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What is an Apostle


When I was charged with this lesson, it stated out as a question I had and  I assumed it would have a simple answer, but in fact it took some digging. First, I looked at 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11, which talked about spiritual gifts. Here Paul tells the people of Corinth what type of gift are afforded or can be obtained through Holy Spirit to the body of Christ. Now mind you it does not say that we will receive all these gifts only the possibilities of favor of those gifts. Then my studies took me to what the “church world” calls the Five-Fold ministry. In the five-fold ministry it is believed that today people can be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4-11). Tell me where in that scripture it calls it a five-fold ministry, if you read that Paul is talking about how Christ is encouraging “Oneness” and “Unity” in the body of Christ, how Jesus gave some of the people listed above gifts of the spirit in order to fill the “heavens and the earth” with his grace, mercy and his message. Not for us to misinterpret the scriptures of a foundation on how to build a church today. I know that this is a bold statement, and it may make some of you uncomfortable but let’s dig deeper. Let’s say that the Five-Fold Ministry exist let’s look at this another way:

A cornerstone is a stone at the corner of a building uniting two intersecting walls; a quoin. Looking at this according to the Ephesians 2:19-22 JESUS IS THE CORNERSTONE.  As you can see in the diagram above Jesus joins all the walls and according to scripture the foundation are the apostles and prophets. Now we know the foundation is at the bottom and in order to rebuild you have to destroy the foundation and the cornerstone no longer has a purpose because there are no walls. So let’s use this diagram further the lower level are the apostles (FOUNDATION), the second level are the prophets, the next level is evangelists and pastors and teachers.  So in order for us to continue to build on the principles and lessons of Christ, we must not tear down and rebuild, but to continue to build on the good foundation of the  Apostles and the Prophets are the one who toiled, sown and died for the building of Christ’s church.

In previous lesson we learned what a prophet was and what prophecy is and therefore we know if one’s exist now. We know that we are ALL are evangelist for we are govern under Romans 10:14-17 to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. We know that Pastors and Teachers still exist and that Christ will not return until all know and understand this message and his sacrifice.

We know that 1 Corinthians 4 talks about in depth about Paul’s experiences and those of the Apostles and how Paul was the low man in the line. He describes the homelessness, persecution, incarceration and crucifixions and exiles to remote locations. (Paul was not crucified because he was a Roman citizen and John exiled.)


Apostle (apostolos) – Sent one a messenger, an ambassador of Jesus Christ, by this definition alone any one can be apostle. But let’s dig deeper.

  1. Apostle of the Church – one who is sent to represent the Church’s interest and to deliver a message. (Philippians 2:25) – This is the small “a” apostle who is sent to issue the desires of the one who sent him.
  2. Apostle of Christ – a select Group of men who were the personal representatives of Jesus Christ Himself. In order to be a big “A” you must meet these qualifications:
    1. Gift of Pastor-Teacher – teach the Good news
    2. You must have seen  Christ in the Flesh (Acts 1:21-22)
    3. Christ Commissioned them and named them ( Matthew 10:1)
    4. Must be able to perform miracles, signs and wonders and mighty deeds (2 Corinthians 12:12)

Further, as I read further I found out that there was ONLY 12 APOSTLES however but four others were given equal status: Let name them:

  1. Peter
  2. Andrew
  3. James (son of Zebedee
  4. John
  5. Philip
  6. Bartholomew (Nathaniel)
  7. Thomas
  8. Matthew
  9. James (son of Alphaeus
  10. Thaddaeus
  11. Simon Zealot
  12. Judas who betrayed him.
  13. Matthias - was named an apostle by the disciples Acts 1: 12-26 if you notice, Matthias meet the criteria because he was with them through it all but the only problem was he was not a chosen one by Christ.
  14. James  - Jesus brother who has  a book of the bible and who Paul calls an apostle in Galatians 1:19 – ( in this sense James was given a status of a little “a” an apostle of the Church
  15. Barnabas – was given the nod of the an apostle in Acts 15 along with
  16. Paul – who many believe is the last apostle – he meets the qualifications because he saw Jesus in the flesh in a vision and suffered for his telling and evangelism and setting up churches (1 Corinthians 15: 8-11) 

[1] Materials used from http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/spirtualgifts/ch14.htm

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