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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ If we look at the meaning of the word apostle, we find it simply means a person sent forth or commissioned.
▪ In a larger circle round the central picture are apostles and saints against a dark blue background.
▪ James was beheaded in Jerusalem, the first apostle to be martyred.
▪ Nehru saw himself as the central figure; the veteran of the fight against colonialism and the apostle of non-alignment.
▪ The increase in efficiency promised by the apostles of reengineering and the apologists for the great merger wave remains invisible.
▪ The teaching role of the bishops, as successors to the apostles, is described as a service to the whole Church.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

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, apostele, apostole.]

  1. Literally: One sent forth; a messenger. Specifically: One of the twelve disciples of Christ, specially chosen as his companions and witnesses, and sent forth to preach the gospel.

    He called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.
    --Luke vi. 13.

    Note: The title of apostle is also applied to others, who, though not of the number of the Twelve, yet were equal with them in office and dignity; as, ``Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.''
    --1 Cor. i. 1. In
    --Heb. iii. 1, the name is given to Christ himself, as having been sent from heaven to publish the gospel. In the primitive church, other ministers were called apostles
    --(Rom. xvi. 7).

  2. The missionary who first plants the Christian faith in any part of the world; also, one who initiates any great moral reform, or first advocates any important belief; one who has extraordinary success as a missionary or reformer; as, Dionysius of Corinth is called the apostle of France, John Eliot the apostle to the Indians, Theobald Mathew the apostle of temperance.

  3. (Civ. & Admiralty Law) A brief letter dimissory sent by a court appealed from to the superior court, stating the case, etc.; a paper sent up on appeals in the admiralty courts.
    --Wharton. Burrill.

    Apostles' creed, a creed of unknown origin, which was formerly ascribed to the apostles. It certainly dates back to the beginning of the sixth century, and some assert that it can be found in the writings of Ambrose in the fourth century.

    Apostle spoon (Antiq.), a spoon of silver, with the handle terminating in the figure of an apostle. One or more were offered by sponsors at baptism as a present to the godchild.
    --B. Jonson.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English apostol "messenger," especially the 12 witnesses sent forth by Jesus to preach his Gospel, from Late Latin apostolus, from Greek apostolos "messenger, person sent forth," from apostellein "send away, send forth," from apo- "from" (see apo-) + stellein in its secondary sense of "to send," from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place (see stall (n.1)). Compare epistle.\n

\nThe current form of the word, predominant since 16c., is influenced by Old French apostle (12c.), from the same Late Latin source. Figurative sense of "chief advocate of a new principle or system" is from 1810. Apostles, short for "The Acts and Epistles of the Apostles," is attested from c.1400.


n. 1 One of the group of twelve disciples chosen by Jesus to preach and spread the Gospel 2 A top-ranking ecclesiastical official in the twelve-seat Mormon administrative council. n. ''A rare transcription of the Greek male given name'' (l el Απόστολος) ''(usually transliterated as Apostolos).''

  1. n. an ardent early supporter of a cause or reform; "an apostle of revolution"

  2. any important early teacher of Christianity or a Christian missionary to a people

  3. (New Testament) one of the original 12 disciples chosen by Christ to preach his gospel

Apostle (production company)

Apostle is a New York-based production company specializing in television production created by stand-up comedian and actor Denis Leary and his business partner Jim Serpico. Apostle created the hit TV series Rescue Me about a post- 9/11 FDNY crew and the drama in their personal lives.

In June 2007, Apostle signed a 3-year production deal with Sony to create at least 8 new television shows.

Apostle (disambiguation)

Apostle, an anglicization of the Greekἀπόστολος (apóstolos), refers to a messenger or ambassador. Specific uses of the term are:

Apostle (Latter Day Saints)

In the Latter Day Saint movement, an apostle is a "special witness of the name of Jesus Christ who is sent to teach the principles of salvation to others." In many Latter Day Saint churches, an apostle is a priesthood office of high authority within the church hierarchy. In many churches, apostles may be members of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency of the church. In most Latter Day Saint churches, modern-day apostles are considered to have the same status and authority as the Biblical apostles.

In the Latter Day Saint tradition, apostles and prophets are believed to be the foundation of the church, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. The "Articles of Faith", written by Joseph Smith, mentions apostles: "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth."

Apostle (Christian)

In Christian theology and ecclesiology, the apostles , particularly the Twelve Apostles (also called the Twelve Disciples), were the primary historical disciples of Jesus, the central figure in Christianity. During the life and ministry of Jesus in the 1st century AD, the apostles were his closest followers and became the primary teachers of the gospel message of Jesus. The word disciple is sometimes used interchangeably with apostle; for instance, the Gospel of John makes no distinction between the two terms. In modern usage, prominent missionaries are often called apostles, a practice which stems from the Latin equivalent of apostle, i.e. , the source of the English word missionary. For example, Saint Patrick (AD 373–463) was the "Apostle of Ireland", and Saint Boniface (680–755) was the "Apostle to the Germans".

