It is a critically important example for us, the remarkable transformation that occurred in Paul (Saul of Tarsus). Beginning with Acts 7:58, we learn that he was a truly terrible person, who was extremely aggressive in finding and persecuting any Christians, and that he even oversaw (and approved of) the stoning death of Stephen, a true disciple of the Lord. And yet, in Acts 9:18-20, we find that he has been miraculously transformed, by Jesus, to being an extremely devout Christian! Wow! If any story would present the True Power of the Lord's Love, that one should! If there was any one person who had proved himself unworthy of that Love, he had!
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So, even though (the new, improved) Paul could clearly have been included in the original Twelve, we readers of the Bible are able to learn many more lessons by him having to be transformed by the Love of our Lord.
On more practical terms, while Jesus lived, Paul was very hateful toward Christians, and was responsible for very vicious punishments of them. So, even if Jesus would have thought it appropriate, Paul was certainly not yet ready to be in such company.
I believe that He WANTED us to notice that discrepancies seem to exist in His Book. He probably even knew that some cynical humans would think that He had made errors, or that His Prophets who wrote down His Words made errors. I even think that He knew that modern Christian scholars would conclude that, neither of these being possible, that some minor variation has occurred in the many hundreds of times that the Scriptures had been hand copied (until the invention of the printing press in the 1400s). Whether or not that is true, it makes us feel good to believe it, and it relieves the Original Manuscripts of the Scripture texts from all responsibility of having even a single error.
As suggested in each of the sections above, each of the other apparently substantial "flaws" in the Bible, are likely not to be errors at all. Indeed, each of those seeming errors was necessary in order for His Book to be able to address many of the incidents we each face in daily life. If Jesus had selected Paul instead of Judas, we would not have the wondrous example of personal transformation that occurred in Paul when he was Saved, or the example of the numerous aspects of the intrigue that Judas had initiated. For us to have the very best "learning source" it was important to have these people act the way they did, so we could comprehend the consequences of both good and bad thoughts and actions.
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C Johnson, Pastor
A Christ Walk Church