Jesus’ Disciples Names: List, Meaning and Occupation

 

The Greek word for the Disciple is ‘mathetes‘ meaning a ‘learner’ or ‘follower’. The word means accepting and following the views and practices of a teacher. Apart from having a large following of people, Jesus chose twelve disciples during his earthly ministry. The list is mentioned in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13. The original twelve disciples are also called the ‘apostles’ (Greek – ‘apostolos‘ meaning ‘one who is sent out with a special commission as a fully authorized representative of the sender, like an ambassador). This bible study lesson lists the names and meaning of these disciples and their occupations. (Also check out conditions of Christian discipleship)

twelve disciples of jesus

  1. Peter: (Greek: Petros meaning ‘Rock’) – Peter was one of the most prominent of the 12 disciples. He was a natural spokesperson and also the leader of the early Christian church. His original Hebrew name was Simon, a common popular Hebrew name. Jesus gave him a name ‘Kephas‘, an Aramaic name. John translated into it Greek ‘Petros‘ meaning Rock. (John 1:42 – “you will be called Cephas.”) Peter was a native of Bethsaida (John 1:44), was the brother of Andrew, lived in a fishing town- Capernaum. (Mark 1:29) He was a fisherman by occupation on the Sea of Galilee. He was a married man. (Mark 1:30, 1 Cor 9:5)
  2. John:(Meaning – God is gracious) John was originally the disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35), and  was introduced to Jesus in John 1:35-39. He was the brother of James and the son of Zebedee. He lived in Capernaum in Galilee, but most probably a native of Bethsaida. He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee along with his brother and father. (Mark 1:19-20). He was one of the three disciples, closest to Jesus, the others being Peter and James.
  3. James:(Greek Iakobos- the English word for Jacob meaning Israel or he who supplants his Brother). James was the son of Zebedee (Mark 4:21), the older brother of John (Mat 17:1), by occupation a fisherman along with his brother and father at the Sea of Galilee, in partnership with Peter and Andrew. (Luke 5:10). He was the first disciple (apostle) to be martyred. (Acts 12:2)
  4. Andrew:(Greek -Andreas, meaning ‘Manly’, man), was the brother of Simon Peter, the son of Jonas, lived in Capernaum like his brother, , and was a fisherman by occupation. He brought Peter, his brother, to Jesus. (John 1:25-42)
  5. Philip:(Greek – Philippos, meaning ‘Lover of horses’). He was a close friend of Andrew and Peter, and a native of Bethsaida (John 1:44). Jesus called Philip near Bethany where John the Baptist was preaching (John 1:43). He was the one who persuaded and brought Nathaniel to Jesus. (John 1:45-51)
  6. Bartholomew:(Greek -bartholomaios meaning Son of Talmai). He is mentioned in all the four lists of the apostles in the New Testament. There is no other reference to him in the New Testament. Nothing much is known about him.
  7. Thomas:(Greek -Thomas from Aramaic -te’oma meaning ‘twin’) He is also called ‘Didymus’ or ‘the Twin’ (John 11:16, 20:24, 21:2). When Jesus appeared to the apostles after His resurrection, Thomas was not present with them. Later on, when the disciples told him about Jesus’ appearance, he would not believe them, until Jesus showed Himself a week later. (John 20:24-29). His occupation is unknown.
  8. Matthew: (Greek -maththaios- meaning ‘gift of Yahweh’) is also called ‘Levi’ (Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27). He was a tax collector by occupation. Jesus called him to be one of his disciples, when he was at the tax office (Mat 9:9, Mark 2:14). He is ascribed to be the author of the Gospel according to Matthew.
  9. James: He was one of the apostles of Christ. He was the son of Alphaeus.. Nothing much is known about him.
  10. Thaddaeus: He is mentioned in two of the four lists of Jesus’ disciples. (Mat 10:3, Mark 3:18). In the other two lists he is variously called as Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus, Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. Nothing else is known about him apart from the mention of his names in the two lists.
  11. Simon the Zealot: He is another disciple of Jesus. He was a member of a party later called as the ‘Zealots’ (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18)
  12. Judas Iscariot: He is the disciple who betrayed Jesus. His last name ‘Iscariot’ is from the Hebrew word ‘Ish Kerioth‘ meaning ‘a man from Kerioth’, a place in the south of Judah (Joshua 15:25). He was a treasurer of the group. (John 12:6,13:29). After his betrayal of Jesus, he grieved for his actions and committed suicide. (Matthew 27:5). He is always mentioned last in the list of apostles.
  13. Matthias: After Judas committed suicide after his betrayal of Jesus (Matthew 27:3–10), the eleven disciples selected Matthias as the twelfth disciple.

