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Hebrew Names for Jewish Apostles - Jesus and the Professor

Posted on January 31, 2016 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (3131)


  Here I go making trouble again (for some)! As I was doing some more Biblical Research, it dawned on me, that after learning that the Apostle Peter's real name in Hebrew was Shi'mon, and not Simon, that it seemed strange to me that when looking at the Old Testament names versus the New Testament names of prominent Gospel figures, many of the New Testament names seemed very European (Matthew, Mark, John, Luke); which prompted me to dig deeper. Now granted, there was indeed a moderate Greek influence during that time (Luke was indeed a Greek,and his name was shortened), but, it seemed unlikely to me that the Jewish/Hebrews of that time would have names like the above stated. Knowing that the original Hebrew name of Jesus is Yeshua, I sought to find out the real names of the Apostles which led me to this Jewish professor's blog below. Being objective, I try to chalk it up to translation or mis-translation, but It in my mind and knowing historical events of certain people, It makes me wonder. This a very edifying read. Open your minds to the truth. Shalom!

Min. E Lionel Perry


Mark 3:16-18


These were the names of the Apostles: There was Simon, whom he surnamed, Peter. There were James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; he surnamed them, Boanerges, which is, the “sons of thunder.” There were also Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite.


Names are important. When someone introduces us to another, and we soon thereafter forget that person’s name, we feel somewhat embarrassed to ask, “I am sorry, but what did you say your name was?” Names are important now, and they were just as important 2000 years ago. Hence, it is appropriate to examine the names of the Apostles. Interestingly enough, the Synoptic Gospels are similar, but not identical. John’s Gospel is significantly different. Nevertheless, what I simply wish to stress here are the Hebrew names of the Apostles. Hebrew names? But of course! Jesus was a Jew and so were his Apostles.


Just as nobody called Jesus, “Jesus,” (see “Jesus or Yehoshua: What’s In a Name?” post of April 5, 2010), Jesus did not call the Apostles, “Simon” or “John.” Rather, he referred to them by their Hebrew or Aramaic names, as follows:


Simon was Shimon. James was Yakov (that is, Jacob). John was Yochanan. Bartholomew was Bar-Talmai (son of Ptolemy). Matthew was Mattityahu, meaning, “gift from God.” Thomas was Tau’ma, an Aramaic name. Thaddaeus was a variant of Theudas, which was a Grecian version of Judas or Yehuda.


Andrew and Philip are interesting because those are clearly Greek names—Andreas and Filippos; there are no Hebrew equivalents. Thus, we may surmise that Andrew and Philip were either Grecian-Jews or Grecian-Gentiles. In all probability, we may discount the theory that they were Gentiles: Jesus was a Jew who saw his mission as teaching and healing his fellow Jews. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24. It would be hard to imagine preaching to Jews while having Gentile Apostles.


Judas Iscariot was Yehuda. I will discuss Judas in the next post, along with the “sons of thunder” appellation for John and James.


Until then, as always, I welcome your comments.


Oh, and if you are interested in learning more about Judaism, you can check out my book, Every Christian's Book on Judaism: Exploring Jewish Faith and Law for a Richer Understanding of Chritianity.

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Hebrew Names for Jewish Apostles

Posted on January 12, 2016 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (1619)

Greetings Disciples,

 Have you ever wondered about the actual Hebrew names for Jesus and the disciples? I know this subject has nagged me from time to time as I've noticed that the names in the Old and New Testaments don't seem to match up with the times in which they lived. I've known for a while that the Hebrew name for Jesus is Yehosuoa, but but the names of the other disciples didn't seem consistent as they sounded European and my hunch was correct as the names have been translated into different versions. Now, there indeed was a Greek influence in the New Testament as Luke was a Greek, but my curiosity and quest for the original names led me to dig deeper which brought me to this Jewish Professor's blog site. This is a very interesting read which I am happy to share. Shalom!

Minister E. Lionel Perry

5 Things to Know about Luke from the Bible

Posted on December 28, 2015 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (1181)

5 Things to Know about Luke from the Bible

• Liz Kanoy-Editor,

• 201510 Dec


Who is Luke?

