Paul, the last apostle of Jesus Christ
In Hebrew, “apostle” is שָׁלוּחַ (Shaliach), meaning “one who is sent” or “messenger.” In Greek, “apostle” is ἀπόστολος (Apostolos), also meaning “one who is sent” (Hebrews 3:1). Jesus limited his apostles to twelve males. The rest of His followers and other early church leaders were called disciples.
Today, people who serve Jesus and spread His teachings are likewise called disciples. They continue to carry on the message and mission of Jesus and the instructions of Jesus’ apostles.
What qualifies Paul as an apostle according to the Bible
1. Paul’s encounter with Jesus led to his calling as an apostle.
As he approached Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
2. He received direct revelation from Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
3. Set apart and called as an Apostle to the Gentiles.
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.
4. Paul defends himself as the “Apostle for the Gentiles”
1 Corinthians 9:1-2
Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I, not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle.
Are there modern apostles today?
The short answer is no. Those who assert a “Jesus encounter,” and new revelations are counterfeit apostles, as God is all-knowing and the sealed Bible’s last book suffices, leaving no need for further revelations.