Ever wonder how committed the apostles were to Jesus and to spreading the good news? Here is a brief Bio’s of the original 12 apostles, plus 2.
Sources on what happened to Jesus’ disciples…thank you to ray choi; A follower of Jesus, for the following information:
Ray is quoting these ancient historians:
Source #1: Hippolytus of Rome – Birth unknown, died around 236 AD
Source #2: Eusebius – Was the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, known as the “Father of Church History” because he wrote about the church history. Lived around 260-341 AD
1 – Judas
We know what happened to him...
2 – Andrew – missionary to modern day Georgia/Bulgaria (area adjacent to the Black Sea near Turkey); martyred/crucified in town of Achaia (Greece)
He was a fisherman from Galilee; was Peter’s brother; brought Peter to Jesus; preached to the Scythians and Thracians; was crucified and buried at Patrae (Greece).
According to Hippolytus: Andrew preached to the Scythians [modern day Georgia] and Thracians [modern day Bulgaria, both Georgia and Bulgaria are adjacent to the Black Sea near Turkey], and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree, at Patrae, a town of Achaia [Greece]; and there too he was buried.
3 – Bartholomew – missionary to India; martyred/crucified upside down in Armenia (Georgia)
Bartholomew: From Cana in Galilee; also known as Nathanael; preached in India, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew; was crucified and buried in Allanum.
According to Hippolytus, Bartholomew preached in India (geography – moving to the east and to the south, you have Turkey, than Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and then India: Bartholomew, again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward, and was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armenia [modern day southern Georgia].
Eusebius, in his Church History, confirms the ministry of Bartholomew in India.
4 – James, Son of Alphaeus – local missionary in Jerusalem; martyred/stoned in Jerusalem
He was the son of Alphaeus, possibly Matthew’s brother; not to be confused with the son of Zebedee or the author of the Book of James (who was Jesus’ brother); when preaching in Jerusalem was stoned to death by the Jews and was buried there beside the temple.
Hippolytus identifies that James was stoned to death in Jerusalem: And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem, was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple.
5 – James, Son of Zebedee – local missionary in Judea; martyred/beheaded in Judea
He was the son of Zebedee, brother to John; from Capernaum; referred to by Jesus as one of the sons of thunder; when preaching in Judea, was killed by Herod the tetrarch and was buried there.
James was the brother of John, the disciple “that Jesus loved.” According to the Book of Acts in the New Testament, James was killed by Herod:
Act 12:1 And at that time Herod the king threw on his hands to oppress some of those of the church.
Act 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
This is confirmed by Hippolytus: James, his brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there.
Eusebius described more precisely what was cut off of James: First Stephen was stoned to death by them, and after him James, the son of Zebedee and the brother of John, was beheaded.
6 – John, brother of James and son of Zebedee – banished to Patmos; died of old age
John: The son of Zebedee, brother to James; from Capernaum; referred to by Jesus as one of the sons of thunder and identified as the disciple “whom Jesus loved”; he wrote the Gospel of John, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John; in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos where he wrote the Book of Revelation; died in Ephesus.
John was one of the few disciples that did not die a cruel death, but of old age.
Eusebius discusses the reason that John wrote his Gospel: Matthew and John have left us written memorials, and they, tradition says, were led to write only under the pressure of necessity…And when Mark and Luke had already published their Gospels, they say that John, who had employed all his time in proclaiming the Gospel orally, finally proceeded to write for the following reason. The three Gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his own too, they say that he accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but that there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry.
According to Hippolytus, John was banished by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos, and later died in Ephesus: John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision (Revelation); and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found.
7 – Matthew/Levi – missionary to Parthia (Iran); died of old age
Matthew: A tax collector in Capernaum; son of Alphaeus, possibly James’ brother; also known as Levi or the publican; wrote the Gospel of Matthew; died at Hierees, a town of Parthia (Iran).
Eusebius referenced to Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, as early as c. 110 A.D., bearing witness to Matthew’s authorship of his gospel: ….Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.