Acts 1: 23-26 –  So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for your derivations of the names of the disciples, and for your notes on which ones are Aramaic. However, quite a few of the ones you have marked as “Greek” are actually Aramaic as well! Bartholemew is Bar Tulmai, and bar is of course Aramaic for son (son of Tulmai). Thomas is from the Hebrew/Aramaic for “twin”. Matthew isn’t Greek either. It is from the Hebrew/Aramaic meaning “gift” (from natan to give). The list goes on! They were clearly Aramaic speakers with Aramaic names!

  2. Bible SEO says

    Thank you for your valuable input. I will update the post with your corrections and suggestions. Thanks.

  3. Jimmy says

    How about Joseph, the businessman who took the body of Jesus and buried Him. He is not one of the disciple? But the bible said he was. Refer to Matthew 27:57.

  4. Bible SEO says

    Jimmy, thanks for your input. There were many followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ. The list above specifically deals with the twelve disciples that Jesus chose during his ministry.

  5. Cory Yuki says

    Please explain what is the difference between soul and spirit.

    What was the part of God the Son in Creation?

  6. Seth Tier says

    The 12 disciples were all men chosen from different walks of life, many of them were men of questionable integrity, just as Saul was. Jesus more or less chose them to prove that he can turn water into wine. The number 13 in numerology is equal to change, or transform, and Jesus gave them the powers to heal and exorcise demons. Jesus Christ marked God’s victory over the demon kingdom. The lord of flies could not tempt him at the crossroads even! That is how great the father’s love is! hosana to Lord God in the highest!

    Suffered the cross, died for our sins, and on the fourth day, rose again, conquering death! Praises to the father for him giving us his most precious son, the lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is forever sovereign! Thank you, father God!

  7. Dave says

    According to the Bible, who is the 13th disciple?

    I know that I have heard this reference before.

    Can anyone help?

  8. Zach says

    Mary Magdalene is sometimes refered to as the 13th disciple outside of the Biblical Cannon. I have no knowledge of a reference to a 13th disciple within the Bible itself.

  9. James says

    To clear things up, the list is the list of specifically named and chosen disciples. “The Twelve” Like the author said, Jesus had many, many disciples.

    Dave:
    Like Zach said, Mary Magdalen is sometimes called the 13th disciple. This reference only occurs in Gnosticism which is a mystic religion based on the peoples and places of Christianity, but taking its doctrines from other mystic religions of the era. Mainstream Christianity does not recognize her as one of “The Twelve” or “The Thirteen.”
    In fact, with the way the events played out, it is clear that Mary did not hold any high status among Jesus’ other disciples. In Acts, it is seen as important that there be 12 disciples (since Judas is dead), so the disciples look to see who else of the other disciples should be it. The lot falls to Stephen. Had Mary been the 13th, would it not have been easy to move her into place?
    All that to say, if there is a 13th disciple it would be Stephen.

    Cory Yuki:
    Genesis shows us that the whole of the Godhead is active in Creation.
    Gen 1:26–God says “Let Us create”<–"Us create"–plural
    Gen 1:27–"in the image of God He created"<–"He created"
    This shows both the single and plural nature of God's nature and action.
    John 1:3–"All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."

  10. adetunji says

    i need clarification on the no of jesus disciple before the 12disciples were selected.some said we have 70 while some says it was 72

  11. Kevin mavundathanda. says

    There is no other clarity we can derrive except only, and i mean only FROM THE BIBLE. the bible is Supreme. Studying the Bible for ourselves and also to help those who needs salvation and growth therefore should be the heart of us christians. May the Lord God bless you. Kevin ;South Africa.

  12. wemimo says

    Matthias Justus was the 13th disciple. He was picked after the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:21-26.

  13. Errol says

    I was looking for the occupations of the 12 disciples. Thanks, I got most, but, not allof them

  14. Deborah says

    @ Cory Yuki. The difference between soul and spirit is that when God created Adam his body was earthy which is flesh and God breathed into his nostrils the breathe of life which is spirit. When these 2 got together he became living being. When flesh and spirit fused a soul was formed.
    The body,soul and spirit each has functions.
    The body- lust of the flesh, pleasure of the eyes, pride of life (1 john 2:16)
    The soul – Will (Job 7:15), Intellect (Lam 3:20), Emotions (2 Sam 5:8)
    The spirit – Communion with God (John 4:24), Perception of the word (mark2:8), Witness (obeying) of the word (Romans 8:16)

    When we become born again the spirit is awakened and he needs to develop. This happens by the reading of the word etc. If we don’t do this it means we’re still worldly and the soul follows which is in charge. if the flesh is strong the soul follows it. The flesh is mastered by the devil (Romans 7:18) If the spirit is strong the soul follows it and we begin to become christ like in attitudes etc.(Romans 8:11-13)

  15. Anonymous says

    The 13th apostle would be Saul of Tarsus, also called Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. He says that he is ” one born out of due time”(1 Cor 15: 7-8). His calling as aan apostle is found in Acts 9, and he professes his apostleship many times throughout the scriptures(Romans 1:1 is one of the few). Matthias was elected to replace Judas Iscariot, but he would not be considered the 13th because Judas lost his apostleship(Acts 1:20).

