What is an Apostle in the Bible?

Dr Noaman Serosh Answers “What is an Apostle in the Bible?

What is an Apostle in the Bible?

(Gk. apostolos). Envoy, ambassador, or messenger commissioned to carry out the instructions of the commissioning agent.

Pre-Christian Use of the Term “Apostle”

Pre-Christian use of apostolos in the sense of messenger is rare. More common is the verb apostello, referring to the sending of a fleet or an embassy. Only in Herodotus (1.21; 5.38) is it used of a personal envoy. Josephus employs it once (Antiquities17.11.1) in the classical sense of an embassy. Epictetus (Discourse 3.22) speaks of the ideal Cynic teacher as one “sent by Zeus” to be a messenger of the gods and an “overseer” of human affairs.

What is an Apostle in the Bible (Septuagint)?

The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses apostello or exapostello some seven hundred times to translate the Hebrew salah (“stretch out,” “send”). More than the act of sending, this word includes the idea of the authorization of a messenger.

The noun apostolos is found only in 1 Kings 14:6, where the commissioning and empowering of the prophet is clearly in mind. Thus, the Septuagint uses the apostello word-group to denote the authorization of an individual to fulfill a particular function, with emphasis on the one who sends, not on the one who is sent.

What is an Apostle in the Bible (New Testament)?

The word “apostle” appears seventy-nine times in the New Testament (ten in the Gospels; twenty-eight in Acts; thirty-eight in the Epistles; and three in Revelation). The majority of these occurrences are found in Luke-Acts (thirty-four) and in the Pauline epistles (thirty-four), and refer to those appointed by Christ for a special function in the church.
In the New Testament apostolos is applied to Jesus as the Sent One of God (Hebrews 3:1), to those sent by God to preach to Israel (Luke 11:49), and to those appointed by the resurrected Christ to preach the gospel of the kingdom. Click here for a two minute YouTube video about modern day apostles.
The expression “all the apostles” in 1 Corinthians 15:7 seems to include more than the twelve referred to in verse 5. James (the half-brother of Jesus) is considered here and in Galatians 1:19 to be an apostle. Barnabas is referred to as an apostle in Acts 14:14. Paul calls Andronicus and Junias apostles in Romans 16:7.


Publisher’s Note: Thanks to Dr Noaman Serosh for his answer to the oft-asked question “What is an apostle in the Bible?”  For a thorough discussion of the question check out our book Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches in the New Testament Era Related to Apostles and Why It Matters Now.


Fred Herzog Evangelizes Woman

Publisher’s note. Fred Herzog travels in the supernatural realm. He has led many to salvation and deliverance in Christ. Here he relates one experience.

 I was looking in the mirror one morning and I realized, “Fred, you need a haircut. “ So I answered,”OK, Lord, where do You want me to get a haircut and what is your divine purpose?”

I went over to a barber shop here in Northfield. After I sat down in the barber chair I started telling the stylist God stories. She looked at me and said, “You gave me goose pimples all over.”

“Would you like me to take you for coffee after my haircut?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Okay, when would you like to go?”

She stopped right there and went to ask her manager if she could go to coffee with this gentleman. The manager said, “Yes, you may.”

I said, “Please finish my haircut first!”

Then we went to coffee. As soon as she sat down she began telling her story. “Have you heard about the car accident that occurred last year? The one when a car rolled over into the Cannon River and one of the people drowned. I answered, “Yes, I did” and wondered what had happened.

“She—the one who drowned—was in my car. I have a question why am I still alive. I have been in three car accidents and I should have died in each one of them. I was in the backseat with my boyfriend and the other couple was in the front. We had a picnic and we stayed too long. It got dark. Then it became important for us to leave and the driver was not able to see the big tree where you turn to go back up on the main road. We missed the road and rammed the car into a four foot embankment which turned the car into the river upside down.

“The car started filling up with water. I had my seat belt on and my window was open about three inches. Somehow or another something sucked me out of the car through that window into the water and I got to the shore. My boyfriend got out by breaking the window. The driver got out and the girl in the front also was able to get out.

“My boyfriend made it to shore, but what about his girlfriend? Could she find her way? I heard her making noise in trying to get to shore. She finally got close and I got a hold of her hand. But the embankment was so high and her hand was so wet and dirty from the muddy river that as I tried to pull her to shore her hand slipped and she let go. We found her body downriver.

“Because of that incident I have become so fearful that I won’t let my boyfriend out of my sight. I’m afraid to leave the house that he and I had bought together.”

