Let’s compare these three portions that list the Lord’s twelve Apostles.

Matthew 10:2-4, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”

Mark 3:16-19, “And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”

Luke 6:13-16, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”

These are the ones the Lord called to the office of Apostles. Let’s consider their differences.

  • Thaddaeus is called ‘Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus’ in Matthew. In Mark, he is called Thaddaeus. In Luke he is called ‘Judas, the brother of James’. In John, he is called ‘Judas, not Iscariot (John 14:22). These differences are not so hard to understand when we realize that ONLY Matthew called him Lebbaeus. ONLY Mark refers to him simply as ‘Thaddaeus’. Luke and John BOTH refer to him as Judas, but with different identifiers. When we compare the use of Lebbaeus Thaddaeus; Thaddaeus; Judas, the brother of James; and Judas, not Iscariot, we can see they are each referring to the same person. Luke also wrote the book of Acts. In Acts 1:13, he lists the apostles who were in the upper room. He doesn’t mention Thaddaeus, but he does mention Judas, the brother of James. Surely, they were the same person.
  • Concerning Simon the Canaanite and Simon Zelotes. He was called a Canaanite because he was from Canaan. He was called Zelotes because he was a zealot. One name shows where he was from, the other names shows what he was.

Some other apostles’ names that may cause confusion.

  • Nathanael – His name is only mentioned in the Gospel of John. Bartholomew is not mentioned by John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not mention Nathanael, but use the name Bartholomew. These are the same person.
  • Levi – He is the same as Matthew. Compare Mark 2:14 and Matthew 9:9.
  • James – James, the son of Alphaeus is called ‘James the less’ in Mark 15:40I trust this will help you understand who the apostles were and clear up your confusion. (237.10)