The Disciples According to Matthew?

Matthew Henry

Of some of the twelve disciples we know no more from the Scripture than their names, such as Bartholomew, Philip, and Simon the Canaanite. Yet they were faithful servants to Christ and his church. Not every good minister of Christ is going to be famous or celebrated. In Matthew 10:1-4 the disciples are named in pairs when they are first sent out two by two in order to help each other.

Three pairs were brothers: Peter and Andrew, James and John, and the other James and Lebbeus (surnamed Thaddaeus). Peter is named first because he was first called or because he was the most forward among them and usually made himself the spokesman for the rest. However, that gave him no power over the rest, nor is there the least mark of any supremacy that was given to him or ever claimed by him.

Matthew, the writer of the first gospel, was joined with Thomas (v. 3), but in two things there is a variation from the accounts of Mark and Luke (Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15). In Luke, Matthew is put first; in that order it appears he was ordained before Thomas; but in his own account, Thomas is put first. It well becomes the disciples of Christ to prefer one another. There, he is only called Matthew, here Matthew the publican, the tax collector or collector of the customs, who was called from that notorious employment to be a follower of Christ.

Simon is called the Canaanite, or rather the Canite, from Cana of Galilee, probably where he was born; or Simon the Zealot, which some make to be the meaning of Kananites.

Judas Iscariot is always named last, and with that black brand upon his name, "who also betrayed him." Yet Christ took him among the disciples, that it might not be a surprise and discouragement to his church, if, at any time, the worst scandals should break out in the best circles. Such spots have often been among the faithful, like tares among the wheat, wolves among the sheep. But there is a day of discovery and separation coming, where hypocrites shall be unmasked and discarded. Neither the apostleship, nor the rest of the apostles, were ever the worse for Judas’s being one of the twelve.

Adapted from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible (Matthew 10).

Originally published August 02, 2010.

Editors' Picks

  • "The Bible Has So Many Contradictions!"
    "The Bible Has So Many Contradictions!"
  • Is it Biblical for Christians to Get Tattoos?
    Is it Biblical for Christians to Get Tattoos?
  • How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?
    How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?