  16. Evelyne Ratsimbazafy says

    I would request your help about leadership according the Bible and God’s willing.

    Thanks

    Evelyne

  17. Nancy Swass says

    For those of you doing research on your own, I urge you to look at “The death of Jesus”, a study done by the Mayo clinic.

  18. diane moyer says

    I can’t seem to find why the Gospel of John does not list the names of the disciples, like the other 3 Gospels. can you tell me why?

  19. Denis says

    Jesus and his disciples were all Aramaic-speaking Jews. Greek only comes in via the Gospels, which were written in Greek, which means we don’t get the true picture. We deserve their full Aramaic names where known. Jesus himself was Yeshu’a, and it makes a great difference to know that.

  20. Patrick T Moatshe says

    I am stunned by one thing in the BIBLE. None of the people referred to therein has a surmane, just occupations, like John the Baptist, how come we have got surnames?

    Who came up with surnames when there do not seem to have been recognized by people who lived before us?

  21. Joseph Raphael says

    God bless you for the great effort you have put in studying the scripture and reaching it to others.

  22. felix says

    there were twelve disciples, judah took his own life so he was replaced by mathias, thats in the book of acts, the paul who was encounter by jesus in his way to damascus, he was commisoned by jesus as apostle of the gentiles, paul we could say was the third apostle.

  23. John Kandaya says

    I am blessed with the information I am getting through the Bible study. I am getting deeper spiritually and understanding Bible much better. Continue with your assistance. By the end of a year also I will be very confident to preach with courage with the guide of Holy Spirit. Thank you

  24. Michael Long says

    Technically the list provides the names and occupations of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. The Disciples were the 72 followers of Jesus that He sent out to spread the Word.

  25. Xander says

    The thirteenth disciple is Matthias (either in Acts 1 or 2, can’t remember). Then Paul was the fourteenth (or thirteenth apostle if you discount Judas Iscariot)

  26. Priscilla says

    You referred to the Apostle John as being one of the followers of John the baptizer. Actually it was Andrew who was one of the two disciples of John the baptizer who followers Jesus home that day (John 1:40). It’s a small detail, but is a reminder that we need to look at biblical text closely as we study. Thank you.

  27. Amit Christian says

    Priscilla,
    Thank you for your feedback.

    First mention of John as the disciple of John the baptist is described in John 1:35-42. Most bible scholars believe that the ‘other disciple’ with Andrew in this passage is John. John never mentioned his name in the Gospel of John. He often described himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ or ‘another disciple’. John also precisely remembers the exact time when they followed Jesus (John 1:39 – So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.)

    It could be another disciple, but it seems most likely that the ‘other disciple’ was John himself. Here are some of the other passages where John describes himself.

    John 20:2-4 – So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

    John 21:24 – This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

    John 19:26-27 – When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

    John 18:15 – Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.

    John 13:23 – One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side.

    It is quite fascinating how John describes himself, in this way in many places in his Gospel.

  28. steve says

    one question, starting in John 1: 43 the verse talk about jesus calling phillip and nathanael so why is nathanael not of the 13

  29. Plain Truth says

    Why & Howlong you go on changing the names of Disciples to gain your own ends &
    based your faith on untruth.
    ST.Barnabas ,the cypriot was the most learned among all disciples.
    Your Gospels are not the words of ALMIGHTY GOD but hear say .John said, peter said, mathews sais & all these unrelaible ones calling holkt Jesus son of ALMIGHTY GOD & Holy Jesus was crucified though Gospel of Barnabas cdontain the truth. That Holy Jesus was never crucified. Even Psalm 91:4-12 confirm ALMIGHTY GOD saved Holy Jesus & was taken away alive by Holy Angel Gabriel.
    Holy Jesus never said He was Son of ALMIGHTY GOD.Holy Prophet Adam had no parents but never said He was Son of GOD.
    There were advent of 124000 Holy Prophets including final Holy prophet Mohammed.
    Did Holy Noah said God has a Son, or Holy abraham said, or Holy David said, or Holy Moses said? Suddenly you called him a Son. ALMIGHTY GOD warned you all that (YOUR GOD is a
    Jealous GOD” never ascribe an object or Son ” else you enter eternal hell & never be forgiven. Thank You.

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  1. […] somebody had to be the treasurer in the group of apostles. That opens up the field a little. Oops, that would have been Judas. So many Americans, […]

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