Acts 1:21-26 (ESV):

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Does it follow from Acts 1:21-26 that one of the requirements to be an apostle is to have been an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus? If so, is this a universal requirement, i.e., that anyone who claims to be an apostle, no matter the period of history, has to have witnessed the resurrected Christ in some way, shape or form (as Paul and the other apostles did)?

Related questions:

  • 2
    I would say you need to define exactly what you mean by 'in some way shape or form' : whether you include (along with the witnessing of the physical resurrected Christ) the personal experience of knowing Christ (by faith and in the Holy Spirit). These are two very different things and are relevant to the claim of anyone today maintaining that they are an 'apostle' simply by the personal experience of conversion and faith. The question might be better asked on SE-C, in my opinion, unless it can be tightly defined.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 11, 2021 at 8:46
  • It's not easy to write an answer without getting into theology and doctrine. In that passage, they were choosing a replacement for one of the twelve disciples, who also would be apostles. That is a hermeneutical matter. Later, the early Church established a precedent about apostles in general, based on this. That is a doctrine matter for Christianity.SE. So, Nigel is right about the scope overlap. We can address part of this question on the site here, but not fully answer the question in all of its ramifications.
    – Jesse
    Jan 12, 2023 at 23:53

9 Answers 9


I understood Acts 1:21-26 to be the requirement for the original "Twelve" apostles (eg, Matt 10:2, 5, Luke 9:1, 18:31, Acts 6:2, Mark 6:7, 9:35, 14:10, John 6:70, etc) but not a requirement for apostles more generally. The reason for this is as stated in one of my previous answers:

  • there appears to have been mores apostles after Paul including: Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25), Titus and other brothers (2 Cor 8:23), Andonicus and Junia (Rom 16:7).
  • Paul instructed the Corinthian church to eagerly desire the spiritual gift of apostleship as per 1 Cor 12:28-31 -

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, and those with gifts of healing, helping, administration, and various tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

According to this very passage, the greater gifts include, first and foremost, the gift of being an apostle - Paul cannot here mean that apostleship was no longer available!

Note further, that Paul was not counted among the "Twelve" but was still an apostle who clearly did not, and could not be an apostle by the definition in Acts 1:21-26 which lays out the requirement for the original "Twelve":

  • accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us
  • witness to his resurrection

Paul satisfied neither of these requirements and neither did Epaphroditus, Titus and other brothers and Andonicus and Junia, yet all were counted among the apostles more generally, because they were appointed and sent by God as was Paul, eg, 2 Cor 1:1, etc.

  • 3
    Dottard, Phil. 2:25 is not evidence of more apostles. Paul did not name a fellow worker and brother in Christ an apostle. 1 Cor. 2;28-31 does not state that the being an apostle is a greater gift. The greater gift was found in the next vs at 1 Cor 13:1 - charity, or love. You are playing fast & loose with the scriptures.
    – Gina
    Dec 12, 2021 at 11:27
  • 1
    @Gina - except that χαρίσματα is plural in 1 Cor 12:31, and so cannot refer to "love". Indeed, love is never referred to as a gift but always as a fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, 1 Cor 12:31a cannot refer to love. 1 Cor 12:31b refers to (anticipates) love in 1 Cor 13.
    – Dottard
    Dec 12, 2021 at 11:35
  • 4
    1 Cor 13:13... faith, hope, & charity, these three.... more than one, plural
    – Gina
    Dec 12, 2021 at 12:35
  • @Gina - that is not true - the "Love" of 1 Cor 13 is called a most excellent way (ὁδὸν) in both 1 Cor 12:31b. It is never referred to as a gift (χάρισμα). Further, "love, joy, peace" etc, is referred to as a fruit (καρπὸς) of the Spirit in the singular, Gal 5:22.
    – Dottard
    Dec 4, 2023 at 19:22

This is going to be a very straightforward answer to complement what the other answers have already said.

Does it follow from Acts 1:21-26 that one of the requirements to be an apostle is to have been an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus?

