Spiritual Gifts: Apostles
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles… (1 Corinthians 12:27-28 NIV) It was he who gave some to be apostles… (Ephesians 4:11 NIV)
The Spiritual Gift of Apostles Defined: There is much confusion regarding the spiritual gift of apostleship because there is sometimes a failure to distinguish between the office of apostle and the gift of apostle. The office of apostle refers to the twelve chosen by Jesus (e.g., Matthew 10:1; 19:28; 20:17; Mark 3:13-19; 6:7; 9:35; 10:32; Luke 6:12-16; 8:1; 9:1; 22:19-30; John 6:70-71; Revelation 21:14). The requirements for the office of apostle include being an eyewitness to the life and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:21-26). Another requirement is miraculous power (Acts 2:43; 5:12; 8:18; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4). Therefore, apostles do not exist today (e.g., writing books of the Bible), although the function of their office does continue in a limited sense.
Apostleship in a Secondary Sense: For example, apostleship in a secondary sense applies to such people as Barnabas (Acts 14:3-4, 14), Apollos and Sosthenes (1 Corinthians 4:6-9), Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7), James (Galatians 1:19), and Silas and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6). They, like apostles today, were gifted individuals sent out to move from place to place in order to begin and establish local churches (Acts 13:3-4). This gift also includes the capacity to minister cross-culturally (Acts 10:34-35; Ephesians 3:7-8). Today, church planters and missionaries are operating out of their gift of apostleship as well as those Christian leaders God raises up to lead and influence multiple churches and pastors.
People with the Gift of Apostleship: These people often have a number of gifts, such as evangelism, teaching, leadership, faith, and exhortation and are motivated by difficult new tasks.
Apostles in Scripture: Hebrews 3:1 says, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” Jesus also builds the church (Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 3:1-6). He is the chief cornerstone of the church, upon which the foundation of the prophets and apostles is laid (Ephesians 2:20), and over which He rules as Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). Paul is another example (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus all open with Paul introducing himself as an apostle). Also, a reading of Acts shows how Paul ministered cross-culturally and planted churches. Peter also held the office of apostle (Galatians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:1).