I spoke aloud to her, “Jesus, I want You to come on her side. Lady, you’ve been on the wrong side all your life. By asking Jesus to forgive you for your sins you can come onto His side.”

She did that and asked Jesus Christ to come into her life and forgive her for her sins. Immediately a ton of weight lifted off of her as she became a new person in Jesus Christ.

There was more. She continued, “I think you should know that every night when I go to bed there is a visitor that comes into my room and I am so afraid.”

I replied, “I think the visitor is from the other side.” She agreed.

“I’m going to take authority and tell that visitor in Jesus name he can never come back.”

The next morning she texted me: “The visitor is gone! Thank you very much. Its changing my whole life!”

Soon she informed me, “Something very special happened. My boyfriend asked me to marry him and we are engaged to be married!”

Publisher’s note: Fred Herzog is an apostle and church planter. Find out more about him. 

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Definition of an Apostle, or, The Apostolic Actions of a Mother and Child

Howard Jackson answers the question, “What is the definition of an apostle?”

His answer surprised me, and taught me something about the true  nature of a calling from God. To be a “sent one” means, at its root, to simply be obedient to the God who is doing the sending, much like a child obeys his mother when she tells him to do something. It’s not as grandiose a thing as some make it out to be. Rather it is an act of simple, humble obedience to a grandiose God.

I’ve heard it so many times, “An apostle is a ‘sent one’, but never saw that angle before. This helps me see apostles in a fresh way.


Signs of an Apostle

What are the Signs of an Apostle? Interview with Fred Herzog


Veteran prophet and apostle Fred Herzog details two signs of an apostle. His insights are often overlooked and thought-provoking. For sure, his humor comes through with the story at the end of the video. Fred speaks with the gentleness and authority that we would expect from a seasoned apostle and man of God. He takes only two minutes to lay out important Biblical signs of an apostle.  Watch the video here.

Fred’s insight into the question “What are the signs of an apostle?” may not convince the skeptic that apostles and prophets exist in the twenty first century. His thoughts, however, go a long way to help anyone with an open mind to discover the true heart and ministry of an apostle in any age.

What Does the Bible Say about the Signs of an Apostle?

“The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.” (1 Corinthians 1212). (Note: the King James Version uses the term patience instead of perseverance.)

In another letter, Paul details more of the work and signs of an apostle. Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he explains apostles are given “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ . . .”(Ephesians 4:12).

The Bible teaches, of course, through both word and example. By example we learn one of the signs of an apostle is to expand or open up new spiritual or geographical territory for the Kingdom of God. Barnabas and Paul are primary examples of apostles who opened new territory.

The signs of an apostle are summarized  in this definition:  An apostle is a Godly Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.

If these thoughts interest you, Local Churches Global Apostles will open up new perspectives for newcomers and veterans alike.

Journey to Authenticity with Sonny Misar



Journey to authenticity with Sonny Misar

Journey to authenticity with Sonny Misar

Journey to authenticity describes the hallmark of Sonny Misar’s ministry. This phrase, “Journey to Authenticity” is loaded with meaning. It points to the goal we all want–to be our real selves. Not fake in any way. The phrase shows the road to authenticity is a process, not a once-and-for-all campground. This phrase distills Misar’s lifetime of ministry experience into a key issue for Christians today.

After twenty-five years of pastoral service Sonny now travels with his wife, Becky, speaks and writes regarding the issue of spiritual authenticity. Click here to watch the video.

View the Gail Ross interview of Sonny Misar on YouTube. I found several highlights. At about nineteen  minutes Sonny addresses the question “How can we be our unique selves and deeply spiritual at the same time?” Many Christians, young and old alike, remain confused about concepts such as brokenness and surrender to Christ. Sonny clearly outlines the stages all Christians go through on the road to authenticity. He gently explains the need and value of brokenness and surrender.

At about 19 minutes comes a valuable gem, namely understanding brokenness as a part of the roadway to authenticity. Sonny shares from his experience that perhaps 50% of all Christians are in the brokenness stage yet have no clue as to how to understand it nor move beyond it.

Many preachers and teachers contribute valuable insights to the church. Each has a calling and contribution. There exists, however, one particular calling that can add the depth of understanding and perspective that is much needed in Christian circles. That is the voice of the apostle. Sonny Misar moves in apostolic vision and anointing. He is gifted in his ability to help churches and individual Christians make sense out of the sometimes bewildering aspects of life. Sonny is worth listening to.

His book Journey to Authenticity is available for purchase on Amazon.


Apostles Come Forth!


Apostles Open Doors to New Territory

Apostles Open Doors to New Territory

Apostles come forth!