Let's remember that the immediate context of Acts 1:21-26 is the issue of finding a replacement for Judas Iscariot, the traitor, who had recently killed himself. Therefore, all the requirements listed in Acts 1:21-26 apply only to individuals interested in that specific "job position". Concretely, the requirements for the job were:

  1. To have accompanied the other apostles during the the whole time that Jesus was in his earthly ministry (verse 21)
  2. More specifically, from the baptism of John until Jesus' ascension (first half of verse 22).
  3. This person's job is to function as a witness of/to Jesus' resurrection (second half of verse 22)

Based on these requirements, the apostles nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias (Acts 1:23), and eventually broke ties in favor of Matthias via casting of lots.

So to answer the question: from Acts 1:21-26 it follows that the 3 requirements above apply only to a "Judas Iscariot replacing" apostle, which is a single, unique job position, which was taken by Matthias (the single person who was hired for the job).

If so, is this a universal requirement, i.e., that anyone who claims to be an apostle, no matter the period of history, has to have witnessed the resurrected Christ in some way, shape or form (as Paul and the other apostles did)?

No, it doesn't follow that this is a universal requirement. First of all, as Dave's answer rightly points out, there is the ambiguity of whether verse 22 is talking about a literal, physical witness of Jesus' resurrection, or witnessing in a more general sense. Secondly, we need to remember that we are talking about 3 requirements, not one. It wouldn't make sense to cherry pick point 3 and claim that only that point is universal while ignoring points 1 and 2. Therefore, the "universal requirement" hypothesis should take the 3 requirements into account. If we do so, it follows that the Apostle Paul could not have been an apostle, because he was not with Jesus and his disciples during the whole earthly ministry of Jesus (requirement 1), from the time of John's baptism until Jesus's ascension (requirement 2). Paul very evidently was not a disciple of Jesus during his earthly ministry, so, by Peter's standards, Paul would not have qualified for the job. Does that mean that Paul was not an apostle? Of course not, so we conclude that the "universal requirement" hypothesis is nonsensical.


It does not follow from Acts 1:21-26 that all apostles, universally, must have been an eye-witness of Jesus' resurrection. This was only required of the single person who was about to take the place left by Judas Iscariot, but generalizing these requirements (verses 21 and 22) to all future apostles leads to logical contradictions.


The ‘pivot’ to the answer to your question essentially comes down to an interpretation of one word.

ACTS 1: 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

And that ‘word’ is ‘autos’ which in the translation I used [NKJ] is ‘of his’, and in your ESV translation is ‘to his’. So it could legitimately be ‘read’ as needing to be a witness TO the resurrection, which means you would not need to be a witness ‘OF’ the actual event. Even today, believers can be (should be?) a witness TO the resurrection.

But, ‘autos’ could also be legitimately translated as ‘of his’ - which could be argued to mean that this suggests an ‘eye witness’ to that event. (Which would probably discount Paul from being an apostle.)

So purely using a textual foundation you can not conclusively argue one way or another. And contextually (Acts 1) does not specifically specify the requirement to be an ‘eyewitness’ to the resurrection - other than it being arguably ‘implied’ in Acts 1:22.

So your question “is this a universal requirement,” - is going to come down to whatever your own doctrinal foundation demands it to be. Because scripturally, other than by example (e.g. Paul), either view could be argued.

Seems to me that your ESV says no, not a requirement, because it says a witness TO the resurrection, where as my NKJ could? be read as if it were saying it is a requirement.


Yes, the apostles were eye witnesses to the fact that Jesus had been resurrected. The arguments presented here against this stated requirement are without merit.

Being an eyewitness to Jesus' resurrection meant that they had seen Jesus after he rose from the grave. While there were many disciples, Jesus selected the original twelve specifically, and named them "apostles" as is stated in Luke 6:13.

"13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, ..."
(Luke 6:13-17, KJV)

They were distinguished from the other disciples and believers in Christ.

Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, and listed the requirements during the selection of Matthias for the purpose of replacing Judas. The replacement had to have been a witness who saw Jesus after His death on the cross (Acts. 1:22).

