twelve apostles

Matthew 10:2

10:2 twelve apostles. Note that the twelve are called both “disciples” (“learners,” or “followers”) and “apostles” (sent ones, possibly equivalent in essence to missionaries). Although all believers should be disciples of Christ, these are called the twelve disciples because they were taught directly by Him continuously over three years. They were also specially sent out by Him into all the world, and so were called His twelve “apostles” (note Mark 16:14,15; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8). Later a few others (e.g., Paul), with similar special training and commissioning directly by Christ, were also recognized as apostles. This designation is not appropriate for others, especially anyone after the “apostolic period.”

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