This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

Issue Features
View this issue online as it looks in print
Reason and Revelation Volume 38 #1

Meaning of “Apostles” in 1 Corinthians 15


“In 1 Corinthians 15:3-9, where Paul talks about those who had seen Jesus after his resurrection, in verse 5 he says that he was seen of Cephas and then of the twelve. But then in verse 7, he says he was seen of James; then all of the apostles. Do we know if he was just referring to the twelve 'official' apostles again, or other men like Barnabas and James the brother of Jesus, who are also referred to as apostles in the Bible?”


Four observations help to clear up this confusion:

(1) The appearance to Cephas is referred to in Luke 24:34, but we have no way of knowing the circumstances/occasion;

(2) “The Twelve” was an official designation for the original 12 apostles, though at the time Jesus was seen by them, Judas was deceased leaving only 11. This appearance occurred in John 20:26-29;

(3) The reference to James in verse 7 is a reference to “James the Just” who was a physical brother of Jesus and not one of the Twelve (though designated an “apostle,” a term which was applied to others besides the Twelve since apostolos simply means “one sent”). This is the James who wrote the book of James;

(4) The phrase “all the apostles” in verse 7 refers to one of the appearances noted in Acts 1:3. Verse 2 makes it clear that these appearances occurred with reference to “these men,” i.e., the original apostles.

Copyright © 2018 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, excepting brief quotations, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web Store

Defending the Faith Study Bible

We are very excited to announce the NEW AP Defending the Faith Study Bible now available.

Featured Audio


Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio