7 Biblical Differences Between Apostle and Disciple

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7 Biblical Differences Between Apostles and Disciples

I bet you will agree that there must be a difference between apostle and disciple?

In this article, you will discover the difference between apostle and disciple. You may be surprised at the answer.

What is the Difference Between Apostle and Disciple?

  1. The Definition

According to Websters 1828 Dictionary:

An Apostle isAPOS’TLE, noun [Latin apostalus; Gr. to send away, to sent.] A person deputed to execute some important business; but appropriately, a disciple of Christ commissioned to preach the gospel. Twelve persons were selected by Christ for this purpose; and Judas, one of the number, proving an apostate, his place was supplied by Matthias. Acts 1:2.

A Disciple is: DISCIPLE, noun [Latin , to learn.] A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato.

A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.

So out of all the disciples, Christ personally chose twelve of them to be his apostles. We don’t know for sure why he chose twelve specifically, however it is speculated that it was because there were twelve tribes of Israel.

The term “disciple” is primarily used in the Gospels, and a little bit in the Book of Acts. The term “apostle” is used primarily in the Book of Acts and in the New Testament letters called “The Epistles”.

Here is a short video explanation that may help:

The next difference between apostle and disciple is:

2. The Position

A disciple was a follower of Christ, but an Apostle had a unique position in that they were personally sent by Jesus, as preachers of the Gospel.

3. The Authority

Another difference between apostle and disciple is that, while a disciple who followed Jesus had great loyalty, an Apostle had been given direct authority by Jesus himself, in the conduct of the Gospel ministry.

4. The Expectations

The expectations placed on a disciple were that they should follow, the primary difference between apostle and disciple here is that an Apostle was expected to be a leader, not only a follower.

5. The Significance

There was a significant ministry that was entrusted to the Apostles, one of eternal consequence and spiritual gravity. The disciples were expected to follow Christ, but many of them walked away.

John 6:66–67 “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”

6. The Respect

Another major difference between apostles and disciples is that while the Lord’s many disciples had a great affection for each other, the Apostles were held in high regard by the early church.

The Apostles were well respected by the early churches, and gave direct oversight of the first-century churches. 

7. The Temporality

The last primary difference between apostle and disciple is that the position of an Apostle was a first-century position only, as they were directly anointed and appointed by Jesus Christ himself.

There are still disciples of Christ today, as many have become the followers of Christ.

How The 12 Apostles Died

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