The Apostle Andrew in Scripture and Tradition


The Apostle Andrew in Scripture and Tradition


Andrew, Apostle, Saint.


The name of Andrew the Apostle appears thirteen times in the Gospels and Acts, and he is the generative character in four crucial episodes of Jesus’s ministry. But his role as an apostle is muted in the New Testament, in the Church, and in institutions named for him. The important Andrew episodes in scripture are very familiar. He was the first person to recognize and proclaim Jesus as Messiah (John 1:41); he introduced Jesus to his brother Simon, upon whom Jesus built His Church (John 1:42); he identified a lad with bread and fish, which Jesus multiplied to feed five thousand followers (John 6:8-9); he brought to Jesus a group of inquiring Greeks, which initiated the glorification of our Lord (John 12:20-22).

The Synoptic Gospels are silent on Andrew’s role in Jesus’s ministry except for being called by Jesus and included in lists of apostles. In the Synoptics, Andrew is not included in the innermost circle of Jesus’s disciples, and he is never mentioned in the Epistles. Nevertheless, legends and traditions about Andrew abounded in early Christianity. He is often portrayed in Christian art with an X-shaped cross, and his Feast Day is observed throughout the world. He is a central figure in the Eastern Church.

Contemporary theologians have often dismissed Andrew. De Boer concluded that in scripture Andrew is a “one-dimensional ‘type.’” Peterson wrote that “Andrew as disciple….was historically a person of no importance whatsoever.” The Anchor Bible Dictionary entry for Andrew reads: “The NT shows little interest in Andrew….Andrew is little more than Peter’s shadow and Jesus’ occasional interlocutor.” This essay is a close review of Andrew’s narratives in scripture and tradition, and an illumination of his contribution to our faith. The objective of the paper is to provide worthwhile insights for persons assigned to preach about Andrew and to offer a resource for institutions who bear Andrew’s name so they may meaningfully celebrate their connection with him and his witness to Christ. With God’s grace, perhaps an enlarged appreciation for Andrew will enhance our vision of God’s revelation in the world.


Keithley, Carter



Virginia Theological Seminary




©Copyright, Carter Keithley




Thesis (MA)
Date Added
July 11, 2022
VTS Masters Theses
Item Type
Keithley, Carter, “The Apostle Andrew in Scripture and Tradition,” Bishop Payne Library at Virginia Theological Seminary, accessed May 24, 2024,