(Last Updated On: June 30, 2022)

Major differences between apostles and disciples are directly connected to Jesus. An apostle is a messenger and the one sent by Jesus, whereas disciples are followers who learn under others or from the teachings of Jesus.

Many disciples of Jesus followed him. Out of those, he chose twelve(apostle) and taught them his ways and what God wanted. They were to spread the message from Jesus worldwide for humanity and increase the followers as the disciples.

Differences Between Apostles And Disciples
source: umc.org


After Jesus’ ascension, the word apostle came into use. The Christian assembly identifies the apostle as ‘a preliminary to Judas’ replacement choice.’ Paul is also regarded as an apostle after Jesus himself awarded this title to him. 

When the last apostle died about 100 A.D., the Apostolic Period came to an end. In today’s Christian church, there are no real apostles.


A disciple of Jesus in this sense is not simply someone who is “sent” to the world to spread the Gospel, but a person who is continually learning what it means to be a Christian.

The word disciple is not associated exclusively with any single entity or organization. However, even now, many Christian disciples are spreading the words of Jesus. Every church has its disciple; they all pray to Jesus and follow his path or teachings. 

Christ commanded to make disciples and explain to them how to obey all that He commanded. Disciples are the ones that strictly follow the order of God and move on his path and how he says.

Differences Between Apostles And Disciples
source: www.canva.com

Apostles Vs Disciples

Here are some differences between Apostles and Disciples. Have a look: 

Particulars ApostleDisciple


An apostle is an ambassador and a messenger. Someone who champions believes, or causes a crucial reform movement (more so in the Christian context).A disciple is the follower and student of a mentor, tutor, or some other prudent person. Someone who embraces and assists in spreading another’s teachings or who actually put someone who knows some art or science.


Originally and generally, an apostle referred to the early followers of Jesus who transmitted the Christian message to the world or to a person appointed to spread the Christian message by a Christian missionary. The word disciple is not associated specifically with any single entity or organization.


Middle English, from the Old English Apostle and from the Old Apostle of French, all from the Late Apostle of Latin, from the Greek ApostolosMiddle English, from the disciple of Old English and from the disciple of Old French, both from Latin discipulus, teacher, from discere, to learn; see dek- in the origins of Indo-Europe.

Reference in movies 

The title of a hit movie starring Robert Duvall is The Apostle. “The Disciple” is the title of a film that stars Race Owens.

Differences Between Apostles And Disciples

Many people are confused either they are the words with the same meanings, but not. The terms disciple and apostle are mentioned in the Bible with their responsibility and meaning in many verses. Let’s talk briefly about those differences between apostles and disciples.

1. Meaning

An apostle is one that God sends to the nations to preach the Gospel. An apostle was almost solely used for many years to describe the 12 apostles who Jesus brought into the earth. 

In a related manner, because of his divine commission from Jesus, St. Paul is also called an “apostle.” Since then, the term has been used for great saints who God sent on a special mission. 

For his missionary work among the Germans, St. Boniface is regarded as the “Apostle to the Germans.” He sought divine inspiration to spread Christianity, though not directly instructed by Jesus.

The disciple derives from an educational background that is equivalent to a “student.” A disciple is the follower and student of a mentor, tutor, or some other prudent person—someone who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of Christ. 

Therefore, in terms of their intent or task, the word apostle identifies a person, while the disciple emphasizes the person’s connection to the teacher. All apostles are disciples, but not all disciples are apostles. 

2. Origin of the Word

The English word “apostle” is derived from the Greek apostello, “to send forth.” While it is hardly used in the Old Testament, it is used at least 80 times in the New Testament.

“Jesus may have originally used the Aramaic word seliah, which describes “those who were dispatched from the mother city by the rulers of the race on any international mission, especially those who were charged with collecting the tribute paid to the temple service.

The term “disciple” is derived from the Latin discipulus, which means “student” or “pupil.” It is almost entirely found in the New Testament, similar to the word “apostle.” 

Typically, it denotes the several “students” who surrounded Jesus and enthusiastically learned from his many teachings.

Also Read Interesting Facts About Bible!

3. 12 Apostles

The apostle is generally reserved in the New Testament Gospels for the 12 men Jesus chooses to comprise his near circle of followers. 

The name of the twelve apostles are mentioned in Mark 3:14-19 as follows: Simon Peter, James the son of Zebedee, James the brother of John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, Alphaeus’ son James, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot. 

Matthew 10:2-4 and Luke 6:12-16 contain identical lists of apostles, although John does not use the term apostle for the followers of Jesus.

Differences Between Apostles And Disciples
source: aleteia.org

“The word disciple is used more generally than apostle and is usually used to identify persons outside of “the twelve” (for example, Mark 2:18 describes the disciples of John the Baptist; see also Luke 6:13, where Jesus picks the 12 apostles from a wider community of disciples). 

Some historians claim that women participating in the movement of Jesus, such as Mary and Martha of Bethany, would be called disciples.

4. Apostleship

The meaning of the word apostle is the sent one. Apostleship means the one who God sends to carry the responsibility of his mission on his shoulders.

Apostles are not born with a special gift and are the messenger of God with special instruction and purpose. The apostleship does not depend on the power but the commission.

Of course, all the apostles were gifted to show miracles and spread the teachings of God. But their apostleship never depends on their power; the commission’s goal decides the gift they possess. 

Mere having some special ability or gifts does not make you an apostle. Apostleship is impossible to get through any natural or other qualification, everything is inside you and you need ot get there.

The one with God’s will and God’s call can only attain apostleship. God chooses the one from his many disciples to perform an important task to follow his apostleship. 

Also Read Some Good Friday Quotes And Bible Verses!

5. Discipleship 

The disciples who grow faith, wisdom, maturity, follow and lead others towards Jesus is discipleship. It helps to form a strong foundation of faith in God which strengthens their confidence and morale.

As Paul says: in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” He is showing us the path and saying the major principle of discipleship is to follow your teacher as they are Christ.

In discipleship, the disciples are taught and trained about God’s will and his commandment. They need to travel around for several years to understand and absorb the knowledge God was trying to simplify.

The disciple is the one chosen to be an apostle. They are taught about the way Christ used to teach, his philosophy, and how he thought the consciousness of humans and nature would be at its peak.

The main purpose of discipleship is to give continuity to the teachings of Christ after the demise of his teacher. God commanded to make as many disciples as they could and enlighten them with his guidance.

6. Etymology

Middle English, Old English Apostol, and Old French Apostle, all derived from Late Latin Apostolos, derived from Greek Apostolos.

According to Old English, Apostol means “messenger,” referring to the twelve men sent by Jesus to preach his Gospel (Luke vi.13). In Late Latin Apostolus, from Greek Apostolos, which means “envoy,” or “person sent forth.”

Middle English, from the disciple of Old English and the disciple of Old French, both derived from Latin discipulus, pupil, from discere, to learn; see dek- in Indo-European origins.

According to Barnhart and Klein, derived from “discipere” means “grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly.” The word “scholar, pupil, student” were not used in the pre-Christian Latin era. The meaning one who follows or is inspired by the doctrine or example of another” is from c. 1300.

Also Read Bible Verses From Corinthians!

7. Movie

A blockbuster film starring Robert Duvall is titled The Apostle. The movie named The Story of Apostles was released in 2015.
Apostle Peter and The Last Supper was out in 2012. A movie starring Race Owens is titled The Disciple.

These are some differences between Apostles And Disciples. The apostles are THE CHOSEN ONES, and the disciples are the followers by any means.

An apostle is an ambassador responsible for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whereas a disciple is a student who learns the teachings of God and does as it says.