The following catechism on the Twelve Apostles was part of the curriculum used in the Summer Bible School program. This particular catechism was used for the fifth and sixth grade curriculum, as shown here. An orginal copy of the catechism is preserved at the PCA Historical Center.


The Twelve Apostles


by A. L. LATHEM, D. D.


Copyright 1926
A. L. Lathem, D. D., Ph. D.

1. What are the names given in the Scriptures to the Ministers of the Word of God?
The names given to the Ministers of the Word of God in the Scriptures are: Prophets, Seers and Priests in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Deacons, Elders and Teachers.

2. What name is given to that band of men to whom Jesus taught the Faith and who were especially chosen to be witnesses of His Resurrection?
The band of twelve men to whom Jesus taught the Faith and who were chosen to be witnesses of His Resurrection were called "The Apostles."

3. Who were the Prophets?
The Prophets were men who taught the Truth of God as Revealed to them, and who also foretold future events.

4. About what time in His ministry did Jesus choose His twelve Apostles?
Jesus chose His twelve Apostles in the second year of His ministry, though some of them had been associated with Him earlier.

5. Name the twelve Apostles.
Simon Peter and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, Philip and
Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the Publican, James the son of Alphaeus, Lebbaeus surnamed Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. Matt. 10:2 ;4.

6 Who was the most active of the twelve?
Simon Peter was the most active of the twelve Apostles.

7. In what business were Andrew and Peter, James and John engaged when Our Lord called them to follow Him?
Andrew and Peter, James and John were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.
Note —It is suggested that all places named be pointed out on the map.

8. Were these men educated?
Andrew, Peter, James and John were unlearned and ignorant men, as were most of the other Apostles.

9. Did this disqualify them for preaching the Gospel?
This did not disqualify them for preaching the Gospel, because Jesus Himself was their teacher while upon earth, and afterward the Holy Spirit put the words into their mouths.

10. In what city did these men live when Jesus called them?
Most of Jesus' Apostles lived either in Capernaum or in other cities on the Sea of Galilee

11. How did Peter get his name Cephas?
When Andrew first brought Peter to Jesus, the Master called him Cephas, which means "a stone".

12. What were some of the qualities of Peter?
Peter was impulsive, energetic, courageous, devoted: and in later years, anxious to suffer for the

13. What notable confession of Christ did Peter make?
When the time had come for Jesus to make Himself fully known to His Disciples, He asked them, "Whom say ye that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Matt. 16:16.

14. What did Jesus then say?
Jesus then said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" Matt. 16:18.

15. What did Jesus further say?
Jesus further said, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.'' Matt. 16:19.

16. Are we to understand this as making Peter the head of the Church?
We are not to understand this as making Peter the head of the Church, but it gave him the first place among the Apostles as their representative, but no authority over them.

17. Did Peter ever claim any authority over the other Apostles?
Peter never claimed any authority over the other Apostles, but we shall find later that he was always their leader.
(Note- In another place, Jesus makes practically the same statement to all the Apostles, John 20:23: "Whosoever sins yet remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.")

18 Was it ever necessary for Jesus to rebuke Peter?
Yes. When Jesus spoke of His sufferings and death, Peter endeavored to dissuade Him from making the sacrifice. Jesus said, "Get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offense unto me."

19. Which Apostles constituted the inner circle?
Peter, James and John were closest, to Our Lord.

20. What Apostles did Jesus take with Him to the Transfiguration?
'' And after six days, Jesus taketh with Him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and He was Transfigured before them. And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them." Mark 9:2-3.

21 On what other occasions did Jesus take with Him only Peter, James and John?
Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John at the raising of Jairus' daughter, and they were the "Inner Circle" in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Where found ?).

22. How did Peter behave on the night of Jesus' trial?
Peter showed bravery in following Jesus unto the Palace of the High Priest on the night of Our Lord's trial, but finally, when put to the test, denied Him three times.

23. Which of the Apostles first saw the Lord after He had Risen from the Dead?
The first of the Apostles to see Our Risen Lord, was Simon Peter. (Where found?).

24. Which of the seven Apostles on the Sea of Galilee first recognized the Master?
Again, it was Simon Peter who first recognized the Lord Jesus, and in his eagerness to be with Him, swam to the shore (Where found?).

25. What great honor was conferred upon Peter at the Day of Pentecost?
At the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came in power, it was Peter who preached the wonderful sermon that resulted in the conversion of about three thousand souls. Acts 2.

26. What miracle did Peter perform soon after this?
Soon after this, as Peter and John went up into the Temple, Peter healed a man that had been lame from his birth. (Where found?).

