Friday, November 10, 2023

"Apostles of the Churches" (2 Cor. 8:23)

The Greek term apostolos can be used in two ways in the New Testament. One is restricted to the apostle of Jesus Christ. The other is used for a representative of a particular church. The use of apostolos in this secondary, derived sense is found in 2 Cor. 8:23 -- apostoloi ekklēsiōn. Let's see how various translations render this expression:

  • NIV: "representatives of the churches"
  • NLT: "sent by the churches"
  • ESV: "messengers of the churches"
  • ISV: "emissaries of the churches"
  • Weymouth: "delegates from the churches"
  • LB: "represent the assemblies here"

See also Phil. 2:25 (where Epaphroditus is called an apostolos of the church at Philippi), 2 Cor. 10:12-15, 2 Cor. 11:5, 13, and probably Rom. 16:7 (where Andronicus and Junias are referred to as apostoloi). 

As always, remember that it is only the context that can determine which sense of apostolos is in view.