Friday, February 17, 2012

Apostles vs. Disciples

I just realized a wonderful truth to share with you all. Did the gospel writers personally know Jesus? Here’s the acid test – do we call them an Apostle? If so, then the answer is YES! It’s just that easy. There are only 12, ONLY.

The 12th became the Apostle Paul, who met Jesus personally on the road to Damascus, and was called by the Lord Himself to be an Apostle. Paul spent a great deal of time and energy convincing the folks of his day of this fact, just read the opening lines of any of his epistles.

Apostle Matthew? YES.
Apostle Mark? NO. He wrote what the Apostle Peter preached.
Apostle Luke? NO. But he interviewed eye-witnesses.
Apostle John? YES.

Now I know there are those “churches” who run around calling anyone and everyone an apostle. But they are not using the word correctly. The title goes to the 12 that Jesus personally CHOSE and then SENT to disciple the world, and no one else.

So what is the difference between a disciple and an Apostle? Well, for one thing, there is that capital letter I just put on the word “Apostle”. "Apostle" is a proper title, given by Jesus, not man. "Disciple" is an adjective; however, we’ve come to use the word as a noun. Sort of like when we say American, that’s usually a description of people, but then it can also be used to describe automobiles, flags, cuisine, etc.  The word “disciple” describes someone who is learning from a particular teacher. In this case, we are talking about disciples of Jesus.

It can be confusing because some folks call “the 12” disciples – and they were; but there were thousands of folks who literally followed (traveled with) Jesus as learner-disciples when He was teaching and traveling from city to city. And anyone, from any era, can be a disciple of Jesus by studying the Bible and “following Him” by the way they live their lives. Therefore, I am a disciple, but can never become one of the 12 Apostles, no matter how much studying I do!

I know using the title “Apostle” might not look like very convincing evidence. But actually the early church fathers would have been extremely particular to not banter this title about carelessly. They no doubt held meetings just to discuss the use of this word! So when early documents use the word “Apostle”, we can be reasonably certain, that individual KNEW Jesus.

The mere fact that only 2 of the 4 gospel writers have this title should show you that there is something "special" about those two. Personally, I feel that this is more "internal evidence" of the Bible's truthfulness. If mere men were putting the Bible together, all the writers would have held this important title.


  1. Hi Deborah,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is always a joy to see a new follower. Thank you!

    I will be interested in reading your blog.


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. You have unknowingly stumbled into a lengthy conversation between "Mormon411" and myself. I found his blog on Tuesday last week and we've been exchanging ideas ever since. In fact, the reason I was at your blog last night was that he had recommended it to me :-)

      I'm glad you enjoyed what you found here, but this is not very typical -- although maybe it should be! Apologetics gets a bad rap from a few pushy souls out there. And then there are the types that just say "blind faith" till everyone is blue in the face! So maybe "this" is where my blog should go in the future. Time will tell.

      But if you'd like to "taste" some of my other writing, please check out the postings from January 2012, I think those were some of my best. And since you are already a Christian, you may be interested in the monthly newsletter I publish on Bible study methods. You can find it online at I am in the process of putting up the March issue; hopefully, it should go live by Wednesday.

      I've copied your Lion of Judah pic -- it is my new computer wallpaper! May I always remember that this is how our Lord will return. Thank you again for your blog. God bless.

  2. Lol! My internet friend Mormon 411! :) I am very surprised he recommended my blog to anyone. I do believe God is working away at his heart.

    I will check out your other site, thank you.

    Since you are 'into' apologetics I would like to refer you on to a blog that I love Elizabeth Prata is an ex atheist and finds herself as a watchman for the coming our Lord, Jesus Christ. Her blog is amazing and I am sure you would thoroughly enjoy it.


  3. Hi WingAbouts,

    You have a nice blog and I am going to join it! Funny, coming across your recent post on what makes an Apostle, I've been mulling that over recently myself. Thank you for your research.

    John and Paul were Apostles who wrote great portions of the NT as you mentioned, but how about Apostle Peter as well? Wouldn't that make three?

    Thank you Child of God for the recommendation. It means a lot coming from you. :)

    1. During Sunday's sermon, my pastor brought up another qualification for an Apostle that I hadn't thought to mention....he said that to be an Apostle you needed to be an eyewitness of the physically resurrected Jesus. He went on to explain that this was because it was of HIM that they were to be witnesses.

  4. Hello Elizabeth, welcome to my very humble blog! I sure had fun reading your posts last night. As for the Apostle Peter, you're absolutely right! Peter was definitely an Apostle, I mentioned that sort in passing when I said that Mark wrote his gospel based on traveling with Peter.

    I'm not sure you've found your way down to the post on the 4 gospel writers, but that was the question that sort of started me off on this writing tangent. Someone said that they heard NONE of the gospel writers knew Jesus and I was trying to find a way to prove it without using the Bible.

    My hope here was to say that because the church has called these 2 particular gospel writers Apostles (and not all 4) that that indicates they were "special" and tradition says the "special" was they were commissioned by the Lord Himself.

    Anyways, thanks for joining me here. I'll be back to your site a little later :-)