Bartholomew was one of the twelve apostles called by Jesus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). The name Bartholomew means “son of Tholmai,” which is really more of a “last” name rather than a “first” name. The Gospel of John never mentions Bartholomew, but does mention Nathanael, who is introduced to Jesus by Philip (John 1:45-49; 21:2). The other three Gospels never mention Nathanael, but always pair Bartholomew with Philip. This evidence strongly suggests that Bartholomew’s “first” name was Nathanael, and that the two were actually one and the same man.
According to at least one early church historian (Eusebius), Bartholomew traveled to India and planted a Christian church there, leaving with them the Gospel of Matthew. Other traditions also suggest that Bartholomew traveled with Philip and Thomas to preach the gospel, and eventually ended up in Armenia, where he became a martyr by being flayed and then crucified upside down.