- This is a bit long but I’m trying t make it shorter. It’s to help showcase that there is indeed a very real difference between apostles and elders , including not only in qualifications but duties.
Apostle is a term often misunderstood because it’s used loosely throughout scripture meaning ones sent “apostolos” and also meaning one of the men chosen by God.
This is a quick breakdown of how the apostleship is fleshed out. In the gospels we see Jesus calling for 12 men to be his disciples. One of these men, Judas betrays Jesus and kills himself. Before ascending Jesus tells the 11 disciples, now his apostles carrying out the great commission, not to leave Jerusalem but wait for the power promised to them. The promise of the baptism of the holt spirit. (It’s good to note it leaves off baptism of fire here for s reason. The apostles were not baptized with fire. No believer is.
Acts 1:4-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized [c]with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Then in acts 1:8
Acts 1:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.”
*It mentions when they receive the Holy Spirit they will also receive the power of the Holy Spirit making a clear distinction between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit. It mentions that they , the apostles, will carry the gospel to their whole world. To Jerusalem ( Jews ) , Samaria ( half Jewish gentiles) and to the ends of the earth ( the gentiles ).
We skip ahead to acts 1:16-26 and see that they ran into a dilemma. They needed a man who had been with them since the beginning to replace Judas and so lots was cast and Matthias was selected as the replacement apostle.
Then in acts 2 we read of them being at Pentecost and the Holy Spirit feel on them in the the form of tongues on fire. They then begin to baptize the repented believers into Christ for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the Holy Spirit. In baptism the new believers received the Holy Spirit but not it’s power. We see see from what happens later on. We also see that the believers were amazed by the signs and wonders performed by the apostles. Their power that the others did not have. We read of this in acts 2:14-40.
Then we jump ahead to acts 8. We see here that Saul is persecuting snd killing christians. All the believers, except the apostles, scatter from Jerusalem and flee to other parts of the world.
Acts 8:1-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
8 Now Saul approved of putting Stephen to death.
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and mourned loudly for him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and he would drag away men and women and put them in prison.
- In Acts 8:4-24 we read of one of those men who fled was the evangelist Philip. He was not a apostle because they all remained in Jerusalem. He fled to Samaria and begin preforming miracles. The apostles heard about this and sent Peter and John to them so that they may lay their hands on the newly baptized believers so that they may receive the Holy Spirit. That is to receive the power of the spirit. They already received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. One of the men who believed snd was baptized was Simon the Magician and he noticed that the apostles could do something that Philip the evangelist could not and that was the ability that the apostles had to lay on hands giving a spiritual gift to someone. Only they could do this.
Acts 8:16-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 (For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could acquire the gift of God with money!
We then jump ahead to Acts 16 and the conversion of the persecutor Saul and how he became the apostle Paul. On the way to Damascus Jesus is visited by the ascended Christ and is blinded. He is sent to a disciple who baptizes him into Christ. In Galatians 1 it talks a bit about Paul not talking to any other disciples of flesh and blood for three years. Many believe it’s implied that Jesus visited and taught paul during those three years just like he did with the 12 before the ascension.
Then we begin to see through the epistles Paul emerging as the 14th known apostle and as the 13th living apostle. This is a hyperlink back to the situation of the tribe of Jospeh splitting into 2 tribes, “ Ephraim and Manesseh” with the later being assimilated into the surrounding gentile nations. This ties into the fact of why Paul was an apostle to the gentiles and the 13th apostle. Thus working towards the goal of not only the Jews and Samaritans hearing the gospel but also the gentiles in the ends of the world. This is why it says that we are all one in Christ. It’s not erasing individuality, but is including all men and women, Jews and Gentiles, as sons and daughters of God. Even slaves are given the honor of knowing they two are princes when the Messiah returns and the new Jerusalem “heaven” overlaps with earth.
We can see that Paul is an apostle not only by name , as Peter verified, but also through action. Paul had the power to lay on hands and gift someone with a spiritual power.
1 Timothy 4:14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was granted to you through words of prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.
*Here many falsely try to say oh see it was the elders, not the apostle Paul who did it. But this is in fact clarified later on that it was Paul’s hands , among the council, that granted this spiritual power to Timothy.
2 Timothy 1:6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
- Now finally we come to what begin this counter argument.
Romans 16:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsfolk and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding in the view of the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
- The confusion over this verse is usually tied to the word, episémos. The phrase is often translated as among the apostles but many begin to confuse that for meaning as an apostle. But it means something else entirely. It means that these two disciples were well known as being outstanding to the apostles themselves. It’s like saying Marilyn Manson and Dani Filth are well known among the goth kids of alabama. It’s not suggesting they are goth kids of Alabama but saying the goth kids of Alabama knows who they are.
So she was never an apostle. Paul was never an elder. He did not meet the qualifications for being one. There is a great difference between being an apostle and being an elder. Two completely different roles with different duties and requirements.
As for the other stuff I’ll have to get to it later. I need to workout. This response alone took a while. I’ll get to the rest another day.