27. Did Peter work this miracle through his own power or holiness?
Peter was careful to say that he had not wrought this miracle through his own power or holiness, but that "The Faith which is by Him (that is Jesus) hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of all" Acts 3:16.

28. To what did this miracle lead?
This miracle led to the strengthening of the Church, but brought on bitter persecution, and led to the arrest of the Apostles.

29. Did this quiet Peter and the rest of the Apostles?
No; Peter and the rest of the Apostles preached the Word more boldly, declaring the name of Jesus and preaching that there is "None other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:10-12.

30. What command did the authorities give the Apostles?
The Jewish authorities then commanded that the Apostles should cease to preach the name of Jesus.
Note-Memorize Acts 4:10-12.
"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised, from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

31. Were Peter and the other Apostles obedient to this command?
No; they continued to preach boldly.

32 What took place at this time revealing the power of the Church in the ministry of Peter?
Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter in the matter of their giving, and being rebuked by the Apostle, were stricken dead.
Note —Read the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:1-11.

33. What effect had this act of discipline upon the Church?
Because of this, and other miracles wrought by the Apostles, believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.

34. What did the Jewish authorities then do?
"Then the High Priest rose up, and all they that were with him, and laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison." Acts 5:17,18.

35. How were Peter and the other Apostles released from prison?
Peter and the other Apostles were released by the Angel of the Lord, who opened the prison doors. (Where found?)

36. What did these brave followers of Jesus then do?
Peter and the other Apostles upon their release from prison, went to the Temple and immediately resumed their preaching, always preaching Christ and the Resurrection and the absolute need of Jesus as a Savior.

37. What were the Apostles then called upon to suffer?
The Apostles were then beaten, but immediately resumed their preaching, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus' sake. (Where found?).

38. By whom was the Gospel first preached to the Gentiles?
The Apostle Peter was sent of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel to Cornelius, a prominent Roman soldier in Caesarea. See Acts 10th ch.

39. Did the Lord honor this message of Peter?
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard The Word." Acts 10:44.

40. How did the other Apostles regard the mission of Peter to Cornelius?
The other Apostles were inclined to criticise Peter for carrying the Gospel to the Gentiles, but when Peter explained that he had seen a vision, in which it had been revealed to him that he should call no man common or unclean, they were satisfied, and rejoiced. (Where found?)

41. What took place after this?
Soon after this, Peter was again cast into prison, but prayer was earnestly made for him, and the
prison doors were opened, and he was released. Acts 12.

42. What is the last reference to Peter in the Book of the Acts?
The last reference to Peter in the Book of the Acts is found in the 15 th chapter, verses 7-11, where he makes a speech in the interest of Christian liberty, showing that Jews and Gentiles are alike in the sight of God and both are alike saved through Faith by the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

43 What Books of the New Testament were written by Peter?
The Apostle Peter is the author of the two Epistles which bear his name, First and Second Peter.

44. Can we trace with certainty the missionary journeys of Peter?
We cannot trace with certainty the missionary journeys of Peter. In the 13th verse of the 5th chapter of his first Epistle, it would seem as though he were writing from Babylon, but the text is obscure.

45. What tradition connects Peter with Rome?
There is a tradition that Peter finally visited Rome, and that there being condemned to death, at his own request, was crucified with his head downward.

1. How many Apostles were there by the name of James?
There were two Apostles called by this name, James the son of Zebedee, the brother of John, and James the son of Alphaeus

2. Which of these two Apostles belonged to the inner circle?
James the son of Zebedee was the Apostle, who with Peter and John were most intimate with our Lord.

3. Before being called to be Apostles, what was the business of James and John, the sons of Zebedee?
James and John, before being called to be Apostles, were fishermen.

4. What was there to indicate that James and John were persons of some prominence?
James and John and their father Zebedee employed a number of servants, and John at least was well known to the High Priest, and he also had a home in Jerusalem. Mark 1:19-20; John 19:27; John 18:15-16.

5 When our Lord called James and John to follow Him, did they readily do so?
When called by our Lord, James and John immediately left their nets and followed Him.

6. What surname did Jesus give to James and John?
Jesus surnamed James and John Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder, this doubtless because of their fiery disposition. (Where found?).

7. On what occasion did Jesus rebuke James and, John?
Jesus rebuked James and John when they asked Him if they should bring fire down from Heaven to destroy the Samaritans who were unwilling to receive Him. (Where found?)

8. For what purpose did Jesus tell James and John He had come into the world?
In rebuking them, Jesus told James and John that He had not come into the world to destroy men's lives, but to save them.

