What is The Difference Between Apostle And Disciple

Dive into our insightful Tof the distinct roles of Apostles and Disciples in Christianity. This comprehensive blog post navigates through the depth of these Greek-derived terms, often misinterpreted as interchangeable. Uncover the unique missions of Apostles, chosen by Jesus to propagate his teachings, and Disciples, the students absorbing these divine lessons. We unravel these roles with a thorough comparison, investigating their origins, meanings, Gospel connections, appointment methods, and even cultural references. With our enlightening narrative, we aim to enrich your understanding of these central figures in Christian philosophy and their enduring influence on the faith. Join us for this engaging exploration of Apostles versus Disciples.

What is an Apostle

What exactly is an apostle? Imagine a divine emissary, chosen to share the spiritual teachings and Gospel – the sacred teachings of Jesus Christ – with the world. The term ‘apostle’ traces back to this profound role. These remarkable individuals were not just random followers but chosen delegates, believed to have been handpicked by Jesus Himself. Charged with the sacred task of disseminating Christ’s messages, apostles navigated the path of faith, spirituality, and devotion. Journey with us as we delve deeper into the world of apostles, unlocking their significance in Christian history, faith, and philosophy.

What is a Disciple

So, what is a disciple? Within the realm of Christianity, a disciple is akin to a spiritual student, attentively following and absorbing the teachings of the Messiah. Unlike apostles, these individuals are not specifically chosen; they willingly align themselves to the divine teachings, embracing their role as learners of spiritual wisdom. As disciples, they tread the path of spiritual growth, each absorbing and interpreting Christ’s teachings in their unique ways. We explore the journey of these disciples, understanding their role in shaping Christian faith and how they differ from their apostle counterparts.

Exploring the Distinctions between Apostles and Disciples

The terms ‘Apostle’ and ‘Disciple’ originate from Greek literature, with the former translating to ‘Apostolos’ meaning ‘an ambassador,’ and the latter as ‘Mathaytes’ meaning ‘student.’ While both share the arena of spiritual learning, there exist stark differences between them.

  1. Conceptual Meaning: An Apostle serves as a divine messenger and ambassador, tasked with spreading faith and teachings, whereas a Disciple is essentially a spiritual student, accepting and imbibing these teachings.
  2. Etymology: ‘Apostle’ finds its roots in Middle English, derived from Old English ‘Apostol’ and Old French ‘Apostle’, which in turn descend from the Greek word ‘Apostolos.’ In contrast, ‘Disciple’ originates from Middle English, combining elements from Old English ‘Descipul’ and Old French ‘Disciple’, both of which spring from the Latin ‘Descipulus.’
  3. Association with Gospel: Apostles are ambassadors of the Gospel, while Disciples are its earnest students.
  4. Purpose of Existence: Apostles are chosen to propagate spiritual teachings; Disciples, however, are seekers accepting these teachings to enhance their spiritual evolution.
  5. Quantity: Tradition maintains that there were originally 12 Apostles. The number of Disciples, however, remains unspecified due to its vastness.
  6. Appointment: Apostles are selected, while Disciples are called upon.
  7. Current Existence: Today, a multitude of Disciples continue to spread Jesus’s teachings, whereas Apostles are not present in the same form.
  8. Cultural References: ‘The Apostle,’ starring Robert Duvall, and ‘The Disciple,’ featuring Race Owens, are popular film references that throw light on these roles.

Comparison Chart:  Apostle Vs Disciple

Origin of TermDerived from the Greek word ‘Apostolos’Derived from the Greek word ‘Mathaytes’
Meaning‘Sent one’ or ‘ambassador’‘Learner’ or ‘student’
Role in GospelMessenger and ambassador of GospelStudent of the Gospel
PurposeTo spread spiritual teachingsTo learn and internalize spiritual teachings
QuantityTraditionally, there were 12Numerous, hard to count
AppointmentChosen by JesusAny follower of Jesus
Current ExistenceNone exist in the original formNumerous Disciples exist and follow Jesus’ teachings
Cultural References‘The Apostle’ movie starring Robert Duvall‘The Disciple’ movie starring Race Owens

This chart should provide a clear, at-a-glance understanding of the key differences between Apostles and Disciples in Christian tradition.

What You Need To Know About Disciple

Embarking on a spiritual journey? Let’s delve into the role of a ‘Disciple.’ Rooted in Greek, this term encapsulates the essence of a student engaged in a mentor-mentee relationship. Often numbered at twelve, these disciples were privileged to walk and converse with Jesus during His earthly ministry. They weren’t chosen arbitrarily; Jesus Himself selected them from amongst His followers who had accompanied Him for a significant period. It’s important to note that the term ‘Disciple’ is used more expansively than ‘Apostle.’ Let’s unravel the intriguing narrative of these Disciples and their pivotal role in shaping Christian philosophy

What You Need To Know About Apostle

Eager to understand the role of an ‘Apostle’? Originating from Greek, the term ‘Apostle’ translates to ‘one who is sent,’ and typically refers to an emissary or someone dispatched on a mission. An Apostle carries the authority of the sender – in this context, Jesus Christ. While the original 12 disciples are well-known apostles, others like Matthias, Barnabas, Apollos, Timothy, Silas, and Epaphroditus also held this sacred title. An Apostle was not only a witness to Jesus’s ministry and resurrection but was also divinely empowered to perform miracles.


What are some notable differences between Apostles and Disciples?

The main difference lies in their roles and relationship with Jesus. Apostles were chosen and sent by Jesus to spread his teachings, while disciples were general followers or students of Jesus.

Were all Apostles also Disciples?

Yes, initially all Apostles were Disciples, but not all Disciples were chosen to become Apostles.

Are there any Apostles today?

In the original sense, no. The term “Apostle” referred to those specifically chosen by Jesus, which is not applicable today. However, many churches use the term to refer to a spiritual leader or founder.

Why were there specifically 12 Apostles?

The Bible doesn’t explicitly state why Jesus chose 12 Apostles, but many believe it reflects the 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, symbolizing a new covenant.

Did all Disciples eventually become Apostles?

No, only a select group of Disciples were chosen by Jesus to become Apostles.

Can anyone become a Disciple?

In the Christian context, anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus and seeks to emulate his life can be considered a Disciple.

How were Apostles different from other religious leaders of the time?

Apostles were unique because they were chosen directly by Jesus and had a personal relationship with him. They were tasked with spreading his teachings, establishing churches, and performing miracles.