New Testament People

Mary Magdalene to Rhoda

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This article in our series of New Testament people begins with Mary Magdalene, a formerly demonically possessed woman who was healed and ended up following Jesus. It ends with Rhoda, a servant of John Mark's mother, and Rufus, who is connected to the Apostle Paul.

The below list of people answers several fascinating New Testament questions. Where did Mary Magdalene's last name come from? Who first saw Jesus alive after his crucifixion? How early was the first gospel written? Who were the first seven elected New Testament leaders? How long was Apostle Paul's ministry? Who witnessed Jesus' transfiguration?

Please visit our series on important people in the Old Testament for information on Abraham, Gideon, Goliath, Samson, David and many others!

Mary Magdalene
Matthew 27:56, 61, 28:1
Mark 15:40, 47, 16:1, 9
Luke 8:2, 24:10, John 19:25, 20:1, 20:18

Mary Magdalene received the last part of her name from her hometown of Magdala, which is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Mary is arguably the most well known female follower of Christ during his ministry (next to his mother).

Magdalene not only traveled with Christ but also financially supported him after she had seven demons cast out of her (Luke 8:1 - 3).

Mary witnessed the Lord dying during his crucifixion, as well as being the first person to visit the tomb in which he was buried. God the Father honored her faith and commitment to Christ by allowing her to be the first person to witness his Son alive after his death!

Additional study:
Picture of where Jesus was crucified
Jesus' Garden Tomb
Is the Shroud of Turin a fake?
Can any Christian cast out demons?


Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Agnolo di Polo, c. 1495

Matthew (Levi)
Matthew 9:9 - 10, 10:3, Mark 2:14 - 15, 3:18
Luke 5:27 - 29, 6:15, Acts 1:13

Matthew, also referred to as Levi, is the seventh person called by Christ to be one of his twelve apostles (Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27 - 29).

Matthew's vocation before meeting Jesus was as a tax collector (Matthew 9:9, 10:3). As such, He may have been a wealthy man since they were notorious for practicing extortion, stealing, and generally being dishonest (Luke 3:12 - 13, 19:7 - 8).

Matthew's gospel, written in 35 A.D., is the first of four gospels to be recorded. It is also the first book written that was included in the canonized New Testament.

According to Foxe's he preached the gospel both in Ethiopia and Parthia. It is believed he died a martyr. When God's builds his New Jerusalem, the gemstone that will be an everlasting memorial to Matthew's efforts will likely be a chrysolite stone.

Additional study:
Timeline of New Testament books
Should Christians pay taxes?
Jesus and the Tax Collector
Map of the Parthian Empire

Matthias
Acts 1:23 - 26

Matthias was chosen to be one of the twelve apostles, through lot, to replace Judas Iscariot who committed suicide (Matthew 27:3 - 5, Acts 1:16 - 26). The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia believes Matthias was one of the seventy disciples Jesus personally trained during his ministry (Luke 10).

When God's builds his New Jerusalem, the gemstone that will be an everlasting memorial to Matthias' efforts will likely be an amethyst.

Additional study:
Suicide in the Bible
What is casting lots?
Why did they cast lots for Jesus' clothes?


The Apostle Matthias
The Apostle Matthias
Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308 - 11

Mnason
Acts 21:16

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Narcissus
Romans 16:11

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Nathanael (Bartholomew)
Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18
Luke 6:14, John 1:45 - 49, 21:2
Acts 1:13

Nathanael is also referred to as Bartholomew in the New Testament (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13). He was the fifth person called to be a disciple and apostle of Jesus Christ.

Jesus jokingly commented on Nathanael's candor, moments before their first meeting, when he said, "Behold, truly an Israelite in whom there is no guile" (John 1:48).

Foxes' Book of Martyrs believes he preached the gospel in India, after which he brutally beaten and crucified. The Catholic Encyclopedia states he died at Albanopolis in Armenia.

When God's builds his New Jerusalem, the gemstone that will be an everlasting memorial to Nathanael's efforts will likely be a sardonyx stone.

Additional study:
What was Jesus' sense of humor?
The sardonyx gemstore in Scripture

Nereus
Romans 16:15

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Nicanor
Acts 6:5

Nicanor was one of the first seven men, selected by the early church, to handle the daily distribution of food to the poor saints in Jerusalem. These men (Nicanor, Nicolas, Parmenas, Philip, Prochorus, Stephen and Timon) are commonly referred to as the New Testament's first elected deacons (leaders). Nothing more is known about Nicanor.

Additional study:
Best qualities of church leadership!
Can a church operate without a pastor?
What spiritual gifts can God give believers?


