Jesus is stated in the New Testament to have had twelve apostles who, with the Great Commission, he sent to spread the message of the Gospel to all nations after his resurrection. There is also an Eastern Christian tradition derived from the Gospel of Luke of Seventy Apostles.
Paul the Apostle (Saul of Tarsus), not one of the twelve or the seventy but a later convert, "the apostle of the Gentiles", claimed a special commission from the resurrected Jesus, separate from the Great Commission given to the twelve. Paul did not restrict the term apostle to the twelve, referring to his mentor Barnabas and others as apostles, either because he didn't know it or resisted it. This restricted usage appears in Revelation. In modern usage, major missionaries are sometimes termed apostles, as in Saint Patrick, "Apostle of Ireland".
The sub-period of Early Christianity during the lifetimes of the apostles is called the Apostolic Age. In the 2nd century, association with the apostles was esteemed as evidence of authority and such churches are known as Apostolic Sees. Paul's epistles were accepted as scripture (see Development of the New Testament canon), and two of the four gospels were associated with apostles, as were other New Testament works. Various Christian texts, such as the Didache and the Apostolic Constitutions, were attributed to the twelve apostles. Bishops traced their lines of succession back to individual apostles, who were said to have dispersed from Jerusalem and established churches across great territories. Christian bishops have traditionally claimed authority deriving, by apostolic succession, from the twelve. Early Church Fathers came to be associated with apostles, such as Pope Clement I with Peter the apostle (see Apostolic Fathers). The Apostles' Creed, popular in the West, was said to have been composed by the apostles themselves.
The Twelve Apostles are often called the Twelve Disciples.
Other articles related to "apostle":
... The fivefold ministry states that the apostlecontinues to be a valid and active office in the contemporary church ... that God is restoring the lost offices of prophet and apostle ...
Famous quotes containing the word apostle:
“Go, all of you poor people, in the name of God the Creator, and let him forever be your guide. And henceforth, do not be beguiled by these idle and useless pilgrimages. See to your families, and work, each one of you, in your vocation, raise your children, and live as the good Apostle Paul teaches you.”
—François Rabelais (14941553)