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In a context neutral situation an apostle means one who is sent out. But in The New Testament we find this designation has been given to several people. Firstly to our Lord Jesus Christ as we see in Hebrews 3:1 Secondly the apostles so named by our Lord Himself as we read in Luke 6:13. Then we find apostle chosen by the eleven after prayer by casting lot to take the place of Judas Iscariot as we read in Acts 1:23-26 Then we see apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God referred to apostle Paul as we read in 1Corinthians 1:1 and other places also. And he had the privilege to see our Lord. We also come across apostles of the Church as we read in Romans 16:7 Lastly we come across of those categories those who have apostolic gift to edify His Church as we read in Ephesians 4:11-16. Thus the scripture clearly points to several categories of persons in the Body of Christ who have enjoyed this designation beginning with our Lord Jesus Christ. But each category had / has his own office to discharge his responsibility for the Body Of Christ.
From the introduction to The Progress of World Wide Missions”, by Dr. Robert H. Glover (Home Director for CIM/OMF). “Christian missions have a two fold objective: The proclamation of the gospel to the unconverted everywhere according to the command of Christ, and the establishment of a strong, spiritual, indigenous Church in every country. ‘Missions’ comes from the Latin mitto, “I send”. A missionary is therefore a ‘sent one’. ‘Apostle’, from the Greek apostello, ‘I send’, is a synonym for missionary, and the latter and more familiar word may be substituted for the former throughout the New Testament without altering the sense. For example, the fifth book of the New Testament may be called ‘The Acts of the Missionaries’. The term missions implies three essential factors. Viz, a sender, one sent, and one to whom sent. Jesus himself was the great missionary. He constantly spoke of himself as the messenger sent by the Father to a lost world. He said, ‘As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.’ Jn 20:21. The missionary does not go or speak at his own initiative, but as the commissioned agent for the One who sent him. The more absolutely he represents Him, and the more intelligently, and faithfully he conveys His message, the more perfectly does he fulfill his missionary calling.”
The definition For the word "Apostle" is from the Greek word (Apostolos), is as follows: delegate; spec.an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ ["apostle"] (with miraculous powers):-apostle, messenger, he that is sent. I hope this brings you a better understanding :)
The apostolate was not a limited circle of officials holding a well-defined position of authority in the church, but a large class of men who discharged one--and that the highest--of the functions of the prophetic ministry. 1 Cor 12:28 -- "And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues"; Eph 4:11 -- "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,"-- J. C. Lambert They were appointed by Christ, not by men. Galatians 1:1-- Paul's call came to him in a heavenly vision (Acts 26:17-19); and though this call was subsequently ratified by the church at Antioch, which sent him forth at the bidding of the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:1 ff), he firmly maintained that he was an apostle not from men neither through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead (Gal 1:1 -- "Paul, an apostle - not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead" -).--Lambert), and they gave authoritative witness to what God had done in Christ (Acts 1:22). (Elwell) --Acts 1:22 Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas Acts 1:22: "Beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us - one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection." The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton, IL; 1984), p. 346
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