in the Bible

The Story of Bartholomew in the Bible starts with the fact that Bartholomew is mentioned as one of Jesus’ twelve disciples in each of the four references to the group (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). He has frequently referred to as Nathanael in John’s Gospel (John 1:45; John 1:46; John 1:47; John 1:48; John 1:49; John 21:2). Bartholomew is a Hebrew surname that means “son of Tolmai” in English. Tolman’s son, Nathanael Bar-Tolmie, is Nathanael.

In each disciple list, the names Philip and Bartholomew are linked, indicating that they were close companions or even related. The narrative of Jesus’ summoning to Bartholomew/Nathanael is the only source of information we have about him.

After Jesus summoned Nathanael, Philip told him,

“We have found the one Moses talked about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45)


This seems to imply that Philip and Nathanael were Law and Prophets scholars and that Philip knew through their research that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for.

This is evidenced by Bartholomew’s next remark,

“Nazareth! “Will anything good come of it?” (John 1:46)


demonstrates that he regarded Nazareth in the same way that many Jews did at the time. Nazareth and the neighboring Galilee region were considered inferior and immoral. Even a Galilean, Bartholomew/Nathanael, doubted that anything acceptable, let alone God’s Messiah, could come from such a place.

The next verse elucidates Bartholomew’s character.

“Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no deception,”

Jesus said as he approached. In Greek, “deceitful, devious, or full of guile” means “deceitful, devious, or full of guile.”Jesus knew what was on Nathanael’s mind, just as He knows what is on everyone’s mind. Jesus saw Bartholomew as a “real” son of Abraham, a man who worshiped the true and living God without the deception or hypocrisy that characterized religious leaders.

A statement of Jesus’ divine essence and power follows.

“I saw you by the fig tree before Philip summoned you,”


Jesus said in response to Bartholomew’s inquiry.  Even though Jesus was not present when Philip called Nathanael, He had seen and heard everything they were saying, confirming His omniscience.

He recognized Nathanael’s heart and his nature, not simply his words. Nathanael (Bartholomew) saw traits of heavenly knowledge and the capacity to read hearts in the Man who stood before him. Nathanael recognized Jesus for who He was: the promised Messiah, Son of God, and King of Israel, because he was familiar with Old Testament predictions (verse 49).

Despite being one of the lesser-known apostles, Bartholomew’s life and ministry continue to inspire Christians today. His willingness to follow Jesus, even when he was skeptical at first, serves as an example of faith and obedience. His commitment to sharing the gospel with others, even in the face of persecution, reminds us of the importance of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to all people.

Saint Bartholomew by Jusepe de Ribera
Saint Bartholomew by Jusepe de Ribera

New Testament references

In works by Abdisho bar Berika, the 14th-century Nestorian archbishop of Soba, and Elias, the bishop of Damascus, Bartholomew was recognized as “Nathanael” in the East, where his evangelistic efforts were squandered.

Nathanael is only mentioned in John’s Gospel. Philip and Bartholomew are frequently mentioned together in the Synoptic Gospels, although Nathanael is never mentioned. Philip and Nathanael, on the other hand, are listed jointly in John’s tale.

“The Chaldeans confuse Bartholomew with Nathaniel,”

Giuseppe Simone Assemani

according to Giuseppe Simone Assemani. Some Biblical scholars, however, disagree with this conclusion.


Following the Ascension, Bartholomew traveled on a missionary expedition to India, according to Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History where he left behind a copy of Matthew’s Gospel. According to various reports, he served as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia. According to legend, Bartholomew preached the Gospel in India before arriving in Greater Armenia.

Mission to India

Two old accounts of Saint Bartholomew’s mission in India exist. Eusebius of Caesarea (early fourth century) and Saint Jerome are the authors of these books (late 4th century).

When they talk about Pantaenus’ reported trip to India in the second century, they bring up this tradition. According to the research of Fr A.C. Perumalil SJ and Moraes, Saint Bartholomew’s missionary activity took place in the Bombay region on the Konkan coast, which may have been known as the ancient city Kalyan.

Intellectuals had previously been united in their hostility to Saint Bartholomew, the Apostle’s apostolate in India.

In Armenia

The remnants of Saint Bartholomew Monastery in medieval Armenia, where the Apostle was martyred. Along with his colleague apostle Jude “Thaddeus,” Bartholomew is credited with bringing Christianity to Armenia in the first century. As a result, the Armenian Apostolic Church considers both saints to be patrons. Apostle Bartholomew is said to have been executed in Albanopolis, Armenia. According to popular legend, the Apostle was flayed alive and decapitated.

