What is an Apostle?
(one sent forth). 1. This term was given originally to the twelve chief disciples of our Lord. Matt 10:2. Their names were Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John (sons of Zebedee); Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, and Lebbeus, who is also called Judas or Jude (sons of Alpheus); Simon the Canaanaean (or Zealot) and Judas Iscariot. Christ's charge to them is recorded in Matt 10:5-42. All the known circumstances of their history will be found under their respective names. Speaking generally, the apostles were of the lower, but not the lowest, class of the people. They were all laymen. Their learning was rather of life than of books, and yet it is probable they possessed the rudiments of an education. Religious perceptions and piety they doubtless possessed. Yet they needed much instruction and a miraculous endowment before they were able to do the work of the gospel. The Acts of the Apostles tells us of their first independent labors. Paul was called as an apostle, 7 years after the resurrection of Christ, on the way to Damascus. He was not of the Twelve, but was of equal authority. Gal 1:1, Jud 4:12, Ex 17:16; Gal 2:9. The office and commission of apostles were remarkable in the following particulars: (1.) They were all required to have been eye- and ear-witnesses of what they testified, especially of the resurrection of Christ. John 15:27; Acts 1:21, Josh 11:22 and Acts 22:14, 2 Sam 20:15; 1 Cor 9:1 and 1 Cor 15:8; 1 John 1:3. (2.) They were all called or chosen by our Saviour himself. Luke 6:13; Gal 1:1. Even Matthias is not an exception to this remark, as the determination of the lot was of God. Acts 1:24-26. (3.) They were inspired. John 16:13. (4.) They had the power of miracles. Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43; Heb 2:4; Rom 15:18, Acts 1:19; 2 Cor 12:12. The word "apostle" is also used in a wider sense of Christian heralds of the gospel. 2 Cor 8:23; Phil 2:25. (A. V. in both cases translates "messenger.") 1. The term apostle is also applied to our Saviour, Heb 3:1, and with singular propriety, as in the character of Messiah he is emphatically the Sent of God.