Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles (Greek:, , ; "Out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem" without article, hence "kingship", "sovereignty"; contrary to the occurrence in ).] administering [κρινοντες (, [ Greek edition] ).] the affairs of the twelve tribes of Israel. [(), was a Jew by birth, and always proud of it, (, cf. , , .]

The Twelve Apostles

"See also: Deaths of the Twelve Apostles."

The four Gospels give varying names of the twelve. According to the list occurring in each of the three Synoptic Gospels (), the Twelve chosen by Jesus near the beginning of his ministry, those whom "also He named Apostles", were, according to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:

#Peter: Renamed by Jesus, his original name was "Simon" (). Also known as Simon bar Jonah, Simon bar Jochanan (Aram.), Cephas (Aram.), and Simon Peter.
#James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John.
#John: The brother of James. Jesus named both of them "Bo-aner'ges", which means "sons of thunder".()
#Bartholomew, son of Talemai: It has been suggested that he is the same person as Nathanael, who is mentioned in and ; and , and , ), it is eminently plausible for Jesus to have been employed to build and repair fishing vessels, thus having many opportunities to interact with and befriend such fishermen.

Albright and Mann extrapolate from Simon's and Andrew's abandonment of their nets, that Matthew is emphasizing the importance of renunciation by converting to Christianity, since fishing was profitable, though required large start-up costs, and abandoning everything would have been an important sacrifice. Regardless, Simon and Andrew's abandonment of what were effectively their most important worldly possessions was taken as a model by later Christian ascetics.

Matthew describes Jesus meeting James and John, also fishermen and brothers, very shortly after recruiting Simon and Andrew. While Matthew identifies James and John as sons of Zebedee, who is also present in their ship, Mark makes no such proclamation (Mark does in ) and Matthew, is how Jesus is presented as describing the role he is offering to the men he recruits. Christians have frequently moved the reference from the disciples to Jesus,), upon which this phrase may be based, and there it is placed in the context of actively hunting down sinners. Wallace argues that the common view of fishing with a line and hook and bringing each fish in individually is misplaced; Simon and Andrew would have used nets to fish and would have brought in large numbers of fish at once through grand acts. Wuellner presents an alternate view arguing that the disciples may have caught fish individually, and even by hand. Manek believes that to fully appreciate the metaphor one must understand how the sea was viewed at the time, arguing that throughout the Old Testament the sea is presented as unholy, and in stories such as that of Jonah, the depths of the sea are portrayed as synonymous with the underworld, hence in Manek's view the act of fishing is a metaphor for bringing people from the domain of sin and death to one of God. The water reference might also be linked to the idea of baptism, which towards the end of Matthew is explicitly linked to the disciples' mission.

Election of Matthias to Judas's share in their ministry

After Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ and then in guilt committed suicide before Christ's resurrection (in one Gospel account), the apostles numbered eleven. When Jesus had been taken up from them, in preparation for the coming of the Holy Spirit that he had promised them, Peter advised the brethren, "Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus … For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry … For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation be made desolate, Let no one dwell therein,' and, 'Let another take his office' … So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us, must become with us a witness to his resurrection" (cf. , Barnabas is referred to as an apostle.

Andronicus and Junia

In sourcetext|source=Bible|version=King James|book=Romans|chapter=16|verse=7 Paul states that Andronicus and Junia were "of note among the apostles".

There are two interesting questions here. First, was Junia female? Second, there is the question of whether the phrase means they were well-known to the apostles, or were apostles themselves. Taken together, these raise the possibility of a female apostle, [Crossan, J. D. and Reed, J. L., "In Search of Paul", Harper San Francisco (2004), p. 115-116. ISBN 0-06-051457-4.] which would be an important factor in the issue of Women in Christianity.


Silas is referred to as an apostle in I Thessalonians (see 1:1 and 2:6) along with Timothy and Paul. He also performs the functioning of an apostle as Paul's companion in Paul's second missionary journey in Acts 15:40ff.


Timothy is referred to as an apostle in I Thessalonians (see 1:1 and 2:6) along with Silas and Paul. However, in II Corinthians 1:1, he is only called a "brother" when Paul refers to himself as "an apostle of Christ". Timothy performs many of the functions of an apostle in the commissioning of Paul in I and II Timothy, though in those epistles Paul refers to him as his "son" in the faith.


Apollos is included as "us apostles" in I Corinthians 4:9 (see 4:6, 3:22, 3:4-6) along with Paul and Cephas (Peter).

Later Christianizing apostles

Roman Catholic tradition

A number of successful pioneering missionaries are known as "Apostles". In this sense, in the traditional list below, the "apostle" either first brought Christianity to a land or a people, or spread the faith in places where where a few struggling Christian communities did already exist.

