Exegetical Fallacies

By Joan Berry

In this study will be a discussion of exegetical fallacies as they appear in the epistles which should be treated as the letters that they were to the early churches. Paul did not intend for them to become systematic theology and should not be read in that manner. Much of our Christian faith is based on these letters because of the theology through orthopraxy that they offer. Paul was writing to persons in his era of the early church – his original audience – and we should not read meanings into his letters that are not based on how we think now or express any “reading between the lines” to insert our own opinions.

Fallacies to Avoid

Word meanings change over time; root fallacy should be avoided. In regard to Hebrew and Greek terms, efforts must be made to determine what a word meant at the time it was written.

          Example: In English language Bibles, the classic Hebrew use of El Shaddai in Genesis 35:11 (NIV) is translated as “God Almighty.” The root word, Shadad, means destroyer or to overpower. However, in Genesis 28:3 and 49: 25, the word takes on the meaning of being associated with God as provider.

 The second fallacy is sematic anachronism in which a more contemporary word meaning is read back into a much earlier work where the word did not have the same meaning. Try to determine how far removed in time the word is now from the selected Scripture. Prevent in the King James Version meant to precede. But in modern English, it means to stop something from happening.

           Example: Psalms 119: 147-148:

KJV:  I prevented the dawning of the morning and cried I hoped in thy word.

NIV:  I rose before the dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.

A continuation of sematic anachronism includes the error of modern-day speakers misinterpreting a Greek term with an English word that happens to have the same Greek root. D. A. Carson (1996) gave the following example from personal observation:

            Carson said the origin of dynamite comes from a Greek word translated as dynamis meaning power or miracle. But taken out of its origin of meaning, some translate it as dynamite. He recounts hearing preachers quoting Romans 1: 16 as being, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the dynamite of God unto salvation for everyone who believes” (Carson, 1996, pp. 33-34). Tongue-in-cheek, Carson commented that he did not know if Paul planned on blowing up the gospel since dynamite was used for destruction. And there is the point that dynamite was not invented until the 19th century A.D. Points made and taken: the original meaning of power should have been used (Carson, 1996, p. 34).

The fourth semantic fallacy is the illegitimate totality transfer. This is where the importance of knowing the context of the Scriptures is apparent when you are studying. This error occurs when an exegete disregards the context as determining the meaning. The context almost always pinpoints the meaning of a particular word or phrase. Carson (1996), uses the example of Abraham to demonstrate this error by using Hebrews 11:17 – “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son . . .”

   “Most of us know that Abraham had more than one son. He had Ishmael by Sarah’s handmaiden and more by Keturah (Gen. 25: 1-2). But, he had only one special son, the one God promised by his wife, Sarah. If the exegete did not know Abraham’s story and that it foreshadowed God’s only begotten son, the exegete would assume that Abraham had only one begotten son. The writer of Hebrews was trying to point out the importance of the specialness of the Son (Son of God and His sacrifice). Had the exegete, read the full context of the passage, he would have known that “his one and only son” had more than one meaning” (p. 31).

In Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit’s command appears as “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (NASB,  KJV, NKJV, ESV, NRSV, NIV). All of these translations ignore the little word, δή (Barrick, n.d.).  The short meaning of the word is: so, then, indeed, truly. The longer meaning when it is used in a clause expressing demand is: (a) so, then, (b) indeed, (c) truly. The word “then” should be inserted following “set apart” then (or so, indeed) for me, Barnabas and Saul to do the work for which I have called them.” Barrick (n.d.) commented that combined with the imperative “set apart” there is a concept of urgency.


In the words of W. D. Barrick, “Every student of the Bible must attempt to interpret the text as objectively as possible. In order to maintain accuracy, the student must avoid taking shortcuts that result in committing the fallacies described in this session. Correct interpretation is the result of careful attention to details, to context, and to what the text says. Above all, the attitude of the interpreter is extremely important. We must not approach the text with academic swagger, a feeling of superiority to the ancient writers, or an unteachable spirit. Hubris can have no home in the heart of the hermeneut. We dare not make the Word “lordless” (avkurow) by our human understanding” (Matt 15:6).


Barrick, W.D. (n.d.). Common mistakes every student of the Bible must avoid.            http://www.ntslibrary.com/Exegetical_Fallacies.pdf

Carson, D.A. (1996). Exegeting Fallacies (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI:Baker Academics.

