Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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Did Jesus appear to ten, eleven or twelve disciples?

Response by Wendell Leahy

SAB asks: Did Jesus appear to ten, eleven or twelve disciples?

Answer: 11

Why: Because their original number, when first chosen and called, were twelve, they still went by the same name. Judas being gone from them having destroyed himself, making 11.....

SAB claims 10 here:
John 20:19-24 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.... But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

Answer: 11

Why: In this verse (John 20:19-24), there are only 10 present, Judas having commited suicide. However, the critic has not told all the verses. Later Thomas was present and therefore, Jesus presented himself to 11.
John 20:26: And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
SAB claims 11 here:
Matthew 28:16: Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him.

Answer: 11

Mark 16:14: Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."

Answer: 11

Luke 24:33, 36: And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together.... And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Answer: 11

Response by Dave Marr Dan of Israel
1Corinthians 15:5 and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve.
First of all, it is important to note that they are referring to the original 12 apostles. Jesus, of course, appeared to far more disciples before He finally ascended again- "above 500 of the brethren". 1 Corinthians 15:6

The most thorny reference to skeptics is 1 Cor. 15:5-- "And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve."

Skeptics say, "Ah hah! Then all twelve saw him." Not so; otherwise this verse would bring the tally of the disciples to 13 by that reasoning (Cephas[Peter] + the 12). Because Peter was one of the 12, this total is impossible.

The apostle Paul was simply making reference to the rest of the inner circle of disciples, who came to be known as "The Twelve". "Twelve" in this case is not referring to the number, but to a name of a specific group of people. He could have said, "the other ten", but readers in his generation knew exactly what group he was citing when he just said "the twelve". Here is a prime example of where establishing context is imperative.-