According to some stories, he was crucified upside down (head downward), as was St. Peter. According to legend, he was assassinated for converting Armenian King Polymius to Christianity. King Polymius’ brother, Prince Astyages, was enraged by the monarch’s conversion and feared a Roman retaliation, so he ordered Bartholomew’s torture and execution, which he received.

However, no record of any Arsacid dynasty Armenian monarch named “Polybius.” According to contemporary research, Bartholomew is more likely to have died in Kalyan, India, where a man named “Polybius” served as a government official.

The Saint Bartholomew Monastery in Vaspurakan, Greater Armenia, was a prominent Armenian monastery erected on the site of Apostle Bartholomew’s martyrdom in the 13th century (now in southeastern Turkey).


The relics are important to mention in this story of Bartholomew

In Benevento, the Altar of San Bartolomeo Basilica houses Bartholomew’s relics. According to Theodorus Lector, a 6th-century writer in Constantinople, the Byzantine emperor Anastasius, I Dicorus transferred the remains of Bartholomew to the city of Daras in Mesopotamia, which he had recently refounded in around 507, according to Theodorus Lector.

Gregory of Tours explained the existence of relics at Lipari, a small island off the coast of Sicily in the part of Italy controlled by Constantinople, by his body miraculously washing up there: and a few others are doing it is a large piece of his skin and many bones kept in the Cathedral of St Bartholomew the Apostle, Lipari was translated to Benevento in 838, where they are still kept now in the Basilica San Bartholomeo.

In 1983, Holy Roman Emperor Otto II sent a portion of the relics to Rome, stored in San Bartolomeo all Isola, which was erected on the Asclepius temple and served as a major Roman medical institution at the time.

Over time, Bartholomew’s name became associated with medicine and hospitals due to his association with medicine. A piece of Bartholomew’s alleged skull was transferred to Frankfurt Cathedral, while an arm was honored at Canterbury Cathedral.


This story of Bartholomew would not be complete without mentioning the miracles. The people of Lipari, a small Italian island, are aware of two of the many miracles attributed to Bartholomew before and after his death.

The people of Lipari celebrated his feast day every year. The people had a ritual of carrying the solid silver and gold statue across town from St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral. The statue became quite heavy while being carried down the hill toward town and had to be placed down.

The statue was hoisted for the second time after the men carrying it regained their strength. After a few more seconds, it became heavier. They placed it on the ground and attempted to pick it up again.

They could lift it, but they had to place it back down. Further downward, the walls fell in seconds. The entire community would have been killed if the statue had been lifted.

During World War II, the Nazi government looked for ways to fund its activities. The silver statue of Saint Bartholomew was ordered to be melted down. When the statue was weighed, it was revealed that it weighed only a few grams. It was reinstalled in its proper location at the Lipari Cathedral. The statue is made of a large amount of silver, and its survival is considered a miracle.

Saint Bartholomew is also credited with several additional miracles involving the weight of items.


The August festival has long been a time for markets and fairs, such as the Bartholomew Fair, held in Smithfield, London, since the Middle Ages and served as the setting for Ben Jonson’s 1614 eponymous farce. Around the beginning of September, the annual St Bartholomew’s Street Fair takes place in Crewkerne, Somerset.

The fair dates back to Saxon times, and it is described as an important traders’ market in the Domesday Book. During Henry III’s (1207–1272) reign, the St Bartholomew’s Street Fair in Crewkerne is reported to have been granted a charter. The earliest surviving court record is from 1280 and can be found in the British Library.

Story of Bartholomew the Apostle In Islam

There are no names, numbers, or extensive accounts of Jesus’ disciples’ lives in the Quranic account. In contrast, Muslim exegesis largely agrees with the New Testament list of disciples, asserting that Peter, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, Andrew, James, Jude, James, son of Alphaeus, John, and Simon the Zealot were among them.


Saint Bartholomew was one of Jesus Christ’s Twelve Apostles and lived in the first century AD. He encountered Jesus Christ through Saint Philip and is also known in John’s Gospel as “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee.” Several miracles relating to weight have been credited to Saint Bartholomew. He was either decapitated or skinned alive as a martyr in Armenia.

The Death of Apostle Bartholomew in the Bible

There are numerous accounts about how he died. Because most art representing Jesus shows him grasping or wearing his skin somehow or is associated with flaying knives, the most famous and prolific tradition is that he was flayed and then beheaded.

Scroll to Top