The NIV Study Bible (NIV). (1995). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House

 Scofield, C.I. (ed.). (1967). The new Scofield reference Bible: King James Version (KJV). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Shepherd, B. (2006) Exegetical fallacies conference. www.ntslibrary.com/Exegetical_Fallacies.pdf

Covenants: unconditional/conditional

Generations past and present were/are taught that the Bible is only a book about the Jewish nation and moral laws that apply to all regardless of the age in which we live, and that its contents are a precursor to the arrival of the Messiah. All that mentioned is true, but not complete. It is common knowledge that some clergy, archaeologists, anthropologists, and related scholars have asserted that the Bible is not a book to be relied upon for science, accurate history, or some concepts of religion. Personally, my research does not agree with the aforementioned concepts, and will be a future topic for this site. The Bible is all that and more.

God himself exists as an unconditional, immutable state of eternity.  Unconditional means nothing can change for any reason or condition that relates to His person or presence in Heaven.  On the other hand, when man participates in a covenant, man’s part is always conditional.  God has yet to fail in keeping what He promises, man on the other hand has more often than not, broken his promise to God due to lack of faith, impatience or some other human flaw.

A covenant with God is a commitment instead of a contract that emphasizes God’s promises and laws.  The main Old Testament covenant (Ex 19-24) was at Mount Sinai, when Israel committed to obey God’s laws after He had redeemed them from slavery in Egypt.  Other covenants such as the one with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and his family, and the one with David (2 Samuel 7:1-17) provide a more broad context for the Sinai covenant, focusing on God’s promises.  Noah also received a covenant from God (Gen 9:8-17) that centers on a promise by God to not destroy the world with a flood again.  God also made a “covenant of peace” or an “everlasting covenant” (Ezekiel 34:25) with the people of Israel that the time would come when He would send a perfect shepherd, the Messiah, and would stop rebuking them, would restore their wealth, and would personally teach their children.  Peace in this case means more than lack of conflict it also means contentment, fulfillment, and security.

Four Unconditional Covenants:

  • Noahic Covenant – God promised to Noah that he would never flood the earth again (Genesis 9:11 NIV).  There was no involvement by man in this covenant, a promise was made by God alone, and therefore it was unconditional.
  • Abrahamic Covenant – Again, God made promises to Abraham, stating that “I will” each time provide a great nation, make your name great, bless those who bless you.  All promises made by God alone.  Another example of God’s unconditional covenant with man and mankind.  (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)/
  • Davidic Covenant – in this covenant God establishes the throne of David as an everlasting king sit upon the throne of David, an everlasting kingdom.  God did not require any condition from David or mankind, thus it was God’s promise soley and another example of an unconditional covenant.  (2 Samuel 7:5-17)
  • Messianic Covenant – God states that a World Savior and King are coming through Israel, no conditional aspects with man regarding this covenant, just God’s promise.  (Isaiah 11:1-11

Three Conditional Covenants:

  • Covenant of Circumcision (Genesis 17 NIV) presents a condition that anyone who is not circumcised will be cut off from his people.  This invokes a decision by man to be circumcised or not, therefore it is a conditional covenant.
  • In (Deuteronomy 28 NIV) God requires that Israel remains faithful to Him, and threatens to put them into exile if they persistently disobey.  Their obedience is “conditional” remaining in the land.
  • Mosiac Covenant – This involves God and the nation of Israel, in which God places conditions.  God reminds the people they are to obey His laws (Exodus 19:5 NIV) and the people replied they would do all that God has asked them to do (Exodus 19:8).  It is “conditional” upon the Israelites following God’s law.

“Unconditional covenants, God makes promises that are His actions only, and God never lies thus these covenants are unconditional.  “Conditional” covenants require action by man or nation to fulfill the covenant, and due to man’s sinful nature and lack of ability for patience, and being prone to follow their own lead instead of the Father’s they break the covenant.  God never lies and His unconditional covenants are forever.

Is there a Case for Theology verses History?

Is There a Case for Theology Verses History?

By Joan Berry

That the Israelites conquered the Promised Land in “lightning fast military strikes” might be an exaggeration. It was more like a steady stream of attacks as they progress through the land. Joshua (chapters 1-12 NIV) related his conquests in north, central, and south Canaan, in which he gave God full credit for each victory.  In chapters 13-21, Joshua allotted the lands to the tribes, but some of these lands had areas yet to be conquered (Zondervan, 2009, pp. 235-239). Judges had a different account which alluded that Canaan was first allotted to the tribes before the conquests began.  In this essay, I will show the background of Joshua and the Judges and why the passage in Judges may be often misinterpreted concerning the conquest and allotments. 

