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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Do People Today Have the Gift of Apostle?

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Don Stewart

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Is the gift of apostle still with the church today? There has been much discussion concerning the twelve original apostles and whether or not they were the only ones with this gift. In a particular sense, the office of apostle referred to the twelve disciples of Jesus:

And when it was day, He called His disciples to Him; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles (Luke 6:13).

One of the Twelve, Judas, was replaced after his suicide. However, the Twelve, as they are known, did not have successors.

But the New Testament uses the term apostle for others beside the original twelve. Paul was not one of the original twelve but he is called an apostle: "Am I not an apostle?" (1 Corinthians 9:1).

Barnabas also served as an apostle:

But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul heard this (Acts 14:14).

The New Testament mentions additional apostles who were not among the Twelve:

Andronicus, Junias (Romans 16:7), James the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19), Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6).

Furthermore, the warning Paul gave concerning false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13) would have no meaning if the apostles were limited to the Twelve. Thus the word apostle has both a limited and wide sense.

Though some believe the gift of being an apostle is no longer active among Christians, biblical evidence indicates that the gift continues:

And He Himself gave some to be apostles (Ephesians 4:11).

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