Do you still need prophets and apostles today since God gave men the Bible even when people can't agree on its interpretation?
In the first century, there were apostles and prophets. The term apostle is applied to those disciples whom Jesus personally selected as a body of 12 appointed representatives. The names of the original 12 selected are given at Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:13-16. One of the original 12, Judas Iscariot, proved to be a traitor, thereby fulfilling earlier prophecies. (Ps 41:9; 109:8) The remaining 11 faithful apostles are again listed at Acts 1:13. According to Peter at Acts 15:15-22, in discussing who should take the place of Judas as apostle, that such a man be one of those that had personally witnessed the miracles of Jesus, his resurection, and especially his ascention to heaven. So an apostle would have to have been alive while Jesus was alive on Earth. That is why the Bible only refers to those handpicked disciples of Jesus as "apostles," the last of which was John, who died around the year 100 C.E. That would rule out any today from being an "apostle." A person can be a disciple, but not an apostle.
As far as prophesying is concerned. Many claim to be prophets. Jesus said there would be false prophets and even false healers in the "last days." (Matthew 7:21-23) So we have to know what the truth from God's word is regarding such prophets so as not to be duped by those who claim to be prophets, yet are not approved by God.
The Bible says that gifts of prophesying and healing would be done away with at some point in time, specifically,"when that which is complete(perfect-KJ) arrives."(1 Corintians 13:8-10) Some have interpreted "that which is perfect" to mean Jesus second coming. In other words, that prophesying would continue until Jesus arrives. But verse 8 indicates that Paul was not talking about Jesus second coming, rather he was discussing spiritual knowledge. So what is "perfect" or "complete" is the knowledge of God, Jesus, and God's Kingdom, and the firm establishment of the Christian congregation. In the first century, prophets and healings were necessary to prove that God's spirit was operating on this small body of believers. But today, complete knowledge is present, the Christian congregation is firmly established, and yes, we have the entire Bible. Prophets, in the sense of those who are mentioned in, and wrote the Bible, are not present, because of the completeness of the spiritual provisions we have today. Jesus himself said that true Christians would be marked, not by prophets, not by healings, but by love. He said "By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves� at John 13:35.
However, there is a form of prophesying that does take place today. But it is merely repeating what Jesus prophesied about centuries ago. It is worldwide preaching work about God's Kingdom, that Jesus told his followers to carry out. (Matthew 24:14 ; Matthew 28:19,20) Those who carry out this work do not claim to be prophets, but they simply show people from the Bible what it has to say about God's Kingdom and what it will do to bring blessings to those who are favorable to that kingdom.
As far as interprtation of the scriptures is concerned, many allow preconcieved ideas to influence how they determine what a scripture means. As stated before, Jesus said that there would be false prophets. Certainly those same false prophets would be resposible for propagating false interpretations of the Bible. One thing is for sure. Since the Bible is God's word, any interprtation, to be correct, must be in agreement with God's thoughts. (Genesis 40:8) A person must make a close examination of the scriptures fully, with an open mind, and pray to God for guidance to understand the scriptures.
Since the terms "prophet" and "apostle" are used and misused in various ways by various groups, let's start with some definitions. Prophetone who speaks God's word, often through a direct revelation. A prophet doesn't necessarily foretell the future. The motivational gift of prophecy, as found in Romans 12, can also refer to one who can discern truth. For this answer, let's use a combination of these characteristics.Apostleone who is sent out specifically to preach the Gospel. There is some debate on whether there can be apostles today. For example, the Roman Catholic Church says that its bishops are the modern equivalent of apostles. On the other hand, other groups say that an apostle has to have been sent directly by Jesus. Here we'll use the more general definition, allowing for the possibility of apostles today.
In all this, let me say that there are people who call themselves prophets and apostles that may not meet any definition of the terms. Some denominations use these terms as titles in church hierarchy. This answer will exclude the terms used as mere titles.
This answer assumes the Bible is the inspired word of God. The words were transcribed by human hands, but the ideas, thoughts, and sometimes phrasings came from God through the Holy Spirit. There can be many different interpretations of a passage, with various shades of meaning coming forth depending on where the reader is in his or her life; this doesn't necessarily invalidate any other interpretation. Misinterpretation is quite possible, though that does not invalidate the Bible.
This answer also assumes that the "perfection" mentioned in I Corinthians 13:10 is not the Bible, but rather the full reign of Christ with Satan bound. Interpretations on this also vary, but the statement above should be sufficient.
The short answer is "yes." As long as God gives the gift of prophecy, in whatever form or manner it's given, we need prophets. A prophet's word must be tested against the authority of the known word of God, the Bible; if it doesn't match, the prophet is mistaken at best, corrupting at worst. Likewise apostles that start new churches or who teach from God's word are needed today, specifically '''because''' we fallible humans cannot agree on a "correct" interpretation or set of interpretations.
For Muslims, it is well known that there will be no more Prophet after their Prophet, Muhammad. This is because, according to Islam, The Quran (Muslim's holy book) has covered all areas of this life and the life after death. It contains principles, doctrines and directions for every sphere of human activity. It is the Muslims's source of law and the Quran is also a testimony of the validity of the Islamic way of life for ALL TIMES. That is why in Islam, we don't need any prophets anymore as Muhammad has taught us what we need to know to be successful in this life, and after-life.
Read the Quran yourself. I am in my journey in finishing the Quran and believe me, it is worth it. I got lots of satisfying answers from the Quran that Bible cant answer. Im tired of listening to the priest's "just have faith" whenever i don't understand some things about religion or anything relevant. The Quran gave me all the answers i was looking for. Grab one now and start reading. You've got nothing to lose.
Disagreeing with ignorant man above:
It is clear in Islam that there will be more prophets. Their names will all be Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and they will be called Al-Mahdi. It is one of the main disputes between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Wow. I am more appalled you thought the the Quran had any answers at all. Read a history book alongside the Quran.
This is a tough question because the Bible can be interpreted to say that there truly are or that there are not apostles today (other than evangelizing, church planting missionaries). So it is a very controversial question (as reflected in the above difference of Christian opinion).
I believe that I have been operating in the church office gift of apostle for the last 25 years, so of course I a believe that the Bible teaches that there are apostles today. There is nothing unique about me to make me an apostle other than my unexpected calling from the Lord Jesus Christ years ago (which has been proven to be true by the fact that it has been accompanied by many, many, many signs, wonders, healings and miracles just as was the true ministry of the original 18 or so named apostles written of in the New Testament).
I have written a blog on this subject which I suggest that the questioner and other readers may want to read to find the correct answer to this question.
It is called Annals of an Anonymous Apostle and may be found at http://anonapostle.blogspot.com.
Yes. Think back as to what happened at the time of Jesus, for example. God had already given the world what we refer to as the "Old Testament" scriptures. The Pharisees, Saducees, scribes, lawyers, Jews, etc. could all quote from and use these scriptures. But did God leave it at that? No. He sent his Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus called 12 apostles to be special witnesses of Him and to preach the gospel. The actions of Jesus and the 12 apostles would later be written up as the "New Testament". So the real test for believers at the time of Jesus was, "Do you accept the new prophets (John the Baptist, etc.) and apostles (Peter, James, John, etc.) in addition to the old ones?"
That always seems to be the test for people. Do you accept the living representatives of Christ or are you too busy clinging on to the dead ones (former prophets, etc.) Living prophets and apostles are always needed because that's how God communicates authoritatively to the world and to his Church. Those representatives have his authority to guide us in our time. If living apostles weren't needed, Jesus wouldn't have called 12 in his day. Hope that's helpful.