1 Timothy 1:13 – Being ignorant08-11-2023 - Posted by Hans
…I who formerly was a calumniator and a persecutor and an outrager; but I was shown mercy, seeing that I do it being ignorant, in unbelief.
No one blasphemed the name of Jesus, persecuted the ecclesia and abused its members as much as Saul of Tarsus. The name of Saul is a model in the ‘New Testament’ for the persecution of the Son of David. Just as in the Hebrew Bible the name of Saul (also a Benjamite!) is a model for the persecution of David.
But in establishing who he used to be, Paul adds something interesting: “I was shown mercy seeing that I do it being ignorant…”. That doesn’t make what he did any less bad. It’s not an excuse either. As if he deserved pity because of his ignorance.
What Paul does is point out the source of his sin. He was a slanderer, persecutor and abuser because he did not know the grace of Christ Jesus. That is a universal truth: whoever truly knows God, by definition also loves Him. To know Him is to love Him. Saul acted in unbelief because he did not know the Lord whom he blasphemed and persecuted. He didn’t know what he was doing. So the Lord made Himself known to him and opened his eyes. And then he saw it!