Here is an excerpt from my book Local Churches Global Apostles: How Churches and Apostles Related in the New Testament Era and Why It Matters Now. You can buy the book at Churches and Apostles.

Apostles come forth! “Unbind him and let him go” (John 11:44).

Just as Jesus raised the dead man Lazarus in the first century, God is calling apostles to rise up and come forward in the twenty-first century. The apostolic ministry has lain dead or dormant for so long that many devout Christians don’t believe apostles exist today.

This writer echoes Christ’s clarion call, “Apostles come forth!” Local Churches Global Apostles aims to underscore the Biblical basis for modern-day apostles and to “unbind them and let them go.” Too many churches–and too many men of apostolic calling–have been bound by unbiblical concepts which have hindered constructive church and apostle relationships and prohibited congenial working together.

In Section Two of the book, case studies of each church in the New Testament lay the groundwork  for understanding Biblical varieties and concepts of church and apostle relationships. The information in Section Three may “unbind” churches and apostles and offer greater freedom to work together in mutually beneficial ways.

Jerry Daley, gifted apostle and church planter, brings some current issues into focus.

The question, in my opinion, is how churches [and] pastors should take advantage of apostolic ministries. I’m not thinking of the authority side at all but rather the need for apostolic initiative, leadership, risk taking [and] faith to break out of boxes and move into new ways of reaching this generation. Most senior pastors are attempting to accomplish apostolic results and feel the pressure, [the] expectation, [to do so] without receiving the kind of help they need. Again, I’m not talking about authority.

These are my observations. Few senior pastors have mentors or coaches whereas [some men] have both who meet with [them] almost weekly.”

Apostles come forth!

The modern day apostolic movement began in the 1940’s . . .

B Mark Anderson Author PhotoThis eye-opening book may become a life-changer to some.

Marks of Apostleship

One of the marks of apostleship--open new territory for the Kingdom of God

One of the marks of apostleship–open new territory for the Kingdom of God






What are the Marks of Apostleship?

How can we tell a true apostle from the counterfeit? Good question. A conference recently convened to hash out these questions. No definitive answers emerged, so let’s go to the New Testament to find direction.

 Marks of Apostleship Summarized

Marks of apostleship are summarized  in this definition:  An apostle is a Godly Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.

For another look at the marks of apostleship, click here.

The Bible teaches by both precept and example. I’m focusing on examples in this article–sometimes we concentrate on text alone and forget about examples.

Men Who Demonstrated Marks of Apostleship in the Bible

Check these examples of men who opened new territory, either spiritually or geographically. Pioneering a work in virgin territory characterized the Biblical men who bore the marks of apostleship. This aspect of true apostleship seems often overlooked by those trying to understand apostolic ministry today.

Andrew “found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ and ‘he brought him to Jesus.’” (John 1:41, 42) Andrew opened new gospel territory within his own family. Both of these guys eventually became disciples and apostles of Christ.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). Philip overcame Nathaniel’s original objection by inviting him to “Come and see” Jesus. Jesus’ words of revelation about Nathaniel’s nature sufficed to make a believer out of him. Both he and Philip later became apostles of Jesus.

When it comes to opening new territory, Barnabas shines as the example par excellence. Often overlooked as he traveled in the shadow of St. Paul, Barnabas actually recruited Paul and served as his mentor. Paul basically followed in the patterns Barnabas worked out.

Multiple examples of Barnabas’ leadership emerge as we investigate the pages of the New Testament. At Antioch he laid foundations into the first missionary church.  He established multiple leadership in the local church there(Acts 13:1). He set a pattern of churches helping churches as he carried relief money from Antioch to  Jerusalem.

Barnabas, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took Paul with him. He led the tour and together they opened the island of Cyprus and portions of modern day Turkey to the gospel.

Barnabas set the pattern and example of ministers and missionaries being sent out and returning to the local church (Acts 13 and 14).

The best known example of any apostle who opened new territory is, of course, Paul. God used this man to evangelize much of the Middle East including modern day western Turkey, Greece, and Kosovo. Paul’s greatest legacy, however, lay in theology, even more than in the geographical expansion of Christianity. Paul did not originate the gospel of grace but he developed it more than any other New Testament writer. Without Paul and the letter to Romans and Galatians, our understanding of the gospel would be truncated and shallow.

Timothy and Silas worked with Paul to open up new gospel territory and expand the Kingdom of God.

