Holman Bible Dictionary



(nuh than' ay ehl) Personal name meaning, “giver of God.” An Israelite whom Jesus complimented as being guileless (John 1:47) and who, in turn confessed the Lord as being the Son of God and King of Israel (John 1:49).

Nathanael was from Cana of Galilee (John 21:2) and apparently became one of the inner core of disciples who followed Jesus. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not mention him by name, his two appearances in John point to his devotion to Christ. Some have equated him with Bartholomew.

Philip announced to Nathanael that Jesus was the promised Messiah (John 1:45). It was then that Nathanael made the infamous remark, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” See Disciples.


(bahr thuhl' oh meew) One of the twelve apostles (Mark 3:18). The name Bartholomew means “son of Talmai,” and may have been a patronymic, a name derived from that of the father or a paternal ancestor. It occurs in all four lists of the apostles in the New Testament (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13); in each of the Gospels it immediately follows the name of Philip. The name does not occur at all in John's Gospel. In the first chapter of John, however, the account of Philip's call to discipleship is closely related to the call of a person named Nathanael (John 1:43-51). This circumstance has led to the traditional identification of Bartholomew with Nathanael. See Nathaniel; Apostles; Disciples.


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'NATHANAEL'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T4513>. 1991.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'BARTHOLOMEW'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T701>. 1991.