            Joshua and Caleb were the only two people who left Egypt and entered Canaan after the 40-year sojourn in the desert after the people had sinned against God. Joshua was the military, right-hand man to Moses and chosen by God to lead the people into Canaan following Moses’ death (Zondervan, 2009, p.220).  Joshua was the main author of his book with the high priest Phinehas, an eyewitness, who wrote the concluding chapters. The time period was late Bronze Age and beginning of the Iron Age, 1250-1050 B.C. (Note in NIV on Joshua).  According to Zondervan, the conquests began in the 1240s BCE and the events written down at the time of 1Kings (p. 220). Joshua and Judges were grouped in the Old Testaments in the section of Prophets. Joshua wrote this book to record the history of the conquest of Canaan, the Promised Land of which a summary can be found in Joshua 21: 43-45 (Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 217).

            The time period for Judges is about 1220-1050 B.C. and the setting was the Promised Land, same as Joshua. This was also about the time of the rise of Samuel who was thought to haves written the Book of Judges (Zondervan, 2009, pp. 238-239). The purpose of writing Judges was to assert that the judgment of God regarding sin was absolutely certain as was His forgiveness for those who chose to repent (Note in NIV on Judges). Another purpose of Judges was to explain what theologically occurred between the times of Joshua and David (Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 239). With the death of Joshua (ca.1350 B.C.), the original conquest soldiers had generally died out and the tribes were scattered throughout the land with no centralized leadership (Zondervan, 2009, pp. 238-239; Merrill, 1991, pp.161-162). Judah resumed the conquests following Joshua’s death. In spite of Judah’s successes, Israel fell into its old pattern of disobedience by forsaking God and taking up with the local idolatry, and then followed with a period of turning back to God for deliverance from their enemies (Zondervan, 2009, pp. 238-239).

            Regarding the possible misinterpretation found in Judges about Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, the matter may reside in the possible wrong chronological order of the first two chapters, according to Merrill (1991, pp. 161-162). He suggested that Judges 1:1-7 reviewed the events of Judah’s victories following the death of Joshua. Then, he said that verse eight was the account of Judah’s conquest of Jerusalem before Joshua’s death and further said that vs. 1:9-2:7 told of the periods that followed the devastation of Jerusalem by Judah but it preceded the death of Joshua.  According to Merrill (1991), Joshua’s death was described in Judges 2:8-9 as it had been in Joshua 24: 29-30 as well as Joshua’s contemporaries being mentioned before in Joshua (pp. 161-162).

           These two narratives represent to me a very good example of why we need to seek out the exegesis and hermeneutics of biblical passages. If Merrill (1991) is correct in his opinion that the opening two chapters of Judges are out of sequence in the writer’s efforts to review Joshua’s conquests before delving into what happened next, then that makes Joshua and Judges in sync with each other (pp. 161-162). Joshua, in my opinion, knew that entering Canaan was an historic event that should be recorded and which he did. He and Phinehas were eyewitnesses and knew exactly what happened. Twenty years or more later, the account in Judges was written, probably by Samuel who may have confused the order of the events, and whose purpose was to make sure the Israelites understood that God certainly did not tolerate sin, but His forgiveness was also a certainty (Note in NIV on Judges).

A thought on theology verses history is that I quite frankly do not see them as adversaries. For example Joshua in chapter 5: 13-15, where he is confronted by a being who said that he was the commander of the Lord’s army. This indicates that the Lord will do the fighting and will enable the Israelites to possess the land. This coincides with Joshua’s giving credit God for all the victories mentioned earlier in this essay ((Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 227).  From Joshua we can learned that we need to give God credit for helping us, be faithful, obey Him, and that He keeps His promises. From Judges, we are reminded that we look to God for forgiveness of sin and to avoid it in the first place.


I do not find that theology verses history, generally speaking, because the combination is often complimentary. An example is Joshua: God appointed him to lead the Israelites into Canaan because God had made a promise and the Mosaic Covenant to award this land to them. God was involved all the way. Joshua gave God credit for all his victories. He followed all of God’s instructions. The conquest of Canaan was historical – the promise was kept, God’s people had a homeland. Samuel opens Judges with an account of Joshua’s conquests and immediately brings God into the equation by telling the people that God did not tolerate sin, but would forgive them if they repented.


