Summary: This a Bible study done from the book 12 Ordinary Men by John McArthur. Awesome study and book.

Note: This is a study from the book 12 Ordinary Men by John McArthur an excellent book. Well worth reading. There is also an outline from Adult Bible Fellowships of First Baptist Church Orion. This is not original but worth posting for study.

Twelve Ordinary Men

Introduction to a Study of the 12 Apostles

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. - I Corinthians 1:26-29


From the time that Christ started his public ministry there was controversy. He began by quoting Isaiah 61 and after quoting the Messianic verses proclaims, “Today this is fulfilled in your ears. From then on the crowds gathered and the people began to chose sides. As you know there were the Pharisees and Sadducees and scribes on one side (the religious leaders) and the people on the other.

Yet the crowd came. As they saw the miracles and heard the teaching they came. They followed him they pushed him. This would seem to be the route to go. The Messiah would come the crowds would follow and there would be a major revolution. This would raise up another people and would change everything around them. The government would have to listen because they were now in the majority.

Yet his is not the route that was chosen as a matter of fact instead of getting larger he began to preach deeper and the crowds began to leave. He would challenge the people and they would run. But this was his strategy. The crowds melted and left with a few.

Among those who stayed were these 12 whom he would later call his disciples and then apostles.

I. Christ’s calling of the Twelve was not what we might have expected.

a. Note the strategy in which they were chosen.

It was almost as if he preached and waited to see who would be left. Now I know that these are in God’s plan but they had to make it through the fire. It is interesting that he was not in a hurry to raise up. Estimates are that it was not until his 2nd year of ministry that he would raise them up.

b. Christ’s choice exemplified the character of the kingdom itself.

Luk 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; (21) "nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

Zec 4:6 So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.

II. Christ’s calling of the Twelve followed a definite pattern.

When you read the different passages that show us the calling of Christ’s disciples it seems that there is a contradiction but what we must understand that these are different stages of the calling.

a. Phase one was a call to conversion (John 1:35-51).

This is the first stage. In this stage they recognize who Christ is. They are saved. Yet we often see them still working their jobs. We find them in other passages mending nets and fishing.

b. Phase two was a call to ministry (Luke 5).

Mat 4:19-20 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (20) They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

c. Phase three was a call to apostleship (Matthew 10:1-4).

Luk 6:12-16 Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. (13) And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: (14) Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; (15) Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; (16) Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.

Mat 10:1-4 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. (2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; (3) Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; (4) Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

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