Apostle Nathanael (Bartholomew)
Apostle Nathanael (Bartholomew)
Pierre the Younger le Gros, 1708 - 18

Nicodemus
John 3:1 - 10, 7:50 - 53, 19:39

Nicodemus' name is only recorded in the gospel of John. He was a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin who believed in Jesus. His first recorded visit with Christ was at night to inform him the Jews, based on his miracles, understood he was a teacher from God (John 3).

Nicodemus, to the great surprise of the Sanhedrin, later defended Christ before them (John 7:44 - 52). He also, at great risk to his standing among the Jews, aided Joseph of Arimathaea in preparing Jesus' body for burial in a new tomb (19:39 - 42).

Additional study:
Golgotha, the place where Jesus crucified
Was Paul, at one time, a Pharisee?
Where was Christ buried?
How powerful was the Sanhedrin?

Nicolas
Acts 6:5

Nicolas was one of the first seven men, selected by the early church, to handle the daily distribution of food to the poor saints in Jerusalem. These men are commonly referred to as the New Testament's first deacons.

Nicolas is the first recorded New Testament case where a proselyte (Gentile convert to Judaism), who then became a Christian, was given a position of responsibility within the early church. Nothing more is known about him.

Additional study:
Best qualities of church leadership!
Can a church operate without a pastor?
What spiritual gifts can God give believers?

Nymphas
Colossians 4:15

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Olympas
Romans 16:15

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Onesimus
Colossians 4:9, Philemon 1:10

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Onesiphorus
2Timothy 1:16 - 18, 4:19

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Parmenas
Acts 6:5

Parmenas was one of the first seven men, selected by the early church, to handle the daily distribution of food to the poor saints in Jerusalem. These men are commonly referred to as the New Testament's first deacons. Nothing more is known about Parmenas.

Additional study:
Best qualities of church leadership!
Can a church operate without a pastor?
What spiritual gifts can believers receive?

Patrobas
Romans 16:14

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Paul (Saul)
Acts 7:58, 8:1 - 3, 9, 11:25, 30,
12:25, 13 - 28, Romans 1:1,
1Corinthians 1:1, 2Corinthians 1:1, etc.
2Peter 3:15

The Apostle Paul, whose birth name was Saul, was born around 2 A.D. His father was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6). Although a Jew by birth, he was considered a Roman citizen. He received his education in Jerusalem by the well-known Pharisaic Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). As a young man, he was a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the early Christian church (Acts 7 - 8).

Saul (Paul) is converted while traveling to Damascus and quickly begins preaching the gospel (Acts 9). The Bible transitions to calling Saul the name Paul after proving his special calling from God by blinding, for a season, a false prophet named Bar-jesus (Acts 13:6 - 12).

Paul's ministry ran from 33 to 68 A.D., during which he conducted at least five missionary journeys. See our fascinating list of 120+ Biblical people connected to the Apostle Paul!

Additional study:
How did Paul use humor for correction?
Synopsis of Apostle Paul's life!
First Missionary Journey Map
What were Paul's many identities?

Persis
Romans 16:12

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Peter (Cephas, Simon Peter)
Matthew 4, 8, 10, etc., Mark 3, 5, 8, 9, etc.
Luke 5, 6, 8, 9. etc.
John, 1, 6, 13, 18, 20, 21
Acts 1 - 5, 8, 9, etc.
Galatians 1:18, 2:7 - 14
1Corinthians 1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5
1Peter 1:1, 2Peter 1:1

Peter, the brother of Andrew, was the third person Jesus personally called to be one of his disciples. Both he and his brother Andrew, who lived in Bethsaida (John 1:44), worked together as fishermen (Matthew 4:18 - 20, Mark 1:16 - 18). At the time of his calling Peter, whose original name was Simon, was married (Mark 1:29 - 31).

Peter was one of only three witnesses to Jesus' transfiguration (the other two being James and John, Matthew 17). He also walked on water with Jesus (Matthew 14) and denied him three times just before the crucifixion (Matthew 26). He wrote two books that were included in the New Testament.

Contrary to Roman Catholic tradition, Peter was not the first pope, was not the head of the church, was not given the keys to God's kingdom and certainly was not infallible. There are no Scriptures stating Peter, or anyone after him, was given the authority to rule over the faith of Christians.

Peter died as a martyr likely in 68 A.D. Read more about Peter and his fascinating interactions with the Apostle Paul. When God's builds his New Jerusalem, the gemstone that will be an everlasting memorial to Peter's efforts will be the chalcedony stone.

Additional study:
Peter is publically rebuked by Apostle Paul!
Did Peter die upside-down?
Did Peter really die in Rome?
Where did we get the title of Pope?

Philemon
Philemon 1:1

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Philetus
2Timothy 2:17 - 18

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Philip (the apostle)
Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14
John 1:43 - 50, 6:5 - 7, 12:20 - 22,
14:8 - 13, Acts 1:13

Philip, the fourth person personally called to be one of Jesus' twelve apostles, resided in Bethsaida where Andrew and Peter also lived (John 1:44, 12:21). It was Philip who led his friend and future fellow apostle Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:45 - 49).

