Thomas

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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Hebrew, "twin;" Greek, Didymus . Coupled with Matthew in  Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:15; but with Philip in  Acts 1:13. Matthew modestly puts himself after Thomas in the second Quaternion of the twelve; Mark and Luke give him his rightful place before Thomas. Thomas, after his doubts were removed ( John 20:28), having attained eminent faith (for sometimes faith that has overcome doubt is hardier than that of those who never doubt), is promoted above Bartholomew and Matthew in Acts. John records three incidents throwing strong light on his character:

(1) ( John 11:8;  John 11:15-16) When Jesus, for Lazarus' sake, proposed to go into Judaea again the disciples remonstrated, "Master, the Jews of late have sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou there again?" On Jesus' reply that His day was not yet closed, and that He was going to awake Lazarus out of the death sleep, and that He was glad of his death "to the intent that they might believe," Thomas evinced his devoted love on the one hand, ready to follow Jesus unto death (compare Paul,  Acts 21:13), on the other hand ignoring, with characteristic slowness to believe, Jesus' plain statement as to His going to raise Lazarus. He can see no hope of escape; his natural despondency anticipates death as the certain issue of the journey, still in self devoting affection he will brave all.

(2) ( John 14:4-6) cf6 "Where I go ye know, and the way ye know;" Thomas saith, "Lord, we know not where Thou goest (Yet Jesus Had Answered Peter'S Question,  John 13:36 ) , 'Lord, where goest Thou?' and plainly told the disciples He was going to cf6 'His Father's house',  John 14:2, ascending to where He had been before,  John 6:62), and how can we know the way?" Thomas still cannot raise his mind to the unseen future home where Jesus is going, or realize the way as through Jesus.

(3) ( John 20:20;  John 20:24-29) Thomas with morbid brooding over doubts had absented himself from the disciples' assembly on the first Lord's day, when "He showed unto them His hands and His side"; so he missed the immediate blessing (compare  Hebrews 10:25). The disciples did not stand aloof from Thomas though he had stood aloof from them; they told him, "we have seen the Lord." But he said with an unreasonable demand for sense evidence which is alien to the very idea of faith, and at the same time with language that marks the vivid impression which his Lord's body nailed on the cross had made on his mind, "except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side (One Sense, Seeing, Is Not Enough; Not Even Feeling Also Will Satisfy Him Unless He Feels With Both Hand And Finger The Spear Mark As Well As The Nail Marks) I will not and cannot believe" ( Oumee Pisteusoo ).

A week of gloom to Thomas elapsed, the retribution in kind for his obstinate unbelief. Though Jesus might have cast him off yet He would not break the bruised reed; He condescends to Thomas' culpable weakness. On the next Lord's day, Thomas, laying aside his morbid isolation, attended the weekly assembly of disciples; though the doors were shut Jesus came and stood in the midst with His wonted salutation, cf6 "Peace be unto you"; then saith He to Thomas, with grave yet tender reproof (Showing That He Knew All That Had Passed In Thomas'S Mind And All He Had Said To His Fellow Disciples) , cf6 "reach here thy finger, and behold My hands, and reach here thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be ("Become", Ginou ) not faithless but believing". Thomas said unto Him, My Lord and my God!"

A refutation of Socinianism, because Thomas addresses these words to Jesus. The highest confession of faith in Jesus' Godhead thus far made; see Peter's ( John 6:69;  Matthew 16:16). As this forms the close of John's Gospel, before the supplementary chapter (John 21) was added, this ending recurs to the doctrine alleged in the Gospel's beginning, "the Word was God." Like Mary Magdalene ( John 20:13) Thomas appropriates Jesus to himself, "my Lord and, my God." From the overwhelming proofs before him of Jesus' humanity Thomas believes in His Divinity. The resurrection of the Son of man proved that He was the Son of God ( Romans 1:4).

All Christ's appearances in the 40 days were preparations for the believing without seeing ( 1 Peter 1:8). Jesus spoke for all our dispensation what He said to Thomas, "because thou hast seen Me thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed" ( 2 Corinthians 5:7). Thomas was permitted to doubt, that we might not doubt ( "Αb Eo Dubitatum Est, Ne A Nobis Dubitaretur" ; Augustine). God's word, not demonstration, is the true ground of faith. Thomas is named next to Peter among the seven on the sea of Galilee, a proof that he was a fisherman like Peter ( John 21:2). He appears for the last time among the disciples met after the ascension ( Acts 1:13). The case of Thomas does not sanction but condemns skepticism, for if others were to demand the same tangible visible proofs as Thomas demanded miracles would have to be so continual as to cease to be miraculous, and sight would supersede faith. The unbelief of Thomas drew forth such an infallible proof of the identity between the crucified and the risen Lord that he who any longer disbelieves and is consequently condemned is left without excuse.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

Thom'as. (A Twin). One of the apostles. According to Eusebius, his real name was Judas. This may have been a mere confusion with Thaddeus, who is mentioned in the extract. But it may also be that; Thomas was a surname. Out of this name has grown the tradition that he had a twin sister, Lydia, or that he was a twin brother of our Lord; which last, again, would confirm his identification with Judas. Compare  Matthew 13:55. He is said to have been born at Antioch. In the catalogue of the apostles, he is coupled with Matthew in  Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:15, and with Philip in  Acts 1:13.

All that we know of him is derived from the Gospel of St. John; and this amounts to three traits, which, however, so exactly agree together that, slight as they are, they place his character before us, with a precision which belongs to no other of the twelve apostles, except Peter, John and Judas Iscariot. This character is that of a man Slow To Believe, Seeing All The Difficulties Of A Case, Subject To Despondency, Viewing Things On The Darker Side, Yet Full Of Ardent Love Of His Master . The latter trait was shown in his speech when our Lord determined to face the dangers that awaited him in Judea on his journey to Bethany. Thomas said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."  John 11:16.

His unbelief appeared in his question during the Last Supper: "Thomas saith unto him Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?"  John 14:5. It was the prosaic, incredulous doubt as to moving a step in the unseen future, and yet an eager inquiry as to how this step was to be taken. The first-named trait was seen after the resurrection.

He was absent - possibly by accident, perhaps characteristically - from the first assembly when Jesus had appeared. The others told him what they had seen. He broke forth into an exclamation, the terms of which convey to us at, once, the vehemence of his doubt, and at the same time, the vivid picture that his mind retained of his Master's form, as he had last seen him lifeless on the cross.  John 20:25.

On the eighth day, he was with them at their gathering, perhaps in expectation of a recurrence of the visit of the previous week; and Jesus stood among them. He uttered the same salutation, "Peace Be Unto You;" and then turning to Thomas, as if this had been the special object of his appearance, uttered the words which convey as strongly, the sense of condemnation and tender reproof, as those of Thomas had shown the sense of hesitation and doubt. "Reach Hither Thy Finger, And Behold My Hands; And Reach Hither Thy Hand, And Thrust It Into My Side: And Be Not Faithless, But Believing."  John 20:27.

The effect on him was immediate. The conviction produced by the removal of his doubt, became deeper, and stronger, than that of any of the other apostles. The words in which he expressed his belief , contain a far higher assertion of his Master's divine nature, than is contained in any other expression used by apostolic lips - "My Lord and my God." The answer of our Lord sums up the moral of the whole narrative: "Because Thou Hast Seen Me, Thou Hast Believed: Blessed Are They That Have Not Seen Me, And Yet Have-Believed."  John 20:29.

In the New Testament, we hear of Thomas only twice again, once on the Sea of Galilee, with the seven disciples, where he is ranked next after Peter,  John 21:2, and again in the assemblage of the apostles, after the ascension.  Acts 1:13.

