A*pos"tle (#), n. [OE. apostle, apostel, postle, AS. apostol, L. apostolus, fr. Gr. messenger, one sent forth or away, fr. to send off or away; from + to send; akin to G. stellen to set, E. stall: cf. F. apotre, Of. apostre, apostle, apostele, apostole.]
Literally: One sent forth; a messenger. Specifically: One of the twelve disciples of Christ, specially chosen as his companions and witnesses, and sent forth to preach the gospel.
He called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.
Luke vi. 13.
⇒ The title of apostle is also applied to others, who, though not of the number of the Twelve, yet were equal with them in office and dignity; as, "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. i. 1. In Heb. iii. 1, the name is given to Christ himself, as having been sent from heaven to publish the gospel. In the primitive church, other ministers were called apostles (Rom. xvi. 7).
The missionary who first plants the Christian faith in any part of the world; also, one who initiates any great moral reform, or first advocates any important belief; one who has extraordinary success as a missionary or reformer; as, Dionysius of Corinth is called the apostle of France, John Eliot the apostle to the Indians, Theobald Mathew the apostle of temperance.
3. Civ. & Admiralty Law
A brief letter dimissory sent by a court appealed from to the superior court, stating the case, etc.; a paper sent up on appeals in the admiralty courts.
Apostles' creed, a creed of unknown origin, which was formerly ascribed to the apostles. It certainly dates back to the beginning of the sixth century, and some assert that it can be found in the writings of Ambrose in the fourth century. -- Apostle spoon Antiq., a spoon of silver, with the handle terminating in the figure of an apostle. One or more were offered by sponsors at baptism as a present to the godchild.
© Webster 1913.