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Who were the twelve (12) disciples / apostles of Jesus Christ?

Question: "Who were the twelve (12) disciples / apostles of Jesus Christ?"

The word "disciple" refers to a "learner" or "follower." The word "apostle" refers to "one who is sent out." While Jesus was on earth, the twelve were called disciples. The 12 disciples followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. After Jesus' resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) to be His witnesses. They were then referred to as the twelve apostles. However, even when Jesus was still on earth, the terms disciples and apostles were used somewhat interchangeably, as Jesus trained them and sent them out.

The original twelve disciples / apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4, "These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." The Bible also lists the 12 disciples / apostles in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:13-16. In comparing the three passages, there are a couple of minor differences in the names. It seems that Thaddaeus was also know as "Judas, son of James" (Luke 6:16) and Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3). Simon the Zealot was also known as Simon the Canaanite (Mark 3:18). Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was replaced in the twelve apostles by Matthias (see Acts 1:20-26). Some Bible teachers view Matthias as an "invalid" member of the 12 apostles, and instead believe that the Apostle Paul was God's choice to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle.

The twelve disciples / apostles were ordinary men whom God used in an extraordinary manner. Among the 12 were fishermen, a tax collector, and a revolutionary. The Gospels record the constant failings, struggles, and doubts of these twelve men who followed Jesus Christ. After witnessing Jesus' resurrection and ascension into Heaven, the Holy Spirit transformed the disciples / apostles into powerful men of God who "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). What was the change? The 12 apostles / disciples had "been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). May the same be said of us!

Recommended Resource: Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur.

Related Topics:

Does the Bible record the death of the apostles? How did each of the apostles die?

Who was the disciple whom Jesus loved?

What is the Sermon on the Mount?

What are the twelve tribes of Israel?

What is the Apostles' Creed?

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Who were the twelve (12) disciples / apostles of Jesus Christ?