SAME NAMES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In reading the Bible, it is obvious that several people had the same name, just as many people today bear the same name. A part of what is involved in understanding the Bible is being able to distinguish between the various individuals who had the same name. In our essay this week we will limit our discussion to some of the same names in the New Testament. We hope our readers will find it both interesting and informative.
1. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 1:18-21; Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 16:16).
2. Jesus, who also was called Justus, a co-worker of the apostle Paul (Colossians 4:11).
3. Bar-Jesus, also known as Elymas, a sorcerer and false prophet in Paphos on the island of Cyprus whom Paul encountered on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:4-12).
Note # 1: The prefix “Bar” was often affixed to names and has the significance of “the son of.” Examples include Bar-Jonah, Bartholomew, Bartimaeus, Barrabas, Barsabas, Barnabas, et. al.
Note # 2: “Jesus” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name “Joshua.” The name means “Jehovah is salvation” (see Matthew 1:18-21). The King James Version uses “Jesus” in Acts 7:44-45 and Hebrews 4:8 where the contexts show that the reference is to Joshua of the Old Testament, not to Jesus Christ, and which later translations verify. “Jesus” is still a prominent name among male Hispanics and is pronounced “HAY-zus.”
1. Mary, a virgin who miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus Christ the Son of God (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38).
2. Mary of the village of Bethany and the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1-44; cf. Luke 10:38-42).
3. Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:1-3; Matthew 27:55-61; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1-10). Note: There is no biblical evidence that she had been a woman of ill repute before becoming a follower of Christ.
4. Mary, the mother of James and Joses (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40). She is referred to as “the other Mary” (Matthew 27:61; Matthew 28:1), and it is almost certain that she was the wife of Clopas (John 19:25; cf. Matthew 27:55-56).
5. Mary, a member of the church in Jerusalem and the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12).
6. Mary, a member of the church in Rome and a faithful worker for the Lord (Romans 16:6).
1. Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:16).
2. Joseph, one of the brothers of Jesus born to Mary and Joseph (Matthew 13:55, ASV; NASB). Note: The KJV and NKJV identify this brother as Joses, obviously a variation of the name Joseph.
3. Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, who assisted in the burial of the body of Christ (Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:43; John 19:38).
4. Joseph Barsabas, who also was named Justus, one of two put forth to take the place of Judas Iscariot as an apostle of Christ (Acts 1:21-23).
5. Joseph, who was better known as Barnabas (Acts 4:36, ASV; NASB). Note: As under # 2 (above), the KJV and NKJV identify him as Joses.
1. Simon Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, son of Jonah (Bar-Jonah) (See Note # 1 under first entry) (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16; Matthew 16:17). He wrote I and II Peter.
2. Simon the Canaanite, also known as Simon Zelotes (the Zealot), another one of the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16).
3. Simon, a fleshly brother of Christ (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).
4. Simon, a Pharisee, in whose house a sinful woman anointed the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:36-40).
5. Simon, a resident of Bethany, a leper in whose house a woman anointed the head of Jesus (Matthew 26:6-7; Mark 14:3).
6. Simon Iscariot, the father of Judas Iscariot (John 6:71 [ASV; NASB]; John 12:4; John 13:2, 26).
7. Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to bear the cross of Christ to the place of crucifixion (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26).
8. Simon, a sorcerer in Samaria (known traditionally as Simon Magus), who was converted to Christ, but then tried to buy the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit with money and was instructed to repent of his wickedness (Acts 8:9-24).
9. Simon, a tanner, a resident of Joppa whose house was by the seaside, with whom Simon Peter resided several days (Acts 9:43; Acts 10:6,17,32).
1. James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, who became one of the twelve apostles. He and John were known as the “Sons of Thunder” (Matthew 4:21-22; Matthew 10:2-5; Mark 1:19; Mark 3:13-19).
2. James, the son of Alphaeus, who also was an apostle of Christ and was known as James the Little or the Less (Matthew 10:2-5; Mark 3:13-19; Mark 15:40).
3. James, a fleshly brother of the Lord who became a leader in the church at Jerusalem (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:16-17 [compare to Acts 12:1 to see that James
the brother of John had already been killed]; Acts 15:13-21; Galatians 1:19; Galatians 2:9, 11-12). He is believed to be the author of the book of James.
4. James, the father of Judas (not Iscariot), the latter of whom became an apostle of Christ, and seemingly was the same as Lebbaeus Thaddaeus (Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13; John 14:22).
1. John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-13, 57-66; Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:7-20; John 1:19-34; John 3:23-30).
2. John, the son of Zebedee and brother of James, who became an apostle of Christ (Matthew 10:2-5; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16). He wrote the Gospel of John, I, II, and III John, and the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:4, 9).
3. John, the father of Simon Peter (John 1:42; John 21:15,17 [ASV; NASB] (called Jonah/Jonas, a variation of the name John, in the KJV and NKJV).
4. John, who took part in the trial of Christ, and who may have been a relative of Annas the high priest (Acts 4:5-7).
5. John Mark, known best simply as Mark (Marcus, KJV), whose mother was one of the Marys (see above), and a relative of Barnabas (cousin or nephew) (Acts 12:12,25; Acts 13:5,13; Colossians 4:10 (compare KJV with other versions). He wrote the Gospel of Mark.
1. Philip, one of the twelve apostles of Christ (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16).
2. Philip, one of seven men chosen to look after the neglected Grecian widows in the early church at Jerusalem and who went on to become an evangelist, converting many in Samaria and teaching and baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 6:1-6; Acts 8:5-8, 26-40; Acts 21:8).
1. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16).
2. Judas, another one of the twelve apostles, who, by comparison of the various lists of the apostles and the process of elimination, was apparently the same as Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus, and a son of one of the Jameses (see above) (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13). Note: Two apostles were named Judas, but one of them was not the infamous Judas Iscariot! I once heard H. A. Fincher preach a sermon titled “Judas (Not Iscariot)” in which he emphasized the value of character and reputation and the
need for distinguishing between those who had sullied an otherwise good name and those who had not.
3. Judas, a fleshly brother of Christ, and who is believed to be the author of the book of Jude (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Jude 1).
1. Lazarus of the village of Bethany, the brother of Mary and Martha, and who Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:1-44; John 12:1-17).
2. Lazarus, the beggar in Jesus’ compelling story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).
1. Demetrius, a silversmith in Ephesus who caused the apostle Paul a great deal of trouble (Acts 19:21-27).
2. Demetrius, a faithful disciple praised by John in his letter to Gaius (III John 12).
Note # 1: There is no evidence that these two men were the same, but since the silversmith was a resident of Ephesus, and since John is purported to have spent his last days in Ephesus, would it not be a wonderful tribute to the power of the gospel to speculate that the silversmith may have later been converted. Just a thought, but no proof.
Other New Testament characters of the same name may be thought of. I mention the preceding ten. As we read, let us be discerning and not confuse these individuals. The same goes for reading the Old Testament.
April 14, 2020