Why was Saint Paul known as the apostle of the gentiles?

Paul, in the Bible, was an Israelite and an apostle of Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:1; Php 3:5)

Initially, the Christian message was preached almost exclusively to those of the Jewish faith. (e.g. Matt 10:5-6, 15:24; Acts 9:20-25)

However, in due course this ministry was expanded to include non-Jews, i.e. gentiles, (Matt 28:19,20; Acts chapters 10,11; 15:7) and Paul took a lead in this new evangelising focus. (Romans 15:15,16; Gal 1:15-17; 2:1-10, especially verses 7, 8)

On this basis, Paul accurately describes himself as an apostle to the gentiles. (Rom 1:1, 11:13)

Romans 11:13, some translations:

Paul said: "I am ...

  • ... the apostle to the Gentiles ~NIV
  • ... an apostle to the Gentiles ~Moffat, RSV, GNB
  • ... a missionary to the Gentiles ~NEB
  • ... a special messenger to you Gentiles ~Living Bible
  • ... the apostle of the nations ~KJV


The Apostle Paul wasn't one of the twelve disciples/apostles. Matthew 10:1-10 and Acts 1:21-26.

The Apostle Paul is the Apostle of and to the gentiles; our Apostle. He is a distinct Apostle, and he was the first member of the church which is the body of Christ, so the body of Christ started in Acts 9, when he was saved. Paul didn't start it, God did.

Acts 9:15 The Lord told Ananias that He had chosen Paul to bear His name before the Gentiles. This is only one reference to Paul and the Gentiles.


Much of the New Testament is instruction in the laws and ways of God, written by Paul, and addressed to the churches he planted: the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonianswere all GENTILES.

So, Paul becoming known as 'the apostle of or to the Gentiles' was not a difficult or all that mysterious of a leap.