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1 Thessalonians 2

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

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Verse 1

For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:

For - confirming 1 Thessalonians 1:9. He discusses the manner of his preaching among them (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and former part of 1 Thessalonians 2:9), from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12; and the Thessalonians' reception of the word (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, and latter part of 1 Thessalonians 2:9), from 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.

Yourselves. Not only do strangers report it, but you know it to be true (Alford).

Was, [ gegonen (G1096)] - rather, 'hath proved:' implying the permanent character of his preaching.

Not in vain - Greek, 'not vain;' i:e., 'full of power' (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

Verse 2

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

Even after that we had suffered before - at Philippi: a circumstance which would have deterred ordinary men from further preaching.

Shamefully entreated - ignominiously scourged (Acts 16:22-23).

Bold (Acts 4:29 ; Ephesians 6:20 ) in our God. The ground of our 'boldness in speech'-its element of existence-was our realizing God as "OUR God."

With (IN) much contention, [ agooni (G73)] - conflict (Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:1). Here outward conflict with persecutors, rather than inward, was what the missionaries had to endure (Acts 17:5-6; Philippians 1:30).

Verse 3

For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:

For - the ground of his 'boldness' (1 Thessalonians 2:2), his freedom from 'deceit [ planee (G4106): imposture, before men], uncleanness, and guile' [ doloo (G1388): before God, 2 Corinthians 4:2 ] (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Ephesians 4:14): uncleanness (toward one's self), impure self-seeking in gain (1 Thessalonians 2:5) or lust; such as actuated false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:18; 1 Timothy 3:8; 2 Peter 2:10; 2 Peter 2:14; Jude 1:8; Revelation 2:14-15). So Simon Magus and Cerinthus. Deceivers do not expose themselves to danger.

Exhortation, [ parakleesis (G3874)] - 'consolation' as well as "exhortation." The same Gospel which exhorts comforts. Its first lesson is peace in believing amidst outward and inward sorrows. It comforts them that mourn (cf. 1 Thes 1:11; Isaiah 61:2-3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Was - rather, is: Paul's habitual preaching.

Of ... of - springing from: having its source in.

Verse 4

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

As - even as: marking the measure existing between their approval God to preach and their actual performance of the commission (Ellicott).

Allowed, [ dedokimasmetha (G1381)] - 'we have been approved after trial.' This corresponds to 'God which trieth our hearts.' Approval as to sincerity depends solely on the grace of God (Acts 9:15; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 2 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Timothy 1:11-12). We are not self-constituted teachers.

Not as pleasing - not as aiming at pleasing men: characteristic of false teachers (Galatians 1:10).

Verse 5

For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

Appeal to their experience of him.

Used we flattering words, [ en (G1722) logoo (G3056) kolakeias (G2850) egeneetheemen (G1096)] - 'came we to be in (use of) language of flattery.'

As ye know. "Ye know" whether I flattered you: as to "covetousness," GOD, the Judge of hearts, alone can be "witness." Self-interest is the real aim of men-pleasing flattery (Daniel 2:21).

Cloak of - i:e., any specious guise to cloak "covetousness" [ pleonexias (G4124): cupidity; grasping at more].

Verse 6

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

Literally, 'Nor of men seeking glory.' The "of" [ ex (G1537)] here is different from "of" [ apo (G575)] in "of you ... of others." The former means originating from; the latter, on the part of. Many teach heretical novelties, though not for gain, yet for "glory." Paul and his associates were free even from this motive (John 5:44).

We might have been burdensome - i:e., by claiming maintenance (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 11:9; 2 Corinthians 12:16; 2 Corinthians 2:0 Thess We might have been burdensome - i:e., by claiming maintenance (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 11:9; 2 Corinthians 12:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:8). As, however, "glory" precedes, as well as "covetousness," the reference cannot be restricted to the latter. Translate, 'when we might have borne heavily upon you,' with the weight of self-glorifying authority, and with the burden of our sustenance. Thus the antithesis is appropriate, "But we were gentle (the opposite of pressing weightily) among you" (1 Thessalonians 2:7). On weight being connected with authority, cf. note, 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:10. On the other hand, Ellicott`s restriction [ en (G1722) barei (G922) einai (G1511)] to 'we might have used authority,' is against 1 Thessalonians 2:9, which uses a kindred word [ epibareesai (G1912)] for "chargeable." Twice he received supplies from Philippi at Thessalonica (Philippians 4:16).

As the (no "the" in Greek) apostles - in the wider sense, including Silvanus and Timothy.

Verse 7

But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

We were, [ egeneetheemen (G1096)] - 'we were made' by God's grace.