The earlier traditions, as believed in the fourth century, represent him as preaching in Parthia or Persia, and as finally buried at Edessa. The later traditions carry him farther east, His martyrdom, whether in Persia or India, is said to have been occasioned by a lance, and is commemorated, by the Latin Church, on December 21; by the Greek Church, on October 6; and by the Indians, on July 1.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]

THOMAS. —One of the twelve Apostles. (For the name see Didymus). In the lists of the Twelve his name is always in the second group of four. In  Mark 3:18, where the names are not in pairs, he is eighth; so in  Luke 6:15, where he is coupled with Matthew. In  Matthew 10:3 he is seventh, coming before Matthew. In  Acts 1:13 he is sixth, and is coupled with Philip. No incident is recorded of him in the Synoptics or in Acts; but he comes into some prominence in the later scenes in the Fourth Gospel. When Jesus is about to return to Judaea because of the death of Lazarus, and the disciples are afraid of Jewish hostility, Thomas says, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him’ ( John 11:16). In the conversation after the Supper, Thomas interjects the remark, ‘Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?’ ( John 14:5); and thereby elicits the great saying, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ ( John 14:6). When Jesus appeared to the disciples on the evening of the Resurrection day, Thomas was absent, and was unable afterwards to accept the testimony, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ He must himself not only see the Master, but touch His body before he could believe ( John 20:24-25). A week later Thomas is present when Jesus again appears; and then his doubts vanish, and he rises to the completest confession of faith recorded in the Gospels, ‘My Lord and my God’ ( John 20:26-29). Thomas is mentioned also in  John 21:2 as one of the group to whom Jesus appeared on the morning by the Lake-side.

Later traditions of Thomas, obviously of little value, are mentioned in Eusebius and in the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas . He is spoken of as a missionary to Parthia, or to India. Some traditions assign to him the honour of martyrdom; and his supposed grave was shown at Edessa in the 4th century.

The personality of Thomas has a clear and consistent expression in the incidents which the Fourth Gospel records. He belongs to the quiet, reflective group of the Apostolic company; and his temperament is that of a man who finds the best things too good to be true, and who usually imagines that the worst foreseen possibility will be realized. He requires direct personal evidence, and will not hastily accept the testimony even of his friends. Yet he is not lacking in devotion and love to his Lord. He will die with Him rather than desert His cause; and in his gloomiest days of unbelief he does not separate himself from the Apostolic company. Though not persuaded of the reality of the Resurrection, he keeps his old loyalty and love; and when the Master’s presence is utterly sure, he gladly accepts the highest that the revelation of Christ implies. His unbelief was never a failure to respond to the spiritual truth and love brought to him by his Master; at most it was an inability to accept unexpected and marvellous external manifestations of that truth. ‘In Thomas we have a man incredulous but tenacious; despondent but true; with little hope but much courage; sincere in love though perplexed in faith; neither rushing to the right conclusion as Peter might have done, nor rushing away from it into danger and dishonour as Peter did’ (T. T. Lynch).

The scepticism of Thomas has a real apologetic value. It goes to disprove the contention that the Apostles were credulous persons easily misled by their hopes, and so deluded into a mistaken belief that their dead Master had spoken to them. Thomas believed because the fact which was too good to hope for became too certain to reject.

Literature.—Among expository sermons on Thomas may be named F. W. Robertson, Serm. ii. 268; T. T. Lynch, Serm. for my Curates , 33; H. M. Butler, Univ. and other Serm. 43; A. B. Davidson, The Called of God , 317.

E. H. Titchmarsh.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

THOMAS . One of the twelve Apostles. The earlier Evangelists mention only his name (  Matthew 10:3 =   Mark 3:18 =   Luke 6:15 ), but St. John has rescued him from oblivion. His question in the Upper Room (  John 14:5 ) proves him somewhat slow of understanding. He was querulous and gloomy, always disposed to look at the dark side. Thus, when Jesus on the evening of the Resurrection-day appeared to the Apostles in the room at Jerusalem where they were assembled with closed doors, Thomas was absent, buried in despair; and when he heard that they had seen the Lord, he would not believe it. He would not, he declared, be persuaded unless he saw and handled His pierced hands and side (  John 20:19-25 ). The next Sunday evening Jesus appeared as before, and gave Thomas the evidence he had craved. ‘My Lord and my God!’ cried the doubter, leaping from the depth of despair to the summit of faith (  John 20:26;   John 20:29 ). His doubts were removed, and he was one of the seven who journeyed north to meet the Lord at the Lake of Galilee (  John 21:2 ). Despondent though he was, Thomas was no coward, and he had a great devotion to Jesus. It was he who, when tidings of Lazarus’ sickness were brought to Bethany beyond Jordan, and the rest, fearing the rage of the rulers, were disposed to let the Master venture alone into Judæa, put their cowardice to shame: ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him!’ (  John 11:16 .)