Luke is only mentioned by name three times in Scripture, and all three references are in Paul’s letters: Colossians 4, 2 Timothy 4, and Philemon 1. Most biblical scholars support Luke as the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. We can come to this conclusion because of the similarity of writing styles and vocabulary in both books; another reason is that Luke used the term “we” several times to refer to his missionary travels in the book of Acts. Though Luke was not present with Jesus during His ministry, and likely was not a believer until after Jesus’ resurrection, Luke’s attention to detail and abundant eyewitness accounts serve him as a credible historian for the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Luke’s gospel contains several parables and eyewitness accounts that are only in his gospel, such as a pre-birth account for John the Baptist, the story of the two men who met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus, as well as stories of miraculous healing. His gospel is the longest of the 4 gospels and includes the most healing stories, showing his interest in and compassion for the sick. His gospel also has the most detailed birth account and a more descriptive death and resurrection account for Jesus. The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts total 52 chapters, making Luke the author of 1/3 of the New Testament, just like Paul.

It is most likely that Luke wrote his gospel in 63AD before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, since he does not mention it. As a detailed and observant writer, it would be odd for him to leave out such a historic event, but there are still some scholars who argue for a later date.

Why did he write a gospel account?

In Luke 1, he writes:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

Here are 5 things to know about Luke:

1. Luke was a Gentile

Lucas (or Loukas) is a Greek name; the author of Luke writes with a Greek style, and is highly educated with his chosen vocabulary, similar to other Greek writers in his day. He used Greek expressions rather than Hebrew versions, showing that he was more comfortable with the Greek language. We also know that Luke was a Gentile because of the way Paul addresses him in Colossians 4; Paul named his Jewish co-workers first and says, “These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God…” Then 2 verses later Paul addresses Luke by saying, “Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.” Col. 4:11 & 14

Luke was the only Gentile to write a book of the Bible, and he clearly wrote his gospel with a Gentile audience in mind. He is sure to point out references to creation and Jesus’ circumcision that a Gentile audience would not have known. A Jewish audience would have assumed Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day, even if it wasn’t written, since he came from a Jewish family. Luke made sure to give a detailed account of everything he wrote, so that those who were not as familiar with Jewish traditions, customs, places, and Old Testament references would be able to understand the history of Jesus and plan of salvation.

2. Luke was a Physician

Though, we can’t be certain about every aspect of Luke’s background, we know he was referred to by Paul as “the beloved physician” in Colossians 4:14. He likely had a comfortable life in Antioch practicing medicine, but he chose to sacrifice that life of comfort to follow the Lord. Henry Morris, of the Institute for Creation Research, shares this of Luke’s physician background,

“Some commentators have noted the ironical relation between Mark 5:26 and Luke 8:43. Mark had said that a certain woman needing healing ‘had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." Luke, perhaps trying to defend his professional colleagues, merely said that this same woman "had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any.’ That is, they had done their best, but it was an incurable disease.”

3. Luke was Humble

Luke never addresses himself as the author of either of his books, he never addresses himself by name as one of Paul’s travel companions though he does use the term “we,” he never mentions his profession as a doctor (only Paul does), and he never mentions his brother Titus (2 Cor. 8 & 12). He does not mention the sacrifice he made in giving up his medical practice to travel with Paul and care for Paul. Instead, he gives much focus to Jesus’ healing miracles and Jesus as the great Healer. The most important thing he wants his readers to understand is salvation in Christ.

Gordon Franz, of the Associates for Biblical Research, states,

“When he wrote his gospel and the book of Acts, he did not mention his name at all (Acts 1:1), nor did he mention his brother Titus. Dr. Luke was a humble person and he did not want to call attention to himself or his family, but rather, he wanted to point people to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in His Church.”

4. Luke Met Some of the Apostles

By the time Luke was writing his gospel, the Holy Spirit had already inspired two others: Matthew and Mark. It is reasonable to think that Luke would have interviewed them and investigated their writings. Luke would have likely traveled with Mark, since Mark also traveled with Paul. And it is logical to think that since Mark and Luke knew each other, and Mark and Matthew knew each other that Matthew and Luke would have also met. Luke would have been exposed to many sources, and, therefore, would have based his writings on existing narratives with eyewitness accounts added in that he gathered with the help of the Holy Spirit. Luke was not trying to write a new gospel, he wanted to record the life of Jesus as accurately as possible for a wider Gentile audience, including a high Roman official named Theophilus.

