John 1:37–49—Were the apostles called at this time or later?

Problem: John records that Jesus called Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and another disciple at this time. However, the other Gospels record their call as taking place much later (cf. Matt. 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20; Luke 5:1–11). When were they called?

Solution: The first passages indicate Jesus’ initial interview of the disciples, not their permanent call. As a result of this first contact they only stayed with Jesus “that day” (John 1:39), after which they returned to their homes and regular employment. The later passages indicate the time they left their former jobs and took up their full-time ministry as disciples of Christ.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.