/euh pos"euhl/, n.
1. any of the early followers of Jesus who carried the Christian message into the world.
2. (sometimes cap.) any of the original 12 disciples called by Jesus to preach the gospel: Simon Peter, the brothers James and John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot.
3. the first or the best-known Christian missionary in any region or country.
4. Eastern Ch. one of the 70 disciples of Jesus.
5. the title of the highest ecclesiastical official in certain Protestant sects.
6. (among the Jews of the Christian epoch) a title borne by persons sent on foreign missions.
7. one of the 12 administrative officials of the Mormon Church.
8. a pioneer of any reform movement.
9. Naut. a knighthead, esp. one having its top projecting and used as a bitt or bollard.
[bef. 950; ME, var. of APOSTEL, APOSTOL, OE apostol (cf. OFris apostol, OHG apostol(o), G Apostel) < LL apostolus < Gk apóstolos lit., one who is sent out; akin to apostéllein to send off; see APO-. Compare, with loss of initial unstressed a-, ME postle, postel, OE postol ( > ON postuli) OHG postul]

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Any of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus.

They were Peter, James and John (sons of Zebedee), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus or Judas (son of James), Simon the Cananaean or Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. The 12 were privileged to attend Jesus continually and receive his teaching. Peter, James, and John formed an inner circle and were allowed to witness such events as the Transfiguration and the agony of Jesus at Gethsemane. After the defection and death of Judas Iscariot, Matthias was elected an Apostle. Paul also claimed the title on the ground that he had seen the Lord and been commissioned by him.

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      (from Greek apostolos, “person sent”), any of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus Christ; (Jesus Christ) the term is sometimes also applied to others, especially Paul (Paul, the Apostle, Saint), who was converted to Christianity a few years after Jesus' death. In Luke 6:13 it is stated that Jesus chose 12 from his disciples “whom he named apostles,” and in Mark 6:30 the Twelve are called Apostles when mention is made of their return from the mission of preaching and healing on which Jesus had sent them. The full list of the Twelve is given with some variation in Mark 3, Matthew 10, and Luke 6 as: Peter (Peter the Apostle, Saint); James (James, Saint) and John (John the Apostle, Saint), the sons of Zebedee; Andrew (Andrew, Saint); Philip (Philip The Apostle, Saint); Bartholomew (Bartholomew, Saint); Matthew (Matthew, Saint); Thomas (Thomas, Saint); James (James, Saint), the son of Alphaeus; Thaddaeus (Judas, Saint), or Judas, the son of James; Simon (Simon the Apostle, Saint) the Cananaean, or the Zealot; and Judas Iscariot.

      The privileges of the Twelve were to be in continual attendance on their master and to be the recipients of his special teaching and training. At least once they were sent on a special mission, two by two, to announce the imminence of the messianic Kingdom (Mark 6: compare Matthew 10; Luke 9). Three of them, Peter, James, and John, formed an inner circle who alone were permitted to witness such events as the raising of Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), the Transfiguration (Mark 9; Matthew 17; Luke 9), and the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33; Matthew 26:37).

      Special importance seems to have been attached to the number 12, which some scholars interpret as a reference to the 12 tribes of Israel. When a gap had been left by the defection and death of the traitor Judas Iscariot, immediate steps were taken to fill it by the election of Matthias (Matthias, Saint) (Acts 1). It is to members of this band of 12 that the word Apostle is usually applied in Acts (Acts of the Apostles, The).

      Paul himself claimed the title of Apostle, apparently on the ground that he had seen the Lord and received a commission directly from him. This appears to be in agreement with the condition in Acts that a newly appointed Apostle should be capable of giving eyewitness testimony to the Lord's Resurrection. According to some early Christian writers, however, some were called apostles after the period covered by the New Testament. The word also has been used to designate a high administrative or ecclesiastical officer.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Apostle — A*pos tle, n. [OE. apostle, apostel, postle, AS. apostol, L. apostolus, fr. Gr. ? messenger, one sent forth or away, fr. ? to send off or away; ? from + ? to send; akin to G. stellen to set, E. stall: cf. F. ap[^o]tre, Of. apostre, apostle,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • APOSTLE — (Gr. messenger ), in early Christian usage, term applied to the disciples of jesus whom he had sent out to preach his message, and occasionally also applied to other missionaries of the early period. Outside the New Testament the noun ἁπόστολος… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • apostle — (n.) O.E. apostol messenger, especially the 12 witnesses sent forth by Jesus to preach his Gospel, from L.L. apostolus, from Gk. apostolos messenger, person sent forth, from apostellein send away, send forth, from apo from (see APO (Cf. apo )) +… …   Etymology dictionary

  • apostle — ► NOUN 1) (Apostle) each of the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ. 2) an enthusiastic and pioneering supporter of an idea or cause. ORIGIN Greek apostolos messenger …   English terms dictionary

  • apostle — [ə päs′əl] n. [ME < OE apostol < LL(Ec) apostolus < Gr apostolos, person sent forth < apostellein < apo , from + stellein, to send: see STILL1] 1. a person sent out on a special mission 2. [usually A ] any of the twelve disciples… …   English World dictionary

  • apostle — index disciple, partisan Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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  • Apostle — An apostle is a messenger and ambassador.Apostle and apostles may also refer to:In religion: * The Twelve Apostles, 12 of Jesus disciples chosen by him and given the Great Commission * The Seventy Disciples, referred to as Seventy Apostles by the …   Wikipedia

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  • apostle — a|pos|tle [əˈpɔsəl US əˈpa: ] n [Date: 900 1000; : Late Latin; Origin: apostolus, from Greek, bringer of messages, apostle , from apostellein to send away , from apo ( APOCALYPSE) + stellein to send ] 1.) one of the 12 people chosen by Jesus… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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