Who is Barsabbas?

Barsabbas is by no means a familiar character in the Bible. In fact, he is only mentioned twice—both times in the book of Acts. What makes him an intriguing fellow is his character and integrity.

You see, Barsabbas, along with Matthias, were both considered to become Judas’s replacement. Instead of conducting interviews (as would be done nowadays) or even taking a vote, the decision was made by a game of chance. That seems a cavalier and unspiritual thing to do.

To do this, the people prayed for God’s guidance in this process, trusting him in the outcome—and then they drew lots. Matthias, not Barsabbas, was selected (Acts 1:23-26). Barsabbas could have pouted, felt rejected, left the group, or been mad at the leaders.

He could have even been angry with God. After all, if God’s hand was really in this selection, as they had prayed, then it was God who decided to not pick Barsabbas. It’s one thing for a person to tell you “no,” but for God to say “no” carries much more weight.

Yet we don’t hear of Barsabbas having any of these negative responses. Apparently, he stuck around and continued to make God his priority and focus, for we next hear of him in Acts 15:22 where he was chosen to be part of an important delegation sent to Antioch.

He proved his character in how he reacted to not being chosen—that’s integrity.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at