Wednesday, June 12, 2013

217. Some linguistic implications from the word APOSTLE Part 1

It is amazing what kind of implications you can draw from the etymology of a word. I have been grinding over the word APOSTLE the past few weeks, and have had a few epiphanies about the word and its implications  about apostles and their  approach to ministry.

The word apostle is actually a conjunction of two words: APO = "to separate" or "withdraw" and STELLO meaning "sent."  Lets camp out on this word APO first. 

This notion of "separating" is a staple feature of apostles and how they approach their callings. Relationally speaking, apostles typically do not have a problem separating from the group. In fact, this separation from the group is often a prerequisite to being sent. Take Acts 13 for example. The Holy Spirit says "separate" Paul and Barnabas for the work I have called them to. In order to be sent, you have to make a break from the group. People who are wired as apostles typically adapt to this kind of separation from the group pretty well. In MBTI frameworks, most apostles tend to be a "T." That is, they have a penchant for creating distance between themselves and the people who will be effected by their decisions. Granted, this can be a vice if it is not tempered with love, compassion and wisdom. However, when it comes to being sent, this capacity to "separate" oneself and move forward is actually a strength. It allows the apostle to more readily make a break from the group and pioneer into new frontiers. This is more readily seen in the more Pauline type apostles who like to leave the center and pioneer something out on the edge

In the next post, I will look at how this impulse to "separate" shows up in the more Petrine types who tend to focus their ministry within the center in order to mobilize people towards the edge for missional impact.   

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