Titus is not listed as an apostle, yet his work in Crete signifies he was doing the work of an apostle by laying foundations in the church there. He exhibited the marks of apostleship even though he is not named as an apostle anywhere in the pages of the New Testament.

The apostle James was the epitome of a New Testament pastor. He is the first and only example of a local church pastor in the Bible and is forever God’s stalwart pattern for what a pastor is and does.

Peter and John traveled on a mission to Samaria. There they ministered the baptism of the Holy Spirit to a group of believers who were lacking this experience. By imparting the Holy Spirit they became examples of apostles who solved major problems in a local church.

In all the examples of apostles where we have adequate information, the apostle opened up new spiritual or geographical areas for God.

Contemporary Men who Demonstrate the Marks of Apostleship by Opening New Territory

Some modern day examples of men who exhibit the marks of apostleship include Earl Kellum. This apostle pioneered over two hundred churches in Mexico. He also was either the first or one of the first to drop gospel portions from airplanes over remote villages in order to evangelize the people. I once flew with Air Mail from God Mission and dropped gospels of John over a village near Cuatla, Mexico. (I say once flew because the plane crashed after a few passes over the town. I survived, but  the plane was put out of commission.)

Paul Anderson, former Director of International Lutheran Renewal Services in St. Paul, Minnesota saw needs and met them. Among other enterprises he originated the Alliance of Renewal Churches (ARC) and began the Master’s Institute (MI), an innovative seminary for training ministers.

Just because a person pioneers a work or starts a program does not by itself indicate he or she is an apostle. All Christians need to open new territory and expand the kingdom of God in some way. Apostles are leaders of expansion. Wherever we find a true apostle we find a pioneer. There’s more to the apostolic calling than pioeering new works. To learn more about this God-appointed ministry, go to What is an apostle?



What are the signs of a true apostle? Part I

What are the signs of a true apostle?

What are the signs of a true apostle? B Mark Anderson interviews Jim McCracken

It’s one thing to ask “What is an apostle?”  You get a definition-type answer to that question as people try to narrow down and define what it really means to be an apostle. But it’s another thing to ask “What are the signs of an apostle?” To this question you get a wide variety of thought provoking answers as people delve into the actual things that an apostle does.

We have more videos to share, and this clip is Jim McCracken’s answer to “What are the signs of a true apostle?”

Jim McCracken is the leader of TrueBridge — A Family of Churches.

See Jim’s answer to the question “What is an apostle?” in this previous post.

I think it’s agreed that one sign of an apostle is they they are someone who moves in the supernatural. But in this clip, Jim adds some unique thoughts about signs of an apostle–that he is “one who builds”.

I also really like something that Jim says just in passing towards the end of the clip, “[an apostle is] one who is in touch with the design of the church.” That speaks to how an apostle has to be a big-picture thinker, a visionary, who sees God’s plan for the church from a different perspective than the local pastor.

What are the signs of a true apostle?

What would you say are the signs of a true apostle? Comments welcome!

Barnabas the Super Apostle

Barnabas opened up new territory for the gospel

Barnabas was the only man who ever led Paul



The apostle Barnabas opened up new territory for God. One of the key characteristics of an apostle in the Bible is the ability to expand the gospel into new areas, either spiritually of geographically.


How Do You Define Apostle?

Perhaps we need to come to a clear definition of apostle. What is an apostle?

An apostle is a Christian leader called and supernaturally gifted by God to open new spiritual and geographical territory for the gospel, lay foundations, equip believers, and serve as catalyst and coordinator for churches and ministries.” This is how I define apostle.

Does Barnabas fit this description of apostles? Most definitely. Let’s examine some Scriptures to discover and identify the various ways St Barnabas opened up fresh territory for God, both spiritually and geographically. (By the say, we often use the term “St Paul.” Why not St Barnabas as well?)

Barnabas Pioneered New Spiritual and Geographical Territory for God

Barnabas was the pioneer apostle to Antioch (Acts 11:22). He laid foundations in the fledgling church, foundations that became patterns for churches throughout the New Testament era and continuing to the present day.

Jesus recruited disciples. In the same way Barnabas recruited Paul (Acts 9:27). He served as catalyst and coordinator of Paul’s early ministry. In fact, Paul’s ministry “took off” after Barnabas connected with him. If there had been no Barnabas, there may have been no Paul. He was Paul’s leader and became instrumental in his success.

Friends nicknamed him “Son of Encouragement.”  He carried relief money from Antioch to the Jerusalem church. Continuing this pioneer legacy, many modern day churches have established a “Barnabas Fund” to help needy people (Acts 11:29ff).

