11971217051715640773ernes_orologio_clock.svg.medIt’s common knowledge that biblical names have gotten predominant male usage. The handful of female names used from the Bible is far outweighed by male, and a great example is a look at the names of The Twelve, Jesus’ disciples.

Peter, John, 2 James’s, Andrew, Thomas, Philip, Matthew, Simon, 2 Judas’s, and Bartholomew.

Let’s start with John. John is the second most common male name, who at one time was the long reigning King of the Top 1,000. Not only because of the disciple, but also the Baptist. 1 out of every 67 people are named John, and that’s not factoring in Jon or Jonathan. Think Kennedy, Travolta, Wayne, Lennon, Mayor…

James. Statistically the most common male name. 1 out of 64 people are named James. James Fenimore Cooper, James Cameron, Brown, Garfield, Dean… From President to Painter to Farmer, he’s been a sweet baby name.

lPeter Peter Pumpkin Eater. Peter Rabbit. Peter Pan. Peter swept through the Norman army in the early centuries all the way through Disney and children’s books. He is undoubtedly a part of our culture, both non-fictionally and fictionally. You could say he’s a Family Guy. He’s loved a Bunch. Sorry.

Simon, besides being another name of Peter’s, was worn by two other disciples. Simon is simply a cool, steady name that strums golden notes.

Bartholomew, while a beautiful name, has gotten sparing use. However, Bartholomew’s alternate name, Nathanael, certainly has. During the Protestant Reformation, the spelling Nathaniel took off. In 2013, Nathaniel was at #91, while the original Nathanael was at #565. Think Nathaniel Hawthorne and Nat King Cole. On a side note, Bartholomew is the only name of the disciples that’s not a one or two syllable name. Which is actually still quite common today, as 66 out of the Top 100 boys’ names are two syllable.

Andrew. Indeed a manly name with glints of wisdom and whispery gentleness. He’s industrious and made of steel. He’s musical, and has been loved by many children alongside Ann.

Matthew is similar to Andrew. But while Andy is easily the whistling local love, Matt is the tough guy jock. He’s a rocker and a Daredevil, and a name that’s certainly gotten a lot of use.

Thomas. Doesn’t Thomas always seem to be the name used in books and movies for the simple husband of some outspoken matron? Am I thinking too Mrs. Rachel Lynde? Yet Thomas is no slouch. He’s been a philanthropic president and a genius inventor, hilarious, and a classic character.

philip-samsonPhilip has been a prince, in real life and in books. He seems lithe like a horse, and gentle like birds of the forest. He’s worn royal robes, he’s worn sandals. He’s sung for Tarzan, painted. He’s been around, and isn’t picky by who claims him. (Completely off topic, Prince Philip’s horse in Sleeping Beauty is named Samson.)

Judas. Ah, Judas. Lady Gaga has tried to revive him without much success. His counterparts Judah and Jude, however, have taken up his slack and been worth a lot more than 30 coins. Judas, like the name Adolf, has for the most part been kissed goodbye.

“And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” Luke 6:13-16

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1 Comment on The Twelve Names Over Time

  1. I voted for Simon, of course! But I love all of them. One thing… Sleeping Beauty’s Prince Phillip was spelled with two L’s, and helped propel that spelling past the apostle Philip.

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