* Apostle to the Abyssinians: Saint Frumentius
* Apostle to the Caucasian Albania: Saint Yelisey
* Apostle of the Alleghanies: Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, 1770–1840
* Apostle to the Americas: Saint Innocent, 1797–1879
* Apostle of Andalusia: Juan de Avila, 1500–1569
* Apostle of the Ardennes: Saint Hubert, 656–727
* Apostle to the Armenians: Saint Gregory the Illuminator, 256–331
* Apostle to Berkshire: Thomas Russell
* Apostle to Brazil: José de Anchieta, 1533–1597
* Apostle to Carantania: Bishop Vergilius of Salzburg (745–84)
* Apostle to the Cherokees: Cephas Washburn
* Apostle to China: Hudson Taylor
* Apostle to the English: Saint Augustine, died 604
* Apostle to the Franks: Saint Remigius, ca 437–533
* Apostle to the Frisians: Saint Willibrord, 657–738
* Apostle of Gaul: Saint Irenaeus, 130–200
* Apostle of Gaul: Saint Denis (3rd century)
* Apostle of Gaul: Saint Martin of Tours, 338–401
* Apostle to the Georgians: Saint Nino, 320s
* Apostle to the Gentiles: Saint Paul
* Apostle to the Germans: Saint Boniface, 680–755
* Apostle to the Goths: Bishop Ulfilas (Arian)
* Apostle to Hungary: Saint Anastasius, 954–1044
* Apostle to India: Saint Thomas
* Apostle to India: Saint Francis Xavier; 1506–1552
* Apostle to the "Indians" (Amerindians): John Eliot, 1604–1690
* Apostle to the Indies (West): Bartolomé de las Casas, 1474–1566
* Apostle to the Indies (East): Saint Francis Xavier, 1506–1552
* Apostle to Ireland: Saint Patrick, 373–463
* Apostle to the Iroquois, Francois Piquet, 1708–1781
* Apostle to Noricum: Saint Severinus
* Apostle to the North: Saint Ansgar, 801–864
* Apostle to the Parthians: Saint Thomas
* Apostle of the Permians: Saint Stephen of Perm, 1340–1396
* Apostle of Peru: Alonzo de Barcena, 1528–1598
* Apostle to the Picts: Saint Ninian, 5th century
* Apostle to the Polish: Saint Adalbert
* Apostle to the Pomeranians: Saint Otto of Bamberg, 1060–1139
* Apostle to the Scots: Saint Columba, 521–597
* Apostle to the Slavs: Saint Cyril, c 820–869
* Apostle to the Slavs: Saint Methodius
* Apostle of Spains: James the Great (d. 44)
* Apostle of Mercy: Saint Faustina Kowalska, 1905–1938
* Apostle of the Eucharist: Saint Peter Julian Eymard

"Equal to the Apostles" according to Eastern Orthodox tradition

Some Eastern Orthodox saints are given the title "isapostolos" ("equal-to-the-apostles"), e.g. Cosmas of Aetolia. Beginning with Constantine the Great, this was also a frequent titles of Byzantine Emperors.

The myrrh-bearing women, especially Mary Magdalene, who went to anoint Christ's body and first learned of his resurrection, are sometimes called the "apostles to the apostles" because they were sent by Jesus to tell the apostles of his resurrection.

* Constantine the Great:main|Constantine I and Christianity:The Emperor Constantine the Great, sometimes considered founder of the Byzantine Empire, formally recognized Christianity in the Roman Empire in the Edict of Milan in 313. According to Philip Schaff's [ History of the Christian Church] : "Soon after his death, Eusebius set him above the greatest princes of all times; from the fifth century he began to be recognized in the East as a saint; and the Greek and Russian church to this day celebrates his memory under the extravagant title of "Isapostolos," the "Equal of the apostles". The Latin church, on the contrary, has never placed him among the saints, but has been content with naming him "the Great," in remembrance of his services to the cause of Christianity and civilization. Comp the Acta Sact. ad 21 Maii, p. 13 sq. Niebuhr remarks: "When certain oriental writers call Constantine `equal to the Apostles’, they do not know what they are saying; and to speak of him as a ’saint’ is a profanation of the word".

In the Russian Orthodox Church also:
*Saint prince Vladimir
*Saint princess Olga of Kiev

Apostles today

In the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, bishops are seen as the successors to the Apostles. See Apostolic succession.

