Can You Name These Disciples From a One-Sentence Description?

Geoff Hoppe

This follower of Jesus provided the tomb where he was buried.

Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus' body after the Crucifixion. He also was possibly a member of the Sanhedrin, a Jewish council.

Which disciple followed Jesus, was present at the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and possibly was responsible for financially supporting Christ's ministry?

Mary Magdalene may have been a financial backer for Christ's ministry. The name "Magdalene" is believed to reflect the fact that Mary came from Magdala. Magdala was a Hellenized town on the Sea of Galilee.

Th disciple that is generally credited with being the first follower of Christ.

The Virgin Mary is credited as the first Christian in some traditions, due to her willingness to follow Christ, even before his birth. In the Roman church, she holds the role of co-redemptorix.

Who was very clear about how he was secondary to Christ and spent a great deal of time outside of settled towns?

John the Baptist famously described himself as "not worthy to untie" the straps of Christ's sandals. John baptized Jesus, however. John and Jesus were cousins.

This disciple was given another name by Jesus and argued with Paul about who should be allowed in the early church.

Peter got that name from Christ when he was called "the rock on which I shall build my church." Catholics believe that this made Peter the first pope, and also provided authority to the papacy. Peter isn't the patron saint of impromptu swims, but that could be another name for him. When Christ walked on water and called on Peter to walk on water with him, Peter began in belief and walked on water, but sank when he began to doubt.

This apostle began his career as a follower of John the Baptist and was Peter's brother.

Andrew was Peter's brother, and actually introduced Peter to Christ. In the Greek Orthodox Church, the Patriarch of Constantinople is said to be Andrew's successor.

He was less than popular among his own people, and his job had something to do with that.

Jesus' disciple Matthew was a tax collector for the Roman Empire, which made many of his fellow Jews see him as a traitor. Matthew was called to Christ by two words: "Follow me."

Who was the disciple best known (perhaps ironically) for a famous incident where he didn't believe?

The disciple Thomas famously refused to believe that Christ had risen until he'd seen his savior's wounds with his own eyes. In the Christian tradition, Thomas is thought to have preached in India. There's also a Gospel of Thomas,but it was cut out of the mainstream canon by the 300s A.D.

About the only thing known about this apostle is his name.

Simon the Zealot is mentioned by name in the Gospels, but that's about it. Simon the Zealot is linked with St. Jude, as part of a team, in later documents. In earlier translations of the Bible, the "zealot" in his title was mistranslated as "Canaanite."

Most of the disciples died by violent means, but this is the only one who died by his own hand.

Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ for forty pieces of silver, then committed suicide. In Dante's Inferno, this betrayal is considered so horrible that Judas is put at the center of Hell, forever being chewed up by Satan. Tradition has it that he was buried in a "potter's field," hence the name of the town in the alternate future scene of "It's A Wonderful Life."

This disciple is traditionally credited with starting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Philip the Evangelist is credited with starting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church when he baptized a traveling Ethiopian slave, who returned home. Philip was also a disciple put in charge of distributing charity at the church in Jerusalem. Philip preached in Samaria after St. Stephen's martyrdom.

This "son of thunder" was part of Christ's inner circle.

James the Elder was part of Christ's inner circle, along with John and Peter. He was the first martyred of the original Twelve Apostles. He was martyred in 44 A.D.

Who famously shares his name with another, though he's the lesser known of the two?

Sources of definite information on James the Lesser are comparatively scarce. Some scholars say James the Lesser is the same person as James the son of Alphaeus. St. Jerome argued this was the case.

This original apostle outlived the other Twelve.

John, called the Son of Thunder, was the last of the Twelve Apostles to die. The Book of Revelations is credited to him. At the Crucifixion, Christ told John to care for his mother, the Virgin Mary.

Some scholars believed this member of the original Twelve Apostles was martyred at Hierapolis.

Philip is one of the original Twelve Apostles and is said to have been martyred at Hierapolis. Hierapolis is in modern-day Turkey. The Acts of Philip is an apocryphal text supposedly about his ministry.

He also was called Bartholemew.

The apostle Bartholomew is believed by some scholars to be the same person as the apostle Nathanael. The confusion arises from the fact that the name Nathanael, rather than Bartholomew, appears in the Gospel of John. Bartholomew is a patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

This apostle is also the patron saint of hopeless causes.

Jude Thaddeus, one of the original Twelve Apostles, is the patron of lost causes. One story of how this came about is that Jude was so rarely prayed to (people mistook him for Judas because of the names' similarities) that he was willing to intercede for any cause. The hospital named for St. Jude is headquartered in Memphis and specializes in treating children's cancer.

Who famously anointed Christ's feet?

It was Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anointed Christ's feet. This was a sign of her profound love of Christ. She lived in Bethany.

This female disciple was present at the cross with the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene.

Mary, the mother of James the Lesser, was present at the Crucifixion. She was one of the first disciples to learn that Christ had risen from the dead. She was also the wife of Clopas.

This disciple went on a road trip with St. Paul through Galatia.