Thomas is not really a name but an epithet, meaning, like its Greek equivalent Didymus (  John 11:16;   John 20:24;   John 21:2 ), ‘the Twin.’ If, as Eusebius states, the Apostle’s name was Judas, he would be styled ‘the Twin’ to distinguish him from Judas the son of James and Judas Iscariot. Tradition credits him with the authorship of a Gospel (see Gospels [Apocryphal], 6 ).

David Smith.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

It seems, from his name, that the apostle Thomas was a twin. The names Thomas and Didymus come from the words for ‘twin’ in the Aramaic and Greek languages respectively ( Matthew 10:3;  John 11:16).

Three incidents show that Thomas was a straightforward person who expressed his feelings openly. The first occurred when Jesus, after leaving Judea to escape the Jews’ attempt to kill him, decided to return. The disciples feared the dangers ahead and tried to dissuade him. When Jesus made it clear that he was determined to go, Thomas showed his courage and his pessimism by suggesting that they go with him so that they might die with him ( John 10:39;  John 11:7-8;  John 11:16).

The second incident occurred as the time drew near for Jesus to return to the Father. He reminded his disciples that they knew where he was going, but Thomas, with characteristic bluntness, replied that they did not ( John 14:1-5).

The third incident occurred soon after the resurrection, when Thomas refused to believe the report that Jesus was alive. Upon meeting Jesus himself, he readily repented of his doubts and confessed Jesus to be his Lord and his God ( John 20:24-29).

Thomas was one of the eleven apostles to hear Jesus’ command to evangelize the world ( Matthew 28:16-20;  Acts 1:6-13). According to tradition, his chief contribution to this task was to take the gospel to India.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Thomas ( Tŏm'As ), Twin. Also called Didymus, a Greek term meaning Twin.  Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:15;  Acts 1:13. There can be little doubt that this apostle was a native of Galilee.  John 21:2. In the character of Thomas we observe a desire for a sufficient evidence of facts.  John 14:6;  John 20:24-25. He was of a thoughtful mind; his affection for his Master was warm and disinterested,  John 11:16; and his faith was not, as some have characterized it, inconsiderate, running easily from one extreme to the other. He had doubted the resurrection, and described the kind of proof he required; but, when the Lord appeared, and showed by his address to him that he knew his thoughts, then the apostle naturally desired nothing more. His reason was convinced: it was his Lord and his God.  John 20:26-29. There is nothing in Thomas' behavior to surprise those accustomed to analyze the workings of the human mind. The Scripture is afterwards silent as to this apostle. According to earliest tradition, he preached in Parthia, and was buried at Edessa: later histories say that he went to India, and was martyred there; and the Syrian Christians in that country claim him as the founder of their church.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

The apostle,  Matthew 10:3 , called in Greek Didymus, that is, a twin,  John 20:24 , was probably a Galilean, as well as the other apostles; but the place of his birth, and the circumstances of his calling, are unknown,  Luke 6:13-15 . He appears to have been of an impulsive character, sincerely devoted to Christ, ready to act upon his convictions, and perhaps slow to be convinced, as he at first doubted our Lord's resurrection,  John 11:16;  14:5-6;  20:19-29 . Several of the fathers inform us that he preached in the Indies; and others say that he preached in Cush, or Ethiopia, near the Caspian sea.

There are nominal Christians in the East Indies, who bear the name of St. Thomas, because they report that this apostle preached the gospel there. They dwell in a peninsula of the Indus, on this side the gulf.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

One of the twelve apostles, called also DIDYMUS,a twin. He comes prominently before us on two significant occasions: once when he said to the Lord, "We know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?" The Lord replied, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  John 14:5,6 . Also when he said that he would not believe that the Lord had risen until he had ocular demonstration as to His wounds; but when he saw the Lord, he at once confessed Him as "My Lord and my God."  John 20:19-29 . He was not with the other disciples when the Lord breathed into them, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost;" and thus he may be taken as a type of the future remnant of the Jews, who will not believe till they see their Messiah. In contrast to which the Lord added a beautiful sentence respecting those of the present time: "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

the Apostle, otherwise called Didymus, which in Greek signifies a twin,   Matthew 10:3;  Luke 6:15 . We know no particulars of his life till A.D. 33,  John 11:16;  John 14:5-6;  John 20:24-29;  John 21:1-13 . Ancient tradition says, that in the distribution which the Apostles made of the several parts of the world, wherein they were to preach the Gospel, the country of the Parthians fell to the share of St. Thomas. It is added, that he preached to the Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hircanians, Bactrians, &c. Several of the fathers inform us that he also preached in the East Indies, &c.

