Call of the Twelve and the Mission Sermon

By Eric D. Huntsman. This post is also posted at

This week’s assigned lesson is Luke 4:14–32; 5; 6:12–16; and Matthew 10. With the exception of Matthew 10, the Mission Sermon, the decision to use passages from Luke makes sense inasmuch as Luke uses the term “apostle” six times as often as the other Gospels and perhaps with Acts, his next volume on the history of the apostolic church in mind, he is in many ways more sensitive to the calling and position of apostolos.

However, in terms of basic methodology, I almost always suggest that people read about various episodes from the ministry and mission of Jesus first from Mark, which biblical scholarship overwhelming agrees was the first of the Gospels. With this so-called “Marcan priority” in mind, I suggest that those who want to make a little effort this week first read the account, followed by Matthew and Luke to see how the later evangelists adopted and developed the Marcan material (this is a bit of a practical crash course in source and redaction criticism).

Accordingly, for this week, consider reading the following in the following order (the sequence is that of Luke’s because of the lesson set up):

  • Jesus Returns to Galilee to Preach (Mark 1:14–15; parallels Matthew 4:12–17; Luke 4:14–15)
  • Jesus teaches at Nazareth (Mark 6:1–6a; parallels Matthew 13:53–58; Luke 4:16–30)
  • Jesus’ work at Capernaum (4:31–44)
    • Teaching in the synagogue (Mark 1:21–22; parallel Luke 4:31–32, narrative transition report)
    • Exorcism of a demonic (Mark 1:21–28; parallel Luke 4:33–37, healing story)
    • Peter’s mother–in–law (Mark 1:29–31; parallels Matthew 8:14–15; Luke 4:38–39, healing story)
    • Many sick and possessed healed (Mark 1:32–39; parallels Matthew 8:16–17;  4:40–41, healing story)
    • Departure from Capernaum (4:42–44, narrative transition report)
  • Call of the First Disciples (Mark 1:16–20; parallels Mathew 4:18–22; Luke 5:1–11, narrative, call story)
    • Including the Astonishing Catch of Fish in Luke . . .
  • Healing of a leper (Mark 1:40–45; parallels Matthew 8:2–4; Luke 5:12–16, healing story)
  • Beginning of the Controversy with The Pharisees (5:17–6:11)
    • Healing the man with palsy/Jesus’ authority to heal sins (Mark 2:1–12; parallels Matthew 9:1–8; Luke 5:17–26, healing story/controversy narrative)
    • Call of Levi/Matthew; Jesus’ attitude towards sinners (Mark 2:13–17; parallels Matthew 9:10–13; Luke 5:27–32, controversy narrative)
    • Jesus’ attitude towards fasting (Mark 2:18–22; parallels Matthew 9:14–17; Luke 5:33–39, controversy narrative)
      • parable of garment and wine bottles (Mark 2:21–22; parallels Matthew 9:16–17; Luke; 5:36–39)
  • Call of the Twelve (Mark 3:13–19a; parallels Matthew 10:1–4; Luke 6:12–16, call story)
  • Discourse: Mission Sermon (10:5–42)
    • Mission of the Twelve (10:5–15)
    • Coming Persecutions (10:16–33)
    • The Cost of Discipleship (10:34–39)
    • Rewards for Discipleship (10:40–42)

See individual posts for excerpts on my treatment of the miracles of the Astonishing Catch of Fish (Luke 5:1–11), the Healing of a leper (Mark 1:40–45; parallels Matthew 8:2–4; Luke 5:12–16), and Paralytic Healed and Forgiven (Mark 2:1–12; parallels Matthew 9:1–8; Luke 5:17–26). These posts also have links to on-site videos you might find interesting.

Here I will very briefly address some of the interesting Lucan addition to Jesus’ teaching at Nazareth, the Call of the Twelve, and the Matthean Mission Sermon.

Jesus Teaches at Nazareth

Luke moves Jesus’ visit from its later position in both Mark and Matthew to immediately after his return from being tried in the wilderness. The major addition, of course, is his reading in the synagogue of Isaiah 61:1–2. The version Luke uses is actually Isaiah 61:1 LXX, which he uses to fold into the Isaiah passage the important feature of healing blindness see throughout Jesus’ ministry.[1]


Luke clearly loves this passage, because it portrays Jesus’ ministry in terms which are so in harmony with the evangelist’s own sensitivities towards the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed:

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;

he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (Luke 4:17–20).

