Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew, was from Cana in Galilee (Jn 21:2). Philip introduced Jesus to Nathanael. When Jesus saw Nathanael, he said of him: “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (Jn 1:47). Nathanael asked Jesus, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered: “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree” (Jn 1:48). The Jews had a practice of reading and reflecting on the Holy Scripture under the shade of a fig tree. Based on his understanding of the Holy Bible and observing the words and actions of Jesus, Nathanael responded to Jesus with a profession of faith: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel” (Jn 1:49). Jesus promised Nathanael: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (Jn 1:51). Nathanael preached in India and then at Asia Minor. He was martyred by skinning alive in Armenia in 72 AD.
Nathanael’s study of the Holy Scripture helped him to identify Jesus as the Messiah. In a world of confusion between the truth and lies, the study of the Bible will help us understand and live according to the truth of God.