How old were the Apostles at the time of Christ's ministry?

I read a blog relatively recently that concluded with a theory that the Apostles, with the exception of St. Peter, were all adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 when Christ first called them to follow Him. The author used some rather compelling evidence. For one, the education of Jewish males was complete by the age of 15. By the age of 18 they were expected to have taken a wife. Yet, despite this, the New Testament is pretty mum on the marital lives of the Apostles, save one - St. Peter. We are told by both St. Matthew and St. Luke that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. So of the Twelve, it is very likely that Peter was the only one above the age of 18.

In fact, this is reinforced by Matthew’s Gospel when Jesus tells Peter to pay the temple tax for the both of them. The temple tax was paid by Jewish males aged 20 and above and Jesus only tells Peter to pay the tax for the two of them. None of the other eleven are mentioned. So it stands to reason that Peter was significantly older than the other Apostles, perhaps already in his mid-20s, when Jesus’s ministry began.

Interesting discusion.

Article discusses St. Peter including his age when he died.

I love “original” discussions, and have to admit, I have never once given this any thought whatsoever.

One might imagine that Andrew (Simon Peter’s brother) may have been close in age to Peter.

I have also seen in various visual depictions that the Apostle John looks considerably younger than the rest, although this is far from “proof” that this was actually so. At my church, for example, there’s a stained glass window depicting the descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles - and besides Mary - John is the only one without a beard.

This “tradition” had to have come from somewhere…

Interesting. We really don’t know the “exact” age of Jesus either, but the consenses is the He was around 33. The Bible does seem to elude that John was fairly young and that Jesus loved him “best.” As for the taxes, the other Apostles may have paid their own taxes “on their own” or even Judus may have paid them for them as he carried the “purse.” I guess we will never know and it really isn’t that important that we figure it out, is it? One thing that we all know is that younger men and woman are more open to new ideas and ways than older people. Peace

Pretty flimsy once you think about it. Matthew was a tax collector. Probably he was Jesus’s age. The only ones who probably were in their teens were James and John.

Interesting question!

I’ve often heard that the Apostles were all pretty much around Christ’s age with the exception of John, who was probably about 14 when he met Jesus, and about 17 at the time of the crucifixion.

By the way, this is why John is often depicted as effeminate looking in pictures of the Last Supper. It was an artistic way of pointing out someone’s youth (also hence why Peter often looks much older than Christ. He was probably closest in age to Jesus; he was the chosen leader of the apostles, etc.)

School for Jews ended somewhere between 12-14 years of age. That gives Matthew enough time to apprentice and become a fully fledged tax collector before the age of 18, especially if he was done with school by age 12.

I was just thinking about the varying ages yesterday. While looking at a last supper sculpture.

Our cathedral has the Apostles on the stained glass windows and quite varying in ages.

I was contemplating how a 30 year old guy in a region that respects age as wise, would be able to gather with him a few grey hairs, if so, along with some younger guys.

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