One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and He prayed to God all night. At daybreak He called together all of His disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names: Simon (whom He named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed Him).Luke 6:12-16
The names are all listed in the accusative case which agrees with the word apostles; the names are all linked to the apostles. These are the apostles. These disciples have now become the apostles. These learners have become the ones sent out as emissaries or those commissioned to a specific task. We will look first at the issue of the difference in names and then the matter of the difference in order.
Firstly who were Judas (son of James) as Luke records and Thaddaeus (as recorded by Matthew and Mark)? Literally the Greek text reads “Judas of James”. There are two alternatives as to what “Judas of James” means. Either son of James or brother of James. The King James Version has the reading “brother of James,” and the Revised Version reads “son of James.” In John 14:22 he is described as “Judas (not Iscariot).” The name corresponds with the “Thaddaeus” or “Lebbaeus whose surname was Thaddaeus” of Matt 10:3 the King James Version and Mark 3:18. The identification of Thaddaeus with Judas is generally accepted, though some believe that they were different persons, that Thaddeus died during Christ’s lifetime, and that Judas was chosen in his place.
According to the “Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles” (compare Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 50), Thaddaeus was of the house of Joseph; according to the “Book of the Bee” he was of the tribe of Judah. There is abundant testimony in apocryphal literature of the missionary activity of a certain Thaddaeus in Syria, but doubt exists as to whether this was the apostle. Jerome identifies this same Thaddaeus with Lebbaeus and “Judas … of James” of Luke (Luke 6:16). There have been various identifications of Thaddaeus with other Biblical personages but the association with “Judas … of James” is the only one that has received wide acceptance. (Source: E-Sword ISBE)
The other issue we have to resolve is the matter of the order of the names in the text. Notice how these lists divide into three groups as separated below.
I think this is all resolved easily without any big dramas. With the first group, Matthew and Luke are in agreement as opposed to Mark. They have Andrew listed second linked with Simon Peter. That is simply because they are brothers and Matthew has his list of names set in pairs. It is logical to list the sets of brothers together. I think that Mark elevates James and John with Peter in order to list the disciples in order of perceived importance. In terms of the second group (Philip through James [son of Alphaeus]) the order is exactly the same with the exception of the switch that Matthew alone makes by putting his own name bottom of the second group below Thomas. We could all understand why he might do that I am sure. Then we have the last set of four, the least known of the twelve and or the least revered in the case of Judas. (We have dealt with the change of names in the section above.) Luke groups the two Judas together, a natural thing for Luke to do in an attempt to be ordered. Nothing sinister and certainly no hidden secrets to be revealed here; just simple pragmatics.
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