Is Hebrews 3:1 the only instance in Scripture where the word 'apostle' (in the singular) is used with a definite article, eg "τὸν ἀπόστολον"?

I was trying to see if there is any Biblical support for using "apostle" as a title (not that I can see), which is when I made the observation that Paul (or any other apostle) never refers to himself as "the apostle", but only "an apostle", or one of "the apostles" (plural). The only time when "the apostle" is used in Scripture seems to be Hebrews 3:1 when it speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession (Heb.3:1 [ESV])

Basically I wanted to check that logic with others who are more competent with the Greek, or have studied the question before.

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    I can't answer about whether this is the only time the definite article is used, but if so, the reason probably lies in the fact that this is also the only place where Jesus is the apostle in question. There is only one high priest and only one (high) apostle. Commented Jan 17 at 16:26
  • Up-voted +1. Whether or not the question is right or not, it is certainly something worth considering and worth researching.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 17 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


The important grammatical fact here is English is not Greek; further, the Greek article does not function the same way as the English article. For example, here are just a very few of the many rules governing the use of the article is each language:

Situation Greek English
Proper Name usually required Never used
Title in singular not required Usually required
First occurrence of an important noun Not required Sometimes required
Subsequent occurrence of same important Noun Required usually required
Title of Singular entity ("Monadic") Required Not required

All this, again, shows that the two languages are different. The table above is only a summary of the many other rules associated with the article. It also shows that while 'apostle" is a title, in the singular, it does not need an article but would attract one if it referred to a monadic entity such as the one and only Jesus Christ.

Since Heb 3:1 is the only place in the NT that refers to Jesus with the title "apostle" it is hardly surprising that it is the only place that attracts an article because it is the only place where "apostle" is monadic.

  • "it is the only place where "apostle" is monadic" – i guess this was my question. Everywhere apostles is in the plural, or 'apostle' is used with an indefinite article (an) as one of many. Commented Jan 19 at 15:22

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