St. Bartholomew Characteristics
Characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew
Characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew shared an in-depth fact that everything that we can learn about Nathanael is taken from only seven verses of the Scripture.
Still, these seven verses give us great insight into his character.
According to the characteristics of the 12 apostles, what is known about this apostle is generally positive and has provoked at least some family members to say that I should have been called Nathanael instead of Nathan because, like that apostle, I am an Israelite in whom there is no guile.
Nathanael was from a small town called Cana of Galilee therefore Nathaniel was a bit of a country boy but did not think for a moment that country boys are uneducated or uninformed.
Nathaniel was a thinker.
Let’s consider three characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew:
Apostle Bartholomew Characteristics
One of the first characteristics of Nathaniel or Bartholomew was what appeared to be a prejudice in him, as when he says,
Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?
This is not to condemn or judge, but merely to try to give you a picture of what he was like in the natural realm as well as the spiritual realm.
A Man with Double Titles
The synoptic gospels speak of an apostle named Bartholomew but never Nathaniel. On the other hand, the Gospel of John speaks of Nathaniel but never Bartholomew. In the synoptic gospels, Bartholomew always follows Philip’s name. In the gospel of John, it was Philip that led Nathaniel to Christ.
He is also linked with Thomas, John, James, and Peter after the resurrection when the apostles decided to go fishing, just as stated in the Characteristics of the 12 apostles.
Since the other gospels do not mention Nathanael and the Gospel of John do not mention Bartholomew, they must be the same man.
And apparently, his full name appears to have been Nathanael Bartholomew. It is not uncommon to find people with more than one name. Matthew is also called Levi. Saul is also Paul. And Peter had three names – Simon, Peter, and Cephas.
Nathanael, the name that John called him, means a gift from God. If nothing else, it definitely shows that his parents were mindful that their baby boy was a blessing from the Lord.
So, the chances are good that Nathaniel was raised in a fairly decent religious home. Nathaniel is an Old Testament name. We can find it in the Old Testament in three forms:
First, there was Nathan, a prophet of David, who tried to keep David straight. Second, there was the name El-Nathan. This name belonged to a couple of important people:
One was a well-known man in Jerusalem who was also the father of a queen. Another was a messenger for Ezra to bring back more Levites to Jerusalem. Another name was Nathaniel. There were at least ten men with this form of the name. The most well-known was the brother of David.
So, what do we learn from his name? He had a religious upbringing which is probably why he had his devotions under a fig tree.
A Man with Devotional Traits
Nathaniel was the type of man who had to see for himself. When Philip spoke of one from Nazareth, he is not sure that Jesus is the one. He, like many others, held a poor estimation of Nazareth. It was not considered important or especially reputable.
This passage shows Nathanael to be a very devotional, blunt, and unpretentious person.
He openly expresses his doubts that anything good could come out of Nazareth. He then openly proclaims the supernatural knowledge Jesus possesses shows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the promised Messianic King of Israel.
Jesus Christ reads his character like an open book and likes what He sees promising greater miracles than the supernatural knowledge about the human character He possessed.
A Man with Deep Thoughts
Another characteristic of Apostle Bartholomew was a critical thinker. He was a ponderer. He meditated upon things before he committed himself to something. And that is why Nathanael makes a powerful statement concerning Christ: John 1:49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
There was quite a number of Jews who were anticipating the Messiah’s arrival. Those who studied the Bible knew that the time of the Messiah’s arrival was near.
This passage shows Nathanael to be a thoughtful and reflective sort of person.
The statements of Jesus Christ about being an Israelite relate to his descent from Jacob, who was certainly a man full of guile and deceit during his early life.
That said, it would appear as if Nathanael was under the fig tree (a common representation of a philosophical sort of person) thinking about the dream of Jacob where angels went up and down the stairway to heaven, showing the relationship between heaven and earth and the possibility of communication between the two realms.
Lessons from Apostle Bartholomew Characteristics
There are a few lessons that one can learn from Bartholomew (Nathanael). These lessons include lessons about his personality as it appears in Scripture and what type of believer is likely to be a lot like this apostle. In learning about Bartholomew (Nathanael), we help learn that the qualities Jesus Christ praised in him are also praiseworthy in other believers and are useful for the body of Christ as a whole.
Summary Characteristics of Apostle Bartholomew
Let us, therefore, conclude with an honest admission that one would like to know a lot more about the characteristics of apostle Bartholomew than either the biblical or the historical record provides.
However, what the Bible does supply is at least a striking piece of evidence of how this particular disciple (and others like him) fits in with other disciples as a sounding board and a sincere and faithful companion, full of reflection well as sincerity.