1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
apóstolos n def once sent forth (apo, from; stelló, to send)
A person commissioned by another for the performance of important duties. Ambassadors.
Paul states he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. There were more apostles than those of Christ. The Sanhedrin teachers had apostles. Paul (Saul prior to his conversion experience) was an apostle of the Sanhedrin.
Jesus had a multitude of followers and as a result multiple who could be called disciples. However, an apostle of Jesus had to meet specific qualifications:
- He had to personally see the risen Christ
- He had to be personally taught by Christ
- He had to be personally commissioned by Christ for service
There was no apostolic succession. Once Andrew, Simon Peter, James Zebedee, John Zebedee, Philip, Nathaniel, Matthew Levi, Thomas Didymus, James and Judas Alpheus, Simon the Zealot, and Paul died the authority of the apostles passed with them. The apostolic power that was present and displayed in the Book of Acts with these men disappeared as well.