Thaddeus - The Apostle With Four Names

Profile of Thaddeus the Apostle

Thaddeus and Simon the Zealot
The Apostle Thaddeus (on left) and Simon the Zealot. Getty Images

Little is known about Thaddeus, one of Jesus Christ's 12 apostles. Bible scholars generally agree, however, that the four names used for him all refer to the same person.

In lists of the Twelve, he is called Thaddeus or Thaddaeus, a surname for the name Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3, KJV), which means "heart" or "courageous."

The picture is confused further when he is called Judas but is distinguished from Judas Iscariot.

Church tradition holds that Thaddeus founded a church at Edessa and was crucified there as a martyr.

Accomplishments of Thaddeus

Thaddeus preached the gospel as a missionary following Jesus' resurrection. Some Bible scholars believe Thaddeus penned the book of Jude, although more take the view that Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, is the author. The final two verses of Jude (24-25) contain a doxology, or "expression of praise to God," considered the finest in the New Testament.

Thaddeus' Strengths

Thaddeus learned the gospel directly from Jesus and loyally served Christ despite hardship and persecution.

Thaddeus' Weaknesses

Like most of the other apostles, Thaddeus abandoned Jesus during his trial and crucifixion.

Hometown

Unknown

Referenced in the Bible:

Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:16; John 14:22; Acts 1:13.

Occupation:

Unknown, missionary.

Key Verses

John 14:21-22
[Jesus speaking] "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" (NIV)

Jude 20-21
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (NIV)

Jude 24-25
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

(NIV)

Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
New Testament People of the Bible (Index)