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Bible Commentaries

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2 Thessalonians 1

Verses 1-2


1, 2 .] ADDRESS AND GREETING. On 2 Thessalonians 1:1 , see 1 Thessalonians 1:1 , note.

Verse 2

2 .] πατρός , absol.: see Galatians 1:1 ; Galatians 1:3 ; 1 Timothy 1:2 ; 2 Timothy 1:2 ; Titus 1:4 .

Verse 3

3 . καθὼς ἄξιόν ἐστιν ] as it is right refers to the whole preceding sentence.

ὅτι , not ‘ that ,’ εὐχαριστεῖν ὅτι which would make καθὼς ἄξ . ἐστ . flat and superfluous, but because , dependent on the clause preceding, καθὼς ἄξ . ἐστιν , it is right, because &c.

ὀφείλομεν expresses the duty of thanksgiving from its subjective side as an inward conviction, καθὼς ἄξιόν ἐστιν , on the other hand, from the objective side, as something answering to the state of circumstances.” Lün.

ὑπεραυξάνει ] ‘Frequentavit hujus generis voce Paulus ( ὑπερλίαν 2 Corinthians 11:5 , ὑπερπλεονάζω 1 Timothy 1:14 , ὑπερπερισσεύομαι 2 Corinthians 7:4 (cf. also Rom 5:20 ), ὑπερνικάε Romans 8:37 , ὑπερυψόω Php 2:9 ), non quod iis delectaretur, sed quia vir vehemens natura duce sua cogitata gravibus verbis enuntiavit.’ Fritzsche ad Romans 5:20 .

εἰς ἀλλήλους goes with ἀγάπη .

Verses 3-12

3 12 .] INTRODUCTION. Thanksgiving for their increase in faith and love, and their endurance under persecution ( 2Th 1:3-4 ): promise of a rich recompense at Christ’s coming ( 2Th 1:5-10 ), and good wishes for their Christian perfection ( 2Th 1:11-12 ).

Verse 4

4 .] αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς as well as our Informants, and others who heard about you, see 1 Thessalonians 1:8 . There is ample reason (against Jowett) for the emphasis on αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς . The fact of an Apostle making honourable mention of them in other churches was one which deserved this marking out, to their credit and encouragement.

ἐν ὑμῖν ] as the object of our ἐγκαυχ .

ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τοῦ θεοῦ ] i.e. at Corinth and in Achaia.

ὑπομονῆς καὶ πίστεως ] No ἓν διὰ δυοῖν (Grot., Pelt), nor is there the slightest necessity, with Lünem., to take πίστις here in a different sense from that in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 . The same faith which was receiving so rich increase, was manifesting itself by its fruit in the midst of persecutions and afflictions.

πᾶσιν belongs only to τοῖς διωγμοῖς ( ὑμῶν ), as is shewn by the article before θλίψεσιν , and by αἷς ἀνέχεσθε , which is parallel with ὑμῶν .

αἷς ἀνέχεσθε ] attr. for ὧν ἀν έχεσθε , not for ἃς ἀνέχεσθε , as De W., al., for ἀνέχομαι always governs a genitive in the N. T. ἀνέχ ., ye are enduring: the persecutions continued at the time of the Epistle being written.

Verse 5

5 .] The sentence, in construction, is in apposition with the preceding τῆς ὑπομ . to ἀνέχεσθε , but in the nominative: ὅ ( τι ) ἐστίν or the like having to be supplied. In Php 1:28 we have the like sentiment, with ἥτις ἐστίν supplied. There is a similar construction in Romans 8:3 .

ἔνδειγμα ] cf. ἔνδειξις in ref. a proof: manifested in you being called on and enabled to suffer for Christ, and your adversaries filling up the measure of their opposition to God. The δικαία κρίσις is, that just judgment which will be completed at the Lord’s coming, but is even now preparing this being an earnest and token of it.

εἰς τὸ κ . τ . λ .] in order to (belongs to the implied assertion of the foregoing clause ‘which judgment is even now bringing about &c.’

εἰς τό is not merely of the result , as Lün.: nor is it of the purpose of your endurance, αἷς ἀνέχεσθε εἰς τὸ κ . τ . λ ., as Estius characteristically, to bring in the Romish doctrine of merit: but of the purpose of God’s dispensation of δικαία κρίσις , by which you will be ripened and fitted for his kingdom. (Ellic. denies this, and would take εἰς τό of the object to which the δικαία κρίσις tended. But surely when we are speaking of the divine proceedings, the tendency involves the purpose, and there is no need for a semi -telic force)) your being counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, on behalf of which (for this meaning of ὑπέρ , see Acts 5:41 ; Acts 9:16 ; Romans 1:5 ; Romans 15:8 ; 2 Corinthians 12:10 ; 2 Corinthians 13:8 , al.) ye also ( καί , as in ref., points out the connexion q. d. ‘ ye accordingly ’) are suffering ,

Verses 5-10

5 10 .] Comfort under these afflictions, to think that they were only part of God’s carrying out his justice towards them and their persecutors .

Verse 6

6 .] if at least (reff.: it refers back to δικαίας above, and introduces a substantiation of it by an appeal to our ideas of strict justice) it is just with (in the esteem of, reff.) God to requite to those who trouble you, tribulation (according to the strict jus talionis ), and to you who are troubled, rest (reff.: literally, relaxation: ‘the glory of the kingdom of God on its negative side, as liberation from earthly affliction.’ Lün.) with us (viz. the writers, Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, who are troubled like yourselves: not ‘ with us ( all ) Christians ,’ as De W., al., for all Christians were not θλιβόμενοι , which is the condition of this ἄνεσις in our sentence: still less, ‘ with us Jews ,’ you being Gentiles (Bengel, al.)) at the revelation (manifestation in His appearing, reff.) of the Lord Jesus from heaven (cf. 1Th 4:16 ) with the angels of His power (no hendiadys not as E. V., ‘his mighty angels,’ which as usual, obscures and stultifies the sense: for the might of the angels is no element here, but His might , of which they are the angels serving His power and proclaiming His might) in (the) fire of flame (further specification of the ἀποκάλυψις above: does not belong to the following. On the analogy, see Exodus 3:2 ; Exodus 19:18 ; Dan 7:9-10 ) allotting (distributing as their portion: reff.) vengeance to those who know not God (the Gentiles, see reff.), and to those (the τοῖς repeated indicates a new class of persons) who obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus (the unbelieving Jews, see Romans 10:3 ; Rom 10:16 ), which persons ( οἵτινες , generic and classifying, refers back to their characteristics just mentioned, thus containing in itself the reason for τίσουσιν &c. following (against Ellic.). See ὅστις discussed by Hermann, Præf. ad Soph. Œd. Tyr. pp. vii xv) shall pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from (local, as in Matthew 7:23 , ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ ̓ ἐμοῦ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν , ‘apart from,’ see reff. (so Pisc., Beza, Schott, Olsh., Lünem., al.). It has been interpreted of time , ‘ from the time of the appearing &c.’ (Chr., Œc., Thl., &c.), but ἀπὸ προσώπου will not bear this: also of the cause , which would make 2 Thessalonians 1:9 a mere repetition of ἐν τῇ ἀποκ . to διδόντος ἐκδ . above (so Grot., Beng., Pelt, De W., Baumg.-Crus., al.)) the face of the Lord and from the glory of his Power (i.e. from the manifestation of his power in the glorification of his saints (see ref. Isa.). De W. makes these words, ἀπὸ δόξης κ . τ . λ ., an objection to the local sense of ἀπό . But it is not so: the δόξα being the visible localized result of the ἰσχύς ; see next verse) when He shall have come (follows on δίκην τίσουσιν &c. above. On the aor. subj. with ὅταν , see Winer, edn. 6, § 42. 5) to be glorified (aor.: by the great manifestation at His coming) in (not ‘ through ’ ( τουτέστι , διὰ , Chrys.: so Œc., Thl., Pelt, al.), nor ‘ among :’ but they will be the element of His glorification: He will be glorified in them, just as the Sun is reflected in a mirror) his saints (not angels, but holy men), and to be wondered at in (see above) all them that believed (aor. participle, looking back from that day on the past), because our testimony to you (ref., not τὸ ἐφ ̓ ὑμ ., as ἐφ ̓ belongs immediately to μαρτύριον ) was believed (parenthesis, serving to include the Thessalonians among the πιστεύσαντες ), in that day (of which we all know: to be joined with θαυμασθ ., &c., not with ὅτι ἐπιστεύθη , &c., as Syr., Ambr., Grot., al., who also take ἐπιστ . as a future, ‘for in that day our testimony with regard to you will be substantiated.’ Most unwarrantable requiring also ἐπιστώθη instead of - εύθη .

