John was the brother of the apostle James; he was also the son of Zebedee (a fisherman of Galilee.)  His mother's name was Salome who is believed to be a sister of Jesus' mother Mary.

John, his brother James and the apostles Peter and Andrew were all partners in a fishing business prior to their calls by Jesus to follow Him (Zebedee was also a partner.)

It is said that John owned a home in Jerusalem and that it is possible that the interview Nicodemus had with Jesus was held there.

The apostle John rose to a position of influence within world-wide Christianity and shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, he moved to Ephesus (in modern day, Turkey.)  He became the pastor of the church in Ephesus and had a special relationship with other churches in the area (as we know from the letters to the Seven Churches in Asia, in the book of Revelation.)

John's brother, James, was the first of the apostles to die; on the other hand, John was the last.  All of the apostles met a violent death, however, John died peacefully in Ephesus (at an advanced age, around the year 100 AD.)

There is a church tradition, which says, that while John was living in Ephesus, John had with him Mary, the mother of Jesus, for a few years.

While in Ephesus, by order of the Roman emperor Domitian, John was exiled to an island called Patmos.  In what is known as the cave of the Apocalypse (located on this island), the sacred text of the book of Revelation was given to the apostle John by Jesus (it is here that John recorded what is written in the New Testament book of Revelation.)

Other New Testament books accredited to John are the Gospel of John, along with 1st, 2nd and 3rd John.

When he was released from exile, he returned to Ephesus and lived till the time of the Roman emperor Trajan. 

It is said that John, "Founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eight year after our Lord's passion and was buried near the same city (Ephesus)."

There is a church tradition, which says, that when John was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples.  At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, "Little children, love one another!"  After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, "Master, why do you always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," was his reply. "And if this alone be done, it is enough!"

There is, also, a Church tradition which says that John was in Rome for a time.

Purchase Online   (The Search for the Twelve Apostles)

The information above is compiled from the book "The Search for the Twelve Apostles" by William Steuart McBirnie Ph.D, Copyright 1973

Simon (Peter)


James (Son of Zebedee)






James (Son of Alphaeus)

Jude (Thaddaeus)

Simon (The Zealot)


Matthias (replaced Judas)

Saul (Paul)



John Mark


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.