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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 1

Verse 1

1 Thessalonians 1:1 . Παῦλος , Paul ) Paul, in this epistle, which was the first of all that he wrote, uses neither the title of an apostle, nor any other, because he writes most familiarly to the godly Thessalonians, who did not require a preface regarding his apostolic authority, ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:6 .

The divisions of the epistle are as follows:

I. The Inscription, 1Th 1:1

II. In the course of the discussion, he celebrates (makes honourable mention of) the grace of God towards the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 1:2 , et seqq.; adding a notice of the sincerity of himself and his colleagues, 1 Thessalonians 2:1 ; and of the obedience of the Thessalonians, 1Th 2:13-14

III. He then declares

1. His desire, 1Th 2:17

2. His solicitude, 1Th 3:1

3. His joy, with his prayer, 1Thes 6, 7, 10, 11

IV. He exhorts them to progress,

1. In holiness, 1Th 4:1-2

2. In brotherly love, combined with prudence, 1Th 4:9-12

V. He teaches and exhorts them,

1. Concerning them that are asleep, 1Th 4:13-14

2. Concerning the times, 1Th 5:1-2

VI. He adds miscellaneous exhortations, 1Th 5:12-13

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 ; with prayer and consolation, 1Th 5:23-24

VII. Conclusion, 1Th 5:25-28

There is a kind of unmingled sweetness in this epistle, which, by a reader not accustomed to the expression of sweet affections, is less relished than the others, that act upon the palate with a certain degree of harshness. The expectation of the coming of Christ among the Thessalonians was unclouded. So exalted was their condition, and so clear of impediments and encumbrances (unencumbered) was the state of Christianity among them, that they were able hourly to look for the Lord Jesus. The epistles to them were written before the others; afterwards various evils crept into the churches. Θεσσαλονικέων , of the Thessalonians ) Jac. Mehrningius says, “In the memory of our fathers, there were two Greeks, first among the Moravian brethren, afterwards in Belgium, who asserted, that even now both of St. Paul’s epistles to the Thessalonians are well preserved by them in autograph.” Hist. baptismi, A. 1647, Germanice edita, p. 739. ἐν , in ) Union with God is indicated.

Verse 2

1 Thessalonians 1:2 . Μνείαν ἀδιαλείπτως , mention unceasingly ) Comp. Rom 1:9 ; 2 Timothy 1:3 .

Verse 3

1 Thessalonians 1:3 . Ὑμῶν , your ) This depends on τῆς πίστεως , of faith , etc. ἔργου κόπου ὑπομονῆς , work labour patience ) These have the force of epithets, joined to ‘faith’, ‘love,’ ‘hope.’ Work is opposed to mere empty words [ ἐν λόγῳ μόνον , in word only , 1Th 1:5 ], and in the singular signifies something lasting and efficacious, which faith has in itself, exercising itself in the very fact of believing, not proceeding merely from love. [1] κόπου , labour ) in spiritual and external acts of kindness. Those who evade all exertion that gives them trouble, in consideration of their own interest and quiet, love little. [ Some one may say, Who will procure for me leisure to undertake this labour? Nay, but beware of losing time in the indulgence of sloth, in protracting social entertainments longer than is proper, and in vain conversation; and you will find abundance of time for performing the labour of love . V. g.] τοῦ Κυρίου , of our Lord ) Construe this with patience [but Engl. Vers. hope in our Lord Jesus , etc.], as at 2 Thessalonians 3:5 [ ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ , the patience of Christ ]: as I might say, the heavenly devotion of sighs [meaning, The heavenly devotion expressed by sighs: so the patience of our Lord, i.e. Patient ] Perseverance for the name of Christ. ἔμπροσθεν , in the sight ) This is construed with μνημονεύοντες , remembering .

[1] πίστεως ἀγάπης ἐλπίδος , of faith of love of hope ) ch. 1Th 5:8 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 . V. g.

