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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 083: Are there any Apostles today?

By Michael Pearl

This Weeks Bible Question:

Are there Apostles today? Or was Paul the last one?

Episode Transcription


Michael Pearl: Here I am, Mike Pearl, and Jared’s behind the camera. We are going to answer your Bible questions. Now Jared has already asked the question he’s about to read, and I didn’t know the answer. So, I went to my computer and I wrote the verses down. So, now I am equipped to answer the question. Now usually, I don’t get to see the questions. But if you stump me, I have got to go look the verses up, which I did. So, I am ready, Jared; ask the question.

Jared: Are there apostles today or was Paul the last one?

Mike: That’s not something I teach every day, so I couldn’t remember all the verses on it. Are there apostles today or was Paul the last one? Paul was not the last apostle. As to whether or not there are any apostles today, I don’t know. I do know there are a lot of false apostles today. Now, really, it’s how you define the word? The word for apostle is the same word we use for missionaries, “a sent one.”

We tend to have developed this romantic concept of apostle which is someone which is right next to Christ, kind of pope-like. If that is what you have, if you think an apostle strictly as someone with special power, special office, special unique place above regular, normal Christians, then no, there are no apostles today. But if you think of an apostle as a missionary, as one that God calls out to take the Gospel to unknown lands, then yes, there are apostles.

The whole concept, the modern concept of an apostle is like this structure, this hierarchy of power, a pyramid where you have got, at the top, the apostle. This is what they call apostolic churches. Then, down under that, you have got the bishops. Then, down under that, you have got the elders. Then, down under that, you have got the people who have the money. These are called the laymen.

Now, if you’re a Baptist, then, you take all this away, and you just have the pastor, and the laymen. You’ve just got two groups. So, in an independent Baptist church, the pastor is an apostle, a bishop, and an elder, and then you’ve got the laymen.

1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 8‑10, he said, “God has set some in the church.” First in the church are apostles. That’s first. That’s first in priority, first in order. And then secondarily, prophets. Then thirdly, in terms of importance or ministry, teachers. Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers. After that, then, miracles, gifts of healings, and so forth, and then he’s got these different gifts of the spirit right here.

Then he also says in Ephesians chapter four verse 11, that God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, so we’ll put the evangelists in here, and then pastor. He adds the word pastor. Pastor/Teacher.

So, we gather from these two passages that Apostle would be the first one to come to ministry. He brings the Gospel, he gets the church founded, he gets it started. Prophets — God uses them, especially in the New Testament era, to give the Word of God, to give revelation, to give doctrine through prophetic ability. Then Evangelists — they are the ones who go out and win the souls, and create converts. Then the Pastor/Teachers are those who take the Word of God and minister to the people.

Now the question is: do we still have apostles? Again the answer would be, if you’re talking about someone who goes in to a tribal people where the Gospel has never gone, and introduces the Gospel to them, gets them saved, appoints a couple of elders, and leaves. Then out of the group, God raises up prophets who begin to minister. He raises up, out of the group, evangelists, and He raises up, out of that local group, pastor/teachers. Then yeah, there are apostles.

Let me read a couple of more verses to you here. Paul said in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 11 verse 13. He said, “For such are” — he spoke of some of them in Corinth — “such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” So there were, in his day and age, false apostles, which indicates there were apostles. Otherwise, he could just say, there are no apostles.

Then in 1st Corinthians 12: 29, he said, “Are all apostles, are all prophets, are all teachers, are all workers of miracles?” In other words, in the church, God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, pastor/teachers, gifts of healing, miracles helps and so forth like that. Then he asked the question, “Are all apostles?” The answer is no. They are not all. Are all prophets? No. All evangelists? No. Some are, but not all. Do all speak with tongues? No, not at all. Do all have gifts of healing? No, not at all. He goes on down through the list saying that, of these gifts God gave the church, ...

If you want to say, all the gifts have passed away, then you would have to get rid of pastor/teacher, evangelists, and prophets as well as apostles. So, I think there are still apostles, but not with the common, modern way of viewing it.

Now he says in Romans 16 verse 7, “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners who are of note among the apostles who were in Christ before me.” I think that indicates that they were apostles. They were noted among the group of apostles.

