Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: From the Tiber
Strong's Concordance #G5085

The sea of Tiberias (John 6:1, 21:1) is another name for the Sea of Galilee. It is also called Chinnereth in the KJV Old Testament (Numbers 34:11) and the lake of Gennesaret in the New (Luke 5:1).

Tiberias is additionally the name of a New Testament city on the western shore of Galilee near Magdala (John 6:23). Although Jesus visited the general area, there is no record of him ever visiting the city.

The sea

The sea of Tiberias is recorded only twice in the New Testament. Its first appearance revolves around the events of John 6 which take place in early 29 A.D. just before the third Passover (John 6:4) of Jesus' ministry.

As Jesus and his disciples crossed Galilee's sea by boat, a large group follows them on the shore. The Lord, when the ship reaches land, notices about 5,000 men, along with women and children, coming toward him! After he and his disciples travel up a nearby mountain, with this huge swarm of people below them, he proceeds to miraculous feed them using only five barley loaves and two small fishes.

The second mention of the sea of Tiberias (Galilee) is in John 21 and relates to Jesus' post-resurrection visit to seven of his disciples. The Lord, during this seventh recorded appearance after his resurrection, caused Peter to catch 153 fishes in a net that miraculously withstood being broken!

Location of Tiberias in Northern Ancient Israel Map

The city

The city of Tiberias is mentioned only in John 6:23. It was built by Herod Antipas, one of Herod the Great's sons, around 20 A.D. in honor of Roman Emperor Tiberius. Herod made it the capital of the Galilee region he ruled. The well-known Jewish historian Josephus reveals the unusual efforts carried out by Herod to populate his new city.

"And now Herod the tetrarch, who was in great favor with Tiberius, built a city of the same name with him, and called it Tiberias. He built it in the best part of Galilee, at the lake of Gennesareth. There are warm baths at a little distance from it . . .

"Strangers came and inhabited this city; a great number of the inhabitants were Galileans also; and many were necessitated by Herod to come thither out of the country belonging to him, and were by force compelled to be its inhabitants; some of them were persons of condition.

"He also admitted poor people, such as those that were collected from all parts, to dwell in it (Tiberias). Nay, some of them were not quite free-men, and these he was benefactor to, and made them free in great numbers; but obliged them not to forsake the city, by building them very good houses at his own expenses, and by giving them land also" (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 2, Section 3).

Important Verses

John 6:1, 11, 13 - 14, 22 - 23
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias . . . And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would . . .

The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;

(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)

John 21:1
After these things (after his resurrection and several appearances before various groups of disciples) Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias: and on this wise shewed he himself.

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).