1Corinthians 15:9-11 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.
‘For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.’ This is true in reference to his being chosen last and after the 12 apostles. As a preacher he was greater than any of the other apostles, hence the fourteen New Testament books he wrote through Holy Spirit inspiration. Paul always considered himself the least and not worthy to be an apostle because of his past persecution of Christ’s followers (1Tim. 1:11-16). The sixfold former state of Paul: Blasphemer of Christ (1Tim. 1:13); persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1-3); injurious – killed saints (Acts 9:1); ignorant of the gospel (1Tim. 1:13); an unbeliever in Christianity (1Tim. 1:13); chief of sinners (1Tim. 1:15).
‘But I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.’ 2Corinthians 11:16-28 list all the sufferings Paul endured in labour. He laboured, yet not him, but he acknowledges God’s grace that enabled him.