Paul – Chief of Sinners

Paul – Chief of Sinners

C. Poulsen

Scripture Insights



1 Timothy 1:15 

This is a faithful saying, (truth) and worthy of all acceptation, (belief; acceptance as true or valid), that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I (Paul), am chief (pro`tos).

Pro`tos: Leader – Above All – First in Importance

Paul describes himself as the first of sinners. The fact that he persecuted the church in Jerusalem is without measure.

Acts 9:13 

Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man (Paul), how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

Acts 9:14 

And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus he felt unworthy to be an apostle even though he was appointed by Christ. The saints that are referred to were Jews who believed in Jesus as their Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Their opportunity for salvation lies in the Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:9 

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Galatians 1:13 

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I (Paul), persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul summarized and personalized the good news of Christ. Jesus didn’t come merely to show us how to live a better life or to challenge us to be better people. He came to offer us salvation that leads to eternal life. No matter how entrenched your sin, Christ can save you.

1 Timothy 1:16 

Howbeit for this cause I (Paul), obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Paul obtained mercy from God not condemnation. God showed him mercy because he acted ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13).  Paul was the “first of sinners” in the sense that God saved him to inaugurate a whole new program.

Paul says that he is the first in that Jesus might show patience with him. Jesus offers us mercy; we too can come to him, believe in him, and receive forgiveness and eternal life.

As the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul was the first to understand the great blessing he had received by being saved by the revelation of the gospel that Christ lived, died, was resurrected, and ascended unto God who is in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  

Romans 11:13 

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Paul wants us to know that Christ has given him all authority by virtue of being a chosen vessel and in the preaching of the gospel of Christ. That his office was the beginning and ending authority concerning the Gentiles. We are to look to him for his God inspired direction as being Christs first chosen as he Paul is the master builder and Christ the cornerstone.

Acts 9:15 

But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Paul was the one chosen to deliver the mystery of the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The 12 apostle’s new nothing of this. Paul was the one who was chosen to deliver the message of salvation to the Gentiles.

Luke 18:32 

For he (Jesus), shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

Luke 18:33 

And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

Luke 18:34 

And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

The apostle Peter, even at the end of his life did not grasp the significance of the work that the apostle Paul was doing by the proclamation from Christ.

2 Peter 3:16 

As also in all (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

1 Corinthians 3:9 

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

We the Body of Christ are Gods building. We were built upon the foundation that Paul as the master builder set in place almost 2,000 years ago.

1 Corinthians 3:10 

According to the grace of God which is given unto me (Paul), as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

1 Corinthians 3:14 

If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

A time of accounting will come for all believers. Christians can know they are saved and will be with Christ, but they will be judged for how they have used what Christ has entrusted to them during his absence and their time on earth. God will reward faithful servants. This reward is not salvation. This reward is for the work that each of us does on this earth once we become a believer in the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:15 

If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.


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Scripture Insights

2015 – 2016


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