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

 Mark 3:18 The Acts of Thomas  John 11:16 John 20:25 John 20:28[[New Testament Apocrypha]]DidymusDisciples

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Matthew 10:3 Mark 3:18 John 11:16 20:24 John 11:15,16 14:4,5 20:24,25,26-29 Mark 3:18

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [12]

One of the apostles of Christ. His history we have in the gospel. His other name Didymus signifies a twin. And it is remarkable that the Hebrew for twin is Tham.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

( Θωμᾶς ), one of the twelve apostles. A.D. 27-29.

1. His Name. This is evidently a Graecized form of the Aramaic תּאֹמָא , Tomd, which means the twin; and so it is translated in  John 11:16;  John 20:24;  John 21:2, Δί Δυμος , which has passed into a name, Didymus (q.v.). This name occurs also on Phoenician inscriptions in a form which reminds us of the colloquial English abbreviation, viz. תאום and תאם (Gesenius, Monumenta, "p. 356). In Heb. also ( Song of Solomon 7:4) it is simply תְּאֹם , Feom, almost exactly our "Tom." The frequency of the name in England is derived not from the apostle, but from St. Thomas of Canterbury. Out of the signification of this name has grown the tradition that he had a twin-sister, Lysia ( Patres Apost. p. 272), or that he was a twin-brother of our Lord (Thilo, Acta Thomae, p. 94); which last, again, would confirm his identification with Jude (comp.  Matthew 13:55), with whom Eusebius expressly identifies him ( Hist. Eccles. 1, 13; so also the Acta Thomae ) . This may have been a mere confusion with Thaddaeus (q.v.), who is mentioned in the extract. But it may also be that Judas was his real name, and that Thomas was a surname.

2. History And Character From The New Test. (We here chiefly adopt Stanley's art. in Smith's Dict. Of The Bible ) . In the catalogue of the apostles he is coupled with Matthew in  Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:15; and with Philip in  Acts 1:13.

All that we know of him is derived from the Gospel of John; and this amounts to three traits, which, however, so exactly agree together that, slight as they are, they place his character before us with a, precision which belongs to no other of the twelve apostles, except Peter, John, and Judas Iscariot. This character is that of a man slow to believe, seeing all the difficulties of a case, subject to despondency, viewing things on the darker side, and yet full of ardent love for his Master (see Niemeyer, Charakt. 1, 108).

(a.) The first trait is found in his speech when our Lord determined to face the dangers that awaited him in Judaea on his journey to Bethany. Thomas said to his fellow-disciples, "Let us also go ( Καὶ Ἡμεῖς ), that wee may die with him" ( John 11:16). He entertained no hope of his escape-he looked on the journey as leading to total ruin; but he determined to share the peril. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."

(b.) The second occurs in his speech during the last supper: "Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" ( John 14:5). It was the prosaic, incredulous doubt as to moving a step in the unseen future, and yet an eager inquiry to know how this step was to be taken.

(c.) The third was after the resurrection. He was absent-possibly by accident, perhaps characteristically from the first assembly when Jesus had appeared. The others told him what they had seen. He broke forth into an exclamation, the terms of which convey to us at once the vehemence of his doubt, and, at the same time, the vivid picture that his mind retained of his Master's form as he had last seen him lifeless on the cross: "Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not, I cannot, believe" ( Οὐ Μὴ Πιστεύσω ,  John 20:25).

