doubting Thomas

D

doubting Thomas

Meaning

  • always a doubtful person.
  • a person who demands proof before they believe anything.
  • used to refer to someone who is so doubtful that they don’t trust anything unless they see it or experience it personally.

Example Sentences

  1. He’s such a doubting Thomas that he won’t believe unless he sees things through his eyes.
  2. Noah is a true “doubting Thomas“; he wouldn’t accept my winning game until he actually saw it.
  3. Emma struggles on, hoping to prove all those doubting Thomases wrong.

Origin

“A doubting Thomas” is a skeptic who refuses to believe in the absence of direct personal experience—a reference to the Gospel of John’s depiction of the Apostle Thomas, who, according to John’s account, refused to believe the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles until he could see and feel Jesus’ crucifixion wounds.

Jesus never dismissed or condemned Thomas for his questioning and demand for proof. Following His resurrection, Christ comes to 10 of His disciples and gives the Holy Spirit the ability to forgive sins (John 20:19–23). When the other disciples tell him, “We have seen the Lord,” Thomas remains skeptical until he sees Jesus and His wounds for himself. 8 days later, Jesus appears to the disciples again, this time with Thomas, and asks him to touch and see His wounds and to place his fingers and hand where the nails and spear had been.

In the Bible, Thomas would not believe that Jesus had come back from the dead until he saw proof of it. St. Thomas was the apostle who doubted Jesus’ resurrection until he had proof of it (John 20:24–29).

The first known use of the phrase metaphorically dates back to 1883.

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