The Twelves Quiz

These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:

  • Exodus 1:1

Without looking too hard, but possibly thinking pretty hard, does Exodus 1 list twelve sons of Israel after the “:”?

The answer:  No, due to Joseph already being in Egypt.  Note the words “who went to Egypt with Jacob.”

This quiz is about some strange things that you may be well aware of and the reasons for them, but some things might have missed your notice.

There are only six questions, and each question has twelve answers.  I would probably do okay, but no way possible to get it all correct without looking it up.  Note: spelling doesn’t count, but it must be recognizable.  No throwing out letters at random and then saying “That’s what I meant!”

When we are finished with the quiz, we can compare the first two lists of twelve.  And we can compare the last four lists of twelve.

The Bible Reference Section will give the Bible Verses containing the lists, although one stretches over seven chapters.

The Questions:

  1. Who are the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel)?
  2. Who are the twelve tribes that receive an allotment of land in the book of Joshua? Cities set aside for specific purposes does not apply, with that exception is given in the book of Joshua with its reason.
  3. Who are the twelve disciples according to the book of Matthew?
  4. Who are the twelve disciples according to the book of Mark?
  5. Who are the twelve disciples according to the book of Luke?
  6. Who are the twelve apostles according to the book of Acts?

You may note that I skipped the book of John.  John is the only gospel that has several of the disciples speaking.  He mentions “The Twelve” four times, but he never mentions all the disciples by name.

John also referred to a follower as Nathanael.  For a long time, Nathanael, mentioned as a friend of Philip and being skeptical at first and then believing, but also mentioned at the end of John’s Gospel, with the other disciples along the seashore.  Was Nathanael really Bartholomew as people have surmised for centuries or is he one of the many who followed Jesus, but were not part of the Twelve?

This confusion, in some part, comes with people who have double names.  For Simon Peter, Jesus changed his name.  It is possible that Saul really did not “change” his name to Paul, but he could have had the name Saul Paulus.  One name for his connection to his Jewish heritage and one name as a Roman citizen.  Thus, the shift in names from Saul to Paul when he started his missionary journeys which included spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles.

This may explain why the lists of disciples may not agree totally with one another – just as a hint.

Bible References:

  1. Genesis 35:23-26
  2. Joshua 13:8-32 and Joshua 15:1 – 19:48.  In Joshua 13, the exception covering what is missing (Joshua 13:14) and in Joshua 14 and the end of Joshua 19, there are special allotments for two individuals, Caleb and Joshua.
  3. Matthew 10:2-4
  4. Mark 3:16-19
  5. Luke 6:14-16
  6. Acts 1:13 (eleven mentioned) and Acts 1:26 (the twelfth)

Let’s take care of the exception which will show a difference in the first two lists.  In Joshua 13:14, Levi is not given an allotment of land because they receive the first fruits from everyone else.  The tribe of Levi was set apart to be the priests and workers at the tabernacle.  All other tribes, with their allotments, were to grow their own crops to feed their people.

The reason for the special allotment for Caleb and Joshua is because these were the two spies from the first spy mission in the book of Numbers that were faithful to God, trusting that God could take the land.  Caleb, in the tribe of Judah, captured his own land.  Joshua, in the tribe of Ephraim, was the leader of the Israelites after Moses, and was awarded a special allotment.

The answers are listed in the order that they appear in the Bible References above.




The Answers:

  1. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
  2. Manasseh, Reuben, Gad, Judah, Ephraim, Benjamin, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Dan.
  3. Simon (who is called Peter), Andrew, James son of Zebedee, and his brother John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew the tax collector, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
  4. Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
  5. Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
  6. Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew; James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. And then adding Matthias

Comparing the first two lists of twelve, there are two on the first list: Levi and Joseph, that are not on the second list.  Manasseh and Ephraim are added in the second list, but they are the sons of Joseph.  Israel (Judah) blessed both of Joseph’s sons as if they were among his sons, rather than grandsons, giving Joseph, essentially, a double portion.  We already mentioned why Levi is not on the second list.

As for the next three lists, there are eleven that are the same in each list: Simon Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, and his brother John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.  Many think that Bartholomew is called Nathanael in the book of John, but some modern scholars disagree.  And Thaddeus is the same as Judas son of James: Judas Thaddeus son of James.

Of course, since Luke wrote the book of Luke and Acts, the list in Acts only differs in that Judas Iscariot hung himself, replaced by Matthias.

Here is a video with the story of the origin of the song, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.  According to the video title, the subtext is in Indonesian.

And here are the Cedarmont Kids singing Twelve Disciples.

And here is Chris Tomlin singing I Will Follow.

And the Ball Brothers singing It’s About the Cross.

If you like these Saturday morning Bible quizzes, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Saturday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.


Add yours →

  1. I appreciated the song as I study tonight; going to be along night of sermon prep

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish you the best, and I have a prayer request. My son is the support staff (art, music, PE) coordinator for an elementary school. His coach was just arrested for drunk driving. My son may have to bail him out and he will be the coach’s driver until he gets his license back in a few months. It brought back memories of me going to lockdown and signing for my guys and getting them cleaned up in time for morning formation. Not many, but I had a few. Telling my son the “war stories” helped him figure out how to handle the situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow praying for your son situation as that’s not easy

        Liked by 1 person

      • My son has gotten him bailed out and with first offense, they waved the license suspension. Now his fellow teacher has to stay sober for a year and pay our son back. It seems that the cop sat outside a Memphis bar as U of Memphis was losing in the NCAA Tournament and pulled over the first car out of the lot. That might have had something to do with the leniency on everything except the money.

        Liked by 1 person

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