Hill, A.E. & Walton, J.H. (2009). A survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI:


Life Application Study Bible (NIV). (2005). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Merrill, E.H. (1991). An historical survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI:             Baker Academia

Zondervan Handbook to the Bible (4th ed.). (2009). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Knowing God by Revelation

Knowing God by Revelation

Copyright 2019 by Joan Berry

The matter of knowing God or rather his revelation of himself to us comes through the process of two sources: general revelation (nature, history, and human experience), and special revelation through the events and reflection within the scope of our scriptures — vision, dreams, angelic messengers; God walked and talked with Adam and Eve, Abraham and Moses and other prophets Genesis; Exodus NIV). According to Grenz (2000), general revelation is God’s self-disclosure, in part, to everyone through the natural world whereas; special revelation is disclosed supernaturally by God or his messengers which mankind is incapable of doing on its own by reason or observation (p.133). General revelation, in a nutshell, is meant to make us aware of God as our Creator while special revelation is meant to bring us into a fellowship with God through salvation (p.133). Mankind, being finite, and God, being infinite mean that we cannot know him or be in fellowship with him until he reveals himself to us (Erickson, 2001, p. 43).

Some of the challenges to general revelation have come through such movements as deism, cosmological, and theological arguments. Placing an importance on human reasoning came as a result of the Enlightenment rationalism with deists claiming that reason was fundamental to God and everything else. Some posited that God made the world and then left it to fend for itself). Cosmological arguments are based on the cause and effect nature of the world with God being the first cause. Another argument suggests intelligent design due to the complex nature of the make-up of the completed world. Karl Barth, Swiss Protestant theologian, expressed his dislike of general revelation because he believed it “subverted the necessity of divine revelation,” meaning it was an effort to know God under conditions set by man, not by God (McGrath, 2011, p.164).

Weaknesses noted, especially by theologians, suggest man’s reasoning alone through general revelation cannot lead to sufficient understanding of God because this method conceals important facets of God’s nature and purposes. They posit that God’s goal of salvation is not clarified and that his love through Jesus is not adequately expressed. In addition, because of man’s sinful nature, his observation and reasoning will be inaccurate..

While there have been challenges to general revelation, human experience throughout the history of the world reveals knowledge of God because of an assumption that the earth was created by God and He remains active in it. History is not only a verification of God’s feelings toward his creations; it is a verification of His purpose and ultimate objective of history — the doctrine of eschatology. One example of a trend of God’s hand in history is that of the preservation of Israel; it has a remarkable pattern of survival as God’s chosen people (Erickson, 2001, p. 43).  Revelation’s strongpoints remains in that it serves to show that it is part of God’s self-revelatory actions; the Creation reveals his existence (Romans 1: 19-20; Psalms 8:1 NIV); it serves to make man aware of God and it makes man sensitive to the gospel messages. 

According to S. C. Guthrie, Jr. (1994), the world is not self-explanatory – there must a God; the universe displays a purpose – there is order and harmony; history and experience indicate God’s existence; humans have a moral sense (conscience); humans have spiritual awareness of a divine presence; the natural world functions in a logical and rational way indicating a Great rational mind is in control (pp. 42-43).  He summarized this analysis by saying this is evidence of God’s foundation of wisdom, power, goodness, and eternity revealed by him to us (p.43).

Dr. S. L. Johnson (2009) agrees with Guthrie because in the creation of nature is the indication by God that he wants to be known and in nature we discover him as Creator. Johnson goes on to say that God is an infinite spiritual being and we cannot know him by human (finite) searching. He can only be known if he reveals himself to us.


Although general revelation cannot stand alone as revealing everything we want to know, we must remember that revelation, general or special, is at God’s discretion. It is his self-revelation to us that he reveals what he considers appropriate. We must first start with the basics and he deems when, what and to whom special revelation will be revealed. Through general revelation, we are exposed to the handiwork of God in the natural world and through our experience and history. In this way, we become aware of him and receptive to the gospel messages. . It is God’s way of preparing us to get to know him not only as a spirit but as a person.                                                                 



Erickson, M.J. (2001). Introducing Christian doctrine. (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academi

Grenz, S. (2000). Theology for the community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Compan

Guthrie, S.C., Jr.  (1994 . Christian doctrine.  (revised). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Pres

McGrath, A. (2011). Christian Theology: An introduction. (5th ed.). West Sussex, UK: Wiley-  Blackwell

Electronic sources:

Johnson, S.L. Dr. (2009). Revelation, or has man a word from God. Retrieved from http://www.sljinstitute.net/sermons/doctrine/systemtheo_pages/systemtheology5.html


Making the Acquaintance of the Early Apostles and Disciples

Making the Acquaintance of the Early Apostles and Disciples

Copyright 2919 by Joan Berry

The difference between disciples and Apostles is that the Lord had specially commissioned the twelve Apostles in the first century but He has also commissioned His disciples to be witnesses of His wherever they go. One has apostolic authority while the others have discipleship authority to make disciples of others.