Calvin says, ‘repetit in die illa … ideo autem repetit, ut fidelium vota cohibeat, ne ultra modum festinent.’ I should rather say, to give more fixity and definiteness to the foregoing). We may observe, as against Jowett’s view of the arguments here being merely “they suffer now; therefore their enemies will suffer hereafter: their enemies will suffer hereafter; therefore they will be comforted hereafter,” that the arguments are nothing of the kind, resting entirely on the word δίκαιον , bringing in as it does all the relations of the Christian covenant, of them to God, and God to them, and by contrast, of God to their enemies and persecutors.

Verse 11

11 .] With a view to which (consummation, the ἐνδοξασθῆναι , &c., above, in your case , as is shewn below: not ‘ wherefore ,’ as E. V., Grot., Pelt, &c.) we pray also (as well as wish: had the καί imported (as Lün.) that the prayer of the Apostle was added on behalf of the Thessalonians to the fact (?) of the ἐνδοξασθῆναι , it would have been καὶ ἡμεῖς προς .) always concerning you, that (see note on 1Co 14:13 ) our God may count YOU (emphatic) worthy (not ‘ make you worthy ,’ as Luth., Grot., Olsh., al., which the word cannot mean. The verb has the secondary emphasis: see below) of your calling (just as we are exhorted to walk ἀξίως τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθημεν , Eph 4:1 the calling being taken not merely as the first act of God, but as the enduring state produced by that act (see especially 1Co 7:20 ), the normal termination of which is, glory . So that κλῆσις is not ‘the good thing to which we are called,’ as Lün.: which besides would require τῆς κλήσεως ἀξιώσῃ : now that τῆς κλήσεως is sheltered behind the verb, it is taken as a matter of course, ‘your calling,’ an acknowledged fact), and may fulfil (complete, bring to its fulness in you) all (possible) right purpose of goodness (it is quite impossible, with many ancient Commentators, E. V., &c., to refer εὐδοκίαν to God His good pleasure .’ In that case we must at least have τὴν εὐδοκίαν and ἀγαθωσ . will not refer with any propriety either to God, of whom the word is never used (occurring Romans 15:14 ; Galatians 5:22 ; Eph 5:9 only, and always of MAN), or to the Thessalonians ( π . ἀγαθωσύνην εὐδοκίας ). It ( εὐδοκία ) must then apply to the Thessalonians, as it does to human agents in Philippians 1:15 . And then ἀγαθωσύνης may be either a gen. objecti , ‘approval of that which is good,’ or a gen. appositionis , a εὐδοκία consisting in ἀγαθωσύνη . The latter I own seems to me (agst Ellic.) far the best: as ἀγαθωσύνη is in all the above citations a subjective quality, and the approval of that which is good would introduce an element here which seems irrelevant) and (all) work of faith (activity of faith: see ref. 1 Thess. note. The genitive is again one of apposition), in power (belongs to πληρώσῃ , q. d. mightily ), that &c. On ὄνομα , cf. Philippians 2:9 ff. Lünemann refers ἐν αὐτῷ to ὄνομα , ‘and ye in it :’ but surely the expression is one too appropriated in sacred diction, for it to refer to any but our Lord Himself: cf. 1 Corinthians 1:5 ; 2 Corinthians 13:4 ; Ephesians 1:4 ; Ephesians 4:21 ; Colossians 2:10 , al.

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.