The Bible is full of fascinating historical facts and stories that we can learn from. John the Apostle served Jesus faithfully until his last day, and we should be encouraged by his life and ministry. So, in no particular order, here are 12 fun facts about John the Apostle.
12 Fun Facts About John the Apostle
1. John the Apostle wrote five books of the Bible, all in the New Testament: the Gospel of John, the three epistles of John, and the book of Revelation.
2. John was the son of Zebedee and Salome (a family of fishermen).
It’s important to note that Herod’s daughter, who played a key part in the execution of John the Baptist, was also named Salome. They were two very different women but with the same name!
3. The Apostle John was a beloved disciple of Jesus. In the New Testament, there are many references to the 12 disciples of Jesus, and John is one of them. Scripture often refers to John as the disciple “whom Jesus loved.”
4. In Galatians, Paul refers to John as one of the “pillars” of the church in Jerusalem. It is thus believed that John was present in Jerusalem for the apostolic council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).
5. Jesus referred to John as one of the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). The other Son of Thunder was James, John’s brother. It is believed that this nickname was a result of the brothers’ bold and somewhat aggressive personalities.
6. Although we read about the forthright and passionate characteristics of John the Apostle, he is also known as “Saint John the Evangelist” or “Saint John the Divine.” He was a fervent follower and evangelist of Christ.
7. John was one of the few disciples present for the transfiguration of Jesus. You can read more about this in Matthew 17.
8. At his crucifixion, Jesus, while hanging on the cross, entrusted John to care for Mary (Jesus’ mother) after his death.
9. When Mary Magdalene discovered Jesus’ empty tomb (John 20), she went to Simon Peter and John and told them of the news. They ran to the tomb and saw the emptiness for themselves. It’s also interesting to note that in John 20, John is referred to as “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.”
10. During the later years of his life, John the Apostle was banished by Roman emperor Domitian to the island of Patmos (Revelation 1). This likely occurred due to anti-Christian persecution from Emperor Domitian.
11. Although the Bible does not give us details about the date or location of John’s death, it is estimated that John lived into his 90s and died in either Ephesus or Patmos (where he had previously been banished to). Many scholars also believe that John wrote the Gospel of John and his three epistles in Ephesus.
12. It is generally believed that John was the last surviving apostle. He also was the only apostle believed to die of natural causes. The other apostles died as martyrs, except for Judas, who took his own life.
What about John the Baptist?
It’s a quite common misconception that John the Apostle and John the Baptist are one and the same. In reality, the Bible tells us of two different men who both were called by God to follow after Him and walk in the faith.
Since we’re going to learn a lot more about John the Apostle, let’s briefly talk about John the Baptist. In the Gospel of Luke (chapter 1), we read of a priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was barren and beyond childbearing years, but she miraculously conceived and bore a son. That son was John the Baptist.
Also, note that Elizabeth was Mary’s cousin, and Mary was the mother of Jesus. How amazing are God’s plans for His people.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn more about John the Baptist’s simple, kingdom-focused life. He clothed himself in camel hair garments and ate very basic food. He was ministry-minded and preached of Christ wherever he went. John the Baptist even baptized Jesus in the River Jordan (Matthew 3).
In Matthew 11:11 (ESV), Jesus made this bold proclamation:
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.”
After a life spent devoted to Christ, John the Baptist was tragically killed at the hand of King Herod. But his faithfulness did not go unrecognized, and we can look to him as an example of how to glorify God and enjoy him in all that we say and do.
There’s So Much More to Learn About the Bible
If you have homeschooled high schoolers, you are likely doing everything you can to make sure that they meet the various requirements necessary for high school graduation. And while we certainly agree that it’s important to check off science, math, history, etc., we also believe in equipping teens for life on their own. Will their faith stand the test of today’s culture? Will they take the time each day to read Scripture and pray?
Equipped! Tools for Exploring the Bible is Journey Homeschool Academy’s Bible curriculum for teens and high schoolers! This online course gives your teen the tools, techniques, and context for exploring the Christian faith. Each week in the curriculum offers:
- Two teaching videos
- Daily Bible readings
- Discussion questions
- Maps and a timeline for documenting significant biblical events
The Bible is full of John the Apostle facts, but it’s also full of so many other amazing facts and truths that should cause us to be in awe of Christ. What an incredible book we have been given!