1. APOSTLES. In the Gospels the word apostolos (sing. and pl) occurs only nine times as compared with sixty-nine in Acts and the Epistles, and three in Revelation. In Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts (except 14:4, 14) the term is used of the Twelve chosen and commissioned by the Lord (Matt. 11:1; Luke 6:13) during His earthly ministry. From this office Judas fell, his place being filled later by Matthias (Acts 1:26). In the Epistles and Revelation the context shows where the Twelve are meant.
The one occurrence in John's Gospel is in 13:16, where it is used in the general sense of one sent forth (on some special message or errand). He Who is called the Apostle (Heb. 3:1) is so constantly (presented in that Gospel as the One sent of the Father (see notes on John 14:24; 17:3) that other messengers are lost sight of.
Besides the Twelve there were others appointed by the Lord after His
Ascension (Eph. 4:11. Cp. 1Cor. 12:28). Such were Paul and Barnabas,
first called so in Acts 14:4, 14; Andronicus and Junias (Rom. 16:7).
Paul nineteen times calls himself and apostle, and argues his claim in
1Cor. 9 and 2Cor. 12. See also 1Thess. 1:1; 2:6, where Paul associates
Silvanus and Timothy with himself. Twice the word
(besides John 13:16 referred to above) is translated "messenger", in 2Cor.
8:23. Phil. 2:25. See notes there.
Besides Acts 13:1, where it is impossible to distinguish between the five persons mentioned as prophets and teachers (two of them being called apostles also in the next chapter), -- Judas and Silas also are called prophets in 15:32.