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Saturday, December 2nd, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
1 Thessalonians 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

The Model Servant and His Reward

1) "For yourselves, brethren know" (autoi gar oidate adelphoi) "Because brethren, ye yourselves know," perceive or recognize, that our Mission to you was a success, as its results still show.

2) "Our entrance in unto you" (ten eisodon hemon ten pros humas) "our entrance or approach to you all;” Paul’s approach in mission work was always in humility, sacrifice, and the power of the spirit, as expressed 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

3) "That it was not in vain" (hoti ou kene gegonen) "That it has not been in vain," empty or fruitless. The labors of a true witness, a true laborer, always brings forth some fruit, whether it be seen or unseen by the laborer, Psalms 126:5-6; Isaiah 55:10-11; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Verse 2

1) "But even after that we had suffered before," (alla propathontes) "But having previously suffered;" in Philippi Paul and Silas were whipped and imprisoned; and in Inconium, Paul was stoned and left for dead, Acts 14:19; Acts 16:19-24.

2) "And were shamefully entreated" (kai hubristhentes) "and having been insulted;" our Lord had forewarned that His disciples should face such treatment, even as He, Matthew 5:10-12; Matthew 10:23; John 15:19-20; 2 Timothy 3:12.

3) "As ye know" (kathos oidate) "as you all are aware" or already know; to reflect the faithfulness of former saints under stress and trials helps others face such, Hebrews 11:1-40.

4) "At Philippi, we were bold in our God", (en Philippois eparresiasametha en to theo hemon) "In Philippi we were bold in our God;" having sung praises to God and prayed while in jail and strongly reprimanded the magistrates who imprisoned them, Acts 16:25; Acts 16:35-40.

5) "To speak unto you the gospel of God", (lalesai pros humas to euangelion tou theou), "To speak to or toward you all (to witness) the good news of God". Paul, Silas, and Timothy’s former trials did not prevent them from forthright witnessing to the Thessalonians, Galatians 6:9.

6) "With much contention" (en pollo agoni) "In the midst of much agony or struggle," withstanding opposition and contention, Acts 17:1-9. Jason eventually went security or bail to keep Paul and Silas out of Prison, 1 Thessalonians 2:9.

Verse 3

1) "For our exhortation" (he gar paraklesis hemon) "For the exhortation of us", (that we gave), first to the brethren in Philippi and second to those of you in Thessalonica. The exhortation was a gentle, affectionate, calling of brethren to come alongside and share in the fellowship of the witnessing and suffering of Christ, Romans 8:14-17.

2) "Was not of deceit" (ouk ek planes) "(was) not of deceit," or erroneous trickery, insincere, Romans 12:17; Romans 13:13; Paul was neither fool nor knave, deceived or a deceiver, nor was his gospel preaching a delusion, 1 Corinthians 1:21-25; 2 Peter 1:16.

3) "Nor of uncleanness" (oude eks akatharsias) "nor out of uncleanness" moral uncleanness as to motive. As Paul witnessed to peoples from and in all walks of life, though he adjusted to customs he did not compromise in moral, doctrinal, or ethical principles, 1 Corinthians 9:20-27.

4) "Nor in guile" (oude en dolo) "nor (was it) in a state or motive of guile"; Tho Paul used fit language for every class and occasion of witnessing, he did it without any ulterior motive for personal financial gain or popularity, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Corinthians 9:11-18; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:1-2. These men of God used no method deliberately to lead one astray from truth or right.

Verse 4

1) "But as we were allowed of God" (alla shall judge each of His children for granting or loss of rewards, 2 Corinthians 5:10-12. 2) "To be put in trust with the gospel" (pisteuthenai to euangellion) "to be entrusted (with) the gospel"; 1 Timothy 1:11-12; The churches of Jerusalem and Antioch had both entrusted and commissioned these brethren to bear the story of Christ as missionaries.

3) "So we speak" (houtos laloumen) "Thus we speak, thus they spoke by a Divine calling, Acts 9:5-20; Acts 26:15-18; and by Divine authority of Church sending, as cited above.

4) "Not as pleasing men", (ouch hos anthropois apeskontes) "not as (continually) pleasing men", or merely for the purpose of pleasing men, as menpleasers, playing, by preaching to the grandstands, Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:22.

5) "But God, which trieth our hearts" (alla theo to dokimazonti tas kardias hemon) "but (continually pleasing) God, the one proving our hearts." He is the one it counts to please--even our Lord pleased his Father first, John 8:29; Romans 15:1.

Verse 5

1) "For neither at any time" (Oute gar pote) "For not at any time past"; This is a strong reassertion that neither Paul nor any of his companions sought personal success, or gain of approval, by means that were low or base.

