The following brief analysis of the Greek word apostolḗ, ‘apostleship’ shows that it is used in four basic ways. Its purpose is to provide background information for analysis of how the New Testament teaches regarding apostles and apostolic ministry.
Greek word: ἀποστολή, apostolḗ
Strong’s #: G651
Frequency: 4 occurrences
Summary of the meaning of the Greek word ἀποστολή, apostleship, in all verses where it occurs in the New Testament.
Apostleship is from Jesus (Rom. 1:5)
Generic reference (1 Cor. 9:2)
Peter’s apostleship is to the Jews (Gal. 2:8)
Replacement of Judas (Acts 1:25)
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Strong’s # 651, ἀποστολή apostolḗ
“to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
Replacement of Judas
“through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,”
Apostleship is from Jesus
1 Cor. 9:2
“If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”
“(for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),”
Peter’s apostleship is to the Jews
Dictionaries and Lexicons consulted
“ἀποστολή apostolḗ; gen. apostolḗs, fem. noun from apostéllō (649), to send. Dispatching or sending forth, also that which is sent, e.g., a present. In the NT, apostleship (Acts 1:25; Rom. 1:5; 1 Cor. 9:2; Gal. 2:8).”
Zodhiates, Spiros. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000
‘ἀποστολή, ῆς f: the role of one who has been commissioned and sent as a special messenger—‘apostleship, to be an apostle, to be a special messenger.’ δἰ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν ‘through whom I received the privilege of being an apostle’ Ro 1:5. See also ἀπόστολοςa (53.74).
Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible
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