Then in Revelation 2:2 and 4 he says, “I know thy works, thy labor, thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and has tried them, tried them which say they are apostles and are not, and has found them liars.” Paul writing to the church there said that there were some who said they were apostles, and you tried them. In other words, you put them on trial. You listened to the evidence, and you said, “No, you’re not an apostle. You are a false apostle.”

If after the 12, and then Paul, there were no other apostles, there would have been no need to try them, no need to test them. There wouldn’t have been the concept of, “OK, they are false prophets.”

He would just simply dismiss the whole concept of anybody saying they were a prophet saying, “You know there are only 12 of us, 13 counting Paul. So there can’t be anymore.”

So, that’s about all I can give you on it. Get your Bible, look up the word “apostle,” and search every time it’s used, it’s quite a few times, and see what you can come up with.

Voiceover: If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.


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7 comments on “Are there any Apostles today?”

  1. I dunno, Michael. Part of your answer is good, but please revisit your view on the Apostle count. It's not 13. It's TWELVE. The "Apostle" that was chosen to replace Judas was not God's choice (he was man's choice; chosen by the ELEVEN before they were filled (and guided) by the Holy Spirit. Matthias was not otherwise mentioned before this time, nor was he heard of since. But PAUL was added to the number of Apostles, as one untimely born. Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, was very clear in his writings that he was an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, by the commandment of God, and not OF men, neither BY man. (See chapter 1 and verse 1 of Romans, Corinthians, Galations, Ephesians, Colosians, Timothy, and Titus.)

    And the Bible is VERY clear when numbering the Apostles in Revelation 21:14 where John writes that the wall of the City had TWELVE foundations, and in them the names of THE twelve apostles. Not thirteen. (I fully believe the PAUL'S name will be written there, which leaves Matthias out in the cold).

    Otherwise, I think your answer was excellent.

  2. Elders and bishops are one and the same and they are the only office of leadership in a local church. In the New Testament the words are used interchangeably (Tit. 1:5,7; Acts 20:17,28). Elder refers to the man, Bishop refers to his work - Oversight. Elders may have one or more of each of the below.

    This is how those verses should be broken down:
    Ministries (Eph. 4:11): Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, Teachers

    Service Gifts (Rom. 12:4-8): Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Exhorting, Giving, Ruling, Mercy.

    Manifestations (1 Cor. 12:7-11): Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healings, Working of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues.

    The Holy Spirit has made elders the overseers of the local church. They are responsible for its government. All the gifts, manifestations and ministries operate under their oversight. They encourage every member to use his gifts, and correct those who abuse their liberty.

    Every believer is part of the royal priesthood and communes with God, we need to stop believing the clergy/laymen lie that there are some that heard from God and others that don't.

  3. 12 Apostles including Paul does make more sense now than 13 based on Herb's explanation and Scriptures listed. I always thought it would be wimpy for God to use a gambling type scenario for such an important choice. The Amish choose their church leaders sometimes by lots too maybe because of the Matthias example in Acts, and they often dread being chosen for the job. I can't imagine any of the real Bible time Apostles dreading the job like Amish men facing the lot, but totally excited to know the truth and have God's help in sharing the gospel with as many as possible, thoroughly enjoying teaching & caring for fellow Christians too. The way God chose the replacement for Judas was way more exciting and creative and powerful and doubt-free than casting lots. The two definitions of apostle make a lot of sense too. Good video.

  4. Proverbs 16:33
    The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

    The lot was used by the people of God to determine the will of God. It is not gambling by any means.


    2 Corinthians 12:12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

    If you are not performing signs, wonders and miracles, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 9:36-41 ....Tabitha...37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died...40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise."....41...he presented her alive.

    If you cannot pray the dead back to life, you might not be a true apostle.

    Romans 1:11 For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;

    If you do not possess the ability to impart spiritual gifts, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 3:1-8 ...2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb....6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene---walk!"......8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk...

    If perhaps, you do not have the power to heal men who have been crippled from birth, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 5:3-10 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...9 Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well." 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last....

    If you cannot predict the immediate death of someone who has lied to the Holy Spirit, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 13:8-11.....9 But Saul, who was also know as Paul...10...said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11 Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time....

    If for some unknown reason you lack the ability to temporarily blind a sorcerer, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 16:16-18 ...a slave-girl having a spirit of divination... 18 But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out at that very moment.

    If you cannot cast out occult spirits, you might not be a true apostle.

    Acts 2:43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe, and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

    If you are not capable of performing many signs and wonders, you might not be a true apostle.




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