Surprisingly, it is not Jesus’ apparent Messianic self-identification, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21), that enrages his fellow townspeople in Nazareth. Rather it is his bringing up of Gentiles, namely Elijah blessing the widow of Zarapheth and Elias healing Namaan that leads to the riot which almost resulted in his being cast down from the precipice.

Call of the Twelve

(excerpts from “Galilee and the Call of the Twelve Apostles,” pages 213–246 in From Bethlehem to the Sermon on the Mount, edited by Richard N. Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment.  The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, vol. 1.  Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005.)

Although the Twelve are frequently referred to as disciples, the synoptic gospels agree that Jesus called the first twelve apostles from among the larger body of his followers who were already called “disciples.”[2] The Greek word for disciple, mathētēs, literally means “learner” and was a common term in Koine Greek for a pupil, apprentice, or adherent.[3] In the gospels the idea of learning (manthanō, from which mathētēs is derived) is connected closely to following (akolouthō), and in this respect the initiative always belongs to Jesus: he calls, and the true disciple follows.[4] According to Meier, “In this strict sense, discipleship meant following Jesus literally, physically.  It therefore involved leaving home, family, and work, and exposing oneself to possible hardships and opposition from others, including one’s own family.”[5] Some scholars, such as Meier, distinguish, perhaps a little too finely, between devoted “adherents” who stayed home and supported the ministry—such as Mary, Martha, or Zachaeus—and true disciples, but the earliest followers of Jesus appear to have grown in their discipleship, learning from Jesus and accompanying him to important events and only later abandoning their earlier lives completely.  Then, like the early Restoration apostles who were called from the number of those prepared by the experiences of Zion’s Camp,[6] the men who were called as the Twelve were prepared during their early period of discipleship, following the Savior through the early Judean and Galilean phases of his ministry, learning from both his words and deeds, and suffering with him from the growing opposition against him.

Selecting the Apostles: “Of Them He Chose Twelve . . .

Before calling twelve from the body of his disciples, Luke 6:12 records that Jesus retired to a mountain where he spent the night in prayer, emphasizing the care he took and the inspiration that he sought in this selection.[7] The number twelve was significant, representing the twelve tribes of Israel and symbolizing that in Jesus a new Israel was being established.  All three synoptic gospels and Acts contain lists of the twelve men whom Jesus chose.  These lists are essentially the same and each arrange Twelve in groups of four.[8] They occasionally differ in their order and disagree only in regard to the figures of Thaddeus and Judas “of James,” who was probably the son rather than the brother of an otherwise unspecified James.[9]

 The Meaning of the Title “ . . . Whom Also He Named Apostles.”

The testimony of Luke emphasizes that Jesus specifically called the Twelve “apostles,” indicating a divine origin and importance to the title he gave them and encouraging a further examination of the meaning and the use of the term.  New Testament usage, however, requires the consideration of two different issues.  The first is how a Greek term with a secular origin came to be an almost exclusively religious designation.  The second concerns how the different New Testament writers used the word.  “Apostle” appears with surprising infrequency in the gospel accounts, although Luke uses it more often in Acts, perhaps indicating that the term best described the function of the apostles after the Resurrection.  The term is even more frequent in writings of Paul, but at times he uses it differently than Luke.

