7.4.4 New Testament references to the activity of the Apostles

Luke in particular reports on the activity of the Apostles in the book of Acts. For instance, in Acts 11: 1-18 and 15: 1-29 we read of two assemblies led by Apostles, in which the matter of allowing Gentiles access into the new covenant–and other questions of the time–were resolved. This makes it clear: together the Apostles made decisions which had far-reaching effects.

Also attested in Acts is the fact that the dispensation of the gift of the Holy Spirit is bound to the Apostle ministry: Philip preached in Samaria and baptised the believers with water. When the Apostles heard about this, they sent Peter and John there. These Apostles "prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8: 15-17). According to Acts 19: 6, Apostle Paul acted in the same manner.

An essential task of the Apostles was to proclaim the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 13: 26-41; 17: 1-4). They fought against heresies, primarily those that denied the true humanity of Jesus and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 3-8; 1 John 4: 1-6).

The Apostles expected the Lord's return during their lifetime, and prepared the believers for this event (1 Thessalonians 4: 14-18). This demonstrates the close connection between the Apostle ministry and the proclamation of the return of Christ.

SUMMARY

Jesus Christ ordained twelve Apostles, however the New Testament attests to more than twelve Apostles. (7.4.2)

Jesus issued the authority of the keys to Simon Peter and gave him the commission to lead the church. (7.4.3)

It is primarily the book of Acts that records the activity of the Apostles. Among other things, it attests that the gift of the Holy Spirit was dispensed by Apostles. The Apostles proclaimed the gospel and fought against heresies. (7.4.4)

See also