Curious about the Disciples of Jesus?
Here is a study looking into who these men were. Young, flawed, imperfect men that Jesus used to change the story of humanity. We look at each of them along with the Apostle Paul. Each lesson on the disciples has background*, personality analysis**, strengths and weaknesses, and their significance to us today***. Before we jump in, we are working hard to make solid Christian resources available to everyone everywhere for free! Click here to see how you can help make that happen. 3 minutes to catch our vision.
Peter: Bold, emotional, over talker, type “A” leader who is willing to risk it all. He must learn to listen to others and submit to Christ.
John: Brilliant, calculated, a leader who loves justice. He became unstoppable when he fully accepted the work of Christ. This acceptance of Christ’s justice led this “son of thunder” to become the Apostle of love.
Matthew: The outcast, the traitor to his people whom Jesus named “the gift of God.” One of the greatest conversion stories in the New Testament and a lesson that no one is too lost to turn to Jesus and become a central part of his mission.
Thomas: A natural doubter and pessimist who becomes a powerful missionary when he chooses Jesus and sticks to it.
Philip: The Hellenist, the Jew who grew up looking like a Greek. Philip probably would have looked, acted, and talked like an outsider to the Jews. If you don’t look like a good holiness church attender, you might be a Philip! His strength is his ability to connect with people; his weakness is a propensity to look too much like the culture.
Simon: The one who was associated with a group of politically and at times militantly motivated Jews who vehemently opposed Greek culture and specifically Roman rule. Only Jesus could combine Philip the Hellenist (adopted Greek culture), Matthew the tax collector, and Simon the Zealot into one group and unify them. Only an eternal mission will break through our earthly preferences.
Paul: Brilliant, highly-educated enemy of Christianity. His pedigree and strong personality made him powerful. His conversion story was like his life – epic. He becomes one of the greatest leaders in the church, though as an apostle rather than a disciple. Check out the notes for more details.
Judas: Unlike Paul, Judas was in the right crowd, heard the correct teachings, and followed the right leader, yet his heart was off. He loved money more than Jesus. He followed Jesus because it was a smart fiscal decision. This heart would lead him to turn his back on his friends and take his own life.
The other disciples of Jesus: The ones the Bible is nearly silent about. It’s amazing how much we can learn from those who aren’t the bold type A leaders.
- Andrew: Brother of Peter, fisherman, originally a disciple of John the Baptist. (Mark 1:16-18) Some believed he ministered in Greece and Asia Minor.
- Bartholomew: His name means “Son of Tolmai.” Some believe he may have been from royal blood. Tradition teaches that he was a scholar and a searcher of Scripture. Many believe Bartholomew was an evangelistic partner of Philip and Thomas and suffered martyrdom in Armenia.
- James the Elder: Brother of John and a fisherman.
- James the Lesser: The phrase “lesser” probably means younger. Tradition teaches he was crucified in Egypt for his faith and worked as a missionary.
- Jude, Thaddeus, or Lebbeus: Often called the man with three names. He was also a Zealot like Simon.
*Scholarly references are at the bottom of the lecture notes.
**Clearly we can’t know them like we would know a friend today. The personality profiles were drawn from historical and literary contextual evidence.
***In each lesson there is a place to personally identify with these men and words of encouragement if you have similar traits. This is not meant to be professional advice or replace good Biblical counseling.
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9 thoughts on “The Disciples of Jesus (12 Men)”
Thank you for sharing this great resource!
awesome work – thank you
Thank you for your insight!
Love this!! Thanks so much!
Oh good thank you , my friend believes only 11 disciples were at the last supper, he’s a jehova witness
Is 12 men published anywhere
Brilliant insight and it helped me a lot! Thank you 😊
I have really enjoyed this series and am teaching my teens about this. The notes for Peter and Matthew are missing. Any chance I can get them?