In What Sense Was Paul An Apostle? The Inspired Kind? Or The Ordinary Kind?
In an article at http://www.christianresourceslinks.com/new_page_2.htm we read that the term Apostle has a broad meaning distinct from the twelve. These quotes all come from Paul, and no one else. Thus, as you read this quote below, realize it is Paul who uses apostle in a broad sense beyond what Jesus spoke about the twelve:
The Greek word, apostolos (apostoloV) is an Anglicized (untranslated) term that means “delegate,” or “one who is sent,” and is used in reference to various individuals in the New Testament besides the Twelve.
The list includes Barnabas (Acts 14:14) and James, the Lord’s brother (Gal.1:19). Silas was also an apostle (and perhaps Timothy, too), although it is necessary to do a little scriptural scouting to discover this. In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul describes the manner in which the Thessalonians were originally approached with the gospel. In vs. 6, he writes: “Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.” When Acts 17 is examined, which describes Paul’s visit to Thessalonica, we discover that Silas was his co-worker. The “we” in 1 Thessalonians 2:6 includes Silas (also see vs.14 regarding Timothy).
I bring this up only to make the point that it was possible to be called an apostle without being one of the Twelve. Therefore, it is not necessary to assume Paul was one of the Twelve simply because he was an apostle. The Twelve were “sent ones” especially chosen by Jesus as His immediate and closest disciples, who were personally instructed to begin the propagation of the gospel and pass along His teachings to first-century believers.
Then the same writer discusses whether Paul could qualify as the twelfth and, if true, this proves Matthias was not chosen as an apostle:
3. Was Paul qualified to be one of the Twelve?
It is interesting to observe that those who discredit the appointment of Matthias as one of the Twelve nevertheless accept the criteria Peter proposed as the basis for making that choice in the first chapter of Acts. One might suppose that an erroneous decision would be the result of faulty reasoning; that is, if the decision to appoint Matthias was a mistake, the reasoning process behind that decision must also have been faulty. Incorrect reasoning is not likely to lead to correct conclusions, except through sheer luck.
Still, while claiming that Matthias was a false apostle, most individuals who hold this view nevertheless seem to accept Peter’s quotes from Psalms 69 and 109 (Acts 1:20) as properly applying to the matter of replacing Judas, and they also agree with Peter that a member of the Twelve had to be someone who was part of the group that followed the Lord “..from the baptism of John until the day when he [Jesus] was taken up.. “ (Acts 1:21).
Regarding the second part of this criteria, however, supporters of Paul seem to be willing to accept as a suitable substitute his having only “.. seen Jesus our Lord..” (1 Cor. 9:1), and this by means of revelation. In fact, Paul did not follow Jesus “from the baptism of John until the day when he [Jesus] was taken up.”
This is not to say that Paul was a deficient apostle. If it is safe to make such assessments, one might easily conclude that Paul was the greatest of all the apostles. Even if this is true, however, it does not follow that he was one of the Twelve.
Hence, this writer, although pro-Paul, acknowledges Paul was never one of the 12, and Paul used a loose criteria which was not accepted by the 12 to define an apostle.