What does apostle mean?
Apostle means a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders, a special messenger of Jesus Christ.
Greek word used is apostolos (ἀπόστολος - G 652)
Is apostleship earned by believers? or Is it a gift?
No one can earn this. It is a gift.
In general it is also called as offices of spiritual leadership.
Who is ordaining/giving this apostleship to the believers?
Jesus Christ will give this apostleship to some believers.
Spiritual gifts are listed in three different places 1 Cor 12:1-12; Rom 12:3-8; and Eph 4:11. This specific gift is listed in Eph 4:11. These gifts also called the gifts of Jesus Christ:
Eph 4:7,8,11 - 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."(Psalm 68:18) 9 (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Application: Why is Jesus Christ giving these gifts?
Eph 4:12 - 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--
What are the responsibilities of an apostle?
From the book of Acts and other epistles we can gather their responsibilities.
An apostle of Jesus Christ is a lifelong messenger of Jesus Christ who has been given the authority
Preach the Gospel: Especially apostles are the pioneers to preach the Gospel in new territory (Acts 13-28)
Rom 15:19-21 - 19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, 21 but as it is written: "To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand."
For more details read Why did Paul make it an aim not to build on another man's foundation?
Apostles lay the Foundation of Christianity:
Paul was called to lay the foundation:
1 Cor 3:5-15 - 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Other apostles are also called to lay the foundation.and rest of the believers are built on the foundation of the apostles:
Eph 2:20 - 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Establish new churches (1st & 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, ...)
Oversees the established churches (Romans 16)
Discipline the member of the church (1 Corinthians 5)
Equipping the Saints (Titus, Timothy, Eph 4:12)
Send or assign leaders to pastor the church (Titus, Timothy)
Who are called "The Apostles"?
The initial 12 apostles whom Jesus choose are called The Apostles. They are listed in Matt 10:2-4; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:13
James (of Alphaeus)
Simon (the Canaanite)
Who is the 12th apostle? or Who replaced Judas Iscariot?
Is Paul is 12th apostle in place of Judas Iscariot?
As per Acts 1:16-26 these 11 apostles selecting 12th apostle in place of Judas Iscariot.
Acts 1:16-26 - 16 "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus (Ps 41:5); 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry." 18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms: 'Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it';(Ps 69:25) and, 'Let another take his office.' (Ps 109:8) 21 "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." 23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place." 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
But some strongly believe that these apostles are not yet baptized/anointed with the Holy Spirit (which happens in Acts 2) so like Sarah they came up with this fleshly idea and selected 12thapostle. They didn't realize if God promised then He will fulfill.
God's promise to Abraham is Isaac but Sara couldn't wait so she come up with plan with Abraham to have baby through Hagar. Ismail is product/fruit of human plan but Isaac is product/fruit of God's promise. Similar to this Matthias might be eleven apostle's choice but Jesus replacement for Judas Iscariot might be Paul.
So, some of them strongly believe Paul is Jesus replacement for Judas Iscariot.
We will definitely see the 12th apostle name in the foundation of New Jerusalem.
Rev 21:14 - Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Is it important that Paul needs to be the 12th apostle?
As per Eph 2:20 and 1 Cor 3:5-14 apostles lay the foundation of Christianity. Apostle Paul is one among them because his epistles play a big role in New Testament part of the Bible. So, some believe that there are only twelve apostles Jesus ordained to lay the foundation of Christianity and they insist to keep Paul in initial twelve apostle ("The Apostle") list. They do this for the authenticity of the books in the Bible.
Some never mind and and they believe that Paul may be either 12th apostle or later.
But some legalist out there try to throw Paul away from the apostleship. In fact they tag him as a false apostle/prophet.
Why they make Paul's apostleship a big deal? or Why some want to deny the apostleship of Paul?
The main reason for this is to get rid of all Paul's epistles from the Bible.
Why they want to get rid of Paul's epistles?
Because they are legalist they do not want Paul's detail teaching about Grace and Faith alone we will be saved.
Since they are legalist they want to keep the law legally by their works and earn the salvation.
Especially they hate this book of Romans because it expounds or unveils the Gospel in detail.
Is the apostle gift is ceased after this initial twelve "The Apostles"?
In addition to twelve apostles we can see in Gal 1:19 Paul refers James as an apostle.
NLT: Gal 1:19 - And the only other apostle I met at that time was James, our Lord's brother.
Gal 1:19 - 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
The resurrected Jesus appeared to all the twelve apostles, then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles," which suggests a wider group of apostles than the original twelve
1 Cor 15:5,7 - 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Very important thing is that Paul is an apostle as he claims and other apostles recognized him:
Paul faced lot of challenges including the circumcision issue. He presented this to other apostles and got approved by other apostles:
Acts 15:1-2 - 1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
Acts 15:22,25,26 - 22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law"--to whom we gave no such commandment-- 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.
The apostle Peter Even Paul's apostleship was recognized by .
2 Peter 3:15,16 - 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
Do we need apostles now? Does Jesus still ordaining apostles now?
Some believe that Jesus stopped ordaining the apostles now because laying the foundation of Christianity responsibility is already fulfilled through the core apostles. We can read this fromApostles lay the Foundation of Christianity.
But some believe that Jesus still ordain apostles now because the core apostles only fulfilled this laying the foundation of Christianity responsibility but rest of the responsibilities of apostles are still valid and apostle office/gift are still necessary even now.
Let us Find answers from reality or existence of apostles available in present day:
Can you name few evangelist around your area serving our Lord?
Billy Graham, Luis Palau, Greg Laurie, ...
Can you name few apostles around your area serving our Lord?
No. There are many evangelist, pastor-teachers but not the apostles.
Why? Following question answer us.
Is there any modern or different name available for apostle?
What is the modern name for apostle?
The modern name for apostle is Missionary.
From where did this modern name come from?
(WW) Missionary is the Latin form of "apostle—one who is sent."
In India FMPB, ICGM, GFA and many other missionary organizations are sending missionaries as pioneers to spread the gospel in new places where unreached people groups exist in India.
Malto (Santhali), Santal (Santhali), Gond (Gondi), ...
Following taken from Joshua Project website: https://joshuaproject.net/countries/IN
Number of People Groups 2,533 - People Groups Unreached 2,276 (89.9%)
Total Population 1,335,627,000 (1.3 billion) - Population in Unreached 1,272,711,000 (1.2 billion i.e. 95.3%)
What are the responsibilities of a missionary?
The responsibilities of a missionary are the responsibilities of apostle you can read those under "What are the responsibilities of an apostle?"