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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians


And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.


And God has appointed these in the church:

Paul listed some kinds of gifts in verse 28 that are different than he listed in verses eight through 10. This is a selective, not an exhaustive, list.

God “appointed” these gifts in the church. The idea is that He placed or set these gifts officially in the church.

first apostles,

Notice the ranking of these gifts with the words “first,” “second,” “third,” and “after that.” The point is not that some gifts have more vital functions to execute than others but that some gifts are more important in leadership. The first three gifts are ranked, and “after that” are gifts without rank.

The word “apostle” means to send out. This is by far the most important gift to the church and carries the most authority of any gift. The apostle had the authority to found the church and write Scripture (the New Testament). Apostles demonstrated their authority by “signs and wonders” (2 Co 12:12).

2 Co 12:12, Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.


There is no gift of apostleship today because it was a gift for the writing of Scripture and the founding of the church.


The gift of apostleship passed with the writing of the New Testament, for apostles must witness the resurrected person of Christ (Mark 3:13; Acts 1:22-24). Paul witnessed the resurrected Christ (Ro 1:1; Ga 1:15-17; chapter 2). We have missionaries who break frontiers for the gospel, but they are not technically apostles.

There is no record of the term “apostle” after Acts 16:4. Nor is there any New Testament record of an apostle replaced by another apostle when he died. The New Testament uses “apostle” in a less technical sense for Barnabas (Ac 14:4), Silas and Timothy (1 Th 2:6), and others (Ro 16:7; 2 Co 8:23; Ph 2:25).