On the eighth day he was with them at their gathering, perhaps in expectation of a recurrence of the visit of the previous week; and Jesus stood among them. He pronounced the same salutation, "Peace be unto you;" and then, turning to Thomas, as if this had been the special object of his appearance, uttered the words which convey as strongly the sense of condemnation and tender reproof as those of Thomas had shown the sense of hesitation and doubt: "Bring: thy finger hither [ Ωδε as if himself pointing to his wounds] and see my hands; and bring thy hand and thrust it in my side; and do not become ( Μὴ Γίνου ) unbelieving ( Ἄπιστος ), but believing ( Πιστός )." "He answers to the words that Thomas had spoken to the ears of his fellow-disciples only; but it is to the thought of his heart rather than to the words of his lips that the Searcher of hearts answers. Eye, ear, and touch at once appealed to and at once satisfied-the form, the look, the voice, the solid and actual body: and not the senses only, but the mind satisfied too; the knowledge that searches the very reins and the hearts; the love that loveth to the end, infinite and eternal" (Arnold, Serm. 6:238).

The effect on Thomas is immediate. It is useless to speculate whether he obeyed our Lord's invitation to examine the wounds. The impression is that he did not. Be that as it may, the conviction produced by the removal of his doubt became deeper and stronger than that of any of the other apostles. The words in which he expressed his belief contain a far higher assertion of his Master's divine nature than is contained in any other expression used by apostolic lips, "My Lord, and my God f Some have supposed that Κύριος refers to the human Θεός to the divine nature. This is too artificial. It is more to the point to observe the exact terms of the sentence, uttered, as it were, in astonished awe. "It is, then, my Lord and my God!" (It is obviously of no dogmatic importance whether the words are an address or a description. That they are the latter appears from the use of the nominative Κύριος . The form Θεός proves nothing, as this is used for the vocative. At the same time, it should be observed that the passage is Said To Christ, Ειπεν Αὐτῶ . ) The word "my" gives it a personal application to himself. Additional emphasis is given to this declaration from its being the last incident related in the direct narrative of the gospel (before the supplement of ch. 21), thus corresponding to the opening words of the prologue. "Thus Christ was acknowledged on earth to be what John had in the beginning of his gospel declared him to be from all eternity; and the words of Thomas at the end of the twentieth chapter do but repeat the truth which John had stated before in his own words at the beginning of the first" (Arnold, Serm. 6:401). The answer of our Lord sums up the moral of the whole narrative: "Because ["Thomas" ( Θῶμα ) is omitted in the best MSS.] thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen me, and yet have believed" (20, 29). By this incident, therefore, Thomas, "the doubting apostle," is raised at once to the theologian in the original sense of the word. "Ab eo dubitatum est," says Augustine, "ne a nobis dubitaretur." Winer and others find in the character of Thomas what they consider contradictory traits, viz. inconsiderate faith and a turn for exacting the most rigorous evidence. We find that a resolute and lively faith is always necessarily combined with a sense of its importance, and with a desire to keep its objects unalloyed and free from error and superstition. Christ himself did not blame Thomas for availing himself of all possible evidence, but only pronounced those blessed who would be open to conviction even if some external form of evidence should not be within their reach (comp. Niemeyer, Akademische Predigten und Reden, p. 321 sq.). Monographs have been written in Latin on this scene in Thomas's life by Carpzov (Helmst. 1757), id. (Vim. 1765), Rost (Budiss. 1785), and Gram (Nurimb. 1618).

In the New Test. we hear of Thomas only twice again-once on the Sea of Galilee with the seven disciples, where he is ranked next after Peter ( John 21:2), and again in the assemblage of the apostles after the Ascension (Acts 1, 13).

