The Apostles Afterward


As we begin our study through Acts together, there is an initial focus on the eleven remaining apostles and then the addition of one, as the replacement for Judas. In our Question-and-Answer session on Sunday morning, we were talking about the apostles and what happened to them. In his famous book on martyrs, John Foxe actually begins with the ministry and martyrdom of the apostles. Much of the following information comes from that book.

The following list of the Apostles is in the order given to us by Luke in Acts 1:13.

Peter was condemned to die under the persecution of Nero. “Jerome tells us he was crucified head down at his own request, saying that he was not worthy to be crucified the same way his Lord was.”[1]

John was banished to the island of Patmos. “Domitian exiled John to the island of Patmos, but on Domitian’s death, John was allowed to return to Ephesus in the year AD 97. He remained there until the reign of Trajan, governing the churches in Asia and writing his Gospel until he died at about the age of 100.”[2]

James was killed by Herod and is the only death of one the apostles recorded in Acts. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.[3]

“Andrew, Peter’s brother, preached to the Scythians, Sogdians, and the Sacae in Sebastopolis, Ethiopia, in the year AD 80. He was crucified by Aegeas, the governor of the Edessenes, and was buried in Patrae, in Archaia. Bernard and St. Cyprian mentioned the confession and martyrdom of this blessed apostle.”[4] Cyprian was an early church father.

Philip was known to have preached and ministered among cruel and fierce nations and “was stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia, and buried there with his daughter.”[5]

“Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Magians. He was killed in Calamina, India.”[6]

“Bartholomew is said to have preached in India and translated the Gospel of Matthew into their tongue. He was beaten, crucified, and beheaded in Albinopolis, Armenia.”[7]

“Matthew wrote his Gospel to the Jews in the Hebrew tongue. After he had converted Ethiopia and all Egypt, Hircanus the king sent someone to kill him with a spear.”[8]

James the son of Alphaeus called Simon by John Foxe. “Simon, brother of Jude and James the younger, who were all the sons of Mary Cleophas and Alpheus, was bishop of Jerusalem after James. He was crucified in Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan.”[9]

“Simon the Apostle, called Cananeus and Zelotes, preached in Mauritania, Africa, and Britain. He was also crucified.”[10]

Judas (Jude), the son of Judas is thought to have ministered in Persia and was martyred there.

Matthias, the chosen replacement for Judas Iscariot, is believed to have gone to Syria and is believed to have been martyred there by burning to death.

In addition, we know that Paul is identified as an apostle throughout the New Testament and James speaks with the authority of an apostle in Acts 15:13-21. These men also died as martyrs, witnesses to Jesus as the promised Messiah, risen and seated at the right hand of God.

Paul was likely beheaded in Rome during the persecution by Nero.

James, the brother of Jesus, also known as “the Just” because of his devout lifestyle, is believed to have been thrown off the temple for testifying to Jesus as Christ, the Messiah. The fall did not kill him so he was struck on the head with the staff of a fuller and died.

Below is a picture of a statue in a monastery in Catalina Spain. This statue is fascinating because each of the apostles pictured is holding the instruments used in their martyrdom. Jesus is the center image. The fact that each of these men and countless other followers of Jesus were willing to lay down their lives as witnesses to his person, work and resurrection speaks to a lost world that this is certainly so much more than a fanciful story or the account of a man who came to show us a better way to live out our lives.

Jesus is the only way to God and through their lives and in their deaths, the apostles witness to the truth that Jesus alone saves. Jesus is our hope and truly the only way to God. If you know him today, rejoice that you do and faithfully witness to him in your daily actions and living. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus as your Savior, you can today – trust him today to save you from your sins. You can learn more here.

May God grant us his grace to be faithful witnesses of all Jesus began to do and to teach, as we continue to proclaim him until he comes.


[1] John Foxe, Foxe’s Christian Martyrs: The Powerful Classic, Abridged and Updated (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Books, 2014).

[2] Ibid.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ac 12:2–3.

[4] John Foxe, Foxe’s Christian Martyrs: The Powerful Classic, Abridged and Updated (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Books, 2014).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.


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