ESV - 24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Another view of Thomas was that Thomas, we are told, was not really a name but an epithet, meaning, like its Greek equivalent Didymus, “the twin.” David Smith suggests that the apostle’s name was Judas, but that he was named “the twin” to distinguish him from Judas, the son of James, and Judas Iscariot. Tradition credits him with the authorship of a gospel which is included in apocryphal literature: the Gospel of Thomas; you may have heard of it. One Christian brother with whom I went to the same Scottsdale Bible Church, Scottsdale High School, and then Dallas Seminary for 4 years is Mark Hopper who married a twin. Mark taught the Jr. High Boys at SBC in a Saturday morning program called "REWOP." (POWER, spelled backward). They lifted weights together in the church basement and talked Jesus. This twin, Jeanne, also went to SHS and they married. He writes about her on his website which was EXTREMELY interesting. He has this website called letmarkencourageyou.com You should read it for yourself, but here's the gist: "My wife is an identical twin. Jeanne and her sister Joanne have the same birthday. Their names are spelled with only one letter different. Their social security numbers are only one number different. They look alike, laugh alike and have many other similarities. When they were very young even their parents had trouble determining who was who. There are photos of the young twins where it is almost impossible to tell them apart. When they were in grade school they traded classes for a day and the teacher didn’t know it. They loved being twins in grade school and high school. Everyone remembers the twins. During most of their adult lives they continued to look alike."
My understanding is that Thomas' name by itself comes from the Semitic word (Anglicized as "ta'am") meaning "twin", which indicates that "Thomas" may have been a nickname or title -- as indicated by the verse cited in the question, which says that he was "called" (rather than named) The Twin -- and we thus may not even know his actual given name. In any case, as far as I can determine, there is no contemporaneous indication (in the gospels or elsewhere) of whether he actually was a twin, or, if so, who his twin was. If he was not an actual twin, and if Thomas was not his actual given name, perhaps the name derives from a physical resemblance that he bore to someone else (either in his life prior to becoming an apostle, or in Jesus' circle of followers). But, again, there is no Scriptural indication of that.
In Song of Songs 4:2, scripture reveals that producing 'twins' is directly contrasted with 'barrenness' and viewed as a condition of vibrant blessing and abundant life. To be given this as a title among fellow Hebrews would be a great honor to a person's entire family. It speaks highly of a person's 'breeding stock,' the way a farmer might be very proud of his prized hen that always lays 'double yolks.' Yet, obviously, this title is all the more outstanding because we aren't talking about the lowly chicken and having a good breakfast, but about human beings and their incredibly valuable lineages. Nevertheless, who was it that stood alone in personal doubt when Jesus began to appear to His disciples? It was not the rough neck fishermen, formerly despised tax collector, or any other more 'low birth' members of the Lord's inner circle, but the 'Twin' who struggled the most with the idea that the Master had appeared to these others first. "For consider your calling, brothers, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may abolish the things that are, so that no flesh may boast before God." (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). The 'man of good breeding stock' had a moment of personal humility when His Lord confronted him directly and personally about the pride that kept him from seeing the truth of the resurrection. Jesus felt this harsh moment was necessary because of GOD's perfect impartiality. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." (Luke 12:4b). This is how GOD maintains His perfect impartiality. Some of us may feel 'privileged' at birth or within our social station, or perhaps 'underprivileged' by comparison to others. However, our hidden advantages or disadvantages are revealed through faith, along with GOD's perfect impartiality. We see this principle again in Romans 5:20 as the Holy Spirit explains to us how grace grows in direct proportion to sin. Those born into conditions of great sin are also born into conditions ripe with opportunities for an equal grace to be revealed. The prophet Joel, (quoted under inspiration by the Apostles on the day of Pentecost), describes that the arriving Holy Spirit would reveal this divine impartiality to 'all flesh,' given equally across all previously held lines of birth class, economic class, ethnicity, age and gender. "And it will be afterwards That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; Your old men will dream dreams; Your young men will see visions. Even on the male slaves and female slaves I will in those days pour out My Spirit." (Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:16-18). You should note that GOD is not rejecting the 'twin' born into nobility, wealth, abundant blessing or good circumstances. He is only revealing that this person is treated EXACTLY the same as all others. His or her road will have extra challenges where 'much was given.' However, those who respond with humility to it as Thomas ultimately did, each will know the same joy after the brief personal embarrassment is over. Jesus does reveal that the 'best road' is the one where we don't actually have to be 'dressed down' before we believe His words. We believe without needing 'fleshly proof' first. We get an extra joy from being in on GOD's ground floor of faith. That 'person of faith' is our new spiritual 'twin.' We don't need life's physical 'double yolks' to live a healthy and even a joyful life, but GOD wants us each to experience the new 'superabundance' and gives us each an equal opportunity to choose it by faith. “...I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.