American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. One of a group made up especially of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus to preach the gospel.
- n. A missionary of the early Christian Church.
- n. A leader of the first Christian mission to a country or region.
- n. One of the 12 members of the administrative council in the Mormon Church.
- n. One who pioneers an important reform movement, cause, or belief: an apostle of conservation.
- n. A passionate adherent; a strong supporter.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A person sent to execute some important business: among the Jews of the Christian epoch, a title borne by persons sent on foreign missions, especially by those commissioned to collect the temple tribute; specifically adopted by Christ as the official title of twelve of his disciples chosen and sent forth to preach the gospel to the world (Luke vi. 13); afterward applied in the New Testament to others who performed apostolic functions, as Paul and Barnabas, and once to Christ himself (Heb. iii. 1). In the Greek Church this title is given “not only to the Twelve, but to the Seventy Disciples, and to other Apostolic men who were the companions of the Apostles properly so called.” (J. M. Neale.) In later usage the title has been given to the first Christian missionaries in any part of the world, and to the pioneers of any great moral reform: as, St. Augustine, the apostle of the English; St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany; St. Francis Xavier, the apostle of the Indies; John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians; Theobald Mathew, the apostle of temperance.
- n. In the Mormon Ch., the title of an official whose duty it is to be a special witness of the name of Christ, to build up and preside over the church, and to administer in all its ordinances. There are twelve of these officials, who rank next after the president and his two assistants, and constitute a Presiding High Council charged with the penal regulation of the affairs of the church and the settlement of important matters.
- n. In the liturgy of the early church, and in the modern Greek Church, the lesson from the epistles, usually taken from the writings of St. Paul; also, a book containing these lessons, printed in the order in which they are to be read.
- n. In law, a brief statement of a case sent by a court whence an appeal has been taken to a superior court. This sense belonged to the Latin apostolus among the Roman jurists, and was commonly used until a late date in the tribunals of the Roman Catholic Church.
- n. Nautical, a knighthead or bollard-timber where hawsers and heavy ropes are belayed.
- n. A missionary, or leader of a religious mission, especially one in the early Christian Church (but see Apostle).
- n. A pioneer or early advocate of a particular cause, prophet of a belief.
- n. A top-ranking ecclesiastical official in the twelve seat administrative council of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- n. obsolete, slang A person who is plucked, i.e. refused an academic degree.
- n. law A letter dismissory.
- n. law A note sent to an appeal court presenting the appeal in summary.
- n. law The trial court record sent to an appeal court concerning an appeal.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Literally: One sent forth; a messenger. Specifically: One of the twelve disciples of Christ, specially chosen as his companions and witnesses, and sent forth to preach the gospel.
- n. The missionary who first plants the Christian faith in any part of the world; also, one who initiates any great moral reform, or first advocates any important belief; one who has extraordinary success as a missionary or reformer.
- n. (Civ. & Admiralty Law) A brief letter dimissory sent by a court appealed from to the superior court, stating the case, etc.; a paper sent up on appeals in the admiralty courts.
- n. any important early teacher of Christianity or a Christian missionary to a people
- n. (New Testament) one of the original 12 disciples chosen by Christ to preach his gospel
- n. an ardent early supporter of a cause or reform
- See apostil. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English apostol and from Old French apostle, both from Late Latin apostolus, from Greek apostolos, messenger, from apostellein, to send off : apo-, apo- + stellein, to send; see stel- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The term apostle is applied by St. Paul not only to the Twelve, but also to himself, to Barnabas, to his kinsmen,”
“That the first Gospel was written by this apostle is the testimony of all antiquity.”
“-- So understanding the words, the apostle is here giving the language of the true method of justification; and this sense we prefer (with Calvin, Beza, Ferme, Locke, Jowett).”
“All things belonging to the new creation, and recovery of fallen man to life and happiness, of which the apostle is there speaking, all these things are of God the Father, as contriver and beginner of this work.”
“This may be referred either to the immediately foregoing verse, That you faint not, &c., or, rather, the apostle is here resuming what he began at the first verse, from which he digressed in those which are interposed.”
“But I think the apostle is here continuing his former discourse, and advising unmarried persons, who are at their own disposal, what to do, the man's virgin being meant of his virginity.”
“The general meaning of the apostle is the same, that it was no sin to marry, if a man thought there was a necessity upon, to avoid popular reproach, much less to avoid the hurrying fervours of lust.”
“An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, and commissioned by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the extension of the kingdom of God.”
“Thereupon he signed to the negress, who rose and, pointing her finger at the blonde, said: Dost thou not know that in the Koran sent down to His prophet and apostle, is transmitted the saying of God the Most High, ‘By the night when it covereth all things with darkness; by the day when it shineth forth!’”
“By prayer and fasting Stephen sought the conversion of all Hungary; rightfully is he called the apostle of his nation.”
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