Standard discussions of the title apostolos note that it derives from the verb apostellō meaning “to send forth.”  This converges smoothly with the function of the Twelve whom Jesus sent forth to preach and bear their witness of who he was.  This was not, however, the sense of apostolos in Classical Greek before the New Testament.  Originally an adjectival form employed only later as a noun, apostolos was most commonly used in Classical literature in connection with seafaring, particularly regarding the dispatch of a fleet or expedition.[10] Related to this was the idea of an embassy sent out with a message, although this usage retained its naval connection since most ambassadors in the Greek world traveled by sea.[11] This is the sense in which Josephus used the term when he recorded the embassy sent by the Jews to Augustus to complain about Archelaus; this use of the term, rare in Jewish writings in Greek, may have arisen because the embassy would have necessarily traveled by sea.[12] In other Greek documents roughly contemporary with or shortly after the New Testament, the use often varied widely, as indicated by references in papyrus records where apostolos can mean anything from an export-license to cargo dispatched by an order or bill.[13] Extant Classical Greek literature does not attest the use of the term for religious figures, the only possible parallel for New Testament usage being the Cynic and Stoic sages that were seen as being “sent from Zeus” to proclaim the truth.[14] In this case, however, the philosopher was a kērux (“herald”) or an angellos (“messenger”) not an apostolos, although a connection appears in the regular use of these nouns with a passive form of the verb apostellō.[15]

Another important fact is that apostolos was probably not the actual word Jesus used when he “named” his twelve special followers.  Because Jesus presumably spoke Aramaic in his ministry, the Greek term apostolos may have been adopted some time afterwards as either a translation or explanation of an original Hebrew or Aramaic term.  This original word and not the Greek translation may account for the familiar meaning of “one sent out as an authorized representative or agent” familiar to the writings of the New Testament.[16] While Old Testament Hebrew does not preserve a noun for “a sent one,” šelîaḥ, a passive participle meaning “having been sent,” is used in 1 Kings 14:6 to describe the prophet Ahijah’s being sent to the wife of Jeroboam.[17] A similar passive participle, the Aramaic šelîaḥ, appears in Daniel 5:24 and Ezra 7:14.[18] Outside of the Old Testament the participle šelîaḥ regularly began to serve as a substantive and comes to represent a later Jewish institution, that of a legally commissioned agent.  Fully empowered to represent the person who sent him, the rabbis said that “a man’s šelîaḥ is as himself.”[19] Additionally, by the second century AD rabbinic literature employed true nouns, šälûaḥ in Mishnaic Hebrew and šelûḥa in Aramaic, that meant messenger, agent, or deputy.[20] Although it is by no means clear that this meaning was fully established for šelîaḥ at the time of Christ or even in the early Christian period, Jesus probably employed some such word connoting the sense of sending or commissioning a representative when he named the Twelve “his apostles.”[21]

Although apostolos did later come to be the standard Greek translation of šelûḥa,[22] Jesus clearly did not establish the apostleship, a priesthood office, by basing it solely upon some existing Jewish model.  However, the sense of a fully-empowered agent whom the Lord sent as his representative does seem to have influenced how the writers of the New Testament rendered this idea in Greek. Thus because šelûḥa (or some similar expression) was associated with the idea of sending (apostellō), in the earliest Christian writings apostolos lost its original naval connotations and went beyond the idea of an embassy to take on the definitive sense of a personal agent empowered to represent and act for the one who sent him.  Once it became the dominant understanding of the Greek term, this sense of apostolos then expanded outside of Christian circles.

The frequency and occurrences of apostolos in the New Testament, however, suggests that its use and meaning was originally somewhat fluid.  The gospels, other than Luke, use this term surprisingly rarely and usually in the plural (apostoloi and related forms).  The only secure use in Mark, presumably the oldest gospel, is Mark 6:30 when the Twelve return from their return from their first mission.[23] Matthew also uses the term only once, at Matthew 10:2 at the beginning of his list of the apostles.  John also has a single occurrence of the word apostolos at John 13:16, and there it is used in such a non-technical sense that it is not even evident in the KJV translation: “ . . . the servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent (apostolos) greater than he that sent him.”[24] By contrast there are thirty-one references in the writings of Luke, six in his gospel and later twenty-five in Acts.[25] Since Luke seems to have written after Mark and Matthew, an initial hypothesis could be that using apostolos as the Greek rendering of the Twelve’s title caught on slowly and that Luke had a major role in establishing its usage.

Nevertheless, this does not take into account the use of the word in the epistles, most of which were probably written before any of the gospels.  In the general epistles, the writings of Peter use apostolos three times and Jude once.[26] Paul, however, uses the term thirty-five times, where it appears in both the singular and the plural.[27] Hebrews 3:1 provides an additional single reference, which refers to Christ as an apostle.  Since the writings of Paul appear to be the earliest in the New Testament, some secular biblical scholars have proposed that either the term was a postresurrectional title read anachronistically into the mortal ministry or that the term originated in Greek Christianity after the beginning of the gentile mission and hence did not necessarily have a direct connection with Jesus or the original Twelve.[28] In this view, even though the gospels were written after Paul, their authors did not regularly include the term “apostle,” preferring, particularly in the case of Mark and Matthew, the designation “the Twelve,” usually as a number alone and sometimes with the word for disciple.[29]

This position, of course, does not satisfactorily deal with the evidence of Luke, who applies apostoloi almost exclusively to the original Twelve, noting that when Judas was replaced, his replacement had to come from the body of disciples who were not only witnesses of the resurrection but who had been with Christ from the beginning of his ministry (Acts 1:21–22).  Luke’s usage in both his gospel and Acts is consistent, the only possible exception being his reference to Paul and Barnabas as apostoloi in Acts 14:4 and 14 since Paul at least had not been with Jesus in his mortal ministry and in this instance he and Barnabas were “sent out” by local Church officials.[30] Since Mark and Matthew antedate Luke, the rarity of the term in these gospels must be explained.  Perhaps a satisfactory translation for the Hebrew or Aramaic term used by Jesus had not yet been settled upon; perhaps they were always seen as a group, making “the Twelve” a more natural designation; or perhaps, as today, the frequent use of the title was avoided out of respect for the priesthood office.[31] On the other hand, if the term apostolos had already become the more common form in Greek Pauline circles before the gospels were written, this could explain why Luke, who had been closely associated with Paul and his mission, used it more often in his gospel and then increasingly in Acts.

. . . Nevertheless, an often overlooked explanation lies in the fact that although called, ordained, and even “sent out” for short missions during Jesus’ mortal ministry, the apostles did not fully serve in their calling until after the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension.  They were chosen and ordained to be sure, but while their Lord was with them their main role was to be his twelve companions, to learn from him and follow him.  Indeed, although Luke employs the term apostoloi in his gospel more often than Mark and Matthew, he uses “the Twelve” just as often.[32] After using it twice in Acts 1:2 and 1:26 in much the same way as he did in the gospel, after Pentecost Luke’s use of the term suddenly increases, appearing twenty-three more times while the designation “the Twelve” appears only once more.[33] In Acts the Twelve truly were “sent out,” and this is the type of mission filled by Paul and Peter in their letters.

Thus what had also been used in general terms for any messenger or agent became the exclusive appellation for those who had been individually commissioned by Jesus Christ, either in his ministry or after his resurrection and then fulfilled that commission by taking their apostolic witness to the world.   Although additional apostles such as Paul and Barnabas may have been appointed to occupy vacancies among the original Twelve,[34] as has sometimes been the case in this dispensation some special witnesses may have been ordained apostles but may not have been members of the Twelve, raising the possibility of a body of ordained witnesses that was at times slightly larger than the innermost circle of twelve.[35] As a result, in the New Testament texts a picture emerges of a set of concentric circles around the figure of the Savior.  In the broadest circle were all the disciples, those who accepted Jesus as Lord and endeavored to follow him.  Within this group were those who were sent out on specific missions, such as the Seventy whom Jesus “sent out” (apesteilen) later in the Galilean ministry (Luke 10:1).  Such missionaries and later the agents of individual churches, such as Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), may have been called apostoloi in a general sense.[36]75  Then within this circle were those who had a special, divine witness of the Savior, in particular those who had received a special commission and a specific priesthood ordination, for whom the term avpo, stoloj has special significance.   Ultimately, of course, the term became most closely associated with the Twelve and their successors (see Figure 2).[37]

Matthean Mission Sermon

Introduction: Calling of the Twelve (10:1–4, narrative call story)

  • 12 disciples (apostles) symbolizing the 12 tribes of the restored kingdom
  • A new Israel!
  • Called considerably later in the story than in Mark

Direction: Mission of the Twelve (10:5–15)

Warning of Coming Persecutions (10:16–33)

  • “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (10:22)
  • “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” (10:24)

Costs of Discipleship (10:34–39)

Rewards for discipleship (10:40–42)

  • “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (10:40; cf. D&C 84:36-37)

[1] Twelftree, Jesus the Miracle Worker, 299.  While the Masoretic Hebrew text of Isaiah 61:1 followed by the KJV makes no reference to giving sight to the blind, the Greek Septuagint explicitly reads kai typhlois anablepsin.  The Dead Sea Scroll text may refer to this as well when it renders “opening of the prison” as “release from darkness” (4Q521 = Messianic Apocalypse).

[2] See for instance H.F. Peacock, “Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark,” Review and Expositor 75 (1978): 555–56; J. Andrew Overman, “Disciple” in The Oxford Companion to the Bible (ed. by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 168.

[3] Bauer, s.v. “mathētēs,” 486–86.

[4] Hans Weder, “Disciple, Discipleship,” trans. by Dennis Martin, ABD 2.207–208.

[5] John P. Meier, “The Circle of the Twelve: Did It Exist during Jesus’ Public Ministry?” Journal of Biblical Literature 116.4 (1997): 636–637.

[6] Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, 2001), 317; Ivan J. Barrett, Joseph Smith and the Restoration (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1973), 294–97.

[7] McConkie, MM, 2:104.

[8] For tables and comparisons of the lists of the Twelve, see R. Brown, “The Twelve and the Apostolate,” 1378–79 (§137–146); Garrett, 229–230; Meier, 646–48; John W. Welch and John H. Hall, Charting the New Testament (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), chart 13-4; and Matthews, Behold, 106–108.

[9] Ioudas IakÇbou (VIou,daj VIakw,bou) is most naturally rendered “son of James” as in the NAU, NIV, NRSV, and NJB rather than “brother of James” as in the KJV.

[10] E.g., Lysias, 19, “On the Estate of Aristophanes,”21; Demosthenes, Orationes 3.5, 18.80.  See Karl H. Rengstorf, “avpo, stoloj,” TDNT 1:407–408, and Walter Schmithals, The Office of Apostle in the Early Church, trans. by John E. Steely (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1969), 96–98.

[11] Herodotus, Historiae, 1.21, 5.38; Plato Epistulae, 346a.  See Hans D. Betz, “Apostle,” ABD, 1:309.

[12] Josephus AJ 17.11.1 (§300), which is Josephus’ only secure use of the term.  Poorly attested is the variant apostlos (avpo,stoloj) for apodasmon (avpodasmo.n) in AJ 1.6.4 (§146).  On embassies traveling by sea, see Rengstorf, TDNT, 1:413.

[13] Henry G. Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon (9th edition, revised by Henry S. Jones; Oxford: Clarnedon Press, 1996), s.v. “avpo,stoloj,” 220, for Der Gnomon des Idios Logos (Berliner griechische Urkunden V [Berlin, 1895–]) 162, and The Oxyrhynchus Papyri III (ed. B.P. Grenfell and A.S. Hunt; London, 1903), 522.1.  See Rengstorf, TDNT 1:408 for additional examples, including P.Oxy. 9.1197 for shipments of corn and BGU 5.64 for a passport; also, F. Agnew, “On the Origin of the Term Apostolos,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 38 (1976), 51–53, for P.Lond (Greek Papyri in the British Museum;London, 1910), 4.1339, 4.1343, and 4.1393, which give examples of Egyptian papyri with meanings more closely approaching the sense of agent.

[14] Rengstorf, TDNT, 1:409–413; H. Betz, ABD 1:309.

[15] E.g., Epictetus Diatribari, 3.22.23: “a messenger sent from Zeus.”

[16] S. Kent Brown, “Apostle,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1:60.

[17] Francis Brown, Samuel R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1907, repr. 1953), s.v. šälfaH,” 1018; Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, and Johann J. Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (trans. M. E. J. Richardson; 5 vols.; New York: Brill, 1994–2000), 4:1511–1516.  See also Jer. 49:14; Ezek. 23:40; and 2 Chr. 36:15.  Significantly, in at least one Septuagint manuscript tradition, Ahijah is described as an apostolos.  Although rendered actively in 3 Kingdoms 12:6 (LXX), (“I send grievous tidings to you”), Rengstorf, TDNT, 413, notes that the codex Alexandrinus renders it literally, “I am a grievous messenger sent to you.”

