Undeserved Mercy for an Unbelieving Rabbi

Artwork for Excellence in Ministry: Starting Strong—Doing What’s Right in the Work of Ministry

One of the benefits of studying a New Testament letter is the opportunity to become better acquainted with the writer himself—in this case, Paul the apostle. In this brief vignette (a mere six verses), we don’t read of Paul’s role and ministry as an apostle—strong in faith and unswerving in dedication. Rather, we read of Paul—called Saul—before his conversion to Christ. Saul was “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” who, by his own admission, “acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). Ironically, Saul was a religious zealot, an intense rabbi, sincere to the core…but sincerely wrong. And so? Mercy in the form of Jesus Christ came to the rescue!