Authority of apostles
Apostolic authority derives directly from Jesus Christ, who commissions apostles. It is rigorously upheld within the church.
Apostolic authority is based on divine commission
(NKJV) — 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
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(NKJV) — 1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
(NKJV) — 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
(NKJV) — 1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),
(NKJV) — 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
(NKJV) — 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
(NKJV) — 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,
(NKJV) — 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Apostolic authority derives from Jesus Christ
(NKJV) — 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
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(NKJV) — 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
(NKJV) — 7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
(NKJV) — 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,
The authority of apostles is related to their ministry role
There appears to be a definite order of priority with apostles at the head.
(NKJV) — 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
(NKJV) — 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
The exercise of apostolic authority within the church
In building up the body
Paul had special authority as founder of this church.
(NKJV) — 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.
(NKJV) — 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed—
In general oversight
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(NKJV) — 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
(NKJV) — 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
(NKJV) — 6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
(NKJV) — 22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren. 23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.
(NKJV) — 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.
(NKJV) — 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
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(NKJV) — 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(NKJV) — 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
(NKJV) — 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
In appointing leaders
(NKJV) — 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
In church discipline
(NKJV) — 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
(NKJV) — 7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
(NKJV) — 3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
The right to be supported
Paul did not demand such support (see ).
(NKJV) — 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
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(NKJV) — 4 Do we have no right to eat and drink?
(NKJV) — 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
(NKJV) — 7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.
The marks of a true apostle
False apostles exist
(NKJV) — 2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
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(NKJV) — 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it! 5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.
(NKJV) — 11 I have become a fool in boasting; you have compelled me. For I ought to have been commended by you; for in nothing was I behind the most eminent apostles, though I am nothing.
Fruit confirms apostolic ministry
(NKJV) — 1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
Signs confirm apostolic authority
(NKJV) — 12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
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(NKJV) — 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
(NKJV) — 12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
(NKJV) — 19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.