While Christian tradition often refers to the apostles as being 12 in number, different gospel writers give different names for the same individual, and apostles mentioned in one gospel are not mentioned in others. The commissioning of the Twelve Apostles during the ministry of Jesus is recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. After his resurrection, Jesus sent 11 of them (minus Judas Iscariot, who by then had died) by the Great Commission to spread his teachings to all nations. This event is commonly called the Dispersion of the Apostles. There is also an Eastern Christian tradition derived from the Gospel of Luke of there having been as many as 70 apostles during the time of Jesus' ministry. Prominent figures in early Christianity, notably Paul, were often called apostles, even though their ministry or mission came after the life of Jesus.

The period of early Christianity during the lifetimes of the apostles is called the Apostolic Age. During the 1st century AD, the apostles established churches throughout the territories of the Roman Empire and, according to tradition, through the Middle East, Africa, India, and modern-day Ukraine.

Although not one of the apostles commissioned during the life of Jesus, Paul, a Jew named Saul of Tarsus, claimed a special commission from the resurrected Jesus and is considered "the apostle of the Gentiles", for his missions to spread the gospel message after his conversion. In his writings, the epistles to Christian churches established Christianity throughout the Levant, Paul did not restrict the term "apostle" to the Twelve, and often refers to his mentor Barnabas as an apostle. The restricted usage appears in the Revelation to John.

By the 2nd century AD, association with the apostles was esteemed as an evidence of authority. Churches which are believed to have been founded by one of the apostles are known as apostolic sees. Paul's epistles were accepted as scripture, and two of the four canonical gospels were associated with apostles, as were other New Testament works. Various Christian texts, such as the Didache and the Apostolic Constitutions, were attributed to the apostles. Bishops traced their lines of succession back to individual apostles, who were said to have dispersed from Jerusalem and established churches across great territories. Christian bishops have traditionally claimed authority deriving, by apostolic succession, from the Twelve. Early Church Fathers who came to be associated with apostles, such as Pope Clement I with St. Peter, are referred to as the Apostolic Fathers. The Apostles' Creed, popular in the West, was said to have been composed by the apostles themselves.


An apostle is a messenger and ambassador. The purpose of such "sending away" is to convey messages, and thus "messenger" is a common alternative translation. The term may be used metaphorically in various contexts, but is mostly found used specifically for early associates of the founder of a religion, who were important in spreading his teachings. The word in this sense derives from New Testament Greek and was used for the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus, as well as a wider group of Early Christian figures including Paul. Some other religions use the term for comparable figures in their history. The adjective "apostolic" is claimed as a continuing characteristic by many Christian churches, and so used far more widely, as in the Apostolic See as the official name for the Roman Catholic Papacy.

Usage examples of "apostle".

The Apostles, led by the inward instinct of the Holy Ghost, handed down to the churches certain instructions which they did not put in writing, but which have been ordained, in accordance with the observance of the Church as practiced by the faithful as time went on.

But the millions of African and Asiatic converts, who swelled the native band of the faithful Arabs, must have been allured, rather than constrained, to declare their belief in one God and the apostle of God.

Brownpony could only heap more ecclesiastical sanctions upon an already excommunicated and anathematized Filpeo Harq Hannegan and his uncle, the apostle of Platonic friendship and other deviations from orthodoxy.

The merit and misfortunes of Ali and his descendants will lead me to anticipate, in this place, the series of the Saracen caliphs, a title which describes the commanders of the faithful as the vicars and successors of the apostle of God.

The divine sanction, which the Apostle had bestowed on the fundamental principle of the theology of Plato, encouraged the learned proselytes of the second and third centuries to admire and study the writings of the Athenian sage, who had thus marvellously anticipated one of the most surprising discoveries of the Christian revelation.

The episcopal and monarchical constitution was declared to be apostolic, and the attribute of successor of the Apostles was conferred on the bishop.

Apostles or one of the apostolic men, who, however, associated with the Apostles.

It is based on some Bulgarian dialect from around Salonika, elevated to the rank of a liturgic and literary language in the ninth century by the apostles of Slavdom, SS.

In that profoundest and intensest of all his profound and intense passages, the apostle has occasion to seek about for some expression, some epithet, some adjective, as we say, to apply to sin so as to help him to bring out to his Roman readers something of the malignity, deadliness, and unspeakable evil of sin as he had sin living and working in himself.

And that like as the Holy Aungells do atheir suit to him on high, and the Blessed xij Apostles and the Martirs, and all the Blissful Saints served him aforetime on earth and now praise him in heaven, so also do the beasts serve him, though they be in torment of life and below men.

In the same year, on the Octave of the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, when Matins was ended, died our venerable Father, William Voerniken, the fourth Prior of Windesem.

Reverend Penton Adams of the Church of Sanctified Apostles was a hellfire-and-brimstone preacher.

If the Church has always asserted with the Apostle there is no power but from God--non est potestas nisi a Deo--she has always through her doctors maintained that it is a trust to be exercised for the public good, and is forfeited when persistently exercised in a contrary sense.

Here, as in all similar statements which elevate the Apostles into the history of revelation, the unanimity of all the Apostles is always presupposed, so that the statement of Clem.

After saluting the threshold of the apostles, and imploring the protection of Pope Innocent the Third, Alexius accepted the kind invitation of his sister Irene, the wife of Philip of Swabia, king of the Romans.