Biblical People

Biblical People: Bartholomew, James (2), and Simon (2)

For the next three disciples, we’ll cover them together. You’ll see why in a bit. They are Bartholomew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot. 

These three disciples only appear four times in the Bible. Each time they’re in a roster of the twelve disciples. Aside from being listed as one of the Twelve, they do nothing noteworthy that Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John feel they need to share—at least not explicitly.

However, right after Matthew shares the names of the twelve disciples, Jesus sends all twelve out on mission trips. He instructs them to tell other Jews that the kingdom of heaven is near.

As they do this, they are to heal sick people, resurrect the dead, remove people’s leprosy, and cast out demons. Whether we understand demon possession as a spiritual condition or as first century man’s understanding of mental illness doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that the disciples deal with it.

It’s one thing to tell other people about Jesus, but to also heal them is even more mind-boggling. Yet Jesus has prepared them to do both or he wouldn’t have sent them. They know his message. And through his power they supernaturally heal people.

This applies to all twelve disciples, including Bartholomew, James, and Simon. 

They preach, and they heal.

Though the things this trio does—either good or bad—aren’t detailed in the Bible, they do help advance Jesus’s kingdom.

Will we be faithful to God’s call even if we don’t receive recognition for the work we do?

[Discover more about Bartholomew, James Son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot in Matthew 10:2–4, Mark 3:16–20, Luke 6:14–16, and Acts 1:13.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at