2) "Used we flattering words" (en logo kalakeias egenethemen) "were we (having spoken) a word of flattery," or sought self-gain by flattering the hearers, 2 Corinthians 2:17.

3) "As ye know" (kathos oidate) "just as you all know;- or are aware, Proverbs 20:10, one is not to meddle with a flatterer; his mouth works ruin, Proverbs 26:28; It is plain that a flatterer is a liar, Psalms 78:36. Paul was not such a person, the Thessalonians knew well.


When Alexander the Great had received from an arrow a wound that would not heal, he said to his parasites, "You say that I am Jupiter’s son; but this wound proves me a feeble man." Undeserved praise is always fatal in its effects on the vain-glorious dupe. More danger lurks in adulation than in abuse, since it is the slaver that kills, and not the bite. They who are voracious of vain compliments drink from a Circean cup, which first enhilarates to madness, and then destroys.

-E. L. Magoon

4) "A cloke of covetousness" (oute en prophasei pleoneksias) "nor in a pretext of covetousness"; Paul did not covet or selfishly desire gold, silver, apparel, or plaudits of men, Acts 20:33-35.

5) "God is witness" (Theos martus) "God (is) witness"; keeping record, looking on, the one to whom account shall be given even for every idle word, Matthew 12:36-37.

Verse 6

1) "Nor of men sought we glory" (oute zetountes eks anthropon doksan) "nor were we seeking glory from men", when we were among you all, as taught of the Lord, John 5:41; John 5:44; Galatians 1:10-11; Galatians 6:14. They taught that all done should be to the glory of God, 1 Corinthians 10:31.

2) "Neither of you, nor yet of others:’ (oute aph’ humon oute ap’ allon) "neither from you nor from other (men)", Philippians 3:8; because earthly glory of men is passing, transitory, like the grass, 1 Peter 1:24.

3) "When we might have been burdensome" (dunamenoi en Barei einai) "When we might have been a weight, a burden, holding dignity of a divine calling and office; without impropriety; though they might have righteously claimed this respect and material support they humbly avoided it, 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9; 1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 9:18; 2 Corinthians 12:14-18.

4) "As the apostles of Christ" (hos Christou apostoloi) "As apostles of Christ"; the elders that rule in word and doctrine, full time church and missionary servants, are worthy of honor and financial support, whether or not they contend for it, 1 Corinthians 9:7-15; 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

Verse 7

1) "But we were gentle among you " (alla agenethemen apioi en meso humon) "But we were gentle in (the) midst of you all"; Gentleness is most effective in warning and reproof and often succeeds where rigid austerity and harshness fail. 11 Cor. 10:1. The good servant must be gentle to all men, 2 Timothy 2:24; Titus 3:2.

2) "Even as a nurse cherisheth her children" (hos ean trophos ta heautes tekna) "as if a nurse should cherish her children"; with childish simplicity. Paul and his helpers were honest and earnest in their labors among the Thessalonians without being blunt and callous in their language. Kind words and deeds are most effective in influential witnessing for the Master, Ephesians 4:32; James 3:17.

Verse 8

1) "So being affectionately desirous of you" (houtos homeiromenoi humon) "Thus longing or yearning for you", Romans 1:11-12. The cause of this yearning was a mutual experimental love each party held for one another in Christ, John 13:35.

2) "We were willing to have imparted unto you" (eudokoumen metadounai humin) "We were well pleased to impart to you all"; Giving is an expression of loving, John 3:16; 1 John 4:7.

3) "Not the gospel of God only" (ou monon to evangelion tou Theou) "not only the gospel (good news) of God"; The gospel void of affections in the bearer of good news may become of little or non effect, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

4) "But also our own souls" (alla kai tas heauton psuchas) "But even (also) our own souls, (lives)" our life itself. We are taught of our Lord to be willing to lay down our lives for our brethren, 1 John 3:16.

5) "Because ye were dear unto us" (dioti agapetoi hemin egenethete) "Because ye became beloved ones to us," or very dear to us, 2 Corinthians 12:15.

Verse 9

1) "For ye remember, brethren" (mnemineuete gar adelphoi) "For you all recall brethren"; the power of memory (recall), of former days, was used to motivate the brethren to continue in loyal service to the Master, Acts 20:34-35; Acts 17:1-9.

2) "Our labor and travail" (ton kopon hemon kai ton mochthon) the labor and toil of us", “ 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8. They had labored with their hands day and night while witnessing in Thessalonica, while the young congregation was not able to support them.

