A term based on the Greek word which means “someone sent out.” It is used seventy-nine times in the NT. It often refers to the disciples. The primary NT meaning seems to refer to someone who is a personal messenger of Jesus. This is emphasized in Acts when Matthias is chosen to replace Judas, the betrayer, after he committed suicide. Although Paul was not a follower or disciple of Jesus before his death and resurrection, he does refer to himself as an apostle because he had seen the risen Lord and he was sent out to preach to the Gentiles. In Heb 3:1 Jesus is called an apostle because he is one who was sent by God.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.