We are not told what happened to Matthias, and Jesus did not specifically select him. But Paul definitely "saw" Jesus after His death on the cross. Jesus selected Paul specifically. Paul was in Jesus' presence, and heard His voice (Acts 22:6-9; 23:11), and witnessed the fact that Jesus was living and risen from the grave.

"18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me." (Acts 22:18, KJV)

Moreover, it must be considered that having lived in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3) Paul surely had been aware of Jesus' ministry before His death on the cross, and most likely had seen Him. As Paul's sister's son (nephew) warned Paul of the Jews plans to kill him (Acts 23:16) Paul's family were living in Jerusalem. As violently opposed to Jesus' ministry as Paul had been (Acts 9:1-2), he certainly knew of Jesus and his death on the cross. Paul fulfilled all of the requirements Peter listed in Acts 1:21-22.

Paul's statements in the letters recommending fellow workers, calling them brothers and "son" does not confer the select appointment from Christ of apostleship upon any of them. He called Timothy his son in the faith (1 Tim 1:2). That does not make Timothy an apostle.

Paul called Titus his brother (2 Cor. 2:13), his partner and fellow helper (2 Cor. 8:23) and his own son after the common faith (Titus 1:4). Those statements do not raise Titus to the level of an apostle. Titus was a Greek, not a Jew (Gal. 2:3). Jesus' appointments for apostles were all Jews.

Further, listing the hierarchy of the roles / functions of the workers in 1 Cor. 12:28 places the apostles in the highest authority of the workers for the gospel of Christ. It is a listing in order of authority, and does not mean that any can seek to be an apostle.

Paul exhorted them to seek the greater gift, which he explained in the next vs. in 1 Cor. 13:1 to be charity, or love. The greater gift was not apostleship, nor any of the other functions Paul had listed in 1 Cor. 12:28.

The attempt here to allow for others than those Jesus appointed to be apostles as though the function was ordinary or attainable by all is not supported by the scriptures. This also rules out any having been "selected" by Christ past the 1st century AD as no one after the 1st century AD had any claim to have seen Jesus during His earthly ministry.


" `Because of this, lo, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes, and of them ye will kill and crucify, and of them ye will scourge in your synagogues, and will pursue from city to city;" (Matt. 23:34, YLT)

Matthias was a replacement for Judas who had died, keeping the number at 12.

"And about that time, Herod the king put forth his hands, to do evil to certain of those of the assembly, 2 and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword," (Acts 12:1-2, YLT)

James was martyred before the Holy Spirit separated both Barnabas and Paul for the missionary journey in Acts 13: 2-3.

"2 and in their ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, `Separate ye to me both Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them,'" (YLT)

So, the identity of the original twelve was subject to change because of the persecution. According to tradition James Alpheus was thrown down from the temple by the scribes and Pharisees and then stoned, but we do not know when that may have happened.

In Acts 14:4 & 14 Luke referred to Barnabas and Paul both as apostles as both were separated out of the church at Antioch by the Holy Spirit. However, Luke did not always refer to Barnabas as an apostle. At Acts 4: 36 -37, Luke describes the actions of Joses (Joseph), whom the apostles had surnamed Barnabas, ...

"Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet." (KJV)

Luke clearly made a distinction between Barnabas and the apostles in the earlier scriptures. He made this distinction again in Acts 9:27 when Barnabas brought Saul / Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem recounting Paul's conversion on the way to Damascus. So, Barnabas was not an apostle before Acts 13, before James was martyred. Saul / Paul had already been appointed and selected by Christ as an apostle.

Up to Acts 13 Barnabas was reporting to the apostles in Jerusalem in a underling capacity, and acting as a mentor to Paul. Acts 13:1 describes Barnabas as a prophet and teacher in the church at Antioch.