According to Hippolytus: Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Parthia [Parthia is near modern day Tehran in Iran]
8 – Simon/Peter – missionary to Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy, Asia; martyred/crucified upside down in Rome
He was a fisherman from Galilee who was previously called Simon and was also called Cephas; he was Andrew’s brother; wrote 1st and 2nd Peter; preached the Gospel in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy, and Asia; was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome.
Eusebius, quoting Papias of Hierapolis (c. 110 A.D.), records a tradition that the Gospel of Mark preserved the Gospel as preached by Peter: Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered…. he accompanied Peter…
Irenaeus (c. 180 A.D.) records a similar tradition, and mentions that Peter and Paul founded the Church in Rome (Italy – geography – moving to the West and slightly north from Israel, you hit the Mediterannean Sea, then Greece and Italy): Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter…
Eusebius records that Peter was put to death under Nero in Rome: It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified under Nero. This account of Peter and Paul is substantiated by the fact that their names are preserved in the cemeteries of that place even to the present day. (Paul was a Roman citizen can cannot be crucified but got an “easier” death sentence).
Hippolytus confirmed the fact that Peter was crucified by Nero in Rome: Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus (Turkey), and Galatia (Turkey), and Cappadocia (Turkey), and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner.
9 – Philip – missionary to Phrygia (Turkey); martyred/crucified upside down in Hierapolis (Turkey)
Philip: From Bethsaida; not to be confused with Philip who was one of the seven deacons chosen to help with the food distribution program in the church (Acts 6:5); preached in Phrygia (Turkey), and was crucified and buried in Hierapolis in the time of Domitian.
According to Hippolytus, Philip preached and was executed in what today is eastern Turkey:
Philip preached in Phrygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there.
10 – Simon the Zealot – bishop of Jerusalem after James; died of old age
He was from Cana and was called Simon the Canaanite or Simon the Zealot (the Zealots were Jewish revolutionaries who opposed Rome); the son of Clopas, died and was buried in Jerusalem.
According to Hippolytus, Simon the Zealot was the second Bishop of Jerusalem: Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there at the age of 120 years.
11 – Thaddaeus/Judas son of James – missionary to Edessa and to the surrounding Mesopotamian region (Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran); died of old age
He may have taken the name Thaddaeus (“warm-hearted”) because of the infamy that came to be attached to the name Judas; also called Lebbaeus; not to be confused with the author of the Book of Jude who was Jesus’ and James’ brother; preached to the people of Edessa, to all Mesopotamia, and died and was buried at Berytus.
Hippolytus records: preached to the people of Edessa (upper Mesopotamica), and to all Mesopotamia (corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran), and fell asleep at Berytus (Lebanon, near Syria and Turkey), and was buried there.
12 – Thomas – missionary to Parthians/Medes/Hyrcanians (Iran), Bactrians (Afghanistan); martyred – speared in 4 different places
Thomas: Also called Didymus; possibly a fisherman; often remembered as “Doubting Thomas”; preached to the Parthians (Iran), Medes (Iran), Persians (Iran), Hyrcanians (Iran), Bactrians (Afghanistan), and Margians; was killed and buried in Calamene, a city of India.
Hippolytus records that Thomas was an active missionary, and that he met his fate in India:
And Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.
13 – Matthias – local missionary in Jerusalem; died of old age
After Jesus’ ascension the 11 Apostles met in the upper room where they were staying and cast lots to decide between two disciples, Matthias and Joseph called Barsabus, who was surnamed Justus.
Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot to bring the Apostles number back to 12; was one of the 72 and preached in Jerusalem; died and was buried there.
14 – Paul – missionary to Illyricum (Croatia), Italy, Spain; martyred/beheaded in Rome
Paul became an apostle a year after the ascension of Christ and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum (Croatia), Italy and Spain, preaching the Gospel for 35-years. In the time of Nero he was beheaded and buried at Rome.
12 disciples + Matthias (replacement to Judas) + Paul = 14 disciples
Out of 14, 1 was lost forever, 9 were martyrs. 4 were local missionaries in Jerusalem/Judea. The rest were foreign missionaries who left their local surroundings–9 of them out of the 14 were foreign missionaries and church planters.
Praise God that Jesus found and recruited you great men to share the message of eternal life through Christ our Saviour!!!