Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with...

I know about James but what is reported in the later writings about the death of John?

  • The Book of Revelation has him imprisoned at Patmos in the time of Nero (as can be seen from its first and seventeenth chapter).
    – user46876
    Jul 11, 2021 at 18:32
  • 2
    @Lucian - only if you hold to the early dating of the work. If you hold to the late dating (mid-90s), he's exiled on Patmos under Domitian
    – warren
    Jul 12, 2021 at 20:03
  • @warren: The author and the narrator are two distinct concepts. Even if Revelation was written yesterday by me, its narrator, and also one of its main characters, is (still) the Apostle John; and the text itself places him under Nero, as can be (easily) deduced from its seventeenth chapter.
    – user46876
    Jul 12, 2021 at 20:26
  • 1
    @Lucian - there are people who think the Apostle John wrote it in the mid-late-60s about the time Paul was in Rome. Highly improbable, though, when you consider Paul's last visit to Ephesus was only just prior to his appeal to Caesar, and that he wrote the letter to Ephesus while in Rome. How, praytell, could Jesus be directing imprecations on Ephesus while His apostle was encouraging them at the same time?
    – warren
    Jul 13, 2021 at 15:58
  • 1
    @Lucian - dating of the book is important because it says something quite different about the Apostle John if it's written when he's ~55 vs ~75.
    – warren
    Jul 13, 2021 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


The Bible tells us in Revelation 1:9 that the apostle John was exiled for his faith late in life. However, given the apostle John was probably the last to die, there is nothing in the Bible about how he died.

The most plausible tradition regarding John’s death states that John was arrested in Ephesus and faced martyrdom when his enemies threw him in a huge basin of boiling oil. However, according to the tradition, John was miraculously delivered from death. The authorities then sentenced John to slave labor in the mines of Patmos. On this island in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, John had a vision of Jesus Christ and wrote the prophetic book of Revelation. The apostle John was later freed, possibly due to old age, and he returned to what is now Turkey. He died as an old man sometime after AD 98, the only apostle to die peacefully.

We don't need to know how John died, only that he was not ashamed of Christ (see Luke 9:26) and was willing to die for his faith. A man will not die for something he knows to be a lie. John knew the truth that Jesus had been resurrected, and he was willing to die rather than to renounce his faith in his Savior.

Edit (to supply additional information and sources: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-the-Apostle

Mark's Gospel hints of John's martyrdom, but his death as a martyr is unknown. The theologian Tertullian reported that John was plunged into boiling oil but miraculously escaped unscathed.

Another source (which mentions other traditions relating to John's death): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_the_Apostle#Extrabiblical_traditions

According to Tertullian (in The Prescription of Heretics) John was banished (presumably to Patmos) after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering nothing from it.

This is the article from which I partially quoted: https://www.gotquestions.org/apostle-John-die.html

Regardless of how the apostle John died, he certainly suffered for his faith and endured many hardships. Tradition has several theories, but the Bible does not tell us the manner of his death.

  • Can you name the source(s) of the most plausible tradition?
    – Jeschu
    Jul 13, 2021 at 6:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .