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War & Morality

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The Twelve Apostles: History, Function, and Theology “In the history of the Christian church, the Apostles form a first central group – a nucleus, from which all future effort takes its beginning” (Wayland 5). This quote from biblical historian John Wayland epitomizes the importance of the Twelve Apostles, even close to two thousand years after their deaths. Ultimately the apostles played a pivotal role in connecting Jesus and His message to the people of the rest of the World. Without the apostles, the foundational message and teachings of Jesus would not have been able to be passed on to future believers. In this paper, we will highlight the lasting theological impact of the Twelve Apostles, why they were chosen and the symbiotic relationship between them and Jesus.
Before one can understand the everlasting impact of the Twelve Apostles, author Bernard Ruffin states that, “it is important to distinguish between the terms “the Twelve,” “the apostles,” and “the disciples.” They are not interchangeable. “Disciple” is the broadest term, referring to all those who followed Jesus and studied under Him. The Twelve and all other apostles were disciples, but not all disciples were apostles, and not all apostles were members of “the Twelve” (Ruffin 11). Even with a better-defined perspective of the Twelve, the biblical accounts of who they were are slightly different. In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) all three authors agree that there were twelve original apostles, however, they differ slightly in the naming of the twelve individuals. Most notably with Luke referring to “Judas the son of James” whereas Matthew and Mark call the apostle, “Thaddeus.” Regardless of the names and titles of the twelve apostles, the underlying concepts of their calling and selection are unified. However, even with their selection as original apostles, it is hard to...

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