12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
and (12) — not in many manuscripts (Important because including it diminishes somewhat the fervency of Paul’s outburst of thankfulness.)
I thank (v.12) = I have thanks — The word “thanks” is charis = grace, favor — thanks for the received benefit. The tense indicates a habitual feeling.
enabled (v.12) = empowered, made strong — tense indicates a past event with continuing results
The word “enabled” is enduno. Paul uses this verb in Philippians 4:13, “I am strong in the sphere of all things in the One who is constantly infusing strength in me.” The verb itself means “to clothe with, to furnish with anything,” the context indicating that with which the person is furnished. Since Paul in this statement is talking about being strong, the thing with which God clothes him or with which He furnishes him is strength. In our First Timothy context, the apostle is speaking of being entrusted with the proclamation of the gospel. Paul was thus clothes with the ability to proclaim the good news of salvation. The Greek text reads: “I have constant gratitude to the One who endued me with the necessary strength, Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Wuest, page 33.
Christ Jesus (v.12) — the order emphasizes the authority of Christ as Lord
counted (v.12) = considered, thought (see its use in Philippians 3:7-8). God knew Paul would be faithful in his ministry.
The word “counted” is hegeomai, “to deem, account, consider, think.” It speaks of a belief or appraisal that does not rest upon one’s emotions, but upon the due consideration of external grounds, upon the weighing and comparing of facts. It refers to a deliberate and careful judgment. God saw that the fiery, zealous, intense Pharisee would be just as fiery, zealous, and intense in the proclamation of the gospel as he was in its persecution, when saving grace was operating in his being. — Wuest, page 33
putting (v.12) — tense indicates the finality of the act
ministry (v.12) = lit. “to pursue” — service
blasphemer (v.13) = to say injurious things — used as an adjective
persecutor (v.13) = to pursue — for an evil purpose, as a hunter pursues prey
insolent man (v.13) — a doer of outrage — to act with the motive of causing injury out of insolence and contempt
I obtained mercy (v.13) — passive voice — Paul did not ask God for mercy.
in unbelief (v.13) — “In unbelief” does not so much qualify “ignorantly,” as correct a possible notion that all ignorance must be excusable. Paul declares on the contrary, that his was a positive act of sinful disbelief; but “where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly.” — Wuest, page 34
grace (v.14) = charis — the same word translated “thank” in v.12
faith (v.14) — I think this is used in the sense of “faithfulness,” referring to Jesus Christ
Wuest’s translation — I am constantly grateful to the One who endued me with the necessary strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He deemed me trustworthy, having placed me in service, though I was the very one who heretofore was a reviler, and a persecutor, and an insolent, destructive person. But I was shown mercy because, being ignorant, I acted in unbelief. Moreover, the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly, together with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. — Wuest, page 34.
In the Word of God the conversion of Saul of Tarsus is given a most prominent place. It is more fully described and more often referred to in the Scriptures than any other conversion, or indeed, than any one personal experience outside of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The major part of three separate chapters in Acts are taken up with this account, and it forms the main subject of two out of Paul’s five recorded discourses (Acts 22, 26). So conscious was the Apostle himself of the importance of his conversion in connection with the gospel of the grace of God, that he refers to it over and over again in his epistles.
There is no testimony to the riches of God’s grace, nor the power of the cross, for the reality of personal salvation which equals that of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
Little wonder, for even a casual examination of the record of his bitter rebellion against Christ explains why. Consider the following examples from this record: (Acts 8:3; 9:1-2, 13-14, 21; Acts 22:4, 19; Acts 26:10-11; Galatians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10). — Stam, pages 44-45.