Acts 1:26
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

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

Darby Bible Translation
And they gave lots on them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

World English Bible
They drew lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Young's Literal Translation
and they gave their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Acts 1:26 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And they gave forth their lots - Some have supposed that this means they voted. But to this interpretation there are insuperable objections:

1. The word "lots," κλήρους klērous, is not used to express votes, or suffrage.

2. The expression "the lot fell upon" is not consistent with the notion of voting. It is commonly expressive of casting lots.

3. Casting lots was common among the Jews on important and difficult occasions, and it was natural that the apostles should resort to it in this.

Thus, David divided the priests by lot, 1 Chronicles 24:5. The land of Canaan was divided by lot, Numbers 26:55; Joshua 15; Joshua 16:1-10; Joshua 17; etc. Jonathan, son of Saul, was detected as having violated his father's command. and as bringing calamity on the Israelites by lot, 1 Samuel 14:41-42. Achan was detected by lot, Joshua 7:16-18. In these instances the use of the lot was regarded as a solemn appeal to God for his direct interference in cases which they could not themselves decide. Proverbs 16:33, "the lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." The choice of an apostle was an event of the same kind, and was regarded as a solemn appeal to God for his direction and guidance in a case which the apostles could not determine. The manner in which this was done is not certainly known. The common mode of casting lots was to write the names of the persons on pieces of stone, wood, etc., and put them in one urn, and the name of the office, portion, etc., on others.

These were then placed in an urn with other pieces of stone, etc., which were blank. The names were then drawn at random, and also the other pieces, and this settled the case. The casting of a lot is determined by laws of nature as regularly as anything else. There is properly no chance in it. We do not know how a die may turn up; but this does not imply that it will turn up without any regard to rule, or at haphazard. We cannot trace the influences which may determine either this or that side to come up; but it is done by regular and proper laws, and according to the circumstances of position, force, etc., in which it is cast. Still, although it does not imply any special or miraculous interposition of Providence; though it may not be absolutely wrong, in cases which cannot otherwise be determined, to use the lot, yet it does not follow that it is proper often to make this appeal.

Almost all cases of doubt can be determined more satisfactorily in some other way than by the lot. The habit of appealing to it engenders the love of hazards and of games; leads to heart-burnings, to jealousies, to envy, to strife, and to dishonesty. Still less does the example of the apostles authorize games of hazard, or lotteries, which are positively evil, and attended with ruinous consequences, apart from any inquiry about the lawfulness of the lot. They either originate in, or promote covetousness, neglect of regular industry, envy, jealousy, disappointment, dissipation, bankruptcy, falsehood, and despair. What is gained by one is lost by another, and both the gain and the loss promote some of the worst passions of man boasting, triumph, self-confidence, indolence, dissipation, on the one hand; and envy, disappointment, sullenness, desire of revenge, remorse, and ruin on the other. God intended that man should live by sober toil. All departures from this great law of our social existence lead to ruin.

Their lots - The lots which were to decide their case. They are called theirs, because they were to determine which of them should be called to the apostolic office.

The lot fell - This is an expression applicable to casting lots, not to voting.

He was numbered - By the casting of the lot, συγκατεψηφίζη sugkatepsēphisthē. This word is from ψῆφος psēphos - a calculus, or pebble, by which votes were given or lots were cast. It means, that by the result of the lot he was reckoned as an apostle. Nothing further is related of Matthias in the New Testament. Where he labored, and when and where he died, is unknown; nor is there any tradition on which reliance is to be placed. The election of Matthias, however, throws some light on the organization of the church.

1. He was chosen to fill the place vacated by Judas, and for a specific purpose, to be a witness of the resurrection of Christ. There is no mention of any other design. It was not to ordain men exclusively, or to rule over the churches, but to be a witness to an important fact.

2. There is no intimation that it was designed that there should be successors to the apostles in the special duties of the apostolic office. The election was for a definite object, and was therefore temporary. It was to fill up the number originally appointed by Christ. When the purpose for which he was appointed was accomplished, the special part of the apostolic work ceased of course.

3. There could be no succession in future ages to the special apostolic office. They were to be witnesses of the work of Christ, and when the desired effect resulting from such a witnessing was accomplished, the office itself would cease. Hence, there is no record that after this the church even pretended to appoint successors to the apostles, and hence, no ministers of the gospel can now pretend to be their successors in the unique and original design of the appointment of the apostles.

4. The only other apostle mentioned in the New Testament is the apostle Paul, not appointed as the successor of the others, not with any special design except to be an apostle to the Gentiles, as the others were to the Jews, and appointed for the same end, to testify that Jesus Christ was alive, and that he had seen him after he rose, 1 Corinthians 15:8; 1 Corinthians 9:1, 1 Corinthians 9:15; Acts 22:8-9, Acts 22:14-15; Acts 26:17-18. The ministers of religion, therefore, are successors of the apostles, not in their special office as witnesses, but as preachers of the Word, and as appointed to establish, to organize, to edify, and to rule the churches. The unique work of the apostleship ceased with their death. The ordinary work of the ministry, which they held in common with all others who preach the gospel, will continue to the end of time.

Acts 1:26 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Forty Days
'To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.'--ACTS i. 3. The forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension have distinctly marked characteristics. They are unlike to the period before them in many respects, but completely similar in others; they have a preparatory character throughout; they all bear on the future work of the disciples, and hearten them for the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Ascension
'The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2. Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the Apostles whom He had chosen: 3. To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4. And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

Prayer-Equipment for Preachers
"Go back! Back to that upper room; back to your knees; back to searching of heart and habit, thought and life; back to pleading, praying, waiting, till the Spirit of the Lord floods the soul with light, and you are endued with power from on high. Then go forth in the power of Pentecost, and the Christ-life shall be lived, and the works of Christ shall be done. You shall open blind eyes, cleanse foul hearts, break men's fetters, and save men's souls. In the power of the indwelling Spirit, miracles
Edward M. Bounds—The Weapon of Prayer

Interpretation of Prophecy.
1. The scriptural idea of prophecy is widely removed from that of human foresight and presentiment. It is that of a revelation made by the Holy Spirit respecting the future, always in the interest of God's kingdom. It is no part of the plan of prophecy to gratify vain curiosity respecting "the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:7. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God"--this is its key-note. In its form it is carefully adapted to this great end.
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Cross References
Leviticus 16:8
"Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.

Joshua 14:2
by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe.

1 Samuel 14:41
Therefore, Saul said to the LORD, the God of Israel, "Give a perfect lot." And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped.

Nehemiah 10:34
Likewise we cast lots for the supply of wood among the priests, the Levites and the people so that they might bring it to the house of our God, according to our fathers' households, at fixed times annually, to burn on the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law;

Nehemiah 11:1
Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem, but the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while nine-tenths remained in the other cities.

Proverbs 16:33
The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

Mark 6:30
The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.

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