The Greek verb apostello [αποστελλω] occurs 132 times in the New Testament. It means to “send away,” “send out,” or “send off.” The noun form is apostolos, which means “one who is sent out” and is the origin of the English word apostle. It is used throughout the New Testament to refer to persons or things being sent. Morphologically, apostello is formed by combining the Greek preposition apo, which means “out of” or “from,” and stello, which means “to put in order” or “arrange.” Etymologically, apostello came to simply mean “send.”
At least 25 verses in the Bible use apostello to refer to God “sending” Jesus (see Matthew 10:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; John 3:17). Another 28 verses use apostello to refer to God or Jesus sending someone or something (see Matthew 10:16; Mark 11:1; Luke 9:2; John 17:18). In Luke 11:49, Jesus refers to God’s statement, “I will send [apostello] them prophets and apostles [apostolos].”
As a result of the word’s prevalence in the New Testament, apostello has been used by many churches, Christian organizations, missions agencies, and causes as part of their name. Every Christian is ultimately a “sent one” (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8). We are all sent to proclaim the gospel to the lost and dying world that surrounds us. Whether it is to someplace near or somewhere far away, we are all sent as God’s ambassadors.