Where were the apostles from?


Where were Jesus' apostles from? Were they Jewish before the Jesus met them?


Judaism is both a religion and a nationality. All twelve of the apostles were born in Israel and were Jewish by both descent and by religious practice. All twelve ate the Passover meal with Jesus at the last supper (Luke 22:7, 14), something in which only Jews would participate. Several incidences in the Gospels tell us that they had the typical Jewish bias against non-Jews.

  • James, John came from Galilee.
  • Nathanael, or Bartholomew was from Cana of the same region (John 21:2).
  • We don't know where Thomas was from.
  • Matthew's other name was Levi, a traditional Jewish name (Mark 2:14). He was found in Jerusalem, though we don't know where he was born.
  • We don't know where James, the son of Alphaeus, was born either, but it is interesting that Matthew's father name was also Alphaeus. It is possible that they were brothers.
  • We are not told where Thaddaeus, also called Judas, the son of James, was from or where he was born.
  • The word Iscariot in Judas Iscariot's name means a man from Charioth; thus, designating his origins from Judah. Judas Iscariot's father's name was Simon.
  • Simon the Zealot is also called Simon the Canaanite (Matthew 10:4). The word is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for zealot, which is a sect of the Jews, so it doesn't reflect his origins.
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