5. Only Luke Remained with Paul to His Death

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul tells us that Luke alone remains with him. Why would the majority of Paul’s companions desert him? John MacArthur explains,

“Nero had cranked up the persecution to a high level and Christians were paying with their lives. And frankly, many believers had fled from Rome. And, you know, they might have had a reasonable motive to do that, to carry on the preaching of the gospel. It's not that they were all just cowards. But Luke didn't go. Everybody left. And there was a lot of desertion. Demas left him because he loved the present world, verse 10 says. And you do get the idea that some of the rest left in desertion from verse 16, but he says, "May it not be counted against them." But not Luke, loyal, faithful, brave, long-term friend, fellow worker, companion to Paul, been with Paul over years and years and years, been with Paul over hundreds and probably thousands of miles of walking. “

John MacArthur also writes,

“So I say, next to Paul, Luke is the most powerful writing force in the New Testament, and yet he is basically unknown. I don't think in my life I've ever heard a sermon about Luke. His historical narrative spans over sixty years. It starts with the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner to Jesus, and it ends at the end of the book of Acts, which is volume two of his writings, it ends with the gospel being preached at Rome, which means the gospel has extended to the world. No other writer wrote so comprehensive a history of Jesus and His impact. No other writer goes all the way from the John the Baptist to the gospel having reached the capital of the Roman Empire. He is the most complete story teller of the saga of salvation in the New Testament, and he is mostly unknown to us.”

Luke knew he wasn’t the first to write about Jesus nor did he claim to be; he wanted to write a gospel that shared the truth that had already been written but for a wider audience. He investigated every written and oral source that he could, with the help and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Luke was an evangelist, a historian, a physician, a pastor, a missionary, a companion, a brother, and a theologian. His goal and purpose in writing a gospel was to write exact truth concerning Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, an infallible history and theology inspired by the Spirit. And with God’s guidance that’s exactly what he did.

No, we don’t know everything there is to know about Luke, but I think that’s the way he would want it. He didn’t write a gospel for fame or recognition, which is why he does not mention his own name in either of the books he wrote. Luke wanted to teach people about the Savior and the glorious salvation Jesus offers to all mankind.

Luke’s life was changed and transformed by God the same way that every sinner becomes new, washed clean by the blood of the Lamb!

Information received via Crosswalk



Forensic Depiction of Jesus Rises Again

Posted on December 27, 2015 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (1610)


Forensic depiction of 'manly Jesus' rises again

 San Francisco Chronicle

Amy Graff


A scientific representation of Jesus' appearance that appeared in Popular Mechanics over a decade ago resurfaced today in social media as a political statement.

Many are saying the depiction of a dark-haired, tan-skinned man is fitting at time when Americans are debating whether to allow Syrian refugees into the country.

"Would Donald Trump let this man into the US? Would you?" asks one Facebook commenter.When this image was first released in 2002, it challenged historical depictions of Jesus Christ as a tall, lean, pasty guy with effeminate facial features and long, flowing light-brown hair. Famous paintings of him — mainly done by Italian artists — show someone of European decent who probably could have rocked a pair of skinny jeans and a man bun.



A team of scientists led by medical artist Richard Neave created what they think is a realistic image of Jesus.

But scientists working in the field of forensic anthropology determined that the son of God probably had a manly face with a tan complexion, bushy eyebrows and short, dark hair, according to Popular Mechanics. He didn't look anything like the person many of us remember from Sunday School lessons.


The team of British scientists and Israeli archeologists used the same techniques employed by detectives solving crimes to create the computer-generated image. They delved "into cultural and archeological data" and the world of "physical and biological sciences" to identify the appearance of a typical Middle Eastern Jewish man living in the Galilee area of northern Israel at the time of Jesus.


The effort was led by medical artist Richard Neave, who has created depictions of dozens of famous historical faces.


"If anyone could create an accurate portrait of Jesus, it would be Neave," Popular Mechanics reported.

Information source source via...


Earliest Known Draft of The King James Bible Found

Posted on December 26, 2015 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (4725)

Earliest Known Draft of King James Bible Is Found, Scholar Says


Two pages from Samuel Ward’s translation for part of the King James Bible. An American professor who came upon the manuscript last fall at Cambridge says it is the earliest known draft for the King James translation, which appeared in 1611.



October 14, 2015

The King James Bible is the most widely read work in English literature, a masterpiece of translation whose stately cadences and transcendent phrases have long been seen, even by secular readers, as having emerged from a kind of collective divine inspiration.

But now, in an unassuming notebook held in an archive at the University of Cambridge, an American scholar has found what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.

The notebook, which dates from 1604 to 1608, was discovered by Jeffrey Alan Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, who announced his research on Wednesday in an article in The Times Literary Supplement.

While the notebook has yet to be examined by other scholars, experts who have reviewed Professor Miller’s research called it perhaps the most significant archival find relating to the King James Bible in decades.

