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Various New Testament writers do not use ἀπόστολος in the same way. Paul uses ἀπόστολος as his primary self-designation and fills that word with his particular experience – his call from Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life-long mission to the Gentile world, his willingness to serve, his proclamation of the Gospel, and even his sufferings. But it was not the only meaning, for Paul could use the term as a designation for other fellow workers (without explaining exactly what he means by that) and could even use the term broadly when speaking of “apostles and prophets.” For Paul, the term is specific to himself but also applies to others. Luke has a narrower range of usage. For the most part, the ἀπόστολοι are the twelve, especially in their roles as leaders of the community and authoritative witnesses to the words and deeds of Jesus. This usage also is replicated in most other occurrences of ἀπόστολος in the New Testament. The usage in the New Testament is not uniform. It depends on the writer and the situation being addressed by the writer.
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The article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).