Romans 1:1 What kind of apostle?

Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

The apostleship of Paul brings into question the issue of apostolic succession. Certainly Paul’s apostleship was not made in the way the other apostles were named during the earthly ministry of Christ, but neither is it a case of apostolic succession.

Apostolic succession is the false teaching that the apostleship of the eleven with their authority was handed down to subsequent bishops down to the present day. 

    • The Patriarchate of Constantinople claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Andrew.
    • The Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Mark.
    • The Russian Orthodox Church claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Andrew.
    • The Armenian Apostolic Church claims unbroken succession to the Thrones of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Thaddeus (Jude).
    • The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Mark.
    • The Church of the East, including the Saint Thomas Church (e.g., Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church) claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Thomas the Apostle.
    • The Orthodox Church of Cyprus claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Barnabas.
    • The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims succession to the Throne of Saint Philip.
    • The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem claims succession to the Throne of Saint James the Just, although this line includes Patriarchs in exile.
    • The Roman Papacy of the Catholic Church claims unbroken succession to the Throne of Saint Peter called “Prince of the Apostles.”

The apostles named in the Gospels are regularly referred to as apostles of Christ. There is a special qualification for that role that the apostles recognized when they voted to replace Judas Iscariot with Matthias.

Acts 1:21-26
21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
22Beginning 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.
23And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
24And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
25That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

However, Barnabas is also included as an apostle, but he was not made one by a vote replacing one of the twelve as Judas Iscariot was. His apostleship was established by the church at Antioch.

Acts 14:14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

Acts 13:1-3
1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

In this sense, as missionaries, the role of apostle in Ephesians 4:11-12 can still come down to us to this day.

Eph 4:11-12
11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Apostles do not need to copy the miraculous manifestations of the apostles of Christ, nor do they carry forward the authority of the Lord. They operate under the authority of the local church as ones sent forth on a mission.

Paul did not have a position as one voted on like Matthias, nor did he operate solely as a missonary out of Antioch. He was an apostle like the 11 in that he was a witness of the resurrected Christ. He was not named by Christ at the same time as the 11, but was one “born out of due time” —

1Cor 15:7-10
7After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

It was because of this that Paul was humble in his own apostleship and used powerfully by God. He was an apostle of Christ, and not just that of the church as a missionary.

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