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How the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ Died

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church - Tertullian


how the 12 apostles die
How the 12 Apostles Died

As followers of Christ, we know that the message of the Gospel has been passed down through the ages by many faithful men and women who have dedicated their lives to spreading the good news of salvation. 

Among these faithful servants are the original disciples of Jesus Christ, who played a vital role in establishing the early church.

However, we also know that the apostles' dedication to their faith came at a great cost. Many of them faced persecution, imprisonment, and even death for their unwavering commitment to the Gospel. 

In this blog post, we will look into the ways in which the apostles of Jesus died, and what their sacrifices mean to us today.

Through examining the lives and deaths of the apostles, we will see how their examples of courage, faith, and devotion can inspire us to live out our own faith more boldly and fully. 

We will see how their commitment to the Gospel paved the way for us to receive the message of salvation, and how their willingness to suffer and die for their beliefs can challenge us to take up our own cross and follow Christ.

How the 12 Disciples of Jesus Christ Died

While the exact details of the apostles' deaths may not be fully reliable, their willingness to suffer and die for their faith is a testament to their dedication to spreading the message of Jesus Christ. 
The apostles' deaths also serve as a reminder to believers of the sacrifices that have been made to preserve the Christian faith throughout history. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:36, "For your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

hopw the 12 disciples died
Image showing how some of the apostles died

How Did Simon Peter Die?

Simon Peter Was Crucified upside down

Peter was one of the first disciples called by Jesus and became a prominent leader in the early Christian church. According to tradition, Peter was crucified upside down in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. 

While the Bible does not provide specific details about Peter's death, Jesus foreshadowed it in John 21:18-19 when he told Peter, "I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 

This was interpreted as a prediction of Peter's death by crucifixion.

How did Andrew Die?

Andrew was Crucified on an X-shaped Cross

How Andrew died: Andrew was also one of the first disciples called by Jesus and was known for bringing his brother Simon Peter to Jesus. According to tradition, Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. 

While the Bible does not provide details about Andrew's death, he is mentioned in the Gospels as one of Jesus' inner circle of disciples (Mark 1:16-20, Matthew 4:18-22).

How did James Son of Zebedee die?

James, son of Zebedee was beheaded

James was one of the "Sons of Thunder" and one of Jesus' closest disciples, along with Peter and John. According to the Bible, James was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in Jerusalem (Acts 12:1-2). This event is described in detail in Acts 12:1-23, where it is said that Herod had James put to death with the sword.

Discover: How many Disciples did Jesus really Have: (12 or 82 or more)

How did John die?

John died of Natural Causes

John was another of Jesus' closest disciples and was known as the "disciple whom Jesus loved." According to tradition, John died of natural causes in Ephesus, Turkey, after surviving an attempt to boil him alive in oil. 

While the Bible does not provide details about John's death, he is believed to be the author of several New Testament books, including the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John, and the book of Revelation.

How did Philip Die?

Phili was martyred through upside-down crucifixion

Philip was one of the twelve apostles and is best known for his encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. According to tradition, Philip was martyred in Hierapolis, Turkey, by being crucified upside down. 

While the Bible does not provide details about Philip's death, he is described as a faithful disciple who introduced others to Jesus (John 1:43-45, John 6:5-7).

How did Bartholomew Die?

Bartholomew (Nathanael) was flayed alive and then beheaded

Bartholomew was also known as Nathanael and was one of the twelve apostles. According to tradition, Bartholomew was martyred in Armenia by being flayed alive and then beheaded. 

While the Bible does not provide details about Bartholomew's death, he is mentioned as one of the apostles in the Gospels (Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16).

How did Matthew Die?

Matthew was stabbed to death

Matthew was a tax collector before becoming a disciple of Jesus and is believed to have written the Gospel of Matthew. According to tradition, Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia by being stabbed to death with a sword. 

While the Bible does not provide details about Matthew's death, he is described as a faithful follower of Jesus who left his former life behind to serve him (Matthew 9:9-13).

How did Thomas Die?

Thomas was Stabbed to death with a Spear

Thomas was famously skeptical of Jesus' resurrection until he saw Jesus himself and proclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).  Thomas, died as a martyr in India in the mid-first century AD. The exact details of his death are not entirely clear, as there are different accounts of how he died. 

One tradition holds that Thomas was stabbed to death with a spear by a group of soldiers while he was praying in a cave. Another tradition suggests that he was killed by jealous priests who were angry about his successful missionary work and the large number of converts he had gained.

How did Simon the Zealot die?

Simon the Zealot was Sawn in half

While there is no direct Biblical evidence of Simon the Zealot's death or ministry, tradition holds that he was martyred by being sawn in half. The story of his martyrdom is recorded in the apocryphal text "Acts of Simon and Jude."

How did James son of Alphaeus die?

James, son of Alphaeus: Stoned to death

James, also known as James the Less or James the Just, is believed to have been stoned to death in Jerusalem in AD 62. His death is recorded in the apocryphal text "The Martyrdom of James the Just."

How did Thaddaus Die?

Thaddaeus was clubbed to death

Thaddaeus, also known as Jude or Judas: Thaddaeus is believed to have preached in Syria and Mesopotamia before being martyred by being clubbed to death in AD 72. His death is also recorded in the apocryphal "Acts of Thaddaeus."

How did Judas Iscariot Die?

Judas Iscariot hanged Himself

Judas, infamous for his betrayal of Jesus, hanged himself after realizing the consequences of his actions (Matthew 27:3-5). His death is a tragic reminder of the dangers of greed and the consequences of betraying others.

It is important to note that while some of the apostles' deaths are recorded in historical texts and traditions, the exact details may not be fully reliable. 

However, their willingness to suffer and die for their faith is a testament to their dedication to spreading the message of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion of How the 12 Apostles of Jesus Died

In conclusion, the apostles of Jesus Christ played a crucial role in spreading the gospel message to the world. Through their teachings and writings, they have left a lasting impact on Christianity. 

While their deaths were often brutal and violent, their willingness to die for their faith serves as an inspiration to believers today. As Jesus himself said in John 15:20, "Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."

Read Also: 7 Biblical Proofs to Show that Jesus Rose from Death


  1. Against Heresies (Book III, Chapter 3)
  2. Church History II.15
  3. Letter to the Corinthians – Chapter 5
  4. The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans – Chapter 4
  5. LIFE at the Vatican