Gentle, [ eepioi (G2261)] (so A C) - 'mild in bearing with the faults of others;' gentle (though firm) in reproving (2 Timothy 2:24). 'Aleph (') B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read 'we became [ neepioi (G3516)] little children' (cf. Matthew 18:3-4). "Gentle" forms a better antithesis to 1 Thessalonians 2:6, and harmonizes better with what follows. He would hardly, in the same sentence, compare himself both to the 'little children' and to "a nurse," or 'suckling mother [ trofos (G5162)]. Gentleness is the fitting characteristic of a nurse. Still, the very difficulty renders it unlikely that 'little children' is due to correctors; and the weight of authorities is for it (1 Corinthians 14:20). But the n may have been accidentally transferred from the end of egeneetheemen (G1096) to the beginning of eepioi (G2261).

Among you - Greek, 'in the midst of you,' laying aside authority: as one of yourselves,

Her, [ ta (G3588) heautes (G1438)] - 'her own children' (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:11). So Galatians 4:19. How tenderly the mother nurses her own!

Verse 8

So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

So. 'As a nurse cherisheth, etc., so we were willing,' etc. (Alford). Rather, "So;" i:e., seeing that we have such an affection for you.

Being affectionately desirous. [A 'Aleph (') B C Delta G read homeiromenoi (G3655a) for himeiromenoi: from homou eirein]. Literally, connecting one's self with another: closely attached to.

Willing, [ eudokoumen (G2106) is stronger] - 'we were well content:' 'we would gladly have imparted,' etc., 'even our own souls, the center of our being, our lives' [ psuchas (G5590)]; as we showed in what we endured in giving you the Gospel, (Acts 17:1-34). As a nursing mother would impart not only her milk to her children, but her life for them, so we not only imparted gladly the spiritual milk of the Word to you, but naked our lives for your spiritual nourishment, imitating Him who laid down His life for His friends, the greatest proof of love (John 15:13: cf. the type, 2 Samuel 24:17).

Ye were, [ egeneetheete (G1096)] - 'ye were become;' as our spiritual children.

Dear, [ agapeetoi (G27)] - 'dearly beloved.'

Verse 9

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

Labour and travail, [ kopon (G2873)]. "Labour" means hardship in bearing; [ mochthon (G3449)] "travail," hardship in doing: the former, toil with solicitude; the latter, weariness through fatigue (Grotius). Zanchius, the former spiritual (1 Thessalonians 3:5), the latter manual, labour. I would translate, 'weariness (so 2 Corinthians 11:27) and toil' [hard labour: from mogis (G3425) megas (G3173), implying the magnitude of the obstacles to be overcome] (Ellicott).

For. Omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

Labouring, [ ergazomenoi (G2038)] - 'working;' namely, at tent-making (Acts 18:3).

Night and day. The Jews reckoned from sunset to sunset, so that night is put before day (cf. Acts 20:31). Their manual labours for a livelihood had to be not only by day, but by night also, in the intervals between spiritual labours.

Because we would not be chargeable, [ pros (G4314) to (G3588) me (G3165) epibareesai (G1912)] - 'with a view to not burdening any of you' (2 Corinthians 11:9-10).

Preached unto you, [ eis (G1519)] - 'unto and among you.' The 'three Sabbaths' mentioned, Acts 17:2, refer merely to the time of his preaching to the Jews in the synagogue. When rejected by them as a body, after having converted a few, he turned to the Gentiles: of these (whom he must have preached to in a place distinct from the synagogue) 'a great multitude believed' (Acts 17:4, where A Delta (not 'Aleph (') B E) read 'of the devout (proselytes) AND Greeks a great multitude.' In 1 Thessalonians 2:17 "the devout" are made a distinct class): then after he had, by labours among the Gentiles for some time, gathered many converts, the Jews, provoked by his success, assaulted Jason's house, and drove him away. His receiving "once and again," in Thessalonica, supplies from Philippi, implies a longer stay at Thessalonica than three weeks (Philippians 4:16). If "and" be omitted (Acts 17:4), the conversion of "devout Greeks" would naturally lead the apostle on to preach "and" be omitted (Acts 17:4), the conversion of "devout Greeks" would naturally lead the apostle on to preach to pagan.

Verse 10

Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

Ye are witnesses - as to our outward conduct.

God - as to our inner motives.

Holily - toward God.

Justly - toward men.

Unblameably - as to ourselves.

Behaved ourselves, [ egeneetheemen (G1096)] - 'were made to be;' namely, by God.

Among you that believe - Alford, 'before (i:e., in the eyes of) you that believe:' whatever we seemed to the unbelieving. As 1 Thessalonians 2:9 refers to their outward occupation, so 1 Thessalonians 2:10 to their character among believers. Ellicott, 'to you that believe:' for your interest. Their being believers would enable them to appreciate his 'behaviour' in respect to them.