[18] F. Brown, Hebrew, s.v.šelîaH’,” 1115; Koehler, HALOT, 5:1994–95.  In both these passages, however, the Septuagint Greek rendering uses apestaltō, an aorist passive indicative form of the verb apostellō, rather than the noun apostolos.

[19] Mishna Berakhot, 5:5.  See Rengstorf, TDNT 1:413–420; Schmithals, 98–105; Otto Betz, “Apostle,” The Oxford Companion to the Bible, 41.

[20] Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature (2nd ed.; New York, 1903; repr. Judaica Press, 1971), s.v.šelîaḥ,” 1579; Michael Sokoloff, A Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine Period (2nd ed.; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2002), s.v.šelûḥa,” 553.

[21] Schmithals, 105–110, however, strongly disputes the seeming connection š.lîaH and avpo, stoloj.  Compare with Hans Freiherr Von Campenhausen, Ecclesiastical Authority and Spiritual Power in the Church of the First Three Centuries, trans. by J. A. Baker (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969), 22, who confidently writes, “The very word ‘apostle’ is nothing other than a literal translation of a Jewish legal term, namely shaliach, which denotes a person of a plenipotentiary representative, whose task it is to conduct business independently and responsibly for the one who has assigned him these powers for a particular service.”  For an overview of the scholarly debate, see R. Brown, “The Twelve and the Apostolate,”1380–81 (§150–152).

[22] Eusebius Comm. Isa. 18:1–2 refers to Jewish avposto,louj being sent out from Jerusalem to the Diaspora, and Rengstorf, TDNT 1:414 interprets Jerome Comm. Gal. 1:1 as demonstrating that avpo,stoloj is the translation of š.lîaH (via the Latin Slias). More importantly, šliHä is the regular translation of avpo,stoloj back into Syriac in the Peshitta (LexSyr 780b).

[23] Some manuscripts suggest that Mark, presumably the oldest gospel, uses it at Jesus’ selection of the Twelve in Mark 3:14: “And he ordained twelve [whom he named apostles], that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” For the possibility that the  ou]j kai. avposto,louj wvno,masen in these manuscripts is a gloss taken from Luke, see Frederick C. Grant, The Gospel According to St. Mark, Exegesis (The Interpreter’s Bible 7; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1979), 685–86, and France, Mark, 157.  Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1971), 80, notes the strong external evidence for this variant and includes the phrase in brackets in the Greek text “to reflect the balance of probabilities.”  If the phrase “whom he named apostles” stood in the original, it would provide early textual evidence supporting Luke 6:13’s witness that Jesus gave the Twelve a specific title (see Marshall, 238).

[24] John’s failure to use the term apostolos in a technical sense is difficult to explain.  On the one hand, since John does not seem to be aware of the synoptic gospels, this usage, or lack thereof, might serve as a sign of early composition, at least before Luke.  On the other, if the later date that is traditionally proposed is accepted, then John has purposefully avoided the term to focus instead on his theme of discipleship.

[25] Luke 6:13; 9:10; 11:49; 17:5; 22:14; 24:10.  Acts 1:2; 1:26; 2:37; 2:42; 4:33; 4:35; 4:36; 3:37; 5:2; 5:12; 5:18; :29; 5:40; 6:6; 8:1; 8:14; 8:18; 9:27, 15:2; 11:1; 14:14; 15:4; 15:6; 15:23; 16:4.

[26] 1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 1:1; 3:2; Jude 1:17.

[27] Rom 1:1; 11:13; 16:7; 1 Cor 1:1; 4:9; 9:1; 9:2; 9:5; 12:28; 12:29; 15:7; 15:9 (x2);  2 Cor  1:1; 8:23; 11:5; 11:13 (x2); 12:11;12:12; Gal.1:1; 1:17; 1:19;  Eph 1:1; 2:20; 3:5; 4:11;  Phil 2:25;  Col 1:1;  1 Thess. 2:6 [7 in Gk manuscripts];  1 Tim 1:1; 2:7; 2 Tim 1:1; 1:11; Tit 1:1.

[28] R. Brown, “The Twelve and The Apostolate,” 1381 (§153).

[29] Mark uses “the Twelve” ten times (3:16; 4:10; 6:7; 9:35; 10:32; 11:11; 14:10; 14:17; 14:20; 14:43) and Matthew five or six times (10:1; 10:5; 26:14; 26:20; 26:47; “disciples” with “the twelve” in 20:17 does not appear in all the Greek manuscripts).  The expression “the twelve disciples” appears in Matt 11:1 and possibly in 20:17.

[30] This instance might reflect their earlier role as emissaries or representatives of the church in Antioch which set them apart for that particular mission (see Bruce, AA, 318–19, and Ben Witherington, New Testament History: A Narrative Account [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001], 235–36).  Richard L. Anderson, Understanding Paul (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 35, argues strongly for full apostolic ordination and membership among the Twelve.  Indeed, from a Latter-day Saint perspective, they easily could have filled subsequent vacancies that occurred among the Twelve (see Joseph Fielding Smith, 3:153, and also Hall, 236–38), although ordination to the priesthood office of apostle does not always include automatically being set apart to the Twelve.

[31] See Talmage, 229: “So great is the sanctity of this special calling that the title ‘Apostle’ should not be used lightly as the common or ordinary form of address applied to living men called to this office.  The quorum or council of the Twelve Apostles as existent in the Church to-day may be better spoken of as the ‘Quorum of the Twelve,” the ‘Council of the Twelve,’ or simply as the ‘Twelve,’ than use of the more sacred term.”

[32] Luke 8:1; 9:1; 9:12; 18:31; 22:3; 22:47.

[33] Acts 2:37; 2:42; 3:37; 4:33; 4:35; 4:36; 5:2; 5:12; 5:18; 5:29; 5:40; 6:6; 8:1; 8:14; 8:18; 9:27; 11:1; 14:14; 15:2; 15:4; 15:6; 15:23; 16:4.

[34] “We have no record that states that in the days of the apostles of old that any one was ever ordained to be an apostle and not to be a member of the Council of the Twelve” (Joseph Fielding Smith, 3:153).

[35] The 2004 Deseret Morning News Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 2004), 71, lists twelve officially recognized apostles who were not members of the Council of the Twelve at the time of their ordinations.  Included in this list are Joseph Smith and assistant presidents of the Church Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith.  Three others—Brigham Young Jr. (1864), Joseph F. Smith (1866), and Sylvester Q. Cannon (1938)—were eventually set apart as members of the Quorum of the Twelve, but five of those listed—John W. Young (1864), Daniel H. Wells (1857?), Joseph A. Young (1864), and Alvin R. Dyer (1967)—never were.  The case of Amasa M. Lyman is particularly involved, having become a member of the Twelve during the period of Orson Pratt’s disaffection (1842), released from the Twelve upon Pratt’s reinstatement in 1843, returned to the Twelve in 1844, and was eventually dropped from the Quorum in 1867.

For the possibility that there were more New Testament apostles than simply the original Twelve, see Meier, 637–38.

[36] Cf. Joseph Fielding Smith, 144, “The term apostle is recognized in the Church in the sense in which it is defined in the dictionary. Men have been called apostles who have been sent forth with the gospel message even when they have not been ordained to that particular office. The seventies of the Church are at times referred to as the seventy apostles, because they are the missionaries of the Church and are sent out with the message of salvation and as witnesses for Christ into all the world, although they do not hold the office of apostle in the restricted sense.”

[37] Although there are difficulties identifying when Paul was ordained an apostle and became a member of the Twelve (see Anderson, 35–36, and Matthews, Behold, 330–31), his own career may illustrate these different types of “apostolic” calls.  The mission recounted in Acts 14 seems to be a “sending out” by local church officials, but Paul’s vision of Christ made him an apostle in the sense of a special witness.  Whereas Latter-day Saints have no doubt that he was subsequently ordained an apostle, the New Testament does no specifically mention when, or whether, he ever took a place in what we would term the Quorum of the Twelve.