1Timothy 1:12-14 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
‘Ministry’ [Greek: diakonia] service or deaconship to mankind (Matt. 20:26-27). To minister to others is not rulership, but services as Christ did when He laid His life down (1Pet. 2:21-23) and not once did He want to rule, interfere in others’ lives or seek recognition for the fact that He died for mankind. Very different from those who claim to be ministers today. Both ministers and servants of Matthew 20:26-28 refer to the lowest secular and ecclesiastical office among Christians, as exemplified by Christ Himself. No minister has a right to be a lord over God’s people (1Pet. 5:1-9). He is to be the least of all and servant of all (Mark 9:35).
‘Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.’ The sixfold former state of Paul: A blasphemer of Christ (1:13); a persecutor of Christians (Acts 8:1-3); injurious – killed saints (Acts 9:1); ignorant of the gospel (1:13); an unbeliever in Christianity (1:13); the chief of sinners (1:15).
Only the Romans had the power of life and death. The Sanhedrin by whom Paul was employed while he was persecuting Christians, could only imprison and punish short of death. It is true some were killed (Acts 26:10), but this was by Roman permission or by murder, as in the case of Stephen.
‘Exceeding abundant’ [Greek: huperpleonazo] superabounded overall.