Many Charismatic churches consider apostleship to be a gift of the Holy Spirit still given today (based on 1 Corinthians 12:28, and Ephesians 4:11).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("LDS Church"; see also Mormon) believes that the authority of the original twelve apostles is a distinguishing characteristic of the true church established by Jesus. For this reason, it ordains Apostles as members of its Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, second in authority to the church's First Presidency

The Community of Christ also has apostles, forming the Council of Twelve, who preside over the missionary efforts of the Church. In terms of church government, they are second only in authority to the First Presidency, whose members are often former members of the Council of Twelve (but this is not a requirement). The current president of the Church, Stephen M. Veazey, was himself a member of the Council of Twelve (and in fact its president), just prior to becoming President of the Church. According to church law, the Council of Twelve Apostles, under specific circumstances, is equal in authority to the First Presidency.

The New Apostolic Church believes also in the current existence of modern day apostles. They believe in the return of the apostles in the 1830s in England by prophecies. From among the renewal movements in the 1800s see: Catholic Apostolic Church; from which the New Apostolic Church split off. Other examples include the United Apostolic Church.

Unity School of Christianity/The Twelve Powers of Man

The Unity Church associates each Apostle with a power, as per Charles Fillmore's "The Twelve Powers of Man". They are Love (John), Enthusiasm or Zeal (Simon the Canaanite), Imagination (Nathanael Bartholomew), Faith (Simon Peter), Strength (Andrew), Power (Philip), Will (Matthew), Understanding (Thomas Didymus), Wisdom (James, son of Zebedee), Order (James, son of Alphaeus), Life (Judas Iscariot/Matthias), and Elimination or Renunciation (Judas Thaddaeus). Most of these are based on the Biblical and historical character of the Apostles, such as Simon's zealotry, Peter's attempt to walk on water when the others would not get out of the boat, Andrew's strength of character when facing execution, or Judas's desire to improve others' lot in life through charity. Sam Patrick and Omar Garrison's "Jesus Loved Them: Living Portraits of People Who Knew Jesus", published by Prentice-Hall in 1957, explains the twelve-power connections with the disciples along with full-page paintings of each of them, and others in Jesus's life.

Further reading

*Navarre RSV Holy Bible. Four Courts Press, Dublin, Ireland, 1999.
*Albright, W.F. and C.S. Mann. "Matthew." "The Anchor Bible Series." New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.
*Pope Benedict XVI, "The Apostles", [This is the title on the dust jacket, whereas on the title page the full title is given as "The Origins of the Church – The Apostles and Their Co-Workers".] published 2007, in the US: ISBN 978-1-59276-405-1; different edition published in the UK under the title: "Christ and His Church – Seeing the face of Jesus in the Church of the Apostles", ISBN 978-1-86082-441-8.
*Carson, D.A. "The Limits of Functional Equivalence in Bible Translation - and other Limits Too." "The Challenge of Bible Translation: Communicating God's Word to the World." edited by Glen G Scorgie, Mark L. Strauss, Steven M. Voth.
*Carter, Warren. "Matthew 4:18-22 and Matthean Discipleship: An Audience-Oriented Perspective." "Catholic Bible Quarterly." Vol. 59. No. 1. 1997.
*Clarke, Howard W. "The Gospel of Matthew and its Readers: A Historical Introduction to the First Gospel." Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003.
*"Fishers of Men." "A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature." David Lyle Jeffrey, general editor. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1992.
*France, R.T. "The Gospel According to Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary." Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1985.
*Manek, Jindrich. "Fishers of Men." "Novum Testamentum." 1958 pg. 138
*Schweizer, Eduard. "The Good News According to Matthew." Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975
*Wuellner, Wilhelm H. "The Meaning of "Fishers of Men". Westminster Press, 1967.
* "The Lost Gospel - The Book of Q". by Burton L Mack


ee also

*Deaths of the Twelve Apostles
*Apostolic Fathers
*Apostolic succession
*New Apostolic Church
*New Testament
*Seventy Disciples
*Great Commission
*Apostolic Council
*Apostles' Fast
*Apostle (Latter Day Saints)
*List of Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Latter-day Saint)
*Twelve Imams

External links

* [ Apostles] article from "The Catholic Encyclopedia"
* [ Apostle] in the 1911 "Encyclopædia Britannica"
* [ Apostle] article from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge
* [ Liddell & Scott]
* [ Strong's G652]
* [ Apostle and Apostleship] article from "Jewish Encyclopedia"
* [ ""] Biographies of Christ's Apostles
* [ Fishing in First Century Judea]
* [ The Fishing Economy in Galilee]
* [ The Twelve Apostles] an Eastern Orthodox perspective by Rev. George Mastrantonis
* [ Apostle] article from OrthodoxWiki
* [ Christian History: The Twelve Apostles]

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