Verse 4

1 Thessalonians 1:4 . Εἰδότες , [we] knowing ) Construed with we give thanks , 1 Thessalonians 1:2 . ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπήμενοι ὑπὸ Θεοῦ , brethren beloved by God ) Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . ἐκλογὴν , election ) 1 Corinthians 1:27 , note.

Verse 5

1 Thessalonians 1:5 . Ὅτι , because ) This because extends its power beyond this verse. εἰς ὑμᾶς ) so far as you are concerned [in your case]. ἐν , in ) These words refer both to the teachers, as appears by comparing the end of this verse, and to the Thessalonians, by comparing the following verse. ἐν δυνάμει , in power ) for example, in reference to (having the effect of producing) faith. ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ ) in the Holy Ghost , and His saving operation, for example, having the effect of producing love; also in His miraculous operation. ἐν πληροφορίᾳ , borne along in full course ( pleno latu ) [ in full assurance ]) for example, in reference to (producing) hope, 1 Thessalonians 1:3 . οἴδατε , ye know ) Εἰδότες , knowing , in 1 Thessalonians 1:4 , corresponds to οἴδατε here. Both [Paul, Sylvanus, and Timothy, on one hand, and the Thessalonians on the other] knew. οἷοι , what sort of persons ) imparting to you the word with joy. διʼ ὑμᾶς , for your sakes ) that we might gain you.

Verse 6

1 Thessalonians 1:6 . Μιμηταὶ , imitators [ followers ]) Imitators [ Followers ] become τύποι , types, patterns [ ensamples ], 1 Thessalonians 1:7 . τοῦ Κυρίου , of the Lord ) Christ, who acted as the apostle [2] of the Father, brought the word from heaven, and taught it under adversities. ΜΕΤᾺ , with ) Construe this with having received ( δεξάμενοι ).

[2] Hebrews 3:1 . ED.

Verse 7

1 Thessalonians 1:7 . Τύπους , [3] types, patterns ) Ensamples of faith; see presently, and in the following verse.

[3] The Germ. Vers. expresses τυπὸν in the singular; a reading which, by the margin of both Ed., is held of equal authority with the plural. E. B.

BD( Δ ) corrected, df Vulg. Memph. Theb. read τύπον . So Lachm. and Tisch. ACG g , Later Syr., and Rec. Text, have τύπονς . ED.

Verse 8

1 Thessalonians 1:8 . Γὰρ , for ) The intensive particle. ἐξήχηται ) was given ( spread ) abroad with a clear sound . τοῦ Κυρίου , of the Lord ) Christ. ὥστε , so that ) It is lawful to speak where the subject is the conversion of souls. Paul takes this for granted; and he himself would have taken also the subject of his remarks from the conversion of the Thessalonians, had not others known the fact already before, and spoken about it. λαλεῖν τι , to speak anything ) concerning your faith, 1 Thessalonians 1:9 .

Verse 9

1 Thessalonians 1:9 . Περὶ ἡμῶν , concerning us ) both teachers and believers [both us who taught, and you who believed]. δουλεύειν Θεῳ , to serve God ) The Thessalonians are thus distinguished from the Gentiles; so also from the Jews, in the following verse. καὶ ἀληθινῷ and true ) This denotes the truth of [His] nature.

Verse 10

1 Thessalonians 1:10 . Καὶ ἀναμένειν , and to wait for ) The compound, ἀναμένειν , is applied to Him who has so gone away, as that He is about to come [again], John 14:3 , note; Acts 1:11 , note. I do not altogether deny the return , but I say that the coming is elegantly used for His return , because the glorious coming has very many things altogether new connected with it. [ To be waiting for [Him], is the most certain characteristic of the true Christian . V. g.] ὅν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν , whom He raised from the dead ) The preeminent (palmarium) argument is here brought in, from which [viz. His resurrection] it is evident, that Jesus is the Son of God . ῥυόμενον , Who delivers ) Christ once ἐλυτρώσατο , hath redeemed us, He alway ῥυέται , delivers us. ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης , from the wrath to come ) The wrath comes at the last judgment, ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 .

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.