Was Stephen an Apostle?
Question: I noticed in your software Bible trivia game "Scripture Challenge" that you have the following question:
Who was the second apostle to die a martyr?
According to your software, the correct answer is "Stephen."
I agree that Stephen was the first to die a martyr, but he was not an apostle according to the scripture.
According to Acts 6:2 there were only twelve apostles:
Stephen was a deacon and that would therefore make James the 1st Apostle to die a martyr and not Stephen. However, in the context of the scripture can you say that Stephen was the 1st apostle martyred?
Answer: The Greek word
translated in our English versions as "apostle" is ap-os'-tol-os.
The meaning of this Greek word is: a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.
With respect to the Bible passage you quote in Acts 6:2, keep in mind that words in [ ] brackets are not found in the original Greek text. They are inserted by the English translators and are not part of the original text.
The word ap-os'-tol-os. simply refers to one who has been sent out by another for the commission of a duty. Paul and Barnabas were sent forth by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2). As such, Barnabas was an apostle.
And lastly, you may find the following exercise useful. To see that a large number of other people consider Stephen an apostle, go to Google.com and type the following:
"the apostle Stephen"
(make sure to include the double quotes).
Then try: "Stephen the apostle"