9. What further mention have we of James, the son of Zebedee?
James was present Easter Evening when Jesus appeared to the ten, also one week later when He appeared to the eleven. He was also one of the seven apostles to whom Jesus appeared at the Sea of Galilee. He was also one who witnessed our Lord's Ascension. (Where found?)

10. How did James the son of Zebedee come to his death?
James was condemned to death for preaching the Gospel, by Herod Agrippa, the wicked son of Herod the Great. He was the first Apostle to become a martyr. Acts 12:2.

11. For what unworthy ambition did Jesus rebuke James and John, the sons of Zebedee?
Jesus rebuked James and John for desiring the chief places, the one to sit at His right hand and the other at His left hand in His kingdom.

12. Who did Jesus say should be the chief of all.
Jesus said, '' If any man would be chief of all he must be servant of all."

13. What is known of James, {the less) the son of Alphaeus?
Nothing is certainly known of this James, except that he was one of our Lord's Apostles.

14. What other James was a notable servant of Jesus?
James, the Lord's brother, became one of His notable servants.

15. What prominent position did this James occupy later?
James, the brother of our Lord, became the head of the Church at Jerusalem. Acts 12:17.

16. Was this James an Apostle?
James, the brother of our Lord, was not an Apostle.

17. What was the attitude of the Jewish and Gentile Christians toward each other?
There was always more or less of bitterness between the Jewish and Gentile Christians.

18. What Disciple did much to remove these differences?
James, our Lord's brother, did much to produce harmony between the Jewish and Gentile Christians.

19. Do we know what finally became of this James?
History tells us that he died a martyr.

20. What Epistle did James, the Lord's brother, write?
James, the Lord's brother, wrote the general Epistle of James.

Note —We have already learned a number of facts about the Apostle John, first, that he and James were the sons of Zebedee; second, that their occupation was that of fishermen; third, that he, with Peter and James, were associated most intimately with our Lord; they were the three who saw Him transfigured; they also were the ones who went in with Him to the raising of Jairus' daughter; they were the three who took Jesus aside to inquire of Him when Jerusalem should be destroyed, when He, the Lord, was coming again, and when the world should come to an end; and they were the three that he took apart with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal.

21. Which of the two brothers, James and John, was the eldest?
James seems to have been the eldest, because His name is usually mentioned first.

22. Who was the mother of James and John?
The mother of James and John was Salome.

23. In the Gospel which he wrote, how does John speak of himself in relation to Christ?
In the Gospel which he wrote, John speaks of himself as The Disciple whom Jesus Loved.

24 On the night of Jesus' betrayal what was the attitude of all the Apostles?
On the night of Jesus' betrayal all the Apostles forsook Him and fled.

25. Which of the Apostles later returned and followed Him to the Palace of the High Priest?
Peter and John returned and followed Him to the Palace of the High Priest.

26. Were any of our Lord's Disciples present in the Palace of the High Priest at the Trial of Jesus?
Yes; John was present at our Lord's trial, because he was known to the High Priest, and he also
brought in Peter.

27. What Disciple was present at the Crucifixion of Jesus?
The Apostle John was present at our Lord's Crucifixion.

28. While Jesus was upon The Cross what request did He make of John?
While Jesus was upon The Cross, seeing His mother standing by, and also the Beloved Apostle, He requested him to take care of her.

29. How did John comply with our Lord's request?
John took Jesus' mother to his own home.

30. Which of the Apostles was first at the tomb on the morning of the Resurrection?
Peter and John ran both together, but John came first to the Sepulchre.

31. With whom do we find John associated after the day of Pentecost?
After the day of Pentecost, we find John associated with Peter, in the Gospel work. Both were imprisoned by the Jews for preaching Christ, and both were sent to Samaria to aid in the work begun by Philip.

32. Which is the only one of the Apostles that did not suffer martyrdom?
Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of John, says, "That John died a natural death in extreme old age at Ephesus."
Note —Ephesus is believed to have been the scene of the labors of John in the later years of his life.

33. Did John ever suffer persecution?
Yes; it is said that attempts were made to scald him to death in boiling oil, and when this failed, he was sent as an exile to the Isle of Patmos.

34. What vision did John see on the Isle of Patmos?
While on the Isle of Patmos John saw the vision recorded in the Book of The Revelation.

35. What books of the New Testament beside The Revelation were written by John?
Beside The Revelation, John wrote the Fourth Gospel, and the three Epistles which bear his name.


[Click here to return to the A.L. Lathem Finding Aid]