Another comment on Acts 1:15-26 and the apostleship

Another comment on Acts 1:15-26 and the apostleship June 30, 2018


Christ with apostles, modern painting
“Cristo e gli apostoli” (Christ and his apostles), by Sergio Bramante (2012)
Wikimedia Commons


In a post that I put up on Friday, I argued that ἐπισκοπὴν, translated in the King James Bible at Acts 1:20  as “bishoprick” (that is, in modern English, as “bishopric”), could very reasonably be rendered as “stewardship.”  The closely related Greek term episkopos means “overseer” or “superintendent,” so an episkopé is something like “an area of responsibility.”  In the New International Version of the New Testament, which I give below, it is translated as “a place of leadership”:


15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”

18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 

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,’


“ ‘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.


As Acts 1:21-26 (quoted above) clearly shows, both Matthias and Joseph Barsabbas (or Justus) were qualified, spiritually and by personal experience, to become witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.  But only one of them was to be chosen to assume responsibility for the ἐπισκοπὴν — the administrative or leadership position — that Judas had forfeited because of his transgression.




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Posted from Newport Beach, California



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