Do you wonder what happened to the Apostles? We only read the ending for two of the Apostles in the Bible. The rest we have to rely on tradition, legend, or obscure letters. I did a little research, because I am that curious. Below is what I found.
We only read about two of the Apostles death’s in the Bible: James and Judas Iscariot. Most of what we know about the life and death of the 14 Apostles (the original 12, and Matthias who replaced Judas Iscariot and Paul (Saul)) comes from Church tradition and early Christian writers.
Although there is no way of knowing exactly if the manner deaths are true, I have looked at the traditional acceptance of the Apostles death. There has been much speculation on this subject and in many causes we just don’t know for sure.
Matthew: Tradition states he was headed with a sword.
John: Traditional stories tell of John being boiled in a vat of oil…but this doesn’t kill him! He was banished to an island, once off the island tradition states he died of old age.
Peter Simon: He was crucified upside-down in Rome. Tradition states Peter requested to be hung upside-down because he didn’t deserve to die the way Christ had. However, the Romans loved to experiment with new ways to crucify people for their own amusement. Ain’t they nice?
James: Recorded in Acts 12, we are told James was beheaded in Jerusalem.
Philip: We can’t come to a definite conclusion for Philip. He could have been hanged, beheaded, or died of natural causes.
Bartholomew: There are three widely attributed stories to Bartholomew. He was either whipped and beaten dead, crucified, or flayed (peeling the skin off) before being beheaded. (All are bad ways to go, but flayed?!)
Jude: Could have been executed with an axe or arrow. Both are popular stories.
Matthias: He is not one of the original twelve Apostles. He was elected to replace Judas Iscariot in Acts. He is believed to have been stoned and beheaded with Barnabas but even Barnabas’ story is conflicting.
Paul (Saul): Not one of the original twelve Apostles but considered an Apostles after the fact. He was beheaded in Rome by order of Nero. This is recorded in history.
Judas Iscariot: Committed suicide by hanging after betraying Jesus.
Andrew: He is Peter’s brother. He is said to have been crucified in Patras on an “X” shape cross, bound not nailed, and hung upside-down. Again, whether he asked for this position, or the Romans were experimenting with ways of torture, we can’t be sure.
Thomas (Doubting Thomas): Traditionally his story ends being stabbed with spears.
Simon the Zealot: Some stories say he was killed with Jude, or crucified, or possibly sawed in half.
James son of Alphaeus: Some scholars claim he is actually the same James as James the Just. However, tradition states he is not and that he was crucified in Egypt.
Whether these traditions are true or not, I can say for a fact they all died a grizzly death. Humans were not swift in their death sentences.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know your thoughts below.