Among the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus, there were three sets of brothers: James the Greater and John the apostle; James the Younger and Jude; and Peter and Andrew. It should be noted that certain names were prominent in Jewish society such as: James, John, Judas, and Simon. This accounts for the custom of Jewish males having two names so as to distinguish one from one another. In the case of Matthew and James the Younger, each had a father named Alpheus.  There was some speculation that these two were brothers. This is unlikely because the Scriptures are consistent in naming relationships and no scripture bears out that they were brothers. James the Just was not the brother of Jesus, for example. Joseph, Simon, Jude, and a James were cited in the New Testament (NT) as His brothers. Two of Jesus’ sisters were identified as Mary and Salome; both names were also prominent in the society.

Apostle Andrew [and Peter] was the son of Jonas who resided in Bethsaida and Capernaum. Andrew was a fisherman as well as his brother. He was a disciple of John the Baptist until the baptism of Jesus. Following that event, he became Jesus’ first disciple and remained so for the rest of his life. Also, Andrew was the first to have a Home and Foreign mission. He preached in Greece, Asia Minor, and Scythia. He was martyred in Achaea, Greece on an X-shaped cross. His symbol is an X-shaped cross or two crossed fish because he was a fisherman.

Apostle Bartholomew [or Nathaniel] was the son of Talmai [of a royal line] and he was well educated in the Scriptures and scholar of the Law. The family lived in Cana of Galilee. For a time he was a missionary in Armenia and then in India where he was martyred. His symbol is three parallel knives in remembrance of his death by being flayed.

Apostle James the Greater, Boanerge, the son of Zebedee and Salome, was a fisherman and lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem. He was the brother of John the Apostle. He preached in Jerusalem where he was beheaded by Herod in 44 C.E. becoming the first apostle martyr. His symbol is three shells, a stalt [walking stick], and a sword representing his missions along the shores, his travels, and how he was killed.

Apostle James the Lesser [or Younger] was the son of Alpheus (Cleophas) and Mary and lived in Galilee. He was the brother of the Apostle John and Joseph. James preached in Palestine and was martyred in Egypt by crucifixion and being sawed into pieces. The saw became his symbol.

Apostle John, Boanerge, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James the Greater, and the Beloved Disciple. He and his brother were known as the “Sons of Thunder.” He also was a fisherman, from a wealthy family and resided in Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Jerusalem. He was the author of the Gospel of John and John 1, 2, and 3. He preached in Asia Minor until the Emperor Domitian banished him to the isle of Patmos. After Domitian died, John was release from imprisonment and allowed to return to Ephesus where he governed churches in Asia until he died a natural death ca. 100 C. E. There was an attempt on John’s life when he was given a chalice of poison, but God intervened and saved him. His symbol is a chalice containing a snake.

Apostle Jude [also known as Thaddeus in Mark and Lebbeus in Matt.] was the son of Alpheus [Cleophas] and Mary and the brother of James the Younger. The family lived in Galilee. Jerome referred to Jude as “Triomious” meaning a man with three names. Jude preached at Edessa near the Euphrates River and other places. He supported Jesus in a big way; he wanted the world to know his Lord. He was killed at Ararat by arrows. His symbol is a ship whose sail bears a cross because he was a fisherman and Christian.

Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth. He was the treasurer for the group of apostles. Judas apparently had ulterior motives for joining the group because he was a violent Jewish Nationalist who hoped that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom and he would be a participant. He hanged himself after his treasonous act against Jesus. His symbol is a hangman’s noose or a purse with pieces of silver falling from it.

Apostle Matthias was chosen by lots to replace Judas Iscariot. He was with Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist and remained with Jesus until he ascended to Heaven. He preached on the shores of the Caspian Sea and Cappadocia [Turkey]. He was martyred by being beheaded by a scimitar. His symbol is a scimitar and a Bible.

