Who Was “Judas the Brother of James”?

Luke 6:16  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

“Judas the brother of James”. When you read this verse, and you understand that Jesus also had two brothers by these names, it may be reasonable to believe these were Jesus’ two brothers. But then, we read in John 7:5  For neither did his brethren believe in him.

We now know that Judas (Jude) and James, the two brothers of Jesus, eventually did believe on Jesus as Lord and we know that God used both of these men to author books in the New Testament, which bear their names.

In our key verse, it is speculated that, since the translators apparently added the words “the brother”, which is indicated by these words being in italics, that Judas was actually the son of James.

If this were the case, it would read, “Judas of James”, as it actually does read when the italicized words are removed. According to one commentary, in the Greek this would be phrased “James’s Jude”.

Luke again phrases it the same way in Acts 1:13  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

Additionally, this Judas is also thought to be “…Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus” (Matthew 10:3) and “Thaddaeus…” (Mark 3:18).

So, rather than being “Judas the brother of James”, it seems this Judas, also known as Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus, was actually the son of James, “Judas of James”, or “James’s Jude”.

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Published by Jason Fulmer

Jason Fulmer is a Pastor, Human Resources Professional, and Development Teacher. He currently operates two blogs: PastorFulmer.com, where he posts Bible-based development articles, and NextLevelLiving.blog, where he posts personal and professional development articles. His life's goal is to encourage men and women to go to THEIR next level of living and leading. He believes the best way to accomplish this goal is through Education and Example!

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