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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Thomas

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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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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Thomas'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/t/thomas.html.

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