The names of the disciples of Jesus are important to understand as they were the closest followers of Jesus during his time on earth. The twelve disciples were chosen by Jesus himself and were called to follow him, learn from him, and spread his teachings to the world. Let’s take a closer look at who these disciples were and what their names mean.
Who Were the Twelve Disciples?
The twelve disciples were Simon Peter, Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John (brother of James), Philip, Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel), Thomas (also known as Didymus), Matthew (also known as Levi), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus (also known as Judas, son of James), Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.
Simon Peter was one of the first disciples chosen by Jesus. His name means “rock” in Greek and he became a leader among the disciples. Peter was also known for denying Jesus three times before his crucifixion but later went on to become a great preacher and leader in the early Christian church.
Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother and was also one of the first disciples chosen by Jesus. Andrew’s name means “manly” or “warrior” in Greek. He is often depicted sharing the gospel with others and bringing people to Jesus.
James and John
James and John were brothers who were also called by Jesus. James’ name means “supplanter” while John’s name means “God is gracious”. These two brothers were often referred to as the “Sons of Thunder” because they asked Jesus if they could call down fire from heaven to destroy those who rejected him.
Philip’s name means “lover of horses” in Greek. He is often depicted as a thoughtful and reflective disciple who questioned Jesus about his teachings.
Bartholomew’s name means “son of Tolmai” in Aramaic. He is often identified with Nathaniel who was introduced to Jesus by Philip in the Gospel of John.
Thomas’ name means “twin” in Aramaic. He is often referred to as “Doubting Thomas” because he initially doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead but later proclaimed him as “My Lord and my God”.
Matthew was a tax collector before he was called by Jesus. His name means “gift of God” in Hebrew. He is credited with writing the Gospel of Matthew which tells the story of Jesus’ life and teachings.
James (son of Alphaeus)
James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Less because he was younger than James, son of Zebedee. His name means “supplanter” like his namesake.
Thaddaeus’ name means “courageous heart” or “breastplate” in Aramaic. He is sometimes referred to as Judas, son of James to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot.
Simon the Zealot
Simon the Zealot’s name means “zealous for God”. He may have been a member of the Jewish sect known as the Zealots who were known for their militant opposition to Roman rule.
Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus’ disciples but he betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. His name may mean “man of Kerioth” which was a town in Judea. After betraying Jesus, Judas went on to hang himself.
Learning about the names of the disciples of Jesus can help us better understand their roles in spreading the gospel message. Each disciple had a unique name and personality and played an important role in the early Christian church. As we continue to study the teachings of Jesus, we can learn from the examples set by these faithful followers and strive to follow in their footsteps.