Many Christians, including some of the finest Bible teachers in our country, believe that Christians have guardian angels – that is one angel assigned to protect us.

The thirteenth century theologian Thomas Aquinas who specialized in the study of angels certainly taught this. There are also three passages of Scripture used to support this belief. Let’s look and see what these three passages of Scripture really say.

1. Matthew 18:10

In Matthew 18:10, Jesus is explaining how we enter the kingdom of heaven. It is through faith – childlike faith.

We think children must become like adults, no adults need to become like children (Matthew 18:3-4). It is easier for a child to be saved. No wonder that 85 percent of Christians are saved before they are fourteen.

Every year at VBS, I explain the gospel to our children in grades 1-6. And every year when I explain the gospel and invite children to trust Christ, many times hundreds respond.

Many adults are perplexed and even skeptical at such a response. Yet, Jesus is teaching that such a response is normal for a child. A child is not so filled with pride that he has trouble admitting that he has a sinned. We think it’s unusual, but Jesus said it’s natural.

Nor is a child so proud that he has difficulty believing that he is incapable of saving himself. A child is easily able to believe the simple truth of the gospel, that Christ died for him (Matthew 18:5-6).

God values children so much that they have angels to protect them (Matthew 18:10). All of us who are parents can think back to times when one of our children was miraculously protected from an accident. 

No doubt God uses angels to protect children, but does this verse teach that God assigns only one angel to protect a child?

2. Acts 12:15

In Acts 12:15, Peter is in prison, captured by Herod, the ruler who had James killed. Acts 12:6-7 says: “And on the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shown in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and roused him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And his chains fell off his hands.”

Verse 12 says that he immediately went to the house of Mary where the church gathered together to pray for Peter’s release. Peter knocks at the door. One of the servant girls goes to answer, but when she hears Peter’s voice she gets so excited that she forgets to answer the door. She rushes back into where the group is praying saying, “He’s here.”

“And they said to her, ‘You are out of your mind!’ But she kept insisting that it was so. And they kept saying, ‘It is his angel (Acts 12:15).’”

Isn’t that typical of us? We pray and pray for something, and when it happens we find it hard to believe that God would answer our prayer in that way. People use verse 15 to say that everyone has a guardian angel. But if that is what they meant, why would the angel be speaking in Peter’s voice? Another possibility is they thought that it was a spirit at the door.

Regardless, Peter was aided by a single angel, but does that mean we have one angel assigned to us? 

3. Psalm 91:11-13

We recognize Psalm 91:11-13 as the words Satan spoke when he tempted Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple. But this psalm is not a messianic psalm pointing to the coming of Christ; instead, it describes God’s supernatural care over all of us who are His children.

My father worked all of his adult life for Braniff Airlines and one of the perks of working for an airline is free travel—as long as an empty seat is available. On September 29, 1959, when I was almost 4, my dad made a day trip to Houston. He was scheduled to come back on the last flight out of Houston Hobby that night. 

He had already received his boarding pass to occupy the seat of a passenger who was a no-show, but at the very last minute the paying passenger arrived and took my dad’s seat. Disappointed, he called my mom and told her he wouldn’t make it home that night.

At 10:44pm that evening, Braniff flight 542 took off from Houston on a 41-minute flight to Love Field. Sixteen minutes into the flight at 11:09pm, the left wing of that Electra prop jet separated from the fuselage, sending the plane into a nosedive outside of Buffalo, Texas, killing everyone on board. 

What forces were at work that day to cause one man to make it just in time and take my father’s seat? He will always believe an angel. Not that God loved my father more than the unfortunate man who died. But instead, God had a perfect plan He was working out, and He used angels to accomplish that plan.

What do these passages have in common? Like Hebrews 1:14, they teach that God uses angels to minister to our needs.

Although I don’t agree with John Calvin on every point, he is correct when he concludes that whether or not there is one angel assigned to us, is not that important. “If anyone does not think it enough to know that all the orders of the heavenly host are perpetually watching for his safety, I do not see what he could gain by knowing that he has one angel as a special guardian.”

To paraphrase his argument: The only thing better than knowing that we have one angel guarding us is to know that we have MANY angels guarding us. 

God who controls the fate of nations also has a detailed plan for your life that He is working out (Jeremiah 29:11). His angels are the agents He uses to accomplish those plans.