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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Finding Your Place In God's Kingdom Order

Lesson 2
What Is An Apostle?

By Teresa Seputis

That question, "What is an apostle?" is almost as loaded as asking, "What is a Christian?" There are many dimensions to the office/role of apostle. There is still debate as to how many of these a person needs to fill to truly be considered an apostle. Even in scripture, we don't see any one person performing all of the apostolic activities. Peter and Paul performed a lot of them, but neither performed all of them. And we don't know everything that most of the other apostles did, because scripture does not tell us. Here are some of the tasks apostles do and the anointings that they carry, as seen in the New Testament (any quoted scripture is NIV):

The above list is not exhaustive, but it begins to give you an idea of the types of things that Jesus intends His apostles to do. The book of Acts shows us that there were a relatively small number apostles compared with the number of believers. In Acts 1:20-26, we see the 11 surviving apostles (Judas Iscariot had already committed suicide) select Matthias as the 12th apostle. There were about 120 believers gathered together when the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 1:15). This was a ratio of one apostle for every 10 believers, which sounds like a lot of us might be apostles.

But the ratio quickly changed. In Acts 2:41, 3,000 new converts were added, bringing the ratio to one apostle for every 260 believers. The number of believers quickly grew to about 5,000 men plus their wives and families (Acts 4:4). Theologians guess that number was really more than 20,000 people (counting spouses and children). That puts the ratio at about one apostle for every 1,667 people. Acts 5:14 says that even more men and women believed in Jesus, making the number of believers grow even more. And the number keeps increasing as we progress through the book of Acts.

Meanwhile, we don't see God adding any more apostles until the conversion of the apostle Paul in Acts 9. And He used Paul to bring countless numbers of Gentiles into the Kingdom of God, increasing the number of believers even more. This illustrates that God really does not need very many apostles, and that relatively few people in the Body of Christ are called and appointed by God as apostles.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

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