Excerpt from Benson Commentary re. Acts 13:1 -

" ..The Holy Ghost said — Namely, by immediate revelation, but in what way communicated we are not informed. Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them — Namely, the extraordinary work of preaching the gospel among the Gentiles — This was not ordaining them; Saul was ordained long before, and that not of men, neither by man, Galatians 1:1. At his conversion he was expressly called to preach to the Gentiles; and that call was renewed at the time Jesus appeared to him during his trance in the temple: but at what time Barnabas was called by the Holy Ghost to this work, is not said. And when they had fasted and prayed — A certain day being appointed for the purpose; and laid their hands on them — A rite which was used, not in ordination only, but in blessing, and on many other occasions. It was here intended to be a solemn token of their designation to their important office; they sent them away — Dismissed them from Antioch,..." Source: Biblehub

The Holy Spirit filled some gaps as the original apostles Christ appointed were persecuted and killed during the persecution to continue the work to spread the gospel.


Paul referred to Epaphroditus in Phil. 2:25 as "your apostle."

"And I thought [it] necessary Epaphroditus -- my brother, and fellow-workman, and fellow-soldier, and your apostle and servant to my need -- to send unto you," (YLT)

Who sent Epaphroditus to Paul? The word apostle does mean a messenger, one who is sent, and this verse Paul refers to Epaphroditus as having been sent from the church at Philippi to help Paul. Paul sent him back to Philippi. That does not make Epaphroditus an apostle chosen by Christ or the Holy Spirit in the full sense of the original 12 or Paul.

Excerpt from Barnes' Notes:

"(2) the supposition that it here means a messenger meets all the circumstances of the case, and describes exactly what Epaphroditus did. He was in fact sent as a messenger to Paul; Philippians 4:18.

(3) he was not an apostle in the proper sense of the term - the apostles having been chosen to be witnesses of the life, the teachings, the death, and the resurrection of the Saviour; see Acts 1:22; compare the notes, 1 Corinthians 9:1." Source: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/philippians/2-25.htm

Excerpt from Jamieson-Faussett-Brown:

"your messenger—literally, "apostle." The "apostles" or "messengers of the churches" (Ro 16:7; 2Co 8:23), were distinct from the "apostles" specially commissioned by Christ, as the Twelve and Paul." Ibid.

Paul's use of "your" in Phil. 2:25 makes this distinction, and does not elevate Epaphroditus to the same status of apostleship as himself.

For other comments, the original question here was if the apostles had to be a witness to Jesus' resurrection, and my answer to that is still Yes. Jesus imposed that upon Paul, chose Paul for that reason, and Paul did see Jesus after Jesus' death on the cross. I never said that Paul was a disciple of Christ, nor tried to impose Acts 1:21 upon Paul. My point was that Paul knew of Christ before His crucifixion, had most probably seen Jesus before His death, and therefore having seen Him after His death could certainly witness, testify to His resurrection.

In spite of the prevalent use of the word "witness" today, no one can witness to something they have not seen. The correct definition of a witness is an individual who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing; a beholder, spectator, or eyewitness. And, as the apostles were selected and chosen specifically by either Christ Himself, or the Holy Spirit they were eye witnesses to His resurrection.

  • would you mind adding your explanation/comment on Barnabas, along with Paul, being referred to as an apostle (ἀπόστολος) in Acts 14:4 & Acts 14:14?
    – Randy
    Dec 14, 2021 at 22:28
  • 2
    @Gina - I think you are overlooking verse 21 and the first half of verse 22 when it comes to Paul. They are also part of the requirements. 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us -- one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” Paul doesn't meet this requirement. Paul was not a disciple of Jesus who accompanied Him since John's baptism until Jesus' ascension. So by this logic, Paul cannot be an apostle.
    – user38524
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:31
  • 1
    @Gina - Don't get me from, I agree with you that Paul meets the second half of verse 22 (being a witness, when Jesus paid him a visit on the road to Damascus), but you don't get to cherry pick that part only and ignore verse 21 and the first half of verse 22.
    – user38524
    Dec 15, 2021 at 13:39
  • 1
    @Gina - but Paul was not "one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us". Peter is obviously talking about the disciples who were with Jesus all the time, and Saul the Pharisee was definitely not a disciple.
    – user38524
    Dec 15, 2021 at 18:25
  • 1
    @Gina - That's the point. We know that Paul was an Apostle, so we know that Acts 1:21-22 cannot be a universal requirement (otherwise, it would lead to the logical contradiction of disqualifying Paul as an Apostle). Have you ever heard of proofs by contradiction?
    – user38524
    Dec 16, 2021 at 1:03

The Greek word which gets rendered "apostle" just means "sent one". The 11 were "sent" by Christ to the nations. Paul was not called an apostle until after the Holy Spirit, working with the prophets and teachers at Antioch, sent him to the nations. Acts 13 2And while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. The trouble around the term "apostle" is the vanity of men who want control of others. They want you to think that the term applies to a rank in the kingdom.

