Facts About James the Elder

James the Elder

James was called at the same time as his brother, John. James is commonly thought to be a cousin of Jesus, as he was born to Mary’s sister. There is not much mentioned in the Bible regarding James. However, what is known is that he was part of Jesus’ Inner Circle and was, like John, unrelenting in his faith. He and John are never separately mentioned in the Bible together, always appearing in the same passages. James faithfully followed the Great Commission, spreading the Gospel to modern day Spain. He was eventually beheaded for his faith, becoming one of the first martyrs.

Name: James

Family: Zebedee (Father), Salome (Mother)

Nicknames: The Elder, the Greater, Son of Thunder

  • The Greater came from James being taller than the other disciple named James
  • Son of Thunder was given to him and John by Jesus

Personality: Facts About James the Elder

  • Pious
  • Humble
  • Hardworking
  • Gracious (Was always somewhat in the shadow of his brother John)
  • Courage
  • Forgiving

Life before Christ:

  • Was born in Bethsaida
  • Was a fisherman
  • Was married
  • Brother to John
  • Was a follower of John the Baptist
  • Was likely born to the sister of Mary


  • Was a member of the Inner Circle of Jesus
  • Was the first of the twelve disciples to be martyred
  • Was one of the first to spread the Gospel to the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain)


  • Was beheaded by King Herod, this is the first instance of one of the twelve becoming a martyr for the faith