According to Foxe's, he spread the gospel in upper Asia and died a martyr at Heliopolis in Phrygia. When God's builds his New Jerusalem, the gemstone that will be an everlasting memorial to Philip's efforts will likely be an emerald.

Additional study:
Who were the twelve apostles?
Why did the apostles buy swords?
Gemstones in Scripture!

Philip the Evangelist
Acts 6:5, 8:5 - 40, 21:8

The New Testament also references another Philip called an evangelist. This Philip, as well as six others, had such exemplary character in the early church that they were specially selected to serve members (Acts 6:1 - 6).

Philip was used by God to powerfully preach the gospel and perform miracles in Samaria (Acts 8:5 - 6). He was later used to preach to and baptize an Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26 - 40) and to evangelize the city of Azotus (anciently called Ashdod, a Philistine city), as well as the surrounding area up to Caesarea.

Read more detailed information about Philip the Evangelist.

Additional study:
Philip meets the Apostle Paul!
What is a Eunuch?
Timeline of the New Testament

Philologus
Romans 16:15

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Phlegon
Romans 16:14

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Phoebe (Phebe)
Romans 16:1 - 2

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Phygellus
2Timothy 1:15

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.


Pilate Washing his Hands
Pilate Washing his Hands
Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308 - 11

Pontius Pilate
Matthew 27:2, 57 - 58, Mark 15:43 - 45
Luke 3:1, 13:1, 23:52
John 18:28 - 40, 19:38
Acts 3:13, 4:27, 13:28, 1Timothy 6:13

Pontius Pilate was Roman Prefect (governor) of Judea during the time of Jesus' public ministry and crucifixion. He was Rome's authority in Judea from 26 to 36 A.D. He (and his wife) believed Jesus was undeserving of death. Pilate rightfully suspected that Jesus' arrest by the Jews centered far more on religious disagreements rather than a state crime deserving the death penalty.

Pilate, however, was politically astute. While he did not want, unilaterally, to condemn Christ, he also wanted to appease the Jews. He therefore allowed the people of Jerusalem to decide whether Christ or Barabbas would die in the likely hope Jesus would be freed. To his surprise the crowd, manipulated by those who hatred Jesus, demanded Barabbas be freed and the Lord crucified. Pilate, regrettably, released Barabbas and sent the Lord to the crucified.

Additional study:
When and where was Jesus arrested?
Why did Christ have TWO trials?
Why did Jesus answer Pilate not Herod?
What does INRI really mean?

Priscilla and Aquila
Acts 18:2, 18, 26, 1Corinthians 16:19
Romans 16:3 - 4, 2Timothy 4:19

Priscilla and Aquila were a husband and wife team who taught Apollos about Jesus Christ (Acts 18). They were also close friends to the Apostle Paul. Read more detailed information about Priscilla and Aquila.

Additional study:
Basic Bible study on Apostle Paul
When did Paul meet Priscilla and Aquila?

Prochorus
Acts 6:5

Prochorus was one of the first seven men, selected by the early church, to handle the daily distribution of food to the poor saints in Jerusalem. These men are commonly referred to as the New Testament's first deacons. Nothing more is known about Prochorus.

Additional study:
The best qualities of church leadership!
How to operate without a pastor!
What spiritual gifts can Christians receive?

Publius
Acts 28:7 - 8

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Pudens
2Timothy 4:21

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Quartus
Romans 16:23

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Rhoda
Acts 12:13

Peter, after being freed from Herod Agrippa I's prison, travels the short distance to the house of Mary (the mother of Mark the gospel writer). He knocks at the door while a large group of believers is inside praying (almost certainly for him). The door is answered by a woman named Rhoda who was possibly a maid.

Rhoda, upon hearing Peter's voice, forgets to open the door in the excitement of telling those gathered that the apostle had arrived! The group's disbelief and unwillingness to believe that a miracle occurred is rather striking (Acts 12:13 - 15). Peter is ultimately let into the house to the shock and amazement of all those present.

Additional study:
God's three answers to prayers!
How should women pray?
Timeline of the New Testament
What does the Lord's prayer really mean?

Rufus
Romans 16:13

See listing of people connected to Apostle Paul.

Previous    -    Next

People in the New Testament
Agabus  to  Drusilla
Elizabeth  to  Jezebel
John  to  Mary
Mary Magdalene  to  Rhoda
Salome  to  Zacharias

References
1913 Catholic Encyclopedia
Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus
Complete Book of Who's Who in the Bible
Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Hitchcock's Bible Names
Holman Bible Dictionary
Holy Bible, a Faithful Version
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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