How did the apostles die?

The Bible briefly records the death of one apostle, 1) James the son of Zebedee and brother of John. Acts 12 tells us that Herod the ruler of the region began to persecute the church. This persecution took place a dozen to fifteen years after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. During the persecution of the Christians by Herod, he had James beheaded and then imprisoned Peter with the intention of executing him after the passover. All but one of the rest of apostles were killed for preaching the gospel. History gives to us accounts the apostles deaths, and while we believe this history to be generally reliable, we must be careful to not put too much weight on these histories.

The two most widely known apostles, Peter and Paul were both put to death at the command of Nero and are believed to have been killed in Rome. After several imprisonments (which are referred to in the New Testament), 2) Paul was beheaded outside of Rome. 3) Peter was captured by Roman soldiers and crucified. It is said that he requested to be crucified because he was not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus was.

It is said 4) Phillip was whipped, thrown in prison and then crucified in what is today northern Turkey. 5) Matthew is believed to have preached in northern Iran, near the Caspian Sea, and also in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia Matthew was beheaded. 6) Thaddeus is thought to have been crucified in Turkey. 7) Bartholomew went to India, where it is claimed he translated the gospel of Matthew into Hindi. He was beaten and then crucified by the people.

8) Matthias, the one elected by the apostles to take Judas’ place is believed to have been stoned in Jerusalem and then beheaded. 9) Andrew, Peter’s brother, is said to have preached in western Asia and was crucified in a city in eastern Turkey. Andrews is traditionally described as one in which two ends were stuck in the ground, making an X shape instead of the more typical t-shaped cross. 10) Thomas made his way into India where he was killed by being stabbed with a spear. 11) Simon the Zealot preached in West Africa before heading north into Britain where he was crucified. 12) James the less is believed to have lived in Jerusalem to the age of 94 when he was beaten, stoned and then clubbed to death.

The only apostle to not die a martyrs death was still intensely persecuted for His preaching of the gospel. His failure to be martyred was not the fought of his persecutors. John, the brother of James and son of Zebedee is said to have started a number of churches throughout Asia Minor. He was sent to Rome where he was cast into a large pot of boiling oil. Miraculously he was not injured. Later he was sent into exile on a small island called Patmos. He eventually was able to return to the city of Ephesus, where he died a natural death at about 95 years old.

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