1:15 before I was born. Paul consciously echoes the call of Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5) and, perhaps, the Servant spoken of by Isaiah (Is. 49:1, 5), who both like Paul were called to be God’s messengers to Gentiles. Paul was conscious that his apostleship (v. 1 note) was in continuity with the Old Testament prophetic tradition.
called me by his grace. See note on v. 3; “Effectual Calling and Conversion” at 2 Thess. 2:14. Paul’s call to be an apostle, like the faith of every believer, was the product of God’s prior grace. Before our birth, and therefore before we could do anything good or bad, God chose to create faith in us (Rom. 9:10–13; Eph. 1:4–6). No one can earn God’s call; it is a free gift.