What were the requirements to be an apostle?


The questions are in II Timothy chapter 1.

1.) In vs. 1 what is an apostle?

2.) Who appointed Paul to this position?

3.) What is the “Promise of Life?”


Question #1 “What is an apostle?”

The definition of “apostle” is “one sent on a mission” (Merriam Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). The word “apostle” appears 19 times in the Bible; the word “apostles,” 60 times; and the word “apostleship,” 4 times.

The word is first used in a special way of the twelve apostles which Jesus chose. Luke 6:12-16 says, “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and OF THEM HE CHOSE TWELVE, WHOM ALSO HE NAMED APOSTLES; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”

After Judas took his own life, and after Jesus died for our sins and rose again, Peter brings up the matter about choosing another apostle to replace Judas. Acts 1:16-26 says, “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon MATTHIAS; AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE ELEVEN APOSTLES.” The requirements to be included in the number of the first 12 apostles was: the person must have been present during the ministry of John the Baptist; must have been present with Jesus in His earthly ministry; and must have been a witness of the resurrected Christ.

Your second question was “Who appointed Paul to this position?”

Paul was called of the Lord to be an apostle. Romans 1:1 says, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE, separated unto the gospel of God.” I Corinthians 1:1 says, “Paul, CALLED TO BE AN APOSTLE of Jesus Christ through the will of God.” Galatians 1:1 says, “PAUL, AN APOSTLE, (NOT OF MEN, NEITHER BY MAN, BUT BY JESUS CHRIST, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.)” II Timothy 1:11 says, “Whereunto I AM APPOINTED A PREACHER, AND AN APOSTLE.”

Paul’s apostleship was questioned by some in his day (probably because he was not of the original 12), so you read his response to those people. I Corinthians 9:1,2 says, “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:1-9 says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And LAST OF ALL HE WAS SEEN OF ME ALSO, AS ONE BORN OUT OF DUE TIME. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” His point was that he met the qualifications to be an apostle, even though he came along a little later.

Your third question was, “What is the ‘promise of life?’”

If you continue reading on in that verse, it says, “according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” That is referring to the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus. Just like it was the will of God for Paul to be an apostle, even so it is the will of God that all would come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus have eternal life. II Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.” I Timothy 2:3,4 says, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; WHO WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

God wants all people to be saved. Then, He has a perfect plan for each of our lives. Have you come to Christ to be saved? Have you found His perfect will for your life?