Justin Holcomb describes Paul’s downward trajectory of his view of himself from the least of the apostles early in his ministry, to the least of all the saints, and finally to the chief of sinners towards the end. While it sounds like Paul is regressing spiritually, he is exemplifying spiritual maturity.
“Paul isn’t just using self-deprecating hyperbole as a teaching device. Each of the three statements about himself is surrounded by references to the cross (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 3:7-8; and 1 Tim. 1:15) and grace or mercy (1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:2, 7; and 1 Tim. 1:13-14, 16). For him, spiritual growth is realizing how utterly dependent he is on Jesus’ cross and mercy, not arriving at some point where he somehow needs the cross and mercy less.”
Read the full post here.