¬Jeffrey Alan Miller of Montclair State University, who was looking for letters last fall when he came upon Samuel Ward’s manuscript translation for part of the Apocrypha in an archive at Cambridge. Left, the title page of the King James Bible in 1611.


David Norton, an emeritus professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and the author of several books about the King James Bible, called it “a major discovery” — if not quite equal to finding a draft of one of Shakespeare’s plays, “getting on up there.”


Gordon Campbell, a fellow in Renaissance studies at the University of Leicester and a consultant for the planned Museum of the Bible in Washington, said the new manuscript shed fresh light on how the King James translators actually did their work, as opposed to how they had been told to do it.

Studying the creation of the King James Bible “is like working with a jigsaw puzzle where 90 percent of the pieces are missing,” Mr. Campbell said. “You can arrange the surviving pieces as you wish, but then you find something new and you realize you put it together the wrong way.”

The King James Bible, published in 1611, was produced by six teams of translators, known as “companies,” in London, Oxford and Cambridge, who were charged with creating an authorized version that would support the Church of England against the Puritan influence seen in some earlier translations. Along with Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623, it is one of the most influential books in the history of English and the wellspring of common phrases like “salt of the earth,” “drop in the bucket” and “fight the good fight,” to name only a few.


The title page of the King James Bible in 1611.


While some records of the committee that supervised the overall translation survive, only three manuscripts of the text itself have been known to exist until now. The Bodleian Library at Oxford owns nearly complete drafts of the Old Testament and the Gospels, in the form of corrected pages of the Bishops’ Bible, a 16th-century translation that the King James teams used as a base text. Lambeth Palace Library in London has a partial draft of the New Testament epistles.

Professor Miller discovered the manuscript last fall, when he was in the archives at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, researching an essay about Samuel Ward, one of the King James translators and, later, the college’s master. He was hoping to find an unknown letter, which he did.

“I thought that would be my great discovery,” he recalled.

But he also came across an unassuming notebook about the size of a modern paperback, wrapped in a stained piece of waste vellum and filled with some 70 pages of Ward’s nearly indecipherable handwriting.

The notebook had been cataloged in the 1980s as a “verse-by-verse biblical commentary” with “Greek word studies, and some Hebrew notes.” But as Professor Miller tried to puzzle out which passages of the Bible it concerned, he realized what it was: a draft of parts of the King James Version of the Apocrypha, a disputed section of the Bible that is left out of many editions, particularly in the United States.

“There was a kind of thunderstruck, leap-out-of-bathtub moment,” Professor Miller said. “But then comes the more laborious process of making sure you are 100 percent correct.”

The draft, Professor Miller argues, dates from between 1604, when the King James Bible was commissioned, and 1608, when the six teams were asked to send their work to the general committee for review. Unlike the other surviving drafts, which scholars date to later parts of the process, it shows an individual translator’s initial puzzling over aspects of the Greek text of the Apocrypha, indicating the reasoning behind his translation choices, with reference to Hebrew and Latin as well.

“You can actually see the way Greek, Latin and Hebrew are all feeding into what will become the most widely read work of English literature of all time,” Professor Miller said. “It gets you so close to the thought process, it’s incredible.”

The draft, he argues, also complicates one long-cherished aspect of the “mythos,” as he put it, surrounding the King James: that it was a collaborative project through and through.

The companies were charged with doing their work as a group, rather than subdividing it by assigning individual books to individual translators, as was the case with the Bishops’ Bible. But the Ward notebook, Professor Miller said, suggests “beyond a reasonable doubt” that at least some of the companies ignored the instructions and divided up the work among individuals, at least initially.

Further, he said, the notebook contains a complete draft for the book of the Apocrypha known as 1 Esdras, but then, after a run of blank pages, only a partial manuscript for the book known as the Wisdom of Solomon, suggesting that Ward picked up the slack for another translator.

“Some of them, being typical academics, either fell down on the job or just decided not to do it,” Professor Miller said, with a laugh. “It really testifies to the human element of this kind of great undertaking.”

In recent years, scholars have chipped away at the idea of Shakespeare’s plays as the product of an isolated genius, emphasizing instead the intensely collaborative nature of Elizabethan theater. Professor Miller said that the origins of the other great monument of 17th-century English literature is due for a similar reconsideration.

“There’s a strong desire to see the King James Bible as a uniform object, and a belief that it’s great because of its collaborative nature,” Professor Miller said.

“It was incredibly collaborative,” he continued. “But it was done in a much more complicated, nuanced, and at times individualistic way than we’ve ever really had good evidence to believe.”

Information received via The New York Times