Silas was the disciple who accompanied St. Paul to Galatia after St. Paul refused to let another partner's brother join them. One story in the Acts of the Apostles recounts how Silas and Paul were freed from prison by God. He was also a Roman citizen.

A friend of Paul's, this disciple has an epistle addressed to him.

Titus was a companion of St. Paul's, which explains the epistle that bears his name. Titus was the Bishop of Crete. He also died peacefully, which was not always the case among Christ's followers.

This original apostle has the nickname "the Just."

James, "brother" of Christ, got the name "the Just" for his moral character. His status as "brother" of Christ is debated by sects of Christians, some of whom believe him to be the child of Joseph and the Virgin Mary, and some of whom believe the "brother" in his name instead denotes a cousin (the same word is used for both in Aramaic).

This disciple wrote a book that bears his name.

Jude, half brother of Jesus, is cited by many as the author of the Epistle of Jude. Branches of Christianity debate whether or not he is the same as Jude Thaddeus, patron of lost causes. This Jude's status as "half brother" reflects the debate over whether or not the Virgin Mary had children after the Immaculate Conception and birth of Christ.

Who wrote the earliest of the four Gospels?

Mark is the author of the earliest surviving Gospel. He is not one of the Twelve Apostles, though he did interpret for St. Peter at one point. In the Gospel of Mark, Christ is secretive about his status as the Son of God.

There's actually an argument over whether this female disciple was female or not.

Junia is mentioned by St. Paul in Romans 16:7. Some call her the first female disciple.

This disciple with a Latin name is mentioned in Paul's Letter to the Romans.

Andronicus is one of the disciples St. Paul mentions in the Letter to the Romans. St. Paul refers to him as a "fellow prisoner." He most likely had some relationship to the disciple Junia, but it's unclear what that was, specifically.

Who is the apostle that replaced Judas?

Mathias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot after Judas betrayed Christ and killed himself. While it's not certain, one tradition says it was Mathais who brought the Gospel to Cappadocia, located in modern-day Turkey. When Mathias was chosen to replace Judas, the vote was between him and another man named Joseph Barsabbas.

This disciple lent his name to two of St. Paul's epistles.

Timothy lent his name to 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, two of St. Paul's epistles. He died in Macedonia at age 80. Timothy was a child of two cultures, a pagan Greek father and a Jewish mother.

St. Paul says this disciple was important to the church at Corinth.

St. Paul credits Apollos with helping to grow the early church at Corinth, saying he "planted," and Apollos "watered." Apollos is also mentioned as having preached in Ephesus, according to the Acts of the Apostles. Apollos was born in Alexandria, a cosmopolitan city on the Mediterranean Ocean.

This disciple delivered one of Paul's epistles to the place that bears its name.

Ephaphroditas is the disciple who took St. Paul's letter back to the church in Philippi and also delivered money from Philippi to St. Paul while he was imprisoned. In the course of his journey from Philippi to where St. Paul was imprisoned, Ephaphroditas became seriously ill, but still survived.

This possible brother of James the Lesser is mysterious.

Joses is the mysterious possible disciple who may or may not have been a brother of James the Lesser.

The Gospel of Mark says this female disciple was at the Crucifixion.

Mark 15:40 puts Salome present at the Crucifixion. There, she's joined by Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James, and Joses. Some Biblical scholars say Salome is the half-sister of the Virgin Mary.

This female disciple was healed by Christ and indirectly connected to Herod.

Joanna was healed by Christ, according to the Gospel of Luke. Her husband, Chuza, was the "steward" of King Herod's household. Luke says Joanna was with the party that discovered Christ was not in his tomb, though his is the only Gospel to make this claim.

This female disciple may have funded Christ's ministry.

Susanna is another female disciple mentioned in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. That Gospel cites her as one who "provided for [the disciples] out of their resources."

Who met Christ, but didn't know it at the time?

Cleopas is one of the disciples who is said to have met Jesus in disguise on the road to Emmaus. Cleopas doubted that Christ had risen. Christ corrected him when he revealed himself to Cleopas later that night over dinner.

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About This Quiz

So you may think you know Christ and his disciples well. If you do, we have a challenge for you -- one that draws less on a broad base of knowledge, than it does on acute, in-depth knowledge. That's right, if you think you know a lot, we're going to get you to drill down deep and see if you can name these disciples of Jesus from a one-sentence description. This quiz is for the truly knowledgeable armchair Biblical scholars among you. There's no getting warmer or colder in this quiz by working your way through multiple clues. No, we're throwing down this quiz as a means to prove yourself as a sharpshooter of scripture. 

And we're not just stopping at the original twelve apostles, either. This quiz will stretch you to act on your knowledge of Acts, and send you searching your memory banks for St. Paul's epistles. The early church had more than just the original twelve disciples, and you're going to need to brush off your knowledge (and your copy of the Bible, possibly) to see if you can figure out answers to questions like: Who were the first people to find Christ had risen? And which disciples paved the way for St. Paul in the Hellenistic world? And who WAS it who bumped into Christ on the road to Emmaus? If you think you know the Good Book, let's see you throw down!

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