- Simon Peter was a Galilean fisherman when Jesus called him to be his disciple. Peter was often rash and impetuous in his actions, but his faith in Jesus was strong, and he was the first disciple to recognize Jesus as "the Messiah, the Son of the living God". At the Last Supper, Peter boldly declared that he would never desert Jesus but only hours later he denied that he had ever known him. Despite Peter's denial, Jesus met with him after the resurrection and gave him an important role in the early church. It was Peter who preached on the Day of Pentecost when 3,000 joined the church. Peter was also one of the first to realize that the gospel was for all people, and not just for the Jews.
- Andrew was Peter's brother and was also a fisherman. Originally he was one of John's disciples, but when John declared that Jesus was "the lamb of God", Andrew and another disciple began to follow Jesus. Andrew took Simon Peter to meet Jesus.
- James was the brother of John. Both of them were fishermen. Jesus nicknamed them "the sons of thunder" because of their fiery nature. Once, they wanted to call down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village that had turned Jesus away, and they also asked Jesus for the most privileged places in his kingdom. Yet Peter, James, and John formed the group who were closest to Jesus within the company of the disciples. After Jesus' resurrection, James was executed by Herod Agrippa for his faith in Jesus.
- John was probably the disciple who was closest of all to Jesus. It seems likely that he referred to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" in the Gospel bearing his name. Peter and John went together to the empty tomb on the first Easter morning, and John "saw and believed". With Peter, John was the leader of the Jerusalem church, and probably wrote the three letters and the vision that bear his name in the New Testament.
- Philip was also a Galilean who came from Bethsaida. He is mentioned only a few times in the Gospels, and seems to have been full of questions about who Jesus was and what he had come to do.
- Bartholomew may well also have been known as Nathanael, whom Philip introduced to Jesus.
- Matthew was a tax-collector who left his lucrative job to follow Jesus. Also known as Levi, he invited Jesus to a feast in his home, where Jesus began to meet with tax-collectors and other despised elements in Jewish society.
- Thomas is most famous for his refusal to believe in the resurrection after Jesus had appeared to the apostles when Thomas was elsewhere. Jesus appeared again, this time to all the apostles. Thomas's confession, "My Lord and my God", is the climax of John's Gospel.
- James, son of Alphaeus, may have been a younger brother to James and John.
- Simon the Patriot may well have been attached to a political and religious party known later as the "Zealots".
- Judas, son of James, was also known as Thaddaeus.
- Judas Iscariot always appears last in the list of he disciples called by Jesus, with the description of the one who betrayed Jesus. Judas was the treasurer of the group, and according to John's Gospel, used this position to take money from the common fund for his own use. Judas is infamous for betraying Jesus by leading his teacher's enemies to the place where he knew Jesus would be at night. But after betraying Jesus, he was filled with horror and guilt, and committed suicide.