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Philip the Apostle - Follower of Jesus Christ

Profile of Philip the Apostle, Seeker of the Messiah

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Philip the Apostle

Engraving of the Apostle Philip.

Photo: Getty Images

Philip the Apostle was one of the earliest followers of Jesus Christ. Some scholars speculate that Philip was first a disciple of John the Baptist, because he lived in the region where John preached.

Like Peter and Peter's brother Andrew, Philip was a Galilean, from the village of Bethsaida. It's probable they knew one another and were friends.

Jesus issued a personal call to Philip: "Follow me." (John 1:43, NIV). Leaving his old life behind, Philip answered the call. He may have been among the disciples with Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana, when Christ performed his first miracle, turning water into wine.

Philip recruited the skeptical Nathanael (Bartholomew) as an apostle, leading Jesus to reveal that he supernaturally saw Nathanael sitting under a fig tree, even before Philip called him.

In the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus tested Philip by asking him where they could buy bread for so many people. Limited by his earthbound experience, Philip replied that eight months' wages would not be enough to buy each person one bite.

The last we hear of Philip the Apostle is in the book of Acts, at Jesus' ascension and the Day of Pentecost. Another Philip is mentioned in Acts, a deacon and evangelist, but he is a different person.

Tradition says Philip the Apostle preached in Phrygia, in Asia Minor, and was martyred there at Hierapolis.

Philip the Apostle's Accomplishments:

Philip learned the truth about the kingdom of God at the feet of Jesus, then preached the gospel after Jesus' resurrection and ascension.

Philip's Strengths:

Philip fervently sought the Messiah and recognized that Jesus was the promised Savior, even though he did not fully understand until after Jesus' resurrection.

Philip's Weaknesses:

Like the other apostles, Philip deserted Jesus during his trial and crucifixion.

Life Lessons from Philip the Apostle:

Starting with John the Baptist, Philip sought the path to salvation, which led him to Jesus Christ. Eternal life in Christ is available to anyone who desires it.

Hometown:

Bethsaida, in Galilee.

Referenced in the Bible:

Philip is mentioned in the lists of the 12 apostles in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. References to him in the Gospel of John include: 1:43, 45-46, 48; 6:5, 7; 12:21-22; 14:8-9; and Acts 1:13.

Occupation:

Early life unknown, apostle of Jesus Christ.

Key Verses:

John 1:45
Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (NIV)

John 6:5-7
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "It would take more than half a year's wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" (NIV)

John 14:8-9
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (NIV)

Old Testament People of the Bible (Index)
New Testament People of the Bible (Index)

Jack Zavada, a career writer and guest contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.

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