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Who Was the Apostle Philip?

Greg Laurie

2011 11 Jan
Who Was the Apostle Philip?

Facts about Philip the Apostle

1. Jesus personally reached out to him.

The interesting thing about Philip, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, is that he was personally reached by Jesus himself. While Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, and Andrew brought Peter to Jesus, no one brought Philip to Jesus. Instead, Jesus came right to him. John’s Gospel tells us, “The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow Me’” (John 1:43). Normally God reaches people through people, but this was an exception to the rule.

2. Philip quickly reached out to Nathanael with the good news of Jesus.

We don’t know a lot about Philip. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us no details about him. All the vignettes of Philip appear in the Gospel of John. But from that Gospel, we discover that he was a completely different kind of person than Peter, Andrew, James, or John. He is often paired with Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew), whom he brought to Jesus.

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph’” (John 1:45).

3. Philip was practical.

It also would appear from John’s account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand that Philip may have been in charge of the supplies and food, the road manager of sorts. He was the kind of guy who was practical, always thinking about the bottom line.

And on this occasion, Jesus, trying to stretch Philip’s faith, posed a question to him as the crowd gathered: “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Philip responded, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (verse 7).

Philip didn’t do so well on that test. He wasn’t the first to have the most faith, but he was a follower of Jesus who was used by God.

4. Philip was possibly martyred.

And according to church history, Philip laid his life down for Christ, being stoned to death after reaching many with the gospel.

The Apostle Philip is also often confused with Philip the evangelist.

Philip the Evangelist

The man mentioned in Acts 8 who, in a time of serious persecution, “went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there” (Acts 8:5) was also called Philip, but this was not Philip the Apostle. Rather, this man is known as Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8) or Philip the deacon.

Acts 8 tells us an angel of the Lord led Philip the evangelist to an Ethiopian eunuch, “a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 8:27). Although the eunuch worshipped God, he did not understand the Scriptures. Philip explained the gospel of Christ to this man and baptized him there along the road.

Taken from “Practical Philip” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).

Photo Credit: GettyImages/ChristianChan