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Paul, an apostle–sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father Galatians 1:1

The word “Apostle”, “ap-os’-tol-os” in the Greek, simply means a messenger or someone who is sent. The same word appears in John 13:16 where Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him”. So, anyone can be an Apostle in a technical sense. If your church sends you on a mission, you are an Apostle. In fact, in Philippians 2:25 Epaphroditus is called an Apostle. The term doesn’t even require a spirtual application and it was used in secular contexts throughout the Roman world. 

So, whats so special about being an Apostle? The importance of an Apostle isn’t in the person being sent, it’s in the one who is sending them. When the twelve Apostle selected a replacement for Judas, they picked someone who had been with Christ from the beginning. Why? They knew Christ personally, that’s why!

This is why Paul states that he is an Apostle, sent not by men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. He had met Christ and talked with Him. He had greater authority then the false teachers trying to decieve the churches of Galatia because he was sent by Jesus Himself. In other Epistles he refers to himself as an “Apostle of Christ”, to emphasis that his authority come from Christ, the head of the church. Therefore, no-one today can claim to be an Apostle in the sense of Paul and the twelve Apostles of Christ. 


I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.

2 Corinthians 12:12

Today, we live in a time where many people are actually claiming to have experienced a physical visitation from Jesus Christ himself, and on this basis they claim to have Apostolic authority. There are a number of ways we can disprove these claims using the Bible. In 2 Corinthians 12:12 Paul says that the sign of an Apostle is signs, wonders and miracles. Specifically, these signs wonders and miracles must be done in the midst of those to whom the Apostle is being sent. Paul not only claimed to be an Apostle, he demonstrated his Apostolic authority through signs, wonders and miracles. When Moses was sent to Israel, he demonstrated that he had been sent by God by miracles. He turned his staff into a snake before both Israel and Pharaoh. He made his hand leperous, turned the nile into blood, struck Egypt with plagues and parted the Red Sea. Jesus demonstrated His power to forgive by healing the paralytic. Their miracles weren’t done in far away countries where no-one could verify them. They weren’t done on a stage blocked off by security. They were done in the very midst of those to whom they were sent.


For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13

When Paul wrote to the Corininthian church, he made it clear the neither he nor the other Apostles were wealthy, or even respected men. They were mocked and ridiculed. They were brutality treated. They were hungry and thirsty and were dressed in rags. Todays self-appointed apostles and pophets are healthy and wealthy. They live stress free lives and live in huge mansions. This was not the case with the Biblical Apostles. Paul even goes as far as to mock the Corinthians for presuming to think that their wealth and elequent speaking proved they were spiritually strong. If you see a man, filthy rich, claiming to be an Apostle, then you can know for sure he is a false teacher.