Apostle John DIE?
Q. How did John, one of the twelve apostles, die?
(Submitted by: L. A.)
A. There is no sure answer to this question because the Bible does not give us the exact details of John's death. Information regarding his last days comes to us primarily from tradition.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states about the apostle John:
"The Christian writers of the second and third centuries testify to us as a tradition universally recognized and doubted by no one that the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province.
"In his "Dialogue with Tryphon" (Chapter 81) St. Justin Martyr refers to "John, one of the Apostles of Christ " as a witness who had lived "with us", that is, at Ephesus.
"St. Irenaes speaks in very many places of the Apostle John and his residence in Asia and expressly declares that he wrote his Gospel at Ephesus (Against Heresies III.1.1), and that he had lived there until the reign of Trajan (loc. cit., II, xxii, 5). With Eusebius (Church History III.13.1) and others we are obliged to place the Apostle's banishment to Patmos in the reign of the Emperor Domitian (81-96). Previous to this, according to Tertullian's testimony (De praescript., xxxvi), John had been thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil before the Porta Latina at Rome without suffering injury.
"After Domitian's death the Apostle returned to Ephesus during the reign of Trajan, and at Ephesus he died about A.D. 100 at a great age." (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight)
The well-known reference book Foxe's Book of Martyrs says about John:
"From Ephesus he (John) was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death."
Tradition states that the above tomb,
located at Ephesus, is that of John.
Easton's Bible Dictionary writes the following about the end of John's life:
"He (John) appears to have retired to Ephesus, but at what time is unknown. The seven churches of Asia were the objects of his special care. He suffered under persecution, and was banished to Patmos (Revelation 1:9); whence he again returned to Ephesus, where he died, probably about A.D. 98, having outlived all or nearly all the friends and companions even of his mature years. There are many interesting traditions regarding John during his residence at Ephesus, but these cannot claim the character of historical truth."
BibleStudy.org's research has lead to the conclusion that John was exiled to Patmos in 95 A.D. It was during his stay on the island that he not only wrote the Book of Revelation but also finished writing his gospel account After his release, he finalized the arrangement of books and the canonization of the New Testament around 96-99 A.D. John, the last living apostle, lived a long life and likely died close to 100 A.D.
Written by: Clay Willis
edited by BibleStudy.org