Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Acts 1:20–26, the Apostles are choosing the 12th Apostle who will replace Judas:

20 Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’

21 “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus—22 from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”

23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen 25 as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. [NLT]

Does bible say anything about the choice of the new Apostle? What did Matthias have that Judas did not? Does the Bible explain this?

share|improve this question
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I know the answer will be extremely unsatisfying, but the answer is right there in the question. Verses 24-26. They didn't know which to pick, so they prayed and asked God to show them by directing the outcome of casting lots, then they trusted Him to do so. There's really nothing more said, and really no reason to say more.

In essence, they threw up their hands and said "We don't know who to choose, God. We're just going to cast lots and trust you to pick the right man."

Casting lots, if you're not familiar with the term, is similar to drawing straws, or flipping a coin. It's mentioned elsewhere in Scripture as well. There's an article here about it:

share|improve this answer
...So they just choose by flipping coins??? ...Well then, schools should not blame kids for doing that. – Phonics The Hedgehog Oct 4 '11 at 2:52
Don't forget that God was already working miraculously and visibly in their lives. I would imagine that believing He could direct the outcome of a "coin toss" would be relatively easy after raising Christ from the dead. Not to mention that they accepted God as having created the universe, flooding the earth, parting the Red Sea... – David Oct 4 '11 at 3:22
It is also noticeable that the church never used lots to fill a position again. – DJClayworth Oct 4 '11 at 15:37
And, nothing further is recorded about either. Many commentators believe that God had intended for that 12th slot to be filled by Paul, but Peter jumped the gun. – Affable Geek Mar 14 '12 at 2:48

Acts 1:8 Jesus orders the disciples to go to Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:13 One hundred twenty disciples gather in an upper room at Jerusalem. Acts 1:21 Peter determines basic qualifications for candidates for apostle. No precedence for his qualification. Certainly not Jesus' method. Many of the one hundred twenty initially disqualified. Acts 1:23 The disciples select two candidates. Acts 1:24 Now, for the first time, they consult God in prayer as to which of the two men THEY have chosen Jesus wants for His twelfth disciple. Acts 1:26 The disciples set forth, or cast or give their lots. (Gamble or vote?) The lot falls on Matthias. Did God play any part in this decision?

share|improve this answer
Welcome to Christianity.SE! I hope you'll spend some time browsing the questions and answers here. About your answer, it's a little unclear as to whether you're actually answering the question, or asking a new question of your own. For some tips on writing good answers here, please see: What makes a good supported answer? For a quick introduction to this site, please take the Site Tour. – Lee Woofenden May 20 '15 at 1:02
More specifically about your answer: Where do you get the number "one hundred twenty" initial candidates? Also, casting lots was seen as a method of letting God make the choice. – Lee Woofenden May 20 '15 at 1:05
Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) – David W. Jessup May 20 '15 at 3:43
Ah, yes. I wasn't looking early enough in the story. Thanks. Presumably only a few of them had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry. Most would have been later converts. – Lee Woofenden May 20 '15 at 3:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.