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Difference Between Apostle and Disciple

apostles-dbApostle vs Disciple
Very often the words apostle and disciple are used interchangeably. In fact there is very well little difference between the two. In general both the words refer to a passionate student of certain philosophies and beliefs that he looks to spread by preaching people around him. But in Christianity there is a pretty clear distinction between an apostle and a disciple. This article deals with making those differences clear to our readers.

In Christianity, disciples were essentially students of Jesus during his existence. Jesus had a huge following and also accepted sinners (people who violated laws of purity) and women which led to a lot of controversies. Though it is still not certain whether they were his disciples or not. The word disciple is derived from Latin discipulus and could essentially be considered a learner who learns from his teacher. It has been known that some of Jesus’ first followers initially happened to be followers of John the Baptist. Several disciples in history are known to have been important figures. Peter is often considered to be amongst the most important ones. He was the first one to have hailed Jesus as the messiah of humanity. Along with Peter, John and James (all three happen to be apostles as well) are believed to have witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration.

An apostle along with being a student was also trained further by the Jesus of Nazareth. The reason behind this was to turn the disciple into a preacher who helped spreading Jesus’ teachings and philosophies thus helping in spreading the ‘good news’ and establish the church through evangelism. Jesus chose 12 of his disciples who later turned into apostles. Amongst the 12 was also Judas who betrayed Jesus and later killed himself too. Later on after the death of Judas, Matthias was chosen to replace him amongst the 12 and carry forward the mission.

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  1. Cool site!

    On the difference between a Disciple and an Apostle, you note the Latin origin of the English word “Disciple.” It might be helpful to note the Greek origin of the word “Apostle.” The Greek word is apostolos, and it means “sent one” or “one who is sent.”

    The disciples become apostles when Jesus “sends” them into the world “to make disciples of all nations” in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

    In a sense, the students have graduated and are now being sent to teach others.

    St. Paul later lays claim to being an apostle because in his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus “sends” him to preach the Good News to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21).


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