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"I Shall Make You Fishers of Men"; a stained glass window at Kilmore Quay, Ireland
"I Shall Make You Fishers of Men"; a stained glass window at Kilmore Quay, Ireland

"Fishers of men" is a phrase used in the gospels to describe the mandate given by Jesus to his first disciples. Two brother fishermen, Simon called Peter and Andrew, were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee. As he commenced his preaching ministry, Jesus called them to follow him and told them that in doing so they were to become "fishers of men". The phrase is mentioned in Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17.

This calling of the first Apostles, which eventually become a group of twelve, made the two fishermen early followers of Jesus. There is a parallel account in Mark 1:16-20 and a similar but different story in Luke 5:1-11, the Luke story not including the phrase "fishers of men" (or similar wording). The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges calls Matthew 4:18 a "condensed parable",[1] drawn out at slightly greater length later in the same gospel.[2]


The Christian hymn "Fishers of Men" was written by Harry D. Clarke in 1927.[3][4]


Chapters 36–39 of the Mandaean Book of John are about a fisher sent by Hayyi Rabbi ("the Great Life") to fish for souls.[5]


  1. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Matthew 4, accessed 4 December 2016
  2. ^ Matthew 13:47–51
  3. ^ Clarke, Harry D. "I Will Make You Fishers of Men". Hope Publishing Company. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Fishers of Men". Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  5. ^ Haberl, Charles and McGrath, James (2020). The Mandaean Book of John: critical edition, translation, and commentary. Berlin: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-048651-3. OCLC 1129155601.