  • 1
    Agreed, that 'apostle' means one sent forth, and that "The trouble around the term "apostle" is the vanity of men who want control of others. They want you to think that the term applies to a rank in the kingdom." This is just to refer to Revelation chapter 21 where New Jerusalem (the Lamb's wife) has 4 walls with 12 gates bearing the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, and also 12 foundations bearing the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb. Problems arise when men claim more apostles were appointed after the death of the apostle John who wrote the Revelation.
    – Anne
    Dec 23, 2021 at 12:33

Does it follow from Acts 1:21-26 that one of the requirements to be an apostle is to have witnessed the resurrection of Jesus?

"YES" The replacement of Judas had to be a witness to his resurrection.

Peter stood up among his brothers and said.

Acts 1:15-22 NET

15 In those days[a] Peter stood up among the believers[b] (a gathering of about 120 people) and said, 16 “Brothers,[c] the scripture had to be fulfilled that the Holy Spirit foretold through[d] David concerning Judas—who became the guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 for he was counted as one of us and received a share in this ministry.”[e] 18 (Now this man Judas[f] acquired a field with the reward of his unjust deed,[g] and falling headfirst[h] he burst open in the middle and all his intestines[i] gushed out. 19 This[j] became known to all who lived in Jerusalem, so that in their own language[k] they called that field[l] Hakeldama, that is, “Field of Blood.”) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his house become deserted,[m] and let there be no one to live in it,’[n] and ‘Let another take his position of responsibility.’[o] 21 Thus one of the men[p] who have accompanied us during all the time the Lord Jesus associated with[q] us, 22 beginning from his baptism by John until the day he[r] was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness of his resurrection together with us.”


The replacement of Judas had to be witness to his resurrection.

Judas became unfaithful and betrayed Jesus, Jesus after his resurrection and 40 days prior to his ascension did not appoint a replacement. After Jesus ascension and before Pentecost the Apostles considered it necessary to appoint a replacement for Judas, Peter said in verses 21-22 that the individual filling the position must have been an eye witness to his works [Jesus], accompanied him during his ministry and was personally known by Jesus and was witness to his resurrection. Two men were nominated and after casting lots Matthias was selected, thereafter was considered one of the twelve.

  • Ok, so you are saying that the requirement was only for the replacement of Judas, but it was not a universal requirement (meaning that future apostles were not required to have been eyewitnesses of the physical resurrection of Jesus), correct?
    – user38524
    Dec 11, 2021 at 15:23
  • Spirit Realm Investigator Correct that is what the scriptures Acts 1:21-26 say. . Paul, and Titus were Apostles but were not eyewitnesses of the ministry or resurrection of Jesus. Tks Dec 11, 2021 at 20:11
  • You don't really answer the question asked, but a different though related question you want to answer.
    – Austin
    Dec 17, 2021 at 14:39
  • Austin: You are right, I will amend the answer. Tks. Dec 17, 2021 at 17:37

Does it follow from Acts 1:21-26 that one of the requirements to be an apostle is to have witnessed the resurrection of Jesus?

The topic "Apostle" in the Insight on the Scriptures provides plenty of information on the Greek word itself and the meaning of being an 'apostle'.

The Greek word a·poʹsto·los is derived from the common verb a·po·stelʹlo, meaning simply “send forth (or off).” (Mt 10:5; Mr 11:3) Its basic sense is clearly illustrated in Jesus’ statement: “A slave is not greater than his master, nor is one that is sent forth [a·poʹsto·los] greater than the one that sent him.” (Joh 13:16) . . . The term is principally applied, however, to those disciples whom Jesus personally selected as a body of 12 appointed representatives.

