Smith's Bible Dictionary


Phil'ip. (lover of horses). Philip, the apostle, was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter, Joh_1:44, and, apparently, was among the Galilean peasants of that district, who flocked to hear the preaching of John the Baptist. The manner in which St. John speaks of him indicates a previous friendship, with the sons of Jona and Zebedee, and a consequent participation in their messianic hopes.

The close union of the two in John 6 and John 12 suggests that he may have owed to Andrew, the first tidings that the hope had been fulfilled. The statement that Jesus found him, Joh_1:43, implies a previous seeking. In the lists of the twelve apostles, in the Synoptic Gospel, his name is as uniformly at the head of the second group of four , as the name of Peter is at that of the first, Mat_10:3; Mar_5:18; Luk_6:14, and the facts recorded by St. John, give the reason of this priority. Philip apparently was among the first company of disciples who were with the Lord, at the commencement of his ministry, at the marriage at Cana, on his first appearance as a prophet in Jerusalem, John 2.

The first three Gospels tell us nothing more of him individually. St.John, with his characteristic fullness of personal reminiscences, records a few significant utterances. Joh_6:5-9; Joh_12:20-22; Joh_14:8. No other fact connected with the name of Philip is recorded in the Gospels. He is among the company of disciples at Jerusalem, after the ascension, Act_1:13, and on the Day of Pentecost. After this, all is uncertain and apocryphal. According to tradition, he preached in Phrygia, and died at Hierapolis.


Taken from: Smith's Bible Dictionary by Dr. William Smith (1884)