Who was Thomas in the New Testament?

BibleAsk Team


Thomas was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). He was also called Didymus (John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2) and both names mean “twin.” All that is known of this disciples is recorded in the Gospel of John (chs. 11:16; 14:5; 20:24–29; 21:2). Although he showed himself to be doubting at times (John 20:24, 25), yet on other occasions he was brave, faithful, and loyal (John 11:16).

The first reference to Thomas’ words is found in John 11:16, when Lazarus had recently died, the apostles did not want to go back to Judea, where some Jews had tried to stone Jesus. Thomas said, let us also go, that we may die with him. The second reference is found in John 14:5. Jesus had just stated that he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for His followers, and that one day he would come back to get them. Then, Thomas said, Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?

Also, in John 20:24-29, there is a reference to how this disciple was doubtful at first when he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the other apostles. Thomas said, except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe (verse 25). But when Jesus appeared later and invited the apostle to touch his wounds and behold him, the disciple confessed his belief by saying, “My Lord and my God” (verse 28). Jesus then said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (verse 29).

Traditionally, this faithful disciple is believed to have traveled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel in India. It should be noted that in southern India there is a group of indigenous Christians who have been known for centuries as the Thomas Christians. They have in their possession a version of the gospel story which is believed to have been handed down to them by the apostle Thomas. They claim that the apostle suffered martyrdom on an eminence known as St. Thomas’ Mount, near Madras. The apostle is also said to have labored in Parthia and Persia. The faithful life of this apostle ended in martyrdom like the other apostles, except for John the beloved.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

More Answers: