1 timothy 1:15 . protos / the first/ chief

(Benjamin ) #1

Hi folks

I made some observations regarding the verse quoted above

  • This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

and the wording “of whom I am a chief” caught my attention.

In spanish, the RVA 1960 it is translated as yo soy el primero which means of whom I am the first
In german in the luther bible its translated as the most nobel and in newer translation as the worst (of sinners). other newer english translations as well translate it as the worst of sinners.

In greek the word used according to net bible is protos (strong’s 4413)


  1. first in time or place
  2. in any succession of things or persons
  3. first in rank
  4. influence, honour
  5. chief
  6. principal
  7. first, at the first

Now the question which arises. Of what was he the first? The verse makes it clear, of the sinners. But why the first? There were more people living which were saved according the message preached by John the Baptist, Jesus and the 12 apostels… Why does Paul say I am the first?

Has somebody thought or studied this issue?

Thank you all and have a wonderful sunday!

1 Like
(SeanO) #2

@bracherbracher My personal understanding is that Paul is saying he is the chief of sinners not because he is literally the worst sinner that ever lived, but because he publicly persecuted Christians before coming to know Christ. This passage in Timothy says that God was using Paul as a public example of the mercy we can find in Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 - Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Acts 8:1-3 -And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.