3. Traditions. Thomas is said to have been born at Antioch, and (as above stated) to have had a twin-sister named Lysia ( Patres Apost. ed. Coteler. p. 272, 512). The earlier traditions, as believed in the 4th century (Origen, ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccles 1, 13; 3, 1; Socrates, Hist. Eccles. 1, 19), represent him as preaching in Parthia (Clement. Recogn. 9:29) or Persia (according to Jerome; see also Rufinus, Hist. Ecclesiastes 2, 4 ), and as finally buried at Edessa (Socrates, Hist. Eccles. 4 :18). Chrysostom mentions his grave at Edessa as being one of the four genuine tombs of apostles, the other three being Peter, Paul, and John ( Hom. In Heb. 26). With his burial at Edessa agrees the story of his sending Thaddaeus to Abgarus with our Lord's letter (Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1, 13). According to a later tradition, Thomas went to India and suffered martyrdom there (Gregor. Naz. Orat. 25 ad Arian. p. 438, ed. Par.; Ambrose, in Psalms 45, 10; Jerome, Ep. 148 [59] ad Marcell.; Niceph. Hist. Eccles. 2, 40; Acta Thomae, ch. 1 sq.; Abdise Hist. Apost. ch. 9; Paulin. a S. Bartholomaeo, India Orient. Christiana [Romans 1794]). This tradition has been attacked by Von Bohlen (Indien, 1, 375 sq.). The ancient congregations of Christians in India who belong to the Syrian Church are called Thomas-Christians, and consider the apostle Thomas to be their founder (Fabricius, Lux Evangelii, p. 626 sq.; Assemani, Biblioth. Orient, III, 2. 435 sq.; Ritter, Erdkunde, V, 1, 601 sq.). -Against this tradition Thilo wrote in his edition of the Acta Thomae, p. 107 sq. (comp. Augusti, Denkwgurdigkeien, ir,. 219 sq.). This later tradition is now usually regarded as arising from a confusion with a later Thomas, a missionary from the Nestorians. His martyrdom. (whether in Persia or India) is said to have been occasioned. by a lance, and is commemorated by the Latin Church, on Dec. 21, by the Greek Church on Oct. 6, and by the Indians on July 1. (For these traditions and their authorities, see Butler, Lives of the Saints, Dec. 21.)

4. The fathers frequently quote an Evangelium Secundum Thomam and Acta Thomae, the fragments of the former of which have been edited by Thilo, in his Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, 1, 275; and by Tischendorf, in his Evangelica Apocrypha (Lips. 1843); and the Acta Thomae separately by Thilo (ibid. 1823); and by Tischendorf, in his Acta Apocrypha (ibid. 1851) (See Apocrypha); (See Writings Of Thomas).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

tom´as ( Θωμᾶς , Thōmás  ; תּאם , tā'ōm , "a twin" (in plural only):

1. In the New Testament:

One of the Twelve Apostles. Thomas, who was also called "Didymus" or "the Twin" (compare  John 11:16;  John 20:24;  John 21:2 ), is referred to in detail by the Gospel of John alone. His election to the Twelve is recorded in  Matthew 10:3;  Mark 3:18;  Luke 6:15;  Acts 1:13 . In Jn 11:1-54, when Jesus, despite imminent danger at the hands of hostile Jews, declared His intention of going to Bethany to heal Lazarus, Thomas alone opposed the other disciples who sought to dissuade Him, and protested, "Let us also go; that we may died with him" ( John 11:16 ). On the eve of the Passion, Thomas put the question, "Lord, we know now whither thou goest; how know we the way?" ( John 14:5 ). After the crucifixion, Thomas apparently severed his connection with the rest of the apostiles for a time, as he was not present when the risen Christ first appeared to them (compare  John 20:24 ). But his subsequent conversation with them, while not convincing him of the truth of the resurrection - "except I shall see ... I will not believe" ( John 20:25 ) - at least induced him to be among their number eight days afterward ( John 20:26 ) in the upper room. There, having received the proofs for which he sought, he made the confession, "My Lord and my God" ( John 20:28 ), and was reproved by Jesus for his previous unbelief: "Because thou hast seen me thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" ( John 20:29 ). He was one of the disciples to whom Jesus manifested Himself during the fishing expedition at the Sea of Tiberias ( John 21:1-11 ).