Apostle Matthew [Levi] was the son of Alpheus and employed as a tax collector whom the populace hated. He lived in Capernaum. He was well educated and the first to write down the teachings of Jesus. His name means “Gift of God.” Matthew preached in Ethiopia and Egypt where he died as a martyr when King Hercanus had him killed with a battle axe. His symbol is three money bags and a battle axe as a reminder that he was a tax collector before following Jesus and how he was killed

Apostle Simon Peter (or Cephas) was the only apostle mentioned as being married. He is the son of Jonas who resided in Bethsaida and Capernaum. He was a fisherman as well as his brother, Andrew. His name, Simon, means rock from the Greek; Peter also means rock from the Arabic. He was the first to confess that Jesus was the Son of God and Peter was on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus as well as seeing Jarius’ daughter rise to live again. He served as missionary traveling as far as Babylon. Out of love for Jesus, he refused to be crucified in the same position; he was crucified head down in Rome. His symbol is an upside-down cross with keys crossed. His bones and those of Paul were interred together in a double monument on the Appian Way beneath the church of Saint Sebastian on the Appian Way. Peter and Paul were entombed there before they were each taken to the basilicas that honor them: Saint Peter’s Basilica and Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

Apostle Phillip lived in Bethsaida and most likely a fisherman. As a follower of Jesus, he was an ordained deacon and one of the seven appointed when the church was forming. He had a successful campaign in Samaria and became a major figure in missionary work of the early church. He preached in Phrygia until he was martyred in Hierapolis. He was hanged and as he was dying he requested to be wrapped in papyrus rather than linen as was Jesus. He felt unworthy of being wrapped as his Lord. John’s gospel reports that Phillip was one of the first to respond to Jesus’ “Follow me.” His symbol is a basket because of his part in feeding the 5,000. Phillip is credited with having the cross as an emblem of Christianity

Apostle Simon the Zealot [in Matt, Luke, and Mark] was a Canaanite Zealot who lived in Galilee. He preached on the west coast of Africa, then to what is now England where he was crucified in 74 C. E. His symbol is a fish lying on a Bible representing his former life as a fisherman and before he became a fisher of men for the Kingdom of God through spreading the gospel.

Apostle Thomas Didymus [Thomas means twin] lived in Galilee and preached in Parthia, Persia, and India at Marbry near Madras at Mt. Thomas. Thomas was a pessimist and thus the nickname “Doubting Thomas.” He had to touch the wounds that Jesus suffered before he believed He had risen. Afterward, he proclaimed, “My Lord, My God.” Thomas was martyred in India. He was stoned, beaten, and shot with arrows and speared. His symbol is a group of stones, arrows, and spears.


Barnabus, a companion to Paul, was from Cypress where Jews burned him to death ca. 100 C. E.

Silas, a companion to Paul, died a natural death in Macedonia 65-100 C. E.  At one time he and Paul were imprisoned together where they were freed by a miracle. His symbol shows him carrying chains.

Deacon Stephen was stoned to death. James the son of Zebedee and James, brother of Jesus were also killed.

I am sure there were many more martyrs in the early church.

Barnabus, Titus, Timothy, and Luke traveled with Paul at one time or another. John Mark traveled with Peter, Mark was from Libya, City of Cyrene in Pentapolis; Luke was from Antra, Spain.

Special note:

The Letters of Barnabus can be found on the Internet. www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-lightfoot.html The Nag Hammadi Scriptures (Dead Sea Scrolls) have many books and letters of the apostles and disciples and other writings of interest. This information was not placed in the Canon. Following are examples of the content: Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Gospel of Judas Iscariot, Paul’s Letters to the Laodiceans, The Hidden Book of James, The Secret Book of John, Gospel of Phillip, Book of Thomas, The Revelation of Paul, The Revelation of James, Letters of Peter to Phillip, The Secret Book of John, and the Second Revelation of James.

Sources                                                                                     .

Chadwick, Henry (2019). St. John the Apostle

Holman, A. J.(1933). Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text. HarperCollins, NY

Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). (trans.) Wm. Whiston, A. M. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

Kelly, B. (2016). How Did the Apostles Die? St. Richmond NH: St. Bernard Center:

Life Application Sudy Bible-NIV. (2005). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers

Nag Hammadi Scriptures. (2007). New York, NY: Harper Collins

New King James Version Study Bible. (2007). Pub. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

St. Gregory of Tours. The Ten Book of History.  In Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.(2019)

Chadwick: Polycarp, bishop of Ephesus, claimed John’s grave is in Ephesus. He was a priest and wore the sacerdotal plate and that he also was a teacher, St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons claimed John wrote his gospel, letters, and the Revelation at Ephesus. He also claimed John was buried in Ephesus.                     Chadwick, Henry (2019). St. John the Apostle

Josephus: The Complete Works. (1998). (trans.) Wm. Whiston, A. M. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson

Josephus talks about the Revelation.