Jude of James   Luke 6:16 and Act 1:13 
  • Judas (not Iscariot)   John 14 :22
  • The brother of Jesus   Matthew 13: 55 Mark 6:3
  • The brother of James   Jude 1

He is in the list of the 12 disciples of Jesus as "Judas of James." Luke 6:16 

12. Judas Iscariot, The Betrayer. 

Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He was the one who betrayed Jesus and identified Him with a kiss. Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin and sold Him for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:15

When Judas Iscariot understood that they were going to crucify Jesus, he quickly returned the money to the chief priest and elders and told them that he had sinned against God. 

However, the chief priest and elders said; "what is that to us? see thou to that." So when Judas saw that there was nothing that he could do to reverse the problem he created, he went and hanged himself.  Matthew 27:1-10


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