With this, we see the meaning of the original Greek word and to whom it is mainly applied within the Scriptures.

Does it follow from Acts 1:21-26 that one of the requirements to be an apostle is to have been an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus?

It is evident from Peter’s statements that it was then considered that any individual filling the position of an apostle of Jesus Christ must have the qualifications of having been personally conversant with him, having been an eyewitness of his works, his miracles, and particularly his resurrection. In view of this it can be seen that any apostolic succession would in course of time become an impossibility, unless there were divine action to supply these requirements in each individual case. At that particular time before Pentecost, however, there were men meeting these requirements, and two were put forth as suitable for replacing unfaithful Judas. Doubtless having in mind Proverbs 16:33, lots were cast, and Matthias was selected and was thereafter “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Ac 1:23-26) He is thus included among “the twelve” who settled the problem concerning the Greek-speaking disciples (Ac 6:1, 2), and evidently Paul includes him in referring to “the twelve” when speaking of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances at 1 Corinthians 15:4-8. Thus, when Pentecost arrived, there were 12 apostolic foundations on which the spiritual Israel then formed could rest.

So we see the requirements:

  • having spoken with Jesus personally
  • having witnessed Jesus' works
  • having witnessed Jesus' miracles
  • having witnessed in particular Jesus' resurrection

If so, is this a universal requirement, i.e., that anyone who claims to be an apostle, no matter the period of history, has to have witnessed the resurrected Christ in some way, shape or form (as Paul and the other apostles did)?

Note the subheading "End of the Apostolic Period":

Though the Bible does not relate the death of the 12 apostles, aside from that of James, the evidence available indicates that they maintained their faithfulness until death and therefore needed no replacement. Concerning history in the following centuries, the observation is made that “whenever it [the term “apostle”] is applied to individuals in later Christian literature, the use of the term is metaphorical. The church has never had apostles in the N[ew] T[estament] sense since the first century.”​—The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, edited by G. A. Buttrick, 1962, Vol. 1, p. 172.

During their lifetime the apostles’ presence served as a restraint upon the influences of apostasy, holding back the forces of false worship within the Christian congregation. It is evidently to this “restraint” that the apostle Paul referred at 2 Thessalonians 2:7: “True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work; but only till he who is right now acting as a restraint gets to be out of the way.” (Compare Mt 13:24, 25; Ac 20:29, 30.) This apostolic influence, including the authority and powers unique with them, continued until the death of John about 100 C.E. (1Jo 2:26; 3Jo 9, 10) The rapid influx of apostasy and false doctrine and practices after the death of the apostles shows that any pretended apostolic successors had none of the restraining influence of the apostles.

So we can see that with the requirements for being an 'apostle', those with the Biblical requirements would be few and would decrease in number over the years. The coming apostasy prophesied by Paul would also indicate the lack thereof 'apostles' to hold back said apostasy.

[All scripture quotations from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)]


Only if they go against the Lord’s saying that those who have not seen Him resurrected with physical senses are more blessed than the apostles who physically witnessed this fact (John 20:29), and against the logic of Him reprimanding apostles for not believing in words of those who told them about His resurrection (Mark 16:14). Now, if non seers and believers are more blessed than the seers, then those who would preach from the non-seers will carry the same function of apostles and thus be the apostles, albeit more blessed than Peter, Thomas, Andrew etc. Thus, according to inner logic of Gospel, no, this is not and cannot be a necessary requirement, even if this concrete passage can perhaps be interpreted with this slant.


I may have missed a comment, but i don't think anyone has yet brought in 1 Corinthians ch9 v1. There Paul claims authority over the Corinthians with four rhetorical questions, of which the second and third are "Am I not an apostle?" and "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" (RSV). The rapid succession of those two questions suggests, without quite proving, that "I am an apostle" is true because "I have seen the Lord Jesus" is true, supporting the original proposition.

The wording of 1 Corinthians ch8 v1 is a possible confirmation of the theory that having seen the risen Christ is one of the requirements to be called "an apostle", which in turns supports the answer that this teaching is to be found in Acts ch1 vv21-26

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