11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Verse 11 now picks up the argument on the second part of the quotation in 4:8—“and gave gifts to men.” All four gifts in this verse are communication oriented.
11 And He Himself gave some
The gifts God gave to the church were gifted individuals. “He Himself” is emphatic, indicating that Jesus by His supreme authority personally gave these gifts to the church.
to be apostles,
Jesus gave different types of gifted people to the church. First, He gave “apostles.” Apostles along with prophets were foundational gifts (Eph 2:20). A qualification to be an apostle was to have seen Jesus in the flesh (Ac 1:22; which also included Paul, 1 Co 15:8-9; Ga 1:1; 2:6-9). Not only must a person with the apostolic office have seen the resurrected Lord Jesus personally, but he must have been personally commissioned by Jesus as an apostle (Acts 1:22; cf. Ga 1:1, 12).
The office of the apostle disappeared when those personally commissioned by Jesus died. Jesus personally chose apostles with the office. These men had the authority to perform “signs and wonders” (2 Co 12:12).
Some apostles had the apostolic gift but not the office. The idea of an apostle is a sent one. By application this would refer to missionaries and church planters of our day. The emphasis in this case would be on the function rather than the office of an apostle.
No one can be an apostle without being appointed personally by Christ.
No one could be an apostle unless he had seen the resurrected Lord personally.
Anyone who claims to be an apostle without these qualifications is a false apostle.
The Christian is to represent Jesus in time on earth.
An apostle was someone with the highest gift to the church. He had the right to found the church and write Scripture (Eph 2:20; 3:5). He must have personally seen the resurrected Christ.
There are two uses of “apostle” in the New Testament: (1) special and (2) general. The special use no longer exists because it was only needed until the canon of Scripture could transition to the New Testament. The general use simply means someone who represents Jesus to others. The latter group—still in operation today—does not have the rights of those with the three qualifications above, that is, the full gift (to found the church or write Scripture).