The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
St. Paul One of the Twelve Apostles
Scripture references are to the King James (Authorised) Version
Question: Was Paul one of the twelve apostles?
Answer: Yes. There are at least three evidences from Scripture to show that Paul was not only an Apostle, but that after the death of Judas he became the twelfth. We start from the biblical assumption that Jesus Himself chose twelve Apostles – not more and not less, thus setting the ʻofficialʼ membership of that grouping.
1. In Rev. 21: 14 the heavenly Jerusalem is said to be built on ʻtwelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lambʼ. (Compare with Eph. 2: 20.)
2. The glorified Jesus appeared to Saul/Paul, fulfilling the requirement that Paul be a witness to His resurrection. Paul was by this singular act anointed as an Apostle (Acts 1: 20 – ʻwitness with us of his resurrectionʼ; 9: 15 – ʻa chosen vesselʼ).
3. After Judas lost his ʻbishopricʼ, the remaining eleven Apostles believed (correctly) that it was necessary to make up the number to twelve. The narrative in Acts 1: 20-26 describes their good-faith effort to nominate a replacement Apostle through chance – a sort of sanctified lottery. In this they showed their correct understanding that there must be twelve, but sought to accomplish this in their own way and in the wrong way, for only God could elect an Apostle. The eleven Apostles had not yet received the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost, and thus did not have sufficient discernment to understand their error; they ran ahead of God, not ʻwaiting for the promise of the Fatherʼ (Acts 1: 4). Their gamble on Matthias was misguided, proven by the fact that he virtually disappeared from New Testament history. Not so with St. Paul, who through Godʼs deliberate selection became the chief contributor to the writings of the New Testament, ample evidence of his Apostleship.
October 2014. The usual author rights are asserted, except that you are free to reproduce this article. Please acknowledge the source.