Who were the first seven
disciples of Jesus?
Who were the first 7 of 12 disciples Jesus called not only to follow him, but to be his special witnesses of what he said and did? The New Testament mentions the individual callings of 7 disciples before a total of 12 were appointed to be apostles:
- and 2. - John and Andrew:
"Again, the next day, John [the Baptist] stood with two of his disciples [John and Andrew]. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
"Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?"
"He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour)." (John 1:35-39, NKJV throughout unless stated)
"One of the two who heard John [the Baptist] speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.
"Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone)." (John 1:40-42)
"The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter." (John 1:43-44)
- Nathanael (Bartholomew):
"Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
"And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
"Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?"
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." (John 1:45-50)
Which of the disciples
Out of the original 12 apostles there were 3 sets of brothers:
Peter and Andrew
James and John (the sons of Zebedee)
James the son of Alphaeus, Judas brother of James (also called Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus) and Simon the Canaanite (Simon the Zealot).
7 out of the 12 disciples had a close relative who was ALSO a disciple!
James (son of Zebedee and brother of John):
"Going on from there [the sea of Galilee], He [Jesus] saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him." (Matthew 4:21-22)
"As Jesus passed on from there [Capernaum], He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, 'Follow Me.' So he arose and followed Him." (Matthew 9:9)
The Calling of Saint Matthew
When were Jesus' disciples called to follow him?
The 12 apostles appear to have been called at 7 different times:
Andrew and John were called together.
Peter was called after his brother Andrew told him about Jesus.
Philip was called the day after Jesus called Peter.
Nathanael (Bartholomew) was called after Philip told him about Jesus.
James (son of Zebedee and John's brother) was called as he was mending nets inside a boat on the Sea of Galilee.
Matthew was called as Jesus was leaving Capernaum.
- Lastly, the remaining five disciples were called: Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Judas brother of James (also called Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus), Simon the Canaanite (Simon the Zealot) and Judas Iscariot.
Here the seven is divided, as usual, into 4 and 3. Four being recorded in John's Gospel, and three in the other Gospels. It is probable also that they belonged to seven different families, but the relationships are too uncertain for us to speak positively.
Which of the disciples did Jesus RENAME?
Only four people in the entire New Testament had their names changed. The scriptures tell us that Jesus renamed three people during his earthly ministry. The fourth person in the New Testament to receive a new name was Saul (who became the apostle Paul - Acts 13:1-2, 6-10).
Jesus gave Simon the son of Jonah a new name:
"One of the two who heard John (the Baptist) speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, 'You are SIMON the son of Jonah. You shall be called CEPHAS' (which is translated, A Stone)." (John 1:40-42)
Cephas is a Syriac word which means the same as the Greek word for Peter.
Jesus also gave two brothers (no doubt with a little humor) one name:
"And He (Jesus) went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, 'SONS OF THUNDER' . . ." (Mark 3:13-17)
What do the names of
the disciples MEAN?
- Andrew - 'a strong man'
John - 'the grace or mercy of the Lord'
Simon the son of Jonah (Simon means 'one that hears or obeys.' Jonah means 'a dove') - renamed Peter.
James (for both James') - 'that supplants, undermines; the heel.'
Philip - ' warlike, a lover of horses'
Nathanael (Bartholomew) - Nathanael means 'the gift of God.' Bartholomew means 'a son that suspends the waters.'
Source: Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary
- Matthew - 'given or a reward.'
Thomas - 'twin'
Simon the Canaanite (Simon the Zealot) - Simon means one 'that hears or obeys.'
Judas brother of James (also called Lebbeus or Thaddeus) - Judas means 'the praise of the Lord or confession.' Lebbeus means 'a man of heart, praising or confessing.' Thaddeus means one 'that praises or confesses.'
- Judas Iscariot - Judas means 'the praise of the Lord or confession.' Iscariot means 'a man of murder; a hireling.'
How many LISTS of the apostles exist in the New Testament?
In the New Testament there are 4 separate lists of Jesus' original 12 apostles. Three of these lists are found in the Gospels, while the fourth list (which excludes Judas Iscariot) is found in the book of Acts:
"And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him." (Matthew 10:1-4, NKJV)
"And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, 'Sons of Thunder'; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him . . . " (Mark 3:13-18, NKJV)
"Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named APOSTLES: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of ("the son of" is erroneously inserted in the Greek. A correct translation is "Judas, brother of") James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor." (Luke 6:12-16, NKJV)
"Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, being about the distance of a Sabbath’s journey. And after entering Jerusalem, they went up into the upper chamber, where both Peter and James were staying; and John and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James, the son of Alpheus, and Simon the Zealot; and Jude, the brother of James." (Acts 1:12-13, Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version)
Written by: THE Bible Study Web Site at BibleStudy.org