Barnabus was an Apostle

Acts 14:14 says, “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this … ” So, hold on just a minute! We know that Jesus had twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:2-4) and that Paul was called to be an Apostle (Romans 1:1), but was Barnabas also an apostle? The short answer is: “Both yes and no.” The long answer involves considering a few other verses in the Bible and gaining a little knowledge of the Greek language. With just a brief study, it is not difficult to figure out what the inspired writer Luke meant by the word “apostle” in relation to Barnabas in the Book of Acts

Capital “A” Apostles and little “a” apostles
Perhaps the best place to begin is with the language in which the word originated Greek. It is the vernacular Luke used to write his account of the Acts of the Apostles. In Greek, it is the word apostolos, ( our English word is from an Anglicized version of the Greek word) and it simply means, “a delegate, a messenger, or one sent.” So, technically, anyone who is sent can be considered an apostle. It is in that sense that Barnabas can be called an “apostle” because he had been sent by the Holy Spirit and the church in Antioch to be a missionary (Acts 13:1-3). That same word, apostolos, is used by Matthew, Mark, and Luke when they write about the day when “He called His disciples to Himselfi and from them He chose twelve whom He also named” (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 6:30; Luke 6:13-16). Here, the term takes on a different meaning. There is a distinction being made in how the word is used, or what is implied by the term. In this sense, the New Testament writers imply a specific office, or special position. 

Perhaps, we could think of it as capital “A” Apostles and little “a” apostles. An apostle with a capital “A” is one chosen by Jesus. These were the men who received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). An apostle with a little “a” is what Luke means when referring to Barnabas in Acts 14:14. Both are sent delegates, but each has a specific implication attached to the term. Therefore, context determines what is implied. Barnabas was not one of the chosen twelve Apostles, but he was a delegate “apostle” sent as a missionary. There Are No Apostles Today There is still another point to consider concerning the term apostle. With a distinction being understood between a sent delegate “apostle” and one of the chosen twelve “Apostles,” can we assume that there are still apostles today? Once again, it depends on context. In Acts 1:12-26 we have an account of the chosen twelve Apostles replacing Judas Iscariot. But not just anyone could step into Judas’ place. Peter lists some very specific qualifications required of the man who would become the next Apostle. They were, “of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22) Only two men (out of many) met those requirements. These same requirements were apparently applied to Saul of Tarsus. That is why he said, “Paul, called to be an apostle … through the will of God … not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father’ ( 1 Corinthians 1: 1; Galatians 1:1). This naturally implies that only men who lived during the time of Jesus’ time on earth could be considered as meeting those requirements. It also means that no one today can call themselves an “Apostle” of Jesus (a capital “A” apostle) despite the fact that some religious organizations like to use that word for leadership positions. Perhaps, we could say that anyone who is sent out to evangelize could call themselves “apostles” in the sense being a delegate, but that isn’t the term we commonly use for such work. Instead, we simply call them missionaries, or evangelists – primarily to avoid any confusion that might be caused by using the word “apostle.”