3) "For laboring night and day" (nuktos kai hemeras ergazomenoi pros to) "For the working (laboring was) night and day", continually while there, 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 9:11-12; 1 Corinthians 9:15. Paul, to the last, seemed sensitive about this. Acts 20:29.

4) "Because we would not be chargeable unto any of you", (me epibaresai tina humon) "not to put a burden, (weight or imposition) on anyone of you all"; 2 Thessalonians 3:8-15. Paul longed to preach the gospel without being a stumbling block to any new convert, or becoming a burden to them.

5) "We preached unto you the gospel of God" (ekeruksamen eis humas to evangelion tou Theou) -(as) we proclaimed to you all the gospel (good news) of God", 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; no true minister of the gospel should consider himself too good to labor with his own hands, if necessary, to establish a church of Jesus Christ.

Verse 10

1) "Ye are witnesses, and God also" (humeis matures kai ho Theos) "you all are witnesses as well as God"; regarding these personal behavior patterns that Paul had once followed while establishing the Church, Acts 1:8.

2) "How holily and justly and unblameably" (hos hosios kai dikaios kai amemptos) "How holily, even justly and blamelessly"; Paul met other people in Thessalonica, but only the flock of God knew most intimately his heart and soul and life, reflected in his upright testimony and behavior among them.

3) "We behaved ourselves among you that believe" (Humin tois pisteuousin egenethemen) "We behaved toward or were to you all who believe" His life of unselfish care, concern for them, became a reflective evidence Paul used to move them to a life of model or ideal service for Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:15-16; Matthew 7:20.

Verse 11

1) "Even as ye know how" (kathaper oidate hos) "Even as ye know or perceive how"; Paul’s emotion of past concern for the Thessalonian brethren stirred him to remind them of those former days. In such is profit, Deuteronomy 32:7; 2 Timothy 2:14.

2) "We exhorted and comforted and charged" (parakalountes humas kai paramuthoumoi kai marturomenoi eis) "For (we were) exhorting and consoling and continually charging or witnessing." The good pastor and teacher influences one through life and leads them to glory, John 4:34-35; Psalms 126:5-6; Daniel 12:1-3.

3) "Every one of you" (hena hekaston humon) "to each one Of You"; Every church member is important to the Lord and should be to every pastor and teacher. All are to be fed and led by God’s people and leaders without partiality. 1 Timothy 5:21.

4) "As a father doth his children" (hos pater tekna heautou) "as a father (does) his own children"; This kind of Christian care should be shown with the tenderness and authority like that of a father for his own children, Ephesians 6:1-4.

Verse 12

1) "That ye would walk worthy of God" (to peripatein humas haksios tou theou) "That ye should walk worthily of God"; as God sent his Son to seek and to save the lost, Luke 19:10, even so has He sent His Church, with each redeemed, to witness of His Son and say "come" in. Luke 20:21; Acts 1:8; Revelation 22:17.

2) "Who hath called you" (tou kalountos humas) "The one (God) continually calling you;” Man’s call to follow God worthily is not a "past-tense" call but a continual, daily, progressive one to trust, pray, serve, praise, and worship Him unto the end of life, 1 Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 6:9.

3) "Unto his kingdom and glory" (eis ten heutou Basileian kai doksan) "unto the kingdom and glory of himself", or glory of His kingdom. A Christian’s walk is to be motivated and energized by a desire, yearning, or love to honor and glorify God through the pattern of life His Son left. 1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 3:21; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9.

Verse 13

1) "For this cause also" (kai dia touto kai) "on account of this therefore," because we are called to royal honor, kingdom service for the Master, 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:9.

2) "Thank we God without ceasing" (hemeis eucharistoumen to theo adialeptos) "We give thanks to God unceasingly", or always, Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

3) "Because when ye received the word of God which ye heard from us", (hoti paralafontes logon akoes par hemon tou theou) "that having received the word of God (which) ye heard from us"; Romans 10:14; Romans 10:17; The receiving of the Word comes by hearing of the Word; Romans 1:14-16.

4) "Ye received it not as the Word of Men" (edeksasthe ou logon anthropon) "ye welcomed it (the gospel message) not as a word (message) originating of I men"; The word of God is to be received in its cutting, life giving, and refashioning power, 1 Peter 1:23-25; Hebrews 4:12.

5) "But as it is in truth, the word of God" (alla kathos alethos estin logon theou) "But as truly it is a Word (message) of God", The gospel message, the story of redemption, revealed in the Bible, is the truth of God, John 17:17.

