How to Remember the 12 Apostles

by Rachel Kolar
Putting the names of the disciples in a song, rhyme or silly sentence can help you remember them.

Putting the names of the disciples in a song, rhyme or silly sentence can help you remember them.

Peter, James, John, Thomas and Judas all have stories connected to their time as Jesus' disciples, making their names relatively easy to remember -- but what about the other seven apostles? Fortunately, there are a variety of mnemonics, or memory aides, to help you remember whether Matthew was a disciple or just a Gospel writer and which of the disciples had someone else who shared his name.

Put the names of the disciples to a rhyme. One possibility is this: This is the way disciples run: Peter, Andrew, James and John, Phillip and Bartholomew, Thomas next, and Matthew, too, James the less and Judas the greater Simon the zealot and Judas the traitor.

Learn a song with the names of the apostles if a rhyme with no melody isn't enough. One song puts the disciples' names to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me:" Jesus called them, one by one, Peter, Andrew, James and John, Next came Phillip, Thomas too, Matthew and Bartholomew. Yes, Jesus called them, Yes, Jesus called them, Yes, Jesus called them, He called them one by one. James, the one they called the less, Simon, also Thaddaeus, Twelfth apostle Judas made, Jesus was by him betrayed.

Memorize a simple sentence or list of letters if you have trouble with rhymes and songs. One possible sentence to learn is, "Matt and John fill Tom's mat with two Jams, two Simons and two Judes" (Matthew, Andrew, John, Phillip, Thomas, Matthew, James Zebedee, James the Lesser, Simon Peter, Simon the Zealot, Jude Thaddaeus and Judas Iscariot). Another is putting the first letter of the apostles' names into a list: MATT, 4J, BPPS (Matthew, Andrew, Thaddaeus, Thomas, James the Lesser, James Zebedee, Jude, Judas Iscariot, Bartholomew, Peter, Phillip and Simon the Zealot).

About the Author

A resident of the Baltimore area, Rachel Kolar has been writing since 2001. Her educational research was featured at the Maryland State Department of Education Professional Schools Development Conference in 2008. Kolar holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kenyon College and a Master of Arts in teaching from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

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