Who is the greatest apostle; more accomplished, and considered most important Apostles?
In matters of faith and theology, there is NO “most important, greatest” or “best apostle or disciple of Jesus.” The twelve apostles have unique backgrounds, all “unworthy” based on human standards.
“Saint John” might as well be the greatest. After all, he wrote a great deal about Jesus, and he was the “disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23). But then, the testimonies of Peter and Paul were critical to the movement. Without their work, Christianity wouldn’t have spread.
- John is perhaps the most popular because he wrote the Book of John and Revelation attributed to him.
- His writings are the most read and essential in understanding the New Testament.
- The book of John contains the most schematic account of Jesus’ ministry, purpose, and divinity.
- Since the first century, John is identified as the “beloved disciple” of Jesus. (John 13:21-30; 21:7)
- John was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, with James and Peter.
Apostle Peter (Simon)
“Saint Peter” was given the “keys to the kingdom of heaven,” which meant he was the “first to preach” to the gentiles. It does not mean he was the founder of Christianity or Catholicism. The true church of Jesus is those in the body of Christ.
- Peter was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, with James and John.
- Jesus commended Peter’s “great confession” (on who Jesus is) in Matthew 16:18 and called him Petras, as Jesus is Petros.
- He was symbolically given the “Key to the Kingdom” of heaven. As such, Peter “opened the door” for the Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles to enter God’s Kingdom through this “Key,” which is the Gospel that he preached.
- Jesus’ promise that Peter would be foundational in building the Church, fulfilled in three stages: Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).; Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8); First to preach to the gentiles through Cornelius (Acts 10).
Apostle Paul (Saul)
“Saint Paul” received direct revelations from the Lord Jesus (Galatians 1:11-12). Whether he learned them in a week or three years seemed to position him as the greatest apologist of his time. But then, God continues to raise apologists today, attuned to the changing times.
- Paul was not part of Jesus’ earlier set of disciples. We could call him the 13th apostle.
- He was called into apostleship after Jesus’ resurrected. Jesus revealed Himself to him on his way to Damascus. It immediately transformed Saul, who was also called Paul.
- He evangelized more people and culture compared to the rest. Through Paul, the Gospel spread in Europe, Asia Minor, and eventually to the rest of the world.
- He is known as the “apostle of the gentiles.”
Character and accomplishments of Paul
- The most prolific missionary who wrote more in the New Testament.
- Fearless, passionate, and result-oriented. He would be a hands-on-leader, and result-oriented.
- Paul preached to anyone and traveled to the farthest. He used a strategy to accomplish his mission.
- Paul’s calling was distinct among the twelve apostles, his theology a direct “spiritual revelation.” (Ephesians3:1-3)
- He’s considered the most important theologian of the early church. He rebuked and corrected errors of churches and Christians derailed by sin and false doctrines.