How did the apostles die? Does the Bible say anything about the death of the apostles?
Only one apostle's death (other than Judas Iscariot) is recorded in the Bible. James was put to death by the sword (perhaps beheaded) by Herod in Acts 12:2. Traditions have long been told of the deaths of the other apostles, though the accuracy of these accounts is uncertain.
For example, the apostle Peter was said to have been crucified upside down in Rome under the persecution of Herod. Some have added that this suffering was a fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus given in John 21:18-19.
Matthew is said to have been martyred in Ethiopia by a sword.
Bartholomew (or Nathanael) was said to have been killed by being flayed to death by a whip in Armenia.
Andrew was recorded as traditionally being crucified on an X-shaped cross in Greece. He hung for two days before dying, preaching to onlookers until his passing.
Thomas took the Gospel to India and was put to death by a spear.
James son of Alphaeus was said to have been martyred in Egypt, though details are lacking regarding the account of his death.
Simon the Zealot is recorded in most traditions to have traveled to Persia (modern Iran) where he was put to death, either crucified or hacked to death by the sword.
Thaddeus is also recorded in most traditions as traveling to Persia with Simon the Zealot and being martyred there.
John was the one apostle history records as dying a natural death. He was said to have lived to an old age, likely composing Revelation around AD 95—96 from the island of Patmos and later dying in Ephesus (modern-day Turkey) around 100.
In addition to the 12, the disciple Matthias (Acts 1:12-26), who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, has often been confused with the apostle Matthew. Some accounts note his death in Ethiopia while other accounts note his death in Cappadocia (eastern Turkey).
The apostle Paul clearly expected to die shortly after his letter to Timothy while imprisoned in Rome (2 Timothy 4:6-8). Tradition teaches Paul was beheaded by Nero, likely in AD 67 or 68, during the persecution of Christians that took place following the fires of Rome in AD 64.
While many accounts are uncertain traditions, the important observation is that all of the original followers of Christ were willing to take the Gospel to others despite the very real possibility of death. Not one renounced his faith, offering further evidence that their eyewitness testimonies of the resurrected Jesus were true.
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