A Question I Was Asked:

I Don't Understand Why Matthias was Added to the Apostles When Paul Could Have Been. Can You Help?

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Hi, so if Matthias was the 12th Apostle that replaced Judas Iscariot, where does that leave Paul? Is he the 13th Apostle? I'm a bit perplexed.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Paul was not a numbered Apostle, coming just a little later than the others. His calling on the road to Damascus was different because he had not met Jesus as a man, only the risen Jesus, whose voice he heard on the road to Damascus. Paul writes of his conversion here: Galatians 1:1-5, 11-2:9. We can also read Luke's account of Paul's conversion here: Acts 22:6-11; Acts 26:9-20. Paul, with the help of Barnabas, became the Apostle to the Gentiles and we now know that what he accomplished was truly remarkable, he is a towering figure as a man of God. He was, of course, an Apostle but is not biblically numbered with the 12.

The adding of Matthias to the 11 is recorded here:

20. "For," said Peter, "it is written in the Book of Psalms: "'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, "'May another take his place of leadership.' 21. Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22. beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." 23. So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25. to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26. Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1: 20-26).

Some have claimed that Peter was too presumptuous in his action here but he was acting entirely in accordance with Scripture: there needed to be 12 men who had fully witnessed the ministry of Jesus, plus His death and especially His resurrection. Coming just a little later, Paul could not be numbered with these twelve Apostles, though he was certainly an Apostle and maybe the greatest Apostle of them all, having undergone incredible opposition and persecution and contributing quite a large portion of our New Testament.

Robin A. Brace. April 12th, 2018.