Verse 11

As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

Exhorted and comforted. Exhortation leads one to do a thing willingly; consolation, to do it joyfully (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Even in 'exhortation' [ parakalountes (G3870)] there is the additional idea of comforting and advocating one's cause: 'encouragingly exhorted.' Appropriate here, as the Thessalonians were in sorrow, through persecutions, and also through deaths of friends (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Charged - `conjured solemnly' [ marturoumenoi (G3143)], 'testifying,' as before God.

Every one of you - in private, individually (Acts 20:20), as well as publicly. Marvellous, that in such a multitude he should not omit one (Chrysostom). The minister must not deal merely in generalities, but must particularize. This special instance illustrated his general behaviour. As a father - with mild gravity instructs; the 'mother' tenderly nurses and cherishes (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

His - `his own children.'

Verse 12

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

Worthy of God - "worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10); 'worthily of the saints' (Romans 16:2, Greek); " ... of the Gospel" (Philippians 1:27); "worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1). Inconsistency would cause God's name to be "blasphemed among the Gentiles" (Romans 2:24). [ Tou (G3588) Theou (G2316) tou (G3588) kalountos (G2564)] 'Worthy of THE God who is calling you continually to a worthy walk, meet for the coming kingdom. So B Delta G f g. But 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate,

Hath called. Paul always attributes the call to the Father.

His kingdom - at the Lord's coming.

Glory - that ye may share His glory (John 17:22; Colossians 3:4).

Verse 13

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

For this cause - seeing ye have had such teachers (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12), which involved your responsibility to behave worthily of our teaching, 'we also (as well as you who have such cause for thankfulness) thank God without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 1:2), that when ye received [externally by hearing: paralabontes] the word of God which ye heard from us (literally, "God's word of hearing from us," Romans 10:16-17), ye accepted it [internally: welcomed it: edexasthee, 2 Corinthians 8:17 ], not as the word of men, but, even as it is truly, the word of God.' Alford omits the "as." But "as" is required by 'even as it is truly.' 'Ye accepted it, not (as) the word of men (which it might have been supposed to be), but (as) the word of God, even as it really is.' The proper object of faith, therefore, is the word of God-at first oral, then, for security against error, written (John 20:30-31; Romans 15:4; Galatians 4:30). Though it was 'of us ye heard' it, it really emanates from "God." Also, that faith is the gift of divine grace is implied in the thanksgiving.

Effectually worketh also in you that believe. "Also:" a further feature of the heard Word, besides its being "the Word of God" - namely, its 'effectual working.' Besides your accepting it with your hearts, it "also" evidences itself in your lives. It shows its energy [energeitai] in its practical effects-working in you patient endurance in trial (1 Thessalonians 2:14: cf. Galatians 3:5; Galatians 5:6).

Verse 14

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

For. Divine working (1 Thessalonians 2:13) is most of all seen in affliction.

Followers - Greek, 'imitators.'

In Judea. The churches in Judea were naturally the patterns to others, having been the first founded, and that on the very scene of Christ's ministry. Reference to them is specially appropriate here, as the Thessalonians, with Paul and Silas, had experienced, in their city, from Jewish persecutions (Acts 17:5-9) similar to those which 'the churches in Judea' experienced from Jews in that country.

In Christ Jesus - not merely 'in God;' for the Jews' synagogues (one of which the Thessalonians were familiar with, Acts 17:1) were also in God, in contrast to idolaters. The Christian churches alone were not only in God, but also in Christ.

Of your own country-men - primarily the Jews at Thessalonica, from whom the persecution originated; also the Gentiles there, instigated by the Jews: thus 'fellow-countrymen' [ Sumfuletoon (G4853): not the enduring relation of fellow-citizenship, but sameness of country for the time being], including naturalized Jews and native Thessalonians, stand in contrast to the pure "Jews" in Judea (Matthew 10:36). An undesigned coincidence: Paul at this time was suffering persecutions of the Jews at Corinth, whence he writes (Acts 18:5-6; Acts 18:12); naturally his letter would dwell on Jewish bitterness against Christians.

Even as they (Hebrews 10:32-34). There was a likeness in respect to the nation from which both suffered-namely, Jews, and those their own countrymen; in the cause for which, and in the evils which, they suffered; also in the stedfast manner in which they suffered them. Such sameness of fruits, afflictions, and experimental characteristics of believers, in all places and at all times, are a subsidiary evidence of the truth of the Gospel.

Verse 15

Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

The Lord Jesus, [ Ton (G3588) Kurion (G2962) Ieesoun (G2424)] - 'Jesus THE LORD.' This enhances the enormity of their sin: in killing Jesus they killed the LORD (cf. Acts 3:14-15).

Their own. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate.

Prophets (Matthew 21:33-41; Matthew 23:31-37; Luke 13:33.)

Persecuted us, [margin, ekdiooxantoon (G1559)] - 'by persecution drove us out' (Luke 11:49). Their killing the prophets and persecuting us refutes the plea of ignorance (Acts 3:17).

