Christ had 12 Apostles during His ministry on earth, but after His death, burial, and resurrection he called Paul to be another Apostle; why did Christ do that, and does that mean Paul became the 13th Apostle?

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Answers to Bible Questions

Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible

(Q) Christ had 12 Apostles during his ministry on earth, but after His death, burial, and resurrection he called Paul to be another Apostle; why did Christ do that, and does that mean Paul became the 13th Apostle?


(A) To answers this question you need to know that the whole Bible is about Jews and Gentiles. All the nations and people on the earth are one or the other as far as God is concerned. The ministry of Christ and the 12 were to the nation of Israel ( THE JEWS ). See Matthew 10: 5-6:

5: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 15: 24 adds to the above verses:

24: But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The above verses show that Christ ministry while on the earth was only to the nation of Israel (The Jews ) and not to the Gentiles. Why was Christ only concerned with the Jewish nation of Israel at that time? I will give you a quick overview to answer this last question.

In the beginning of human history all people were Gentiles. There was no Jewish nation until God called Abram (who later was called Abraham) to start the Jewish nation as recorded in the book of Genesis, chapter 12. Back in Genesis 11, before God called Abram, all the Gentiles were set aside without Christ and no hope. God set the Gentiles aside because of their great sins of ungodliness and unrighteousness. Let’s look at Romans 1: 18-32 to see how God looked at the Gentiles at that time in human history:

18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19: Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.

20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23: And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24: Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29: Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30: Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31: Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

As we can see from the above verses God was not pleased with the lifestyle of the Gentiles, and that is why they were all set aside with no hope as it says in Ephesians 2: 11-12:

11: Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Now maybe you can see why God called Abram to start the Jewish nation of Israel and why Christ was not working with the Gentiles during His earthly ministry. But guess what; the Jewish nation after time was also set aside because they were trying to establish their own righteousness by the keeping of the law of Moses and not having submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. We need to show some of the scriptures describing why Israel was set aside, so let’s look at Romans 9: 30-33 first:

30: What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31: But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32: Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone;

33: As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Now Romans 11:1-15 we read:

1: I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2: God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

3: Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

4: But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

5: Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

7: What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

8: (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

9: And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them:

10: Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

11: I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

12: Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13: For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

14: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15: For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

We have one more very important scripture to look at in Romans 11:25 about Israel:

25: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

If you have read all the scriptures in this article you can see that God has set both Jews and Gentiles aside, and God says in the above verse that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the Fullness of the Gentiles be come in. There was no hope for the Gentiles in the past; but now God starts working with both Jews and Gentiles under a new program. The original question in this article asked why Christ call Paul to be another apostle; well let’s go to Ephesians 2: 13-22 and we will begin to see the reason Christ did that:

13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

14: For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15: Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain ( two ) one new man, so making peace;

16: And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18: For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

21: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

After God set Both Jews and Gentiles aside, he begins to work with both Jew and Gentile under a new program whereby He is going to make in Himself of two ( JEWS AND GENTILES ) one new man, so making peace as it says in verse 15 above.

In the book of Acts, chapter 9: 11-16 we find out the reason Christ called Paul to be that other Apostle:

11: And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12: And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13: Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15: But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

Verse 11 talks about Saul, of Tarsus; this was Pauls name before he became the Apostle to the Gentiles. Romans 11: 13 confirms that Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles:

13: For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

God chose Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles, because God was starting a new program as I said earlier in this article, and that program is called the dispensation of grace, see Ephesians 3: 1-9:

1: For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2: If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

3: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4: Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

5: Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

6: That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

7: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

8: Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

9: And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Now we can see that to Paul ( only ) was this dispensation of grace given.The 12 apostles were under the dispensation of the law which was ( only ) for the Jewish nation of Israel and any Gentiles who would convert to the Jewish Religion. ( To find out more about dispensations, see my question about what the word Dispensation means and what the different Dispensations are in the Bible.)

Paul was not the 13th Apostle, he was ONE Apostle sent to the Gentiles.For Paul to be numbered with the 12 he would have had to be with Christ during his earthly ministry, which he was not. After Judas betrayed Jesus, ( Judas was one of the 12 Apostles ) he saw that he was condemned for what he did to Jesus, and went out and hanged himself. Judas needed to be replaced to bring the number of Apostles back to 12 again. So lets look at Acts 1: 16-26:

16: Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

17: For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18: Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

19: And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

20: For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take.

21: Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22: Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23: And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

24: And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen,

25: That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26: And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Matthias then became the 12 Apostle, and this was very important as we will find out by reading Matthew 19: 27-28:

27: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28: And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

From the above verses we see there cannot be 13 Apostles for the nation of Israel, for the 12 Apostles will sit on 12 Thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. So no, Paul is not the 13 Apostle, he is one Apostle to the Gentiles and had no part with the 12, because they were sent to the Jewish nation of Israel,

As we move on now,Paul was given the Gospel of Grace also called the Gospel of the uncircumcision ( salvation by Faith with no works of any kind), but the 12 Apostles were give the Gospel of the circumcision ( salvation by faith plus works. ) See Galatians 2: 6-10:

6: But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

7: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

8: (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

9: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

10: Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

Today we live in the dispensation of Grace, Paul is our Apostle. Paul received his Gospel message from the glorified Christ in Heaven after His resurrection. See Galatians 1: 11-20:

11: But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

12: For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

13: For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

14: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

15: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

16: To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

18: Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

19: But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

20: Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

In conclusion, the 12 Apostles were sent only to the nation of Israel (THE JEWS ), while Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul went to the uncircumcision, the 12 to the circumcision. Both groups taught a different Gospel message. Paul was never part of the 12 Apostles. All people today are to follow the Gospel given to Paul for salvation, this is why Christ called Paul to be another Apostle.The Gospel of the circumcision is no longer in effect today, it has been superseded by Pauls Gospel of Grace. We will look at two more verses in 1 Timothy 1: 15-16:

15: This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

16: Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Pauls Epistles from Romans to Philemon are for our doctrine today, the rest of the Bible is for our learning.

I hope this helps you understand a little better why Christ called Paul to be another Apostle.













2 Replies to “Christ had 12 Apostles during His ministry on earth, but after His death, burial, and resurrection he called Paul to be another Apostle; why did Christ do that, and does that mean Paul became the 13th Apostle?”

  1. Phillip C. Pettes

    An awesome answer given to the question of why Paul. Your use of the scripture was very good and very accurate according to my understanding of His living word, the Bible. My name is Phil and I was checking out this sight given to me by a very good friend (Rob Warmouth). Both Rob and I was at one time under the tutor of Robert T Hill, Pastor of Derby Community Church and Grace Bible Institute along with other brothers and sisters in the area of Derby, Colorado. One of my first question when searching out other’s work is to this person are the twelve apostles in the body of Christ or out. Just reading this answer from you tells me what I wanted to know. The twelve cannot be sitting on twelve thrones in the earthly kingdom under their King (Christ Jesus) and be a part of the heavenly body of Christ at the same time.
    I thank my Lord that Rob gave me this site and praise my Lord for leading me to a brother even if it is on line. One day we will be praising and glorifying our lord together in our new bodies. Thank you my brother for sharing Gods word and being an ambassador in His service. With love ……Phil Pettes

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