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|Bartholomew, what role did he play as a disciple?|
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BARTHOL'OMEW (bar-thol'o-mu; "son of Tolmai"). One of the twelve apostles of Jesus, and generally supposed to have been the same person who in John's gospel is called Nathanael.
Name and Family. In the first three gospels (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14) Philip and Bartholomew are constantly named together, whereas Nathanael is not mentioned. In the fourth gospel Philip and Nathanael are similarly combined, but nothing is said of Bartholomew. Nathanael must therefore be considered his real name, whereas Bartholomew merely expresses his filial relation (Kitto).
Personal History. If this may be taken as true, he was born in Cana of Galilee (John 21:2). Philip, having accepted Jesus, told Bartholomew that he had "found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth." To his question, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip replied, "Come and see." His fastidious reluctance was soon dispelled. Jesus, as He saw him coming to Him, uttered the eulogy "Behold an Israelite, indeed, in whom is no guile!" (John 1:45-47). He was appointed with the other apostles (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14), was one of the disciples to whom the Lord appeared after the resurrection (John 21:2), was a witness of the ascension, and returned with the other apostles to Jerusalem (Acts 1:4,12-13). Tradition only speaks of his subsequent history. He is said to have preached the gospel in India (probably Arabia Felix); others say in Armenia, and report him to have been flayed alive there, then crucified with his head downward.
Character. Nathanael "seems to have been one of those calm, retiring souls whose whole sphere of existence lies not here, but 'where, beyond these voices, there is peace.' It was a life of which the world sees nothing, because it was 'hid with Christ in God'" (Farrar).
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