<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1758373551078632&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Written by

Phil Rigdon

Pastor Phil Rigdon and his wife, Jamelyn, live in Kendallville, Indiana, with their pet chinchilla, Sunshine. When Phil is not giving raisins to Sunshine, he serves as pastor at St. John Lutheran Church and School in Kendallville. He enjoys running, writing, and trying to impress people with his guitar playing.

Recent Posts by Phil Rigdon

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Thaddaeus

Compared to others like Peter or Judas, we read little of this apostle. Therefore, this month I’ll present Thaddaeus related to his context. There is much we can learn from the events that took place where Thaddaeus was present.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Bartholomew

There is relatively little we know for certain regarding Bartholomew, other than his inclusion with the list of the twelve disciples. His name is the combination of two Hebrew words, “bar(son)” and “Talmai.” As it was common for sons to carry their father’s name, it's likely his father’s name was Talmai. “Bar” is part of other Biblical names. Examples include, Barabbas (son of the father), Barnabas (son of encouragement) and Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus).

There is some thought that Bartholomew is also Nathanael, who is mentioned in the Gospel of John. This is good reason to assume this. In the first three Gospels, what are called the synoptic Gospels, Bartholomew is listed closely with Philip. As you will read below, Philip finds Nathanael upon encountering Jesus. These common connections to Philip suggest Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person. We will proceed under this assumption.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Andrew

While it is true that Peter, his brother, plays a larger role in the Gospels, Andrew is involved in several important events. Andrew and Peter put us in mind of Moses and Aaron. Moses, like Peter, holds the limelight, yet Aaron is indispensable. We may have to dig a bit deeper into God’s Word than normal, but we will find a great deal to learn and teach from this fisherman from Galilee.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: James

Although we read more about John, his brother, and Peter, James is significant in that he was part of our Lord’s inner circle. As we will see below, James presents excellent opportunities to teach regarding miracles, jealousy among Christians, and God’s choices. This month we learn of James, called to be a fisher of men and finally martyred for his faith by Herod’s sword.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: John

This month we spend time with John, my personal favorite. On first inspection, John is the ideal apostle. Along with Peter and James, he formed Jesus’ inner circle, who were present for some of the most important events in Jesus’ ministry. He also wrote a large portion of the New Testament and served as Mary’s adoptive son per Jesus’ mandate at the cross. Nevertheless, John had his faults, including a wrathful heart and conceit.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Philip

This month, we look at one of the lesser-known apostles, Philip. I have an affinity with this apostle as we share the same name. One of my personal geeky interests is philology, the study of languages. The name Philip is derived from Greek and means “one who loves horses.” the first half of the name, Phil, is related to Philadelphia and philanthropy. The second half, ip, is related to hippopotamus, which means “river horse.” Interesting? Let’s study Philip!

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Matthew

This month, we learn a bit about Matthew, one of the Gospel writers. We begin with introductory key verses regarding his work and calling by Jesus, followed by teaching regarding the apostle, and finally, ideas for presenting Matthew in the Sunday School classroom.  

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Thomas

This month, we turn our attention to teaching about the apostle Thomas. We’ll begin with a few introductory verses followed by information from the Bible regarding this apostle, and finally, suggestions on how to present Thomas in the Sunday School setting.


Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Judas Iscariot

This month’s blog will present perhaps the most challenging apostle of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot. I will begin with introductory key verses, followed by a few notes on the life of Judas, thoughts on teaching the tough topic of suicide, and, finally, list some teaching points.

Teaching the Twelve Apostles: Peter

Beginning this month, I am pleased to share a few thoughts regarding our Lord’s twelve apostles and to suggest some ideas on how to present these important biblical figures to Sunday School students. Each blog will include an introduction to an apostle, as well as one or two key points and some teaching suggestions. Given that this is the first blog, I will also include here a couple of ideas on how to help students remember all twelve disciples over the course of the year.