Please not God - are habitually pursuing a course not pleasing to God, notwithstanding their boast of being God's special people, as certainly as, by the universal voice of the world, they are declared to be perversely "contrary to all men." Josephus, their own historian (Apion, 2: 14), represents one calling them 'atheists and misanthropes, the dullest of barbarians;' and Tacitus ('Histories,' 1 Thessalonians 2:5), 'they have a hostile hatred toward all others.' The contrariety to all men here is, that they 'forbid us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved' (1 Thessalonians 2:16).

Verse 16

Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

Forbidding, [ kooluontoon (G2967)] - 'hindering us from speaking,' etc.

To fill up their sins alway - tending thus 'to the [ eis (G1519) to (G3588)] filling up (the full measure of, Genesis 15:16; Daniel 8:23; Matthew 23:32) their sins at all times' - i:e., as at all former times, so now also. The eternal purpose of God developed itself in their willful, and so judicially-permitted infatuation. Their hindrance of the gospel-preaching to the Gentiles was the last measure added to their continually accumulating iniquity, which made them fully ripe for vengeance.

For - Greek [ de (G1161)], 'but' they shall proceed no further, for (2 Timothy 3:8) "the" (foreordered and due) divine 'wrath has come upon (overtaken unexpectedly; the past tense expressing the speedy certainty of the divinely-destined stroke) them to the uttermost;' not merely partial, but to its full extent, 'even to the finishing stroke' (Edmunds). ['Aleph (') A G, efthasen (G5348), completely past time. B, efthake, an act continuing down to the present: the perfect, which suits well the sense.] The fullest visitation of wrath has already begun. Already, in 48 AD, a tumult had occurred at the Passover in Jerusalem, when about 30,000 were killed: a foretaste of the whole vengeance which speedily followed in the destruction of Jerusalem within 15 years (Luke 19:43-44; Luke 21:24).

Verse 17

But we brethren being taken from you for a short time in presence not in heart endeavoured the more But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.

But we - resumed from 1 Thessalonians 2:13: in contrast to the Jews, 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16.

Taken, [ aporfanisthentes (G642)] - 'orphanized (Acts 17:7-10) from you,' as parents torn from their children. So "I will not leave you comfortless:" Greek, 'orphanized' (John 14:18).

For a short time - literally, 'for the season of an hour.' 'When severed from you but a very short time (his departure was hasty), we the more abundantly (the shorter was our separation, for the desire of meeting again is more vivid the more recent has been the parting) endeavoured,' etc. (cf. 2 Timothy 1:4.) He does not hereby anticipate a short separation, which would be a false anticipation, for he did not soon revisit them. The Greek past participle forbids this view.

Verse 18

Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

Wherefore. ['Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate read, dioti (G1360) for dio (G1352); Ellicott, "Wherefore;" but Vulgate 'quoniam,' seeing that.]

We would, [ etheleesamen (G2309)] - 'we wished' to come.

Even I Paul. My fellow-missionaries as well as myself intended it. I can answer for myself that I intended it more than once. His distinguishing himself here from his fellow-missionaries, whom throughout he associates with himself in the plural, accords with the fact that Silvanus and Timothy stayed at Berea when Paul went on to Athens, where subsequently Timothy joined him, and was thence sent by Paul alone to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:1).

Satan hindered us. On a different occasion 'the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus' (so the oldest manuscripts), Acts 16:6-7, forbad them in a missionary design; here it is Satan, acting by wicked men, some of whom had already driven him out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:13-14; cf. John 13:27), or else by some more direct 'messenger of Satan-a thorn in the flesh' (2 Corinthians 12:7: cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14). The Holy Spirit and the providence of God overruled Satan's opposition to further His own purpose. We cannot, in each case, define whence hindrances in good undertakings arise, Paul, by inspiration, could say the hindrance was from Satan. [ Enekopsen (G1465), "hindered" - literally, 'to cut a trench, or break up a road, between one's self and an advancing foe, to prevent his progress;'] so Satan opposing the progress of the missionaries.

Verse 19

For what is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

For - reason for his earnest desire to see them.

Are not even ye? (The "even," 'also,' implies that not they alone will be his crown) - our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing before Jesus when He shall come? (Isaiah 62:3; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 2:16; Philippians 4:1.) His "hope," in a lower sense, is that these converts may be found in Christ at His advent (1 Thessalonians 3:13). Paul's chief "hope" was JESUS CHRIST (1 Timothy 1:1).

In the presence of ... Christ. So G. "Christ" is omitted in 'Aleph (') A B Delta f.

Verse 20

For ye are our glory and joy.

Emphatic repetition. Who but ye and our other converts are our hope, etc., hereafter, at Christ's coming? For it is ye who ARE now our glory and joy.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-thessalonians-2.html. 1871-8.
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