6) "Which effectually worketh also in you that believe", (hos kai energeitai en humin tois pisteuousin) "which also operates in you who believe". It is the word of God received and believed that confirms men to good works, Ephesians 2:10; James 1:22; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Verse 14

1) "For ye, brethren became followers" (humeis gar mimetai egenethete adelphoi) "For brethren, ye became imitators (followers)"; The Thessalonian Church brethren had become following imitators of the early Judean churches of Jesus Christ, Acts 9:31,

2) "Of the churches of God" (ton ekklesion tou Theou) "of the churches (congregations) of God"; those belonging to God, true in doctrines and practices, Acts 9:31; In Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. This is a church letter that primarily concerns church members.

3) "Which in Judea are in Christ Jesus" (tonouson en te loudaia en Christo lesou) "the ones existing (being) in Judea (which are) in Christ Jesus". Acts 9:31; Acts 16:5.

4) "For ye also have suffered like things" (hoti ta auta epathete kai humeis), "because the same (kind of) things ye also have suffered"; Suffering for Christ, his message, and his church is evidence of the power of the Word in the Saint, John 15:5; Hebrews 10:32-37.

5) "Of your own countrymen" (hupo ton idion sumphuleton) "by your own fellow-tribesmen among the Jews"; their own Grecian countrymen, followers of Pagan religions persecuted them as well as the Jews.

6) "Even as they have of the Jews" (kathos kai autoi hupo ton loudaion) "as even they (the Judean Churches) by the Jews", have suffered in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee at the instigation of the Jews, Acts 4:1-3; Acts 18, 23; Acts 5:40; Acts 8:1-3; Acts 9:1-2; Acts 12:1-5; Acts 12:18-19; Acts 13:45; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:1-6; Acts 14:19; Acts 15:1; Acts 17:5-9; Jews are still enemies of Christ.

Verse 15

1) "Who both killed the Lord Jesus" (ton kai ton kurion apokteinanton lesoun) "who killed both the Lord Jesus"; Paul here endorsed the testimony of the martyr Stephen, at whose death he presided, that the Jews slew Jesus and certain of their own prophets, Acts 7:52; Acts 9:22-23.

2) "And their own prophets" (kai tous prophetas) and their (own race) prophets", or "the prophets"; and garnished their tombs, Matthew 23:29-36.

3) "And have persecuted us" (kai hemas ekdioksanton) "and have chased (hounded) us out", out of the country, Acts 17:4-9. In bitterness, the Jews, people of Paul’s own race, not only persecuted and slew Jesus Christ and former prophets but also bitterly persecuted the Church and the apostles, hounding Paul from city to city and country to country.

4) "And they please not God" (kai theo me apeskonton) "and they are not pleasing God", but are breakers of the very law they claim to believe, Exodus 20:1-18.

5) "And are contrary to all men" (kai pasin anthropois enantion) "and to all men (they) are contrary" in hindering and forbidding the preaching of the gospel to all nations, as commanded of the Lord, Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:20; Acts 1:8.

Verse 16

1) "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles" (koluonton hemas tois ethnesin lalesai) "hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles", heathen, races, or nations. This attitude was bigotry at its worst, Acts 13:50; Acts 14:2-7; Acts 19; Acts 17:13; Acts 18:12; Matthew 23:29-33.


"She has no head, and cannot think; she has no heart, and cannot feel; when she moves, it is in wrath; when she pauses, it is amid ruin; her prayers are curses; her communion is death; her vengeance is eternal; her decalouge is written with the blood of her victims; and, if she stops a moment from her infernal flight, it is upon some kindred rock, to whet her fang for keener rapine, and to replume her wing for a more sanguinary desolation."


2) "That they might be saved" (hina sothosin) "in order that they may be saved." The gospel Paul preached was one of saving power to the Jew first, but also to the Gentile world, Romans 1:14-16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5.

3) "To fill up their sins alway" (eis to anaplerosai auton tas hamartias pantote) "to fill up their sins altogether, or always, to make them appear altogether, at all times, sinful, Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23. The Jews persecuted Amos, sought Hosea’s life, put Jeremiah in a dungeon, and murdered Zechariah between the temple and the altar.

4) "For the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost" (ephtasen de ep autous he orge eis telos) "But the wrath is come upon them to this end" upon the Jews, the "them" who persecuted and killed the prophets, divided or scattered the church, and were contrary to, or in opposition to all men, in rejecting and opposing Jesus Christ and His Church and the spread of the Gospel, Romans 10:1-4; Romans 1:18. This wrath that scattered them to all parts of the earth in A.D. 70 under Titus of Thespasia, shall continue on them through the tribulation the Great, Daniel 9:26-27.

Verse 17

1) "But we, brethren" (hemis de, adelphoi) "Yet, we, brethren", Paul, Silas, and perhaps, Timothy, former Missionaries who had labored with the brethren of Thessalonica, Acts 17:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:1.

2) "Being taken from you,’ (aporphanesthentes aph humon) "being bereaved (separated) from you"; or "torn from you", Acts 17:10.

3) "For a short time in presence" (pros kairon horas prosopo) "For the period of an hour in face to face fellowship" "not in heart" (ou kardia) "not in heart, affection." This letter was written about one year after Paul and his mission helpers left Thessalonica, while they longed to return for a visit soon, Colossians 2:5.

4) "Endeavored the more abundantly" (perissoteros espoudasamen) "were eager more abundantly"; Paul’s longer stay from them was unavoidable, but he did send Timothy back to help them, when he could not return. (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5).

5) "To see your face with great desire" (to prosopon humon idein en polle epithumia) "to see your face, with much desire or longing affection"; 1 Thessalonians 3:5-7.

Verse 18

1) "Wherefore we would have come unto you" (dioti ethelesamen elthein pros humas) "wherefore we wished (very much) to come (of our own accord) to you all", to visit the Church. They prayed, craved, to return, night and day, again and again, 1 Thessalonians 3:10.

2) "Even I Paul, once and again" (ego men Paulos) "Indeed Paul", personally. (kai hapaks kai dis) "Even once and again", or repeatedly. Paul prayed for God’s guidance, believing God would hear and answer his prayers, Matthew 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; James 5:16-17.

3) "But Satan hindered us" (kai enekopsen hemas ho satanas) "Even the Satan hindered us". Satan hinders, withstands, and seeks to block the path of Service for God’s children. He hindered, tormented Job, Job 2:7. He goes about seeking whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7. How Satan hindered Paul is not known, whether by sickness, trouble in the Corinth church that pressed for his presence, or some other hindrance, it was attributed (as a casual source) to the devil, Satan.

Verse 19

1) "For what is our hope ’ (tis gar hemon elpis) "For what is the hope of us," our hope? Who will furnish our crown or rejoicing when Jesus comes? Who? but you all? Paul seems to be asking.

2) "Or joy, or crown of rejoicing"? (he chara he stephanos kaucheseos) "or joy or crown of boasting"; Those won to the Lord by the Preacher are considered the most royal objects of his labors, for which he shall be rewarded, Daniel 12:3; 1 Corinthians 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:8; Philippians 4:1.

3) "Are not even ye" (e ouchi kai humeis) "are not even you all", our object or crown of joy and boasting, in the work of the Lord" Colossians 3:24; 1 Peter 5:4.

4) "In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ" (emprosthen tou kuriou hemon lesou) "before our Lord Jesus," or in the presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ, when each is stood up before him, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.

5) "At his coming?" (en te autou parousia) "at the bodily (Royal) presence (return) of Him?" to reward his saints for saintly labors, Revelation 22:12. The term "parousia" originally meant a royal-visit or the presence of a Royal person. What more appropriate term might describe the return of Jesus Christ for His own, Acts 1:10-11; Hebrews 10:36-37; 1 Thessalonians 3:13.

Verse 20

1) "For ye are our glory" (humeis gar este he doksa hemon) "for you all are our glory", occasion for, object of glory in the Lord, yet to be revealed, 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 1:11; Romans 8:18.

2) "And joy" (kai he chara) "and (even) the joy", rejoicing of our hearts, 2 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Timothy 1:4; 3 John 1:4; Judges 1:24. When the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son were found and brought home they were objects of joy 1) for the shepherd, 2) the woman of the household, and 3) the Father of the prodigal son, Luke 15:5-7; Luke 15:9-10; Luke 15:24; Luke 15:32.


The farthest that any of the philosophers went in the discovery of blessedness was but to come to that, -- to pronounce that no man could be called blessed before his death; not that they had found what kind of better blessedness they went to after death, but that still, till death, they were sure every man was subject to new miseries, and interruptions of any thing which they could call blessedness. The Christian philosophy goes farther: it shows us a perfector blessedness than any conceived for the next life also. The pure in heart are blessed already, not only comparatively, that they are in a better way of blessedness than others are, but actually, in a present possession of it; for this world and the next world are not, to the pure in heart, two houses, but two rooms, a gallery to pass through, and a lodging to rest in, in the same house, which are both under one roof, Christ Jesus. So the joy and the sense of salvation which the pure in heart have here is not a joy severed from the joy of heaven, but a joy that begins in us here, and continues, and accompanies us tither, and there flows on, and dilates itself to an infinite expansion.

-Dr. Donne

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-thessalonians-2.html. 1985.
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