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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Thomas

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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.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Thomas'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/t/thomas.html. 1909.

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