2. In Apocryphal Literature:

According to the "Genealogies of the Twelve Apostles" (compare Budge, The Contendings of the Apostles , II, 50), Thomas was of the house of Asher. The oldest accounts are to the effect that he died a natural death of (compare Clement of Alexandria iv. 9,71). Two fields are mentioned by apocryphal literature as the scene of Thomas' missionary labors. (1) According to origen, he preached in Parthia, the according to a Syrian legend he died at Edessa. The Agbar legend also indicates the connection of Thomas with Edessa. But Eusebius indicates it was Thaddaeus and not Thomas who preached there (see Thaddaeus ). (2) Along with these are other sources identifying Thomas with India. Thus, "The Acts of Thomas" (see Apocryphal Acts , B., V.), a Gnostic work dating from the 2nd century, tells how when the world was partitioned out as a mission field among the disciples, India fell to "Judas Thomas, also called Didymus," and narrates his adventures on the way, his trials, missionary success, and death at the hands of Misdai, king of India (compare Budge, II, 404 ff; Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen , 473-544; Pick, The Apocryphal Acts , 224 ff). The "Preaching of Thomas" (compare Budge, II, 319) relates still more fantastic adventures of Thomas in India, and the "Martyrdom of Thomas in India" states that on his departure toward Macedonia he was put to death as a sorcerer.

Of the two, the former is the more probable. An attempt at reconciliation has been made by supposing that the relics of Thomas were transported from India to Edessa, but this is based on inaccurate historical information (compare Hennecke, op. cit., 474). The additional names "Judas" and "Didymus" have causd further confusion in apocryphal literature in regard to Thomas, and have led to his identification with Judas of James, and hence, with Thaddaeus (see Thaddaeus ), and also with Judas the brother of Jesus (compare  Matthew 13:55 ). Thus in the "Acts of Thomas" he is twice called the "twin brother of the Messiah." Another legend makes Lysia the twin sister of Thomas. A G nostic "Gospel of Thomas" (see Apocryphal Gospels , III., 2., (a) was known to Irenaeus (compare Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. , 1, 20).

3. Character:

Although little is recorded of Thomas in the Gospels, he is yet one of the most fascinating of the apostles. He is typical of that nature - a nature by no means rare - which contains within it certain conflicting elements exceedingly difficult of reconciliation. Possessed of little natural buoyancy of spirit, and inclined to look upon life with the eyes of gloom or despondency, Thomas was yet a man of indomitable courage and entire unselfishness. Thus with a perplexed faith in the teaching of Jesus was mingled a sincere love for Jesus the teacher. In the incident of Christ's departure for Bethany, his devotion to his Master proved stronger than his fear of death. Thus far, in a situation demanding immediate action, the faith of Thomas triumphed; but when it came into conflict with his standards of belief it was put to a harder test. For Thomas desired to test all truth by the evidence of his senses, and in this, coupled with a mind tenacious both of its beliefs and disbeliefs, lay the real source of his religious difficulties. It was his sincerity which made him to stand aloof from the rest of the disciples till he had attained to personal conviction regarding the resurrection; but his sincerity also drew from him the testimony to that conviction, "My Lord and my God," the greatest and fullest in all Christianity.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

The word is equivalent to the Greek Didymus, twin.

The Apostle Thomas has been considered a native of Galilee, like most of the other apostles but according to tradition he was a native of Antiochia, and had a twin-sister called Lysia.

In the character of Thomas was combined great readiness to act upon his convictions, to be faithful to his faith even unto death, so that he even exhorted his fellow-disciples, on his last journey to Jerusalem, 'Let us also go, that we may die with him' , together with that careful examination of evidence which will be found in all persons who are resolved really to obey the dictates of their faith. Whosoever is minded, like most religionists who complain of the skepticism of Thomas, to follow in the common transactions of life the dictates of vulgar prudence, may easily abstain from putting his hands into the marks of the nails and into the side of the Lord but whosoever is ready to die with the Lord will be inclined to avail himself of extraordinary evidence for extraordinary facts, since nobody likes to suffer martyrdom by mistake. These remarks are directed against Winer and others, who find in the character of Thomas what they consider contradictory traits, viz., inconsiderate faith, and a turn for exacting the most rigorous evidence. We find that a resolute and lively faith is always necessarily combined with a sense of its importance, and with a desire to keep its objects unalloyed and free from error and superstition. Christ himself did not blame Thomas for availing himself of all possible evidence, but only pronounced those blessed who would be open to conviction even if some external form of evidence should not be within their reach.

Thomas preached the Gospel in Parthia (Origen), and, according to Jerome, in Persia; and was buried at Edessa. According to a later tradition Thomas went to India, and suffered martyrdom there.

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