The name that is transliterated as “Thomas” in English is translated in Finnish Sign Language with the sign signifying “doubt” (referring to John 20:25). (Source: Tarja Sandholm)

“Thomas” in Finnish Sign Language (source )

In German Sign Language it is a sign that points fingers to the side of the body, referring to John 20:27.

“Thomas” in German Sign Language (source: Taub und katholisch )

See also The Confession of Thomas (icon) and Thomas with the risen Christ (image).


Following is a Armenian Orthodox icon of Peter (found in the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shusha, Azerbaijan).

Orthodox Icons are not drawings or creations of imagination. They are in fact writings of things not of this world. Icons can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. They can also represent the Holy Trinity, Angels, the Heavenly hosts, and even events. Orthodox icons, unlike Western pictures, change the perspective and form of the image so that it is not naturalistic. This is done so that we can look beyond appearances of the world, and instead look to the spiritual truth of the holy person or event. (Source )

Following is a hand colored stencil print on momigami of Peter by Sadao Watanabe (1970):

Image taken with permission from the SadaoHanga Catalogue where you can find many more images and information about Sadao Watanabe. For other images of Sadao Watanabe art works in TIPs, see here.

In Finnish Sign Language it is translated with the sign signifying “key” (referring to Matthew 16:19). (Source: Tarja Sandholm)

“Peter” or “Cephas” in Finnish Sign Language (source )

In Swiss-German Sign Language it is translated with the sign for “rock,” referring to the meaning of the Greek word for “Peter.”

“Peter” in Swiss-German Sign Language, source: DSGS-Lexikon biblischer Begriffe , © CGG Schweiz

See also Peter – rock.

complete verse (John 21:2)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 21:2:

  • Uma: “Several of his disciples gathered there. Simon Petrus, Tomas who is nicknamed the Twin, Natanael from Kana in Galilea, the two sons of Zebedeus, and two other disciples.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Simon Petros was there together with Tomas, whom they call Twin and Natanael, the man from Kana there in Jalil. There were also together with them the children of Sebede and still two other disciples of Isa.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Simon Peter was there and Thomas the one called Twin, Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee, and the two sons of Zebedee were also there, and there were also two other disciples of Jesus there.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Simon Pedro, Tomas who was nicknamed Twin, Nataniel from-Cana in Galilea, the children of Zebedeo, and two other disciples of Jesus were accompanying-each-other.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Once when Simon Pedro, Tomas who was called Twin, Natanael who was from Cana in the district of Galilea, the sons of Zebedeo and two other disciples were all together,” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “These are the names of those who were together: Peter, Thomas, who is called the twin, Nathanael, a native of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two other learners of Jesus.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

John as a first-person evangelist (John 21:2)

In the Yatzachi Zapotec translation of the Gospel of John, any reference to the evangelist and presumed narrator is done in the first person.

The translator Inez Butler explains (in: Notes on Translation, September 1967, pp. 10ff.):

“In revising the Gospel of John in Yatzachi Zapotec we realized from the start that the third person references of Jesus to himself as Son of Man had to be converted into first person references, but only more recently have we decided that similar change is necessary in John’s references to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ As I worked on those changes and questioned the informant about his understanding of other passages in the Gospel, I discovered that the reader misses the whole focus of the book as an eyewitness account unless every reference to the disciples indicates the writer’s membership in the group. In view of that we went back through the entire book looking for ways to cue in the reader to the fact that John was an eyewitness and a participant in a many of the events, as well as the historian.

“When the disciples were participants in events along with Jesus, it was necessary to make explicit the fact that they accompanied him, although in the source language that is left implicit, since otherwise our rendering would imply that they were not present.”

In this verse, the Yatzachi Zapotec says: “We were together, Simon Peter and Thomas and Nathanael and I and my brother, and two other disciples.”

Note that the English Living Bible (publ. 1971) translates the same way.

Translation commentary on John 21:2

The words were all together (literally “were together”) occur at the beginning of the Greek sentence, with the names following, but most English translators restructure in a way similar to Good News Translation to meet the demands of English style. The use of the full name Simon Peter is typically Johannine.

Thomas was first mentioned in 11.16. Nathanael is mentioned in the episode in 1.43-51; otherwise he appears in John’s Gospel only in this verse. In the earlier account no mention is made of his coming from Cana in Galilee. The sons of Zebedee are James and John. They are not mentioned by name anywhere in the Gospel and only here as the sons of Zebedee. In this Gospel the name “John” always refers to John the Baptist, unless specifically marked otherwise, as at 21.15, Simon son of John.

Along with this group of five disciples mentioned by name are two other disciples of Jesus whose identity is not given.

In some languages, rather than beginning with a list of names, followed by a statement that all these persons were together, it is necessary to say “The disciples who were together included Simon Peter, Thomas…” or “The following disciples were all together: Simon Peter, Thomas….”

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on the Gospel of John. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1980. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .