What Does Apostle Mean In The Bible

The term “Apostle” is used multiple times throughout the Bible. In the New Testament, the term is most often used to indicate twelve of Jesus’ disciples. However, the Bible also uses the term Apostle in a variety of other situations. It’s important to understand the various meanings and contexts of the term in order to gain a better understanding of the Bible.

The term “Apostle” is derived from the Greek word apostolos, which means “one sent on a mission.” In the New Testament, the term was first applied to Jesus’ first twelve disciples, known as the Twelve Apostles. These men were chosen from among Jesus’ many followers to spread his word and teachings. They were seen as Christ’s representatives, and He gave them the authority to preach, heal, and even perform other miracles. On the night of Jesus’ ascension, after his resurrection, he declared the Twelve Apostles to be the “pillars” of the church.

However, the term Apostle is also used to refer to people who are not part of the original Twelve. Paul, for example, is referred to as an Apostle in various passages. Paul was not initially among the Twelve but was handpicked by God to serve as an Apostle to the Gentiles. Other non-Twelve Apostles were James, the brother of Jesus, and Barnabas. These Apostles were also given powers and authority to preach and teach.

Not only people can be referred to as Apostles in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote several epistles to churches, and the term Apostle is used to refer to those letters. In Galatians 1:1, Paul writes: “Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.” Similar examples of the use of the term in this respect can be found in other New Testament books as well.

In addition, the term Apostle is also used to refer to any person who has been either divinely called or sent by God to perform a special mission and task. This is seen in the Bible when Paul calls Timothy an Apostle as a way of showing Timothy’s special relationship with God. This understanding of the term Apostle also appears in the book of Acts when Peter refers to Cornelius as an “Apostle of Jesus Christ”.

In summary, the term “Apostle” may refer to a variety of different things in the Bible. It may refer to the Twelve Apostles, who were chosen by Jesus to be his disciples and to spread the Good News. It may also refer to people who have been divinely chosen or sent by God to perform a special mission, like Paul or Timothy. Finally, it may even refer to letters that were written by an Apostle, such as Paul’s Epistles.

The Great Commission

The term Apostle is also seen in the Bible in reference to the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the command given by Jesus to His Apostles to preach the gospel to all nations. This command is found in Matthew 28:18-20, where Jesus says: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. The Great Commission shows that Jesus gave authority and power to His Apostles to spread the gospel throughout the world. This power is still evident today as we continue to see people proclaiming the Good News of the gospel.

Authority of Apostles

The term “Apostle” is also significant in that it recognizes and acknowledges the authority of an Apostle. The word “apostle” literally means “one sent” and conveys that an Apostle speaks with authority. This is important because it conveys to us that the words and teachings of the Apostles are from God. It also sets the Apostles apart from the other believers and gives them a special place in the church.

In the New Testament, the Apostles are seen as the leaders of the church and often had the final say in matters of faith and practice. For example, at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, Peter stated: “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God.” This shows that the Apostles had the authority to make binding decisions within the church. This authority continues to be exercised today within the church.

Fruit of an Apostle

Being an Apostle is not just about power and authority, however. The Fruit of an Apostle is also something that is seen throughout the Bible. Paul spoke of the importance of displaying the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Gal 5:22). This shows that being an Apostle requires more than just power and authority; it also requires a spirit of love and compassion.

The Bible speaks of the importance of displaying the fruit of an Apostle, not just in word but in action as well. Paul stated in Romans 12:10-11: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Here, Paul is emphasizing the importance of living out the love and compassion that comes from being an Apostle.

The Character of an Apostle

The Bible also speaks about the character of an Apostle. An Apostle is expected to be a model of holiness and godliness. In 1 Timothy 3:2, Paul writes: “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” This speaks to the character traits an Apostle should possess and strive to live out.

The Bible also states that an Apostle should be humble, selfless, and devoted to the Lord. In 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Paul instructs Timothy to treat an Apostle with respect and to “honor such men,” saying “double honor” is to be given to those who labor in the Word and doctrine. Here, Paul is emphasizing the importance of honoring those who serve the Lord as Apostles and the character it takes to do so.

The Call of an Apostle

Being an Apostle is a call that must be taken seriously. It is a call to serve, to love, and to stand up for the gospel no matter what the cost. In Mark 10:29-30, Jesus states: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” Here, Jesus speaks of the importance of standing up for the gospel and the rewards that come from it.

In Acts 4:19-20, Peter states: “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’” Here, Peter is emphasizing the importance of standing up for what you know is right even in the face of persecution. This attitude should be reflected in the life of an Apostle and is essential to being an effective witness for the gospel.


In conclusion, the term “Apostle” carries a great amount of weight and significance in the Bible. It can refer to the Twelve Apostles who were chosen by Jesus, to non-Twelve Apostles who were chosen by God, to letters written by an Apostle, and to any person called by God to perform a special mission. It also speaks to the authority and power given to Apostles, the fruit of an Apostle, and the character traits that an Apostle should possess. Finally, it is a reminder that being an Apostle is a call to serve, to love, and to stand up for the gospel no matter the cost.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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