The Bible says Jesus named a dozen of his most devoted disciples Apostles, or messengers, choosing a number that paid homage to the 12 tribes of Israel. The 12 Jews preached their new faith across thousands of miles in the first century A.D., changing history.
Several early converts—including Matthias, Mary Magdalene, Mark, and Luke—also became apostles. A vision transformed Saul, a persecutor of the early Christians, into Paul. His missionary journeys helped spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean.
Tradition holds that 11 of the Twelve Apostles were martyred:
- Peter, Andrew, and Philip were crucified;
- James the Greater and Thaddaeus fell to the sword;
- James the Lesser was beaten to death while praying for his attackers;
- Bartholomew was flayed alive and then crucified;
- Thomas and Matthew were speared;
- Matthias was stoned to death; and
- Simon was either crucified or sawed in half.
John—the last survivor of the Twelve—likely died peaceably, possibly in Ephesus, around the year 100.