He established multiple leadership in the local church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). apparently this was a new vision for church leadership. We certainly don’t find evidence of it in Jerusalem where James was predominant. Christ, the Head of the church uses this concept in New Testament type churches today.

Barnabas, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, took Paul with him. He led the tour and together they opened the island of Cyprus and portions of modern day Turkey to the gospel.

Barnabas set the pattern and example of ministers and missionaries being sent out and returning to the local church (Acts 13 and 14). Paul participated in and later followed this example.

This man was a tremendous leader and deserves far more credit as a leader and apostle than he generally receives. Barnabas was the only man who ever led Paul! Even that relationship didn’t last long.

Want to discover surprises about apostles in the New Testament? Local Churches Global Apostles is an eye-opener. You can pick up a discounted copy on Amazon.




False Apostles and True–What’s the Difference?



False apostles

False apostles

With the advent of modern day apostles and prophets, many are asking “What is a true apostle?” and “What are the signs of false apostles?” “How can we tell the difference?”

I have worked with apostles for over fifty years. I’ve seen the bona fides, and I’m sorry to say, I’ve also seen some wannabes whose claims of apostleship are questionable or fallacious.

As an aid to identify true apostles, let’s examine four types of false apostles.

False Apostles Pressure Donors

If any minister tries to pressure a person to give him money, stay a hundred yards away. Overt or subtle pressure to give money signals greed and is a sure sign of rottenness at the core. One veteran missionary told me, “Don’t give to any minister unless you personally know him or know someone who does know and approve him. It’s just too easy to exaggerate from the mission field when there is no one there to hold him accountable.”

Of course, it’s legitimate to request funds or take offerings. The pressure is the problem.

How a minister handles money reveals a lot about himself. Jesus noted, He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much (Luke 16:10).

Improper use of money is a flag flying high to reveal to churches and prospective donors the hidden nature of false apostles.

False Apostles Lack Christ-like Character

If any man fails to honor his marriage vows or he sinks into immorality, it’s time to jump ship. Character, not just charisma, is a sign of true apostleship.

But let’s be gracious in this matter of character. Just because a person makes some minor mistakes does not mean he is a fraud. We are speaking of repeated mistakes without repentance. We are speaking of conscious decisions that are contrary to Scripture.

False Apostles Preach False Doctrine

Paul identifies those who preach a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you (Gal 1:8) as worthy of being cursed.

False Apostles Exhibit Self-Serving Leadership

If any man claims to serve as an apostle, yet “lords it over” or dominates those he works with, watch out. All ministers are called to get underneath as servants to build up, not to dominate or tear down. Spiritual dictators dominate; true apostles build others up.

Self-serving leadership is an example of a character deficiency. It’s so egregious, however, that I have given it a separate category in order to highlight the problem. I have seen a man with a genuine apostolic calling ridicule and abase fellow pastors and turn them into virtual slaves. By so doing he has disqualified himself as a genuine apostle.

We’ve seen gifted men betray their apostolic calling by failing in one or more of these areas.

It’s imperative to remember while considering true and false apostles that gifts alone do not make ministers either true or false apostles. A calling from God of itself does not determine which are true or false apostles. Miracles and supernatural works of power do not determine either true or false apostles. Character alone does not determine true or false apostles. Doctrine by itself does not show who are true or false apostles. It is the combination of all the above we are looking for to determine who are true and who are false apostles.

Among false apostles and prophets in Scripture, Balaam stands out. He’s mentioned by name 61 times in the New American Standard Bible, three times in the New Testaments.

Then God came to Balaam and said . . . (Num 22:9)  Surprisingly, God appeared to Balaam. False apostles can hear God speak.

God met Balaam” (Num 23:4) God even meets with false apostles!

When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD . . . (Num 24:1) Balaam was perceptive; he could see what pleased and displeased God. Some false apostles have great gifts and perception; that does not mean they are true apostles.

And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. (Num 24:2) Yes, the Holy Spirit can anoint even false apostles and prophets.

The following verses show Balaam was financially corrupt.  Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. (2 Pet 2:15)

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam . . . (Jude 1:11)

False apostles often mix true doctrine with false teachings. Balaam counseled Midian to seduce Israelite men into sexual immorality. His seduction worked. False apostles can eventually get carried away into immorality.

But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. (Rev 2:14)

Even though Balaam gave true prophecies and God spoke glorious oracles through him, he was corrupt. He was financially corrupt, demonstrated self-serving character, and taught false doctrine.

Local Churches Global Apostles is my research-based book that answers many questions about true and false apostles. Get it from Amazon.