Question:

What were the names of Jesus's twelve apostles?


Answer:

At times, names can be confusing because we use a variety of names for ourselves. There is our birth name, our common name, and our nickname. We find that happening in Scriptures. One of Jesus's apostles was named Simon, but Jesus gives him the nickname Peter (stone), but Peter in Aramaic is Cephas. Hence, one apostle is called by three different names in the New Testament.

The original twelve apostles were:

Simon, son of Jonah (also known as Peter or Cephas) (John 1:42)
Andrew, son of Jonah
James, son of Zebedee (nicknamed with his brother, Sons of Thunder) (Luke 5:10)
John, son of Zebedee (nicknamed with his brother, Sons of Thunder) (Luke 5:10)
Philip
Bartholomew
Matthew (also known as Levi, the son of Alphaeus)
Thomas
James, son of Alpheaus
Simon, the Cananite (nicknamed the Zealot)
Judas, son of James (also called Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus)
Judas Iscariot

This list is found in Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; and Luke 6:13-16. Acts 1:13 contains all but Judas Iscariot, who had committed suicide at that time.

Matthew 10:2-4 Mark 3:16-19 Luke 6:14-16 Acts 1:13
Peter, brother of Andrew Simon, nicknamed Peter Simon, nicknamed Peter, brother of Andrew Peter
Andrew, the brother of Peter Andrew Andrew, brother of Peter Andrew
James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John. Nicknamed Boanerges James James
John, the son of Zebedee and the brother of James John, the son of Zebedee and the brother of James. Nicknamed Boanerges John John
Philip Philip Philip Philip
Bartholomew Bartholomew Bartholomew Bartholomew
Thomas Thomas Thomas Thomas
Matthew Matthew Matthew Matthew
James, the son of Alphaeus James, the son of Alphaeus James, the son of Alphaeus James, the son of Alphaeus
Thaddaeus (KJV and NKJV say Lebbaeus, surnamed Thaddaeus) Thaddaeus Judas, the son of James (or Judas the brother of James) Judas, the son of James (or Judas the brother of James)
Simon, the Zealot Simon the Zealot (or Simon the Cananite) Simon, the Zealot Simon the Zealot
Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot  

Additional Verses:

  • Mark 15:40 and Matthew 27:56 refer to James, the son of Alphaeus, as "James the Less" or "James the Younger" and his brother's name was Joses (a form of the name Judas). Their mother's name was Mary. She was the wife of Clopas (John 19:25), which is probably the Jewish name for Alphaeus.
  • John 14:22 refers to Judas, who was not Iscariot. In other words, Thaddeaus or Judas the brother of James.
  • Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27-29 tell us that Matthew's other name was Levi and that he too is a son of Alpheaus.
  • John 1:42 tells us that Peter was also called Cephas, which is the Aramaic form of the name Peter. He and Andrew's father was Jonah.

Replacements:

After Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and committed suicide, he was replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:15-26).

Just before James, the son of Zebedeee, was beheaded by Herod (Acts 12:1-2), Jesus selected a man named Saul (later called Paul) to be his apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1-22).

September 23, 2017