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1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
3. a. The Thessalonians are themselves witnesses, that the Apostle’s was no vain entrance, but one of Divine power (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2). As he exercises his ministry generally, with no impurity of purpose or method, but, as one put in trust by God, before the eyes of God (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4), so in Thessalonica also he appeared in no flattering or selfish spirit (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6), but with the most generous love (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8) and self denying labor (1 Thessalonians 2:9). They themselves and God are his witnesses, that he had shown himself throughout unblamable towards the believers, whilst he was careful about nothing else but, as a father, to exhort every individual to a walk worthy of God (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
1For yourselves, brethren, know [yourselves know, brethren,] our entrance in [entrance, εἴσοδον] unto you, that it was not in vain [hath not been vain]2; 2but even after that we had suffered before and were shamefully entreated [but having before suffered, and been shamefully treated],3 as ye know, at [in, ἐν] Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with 3[in, ἐν] much contention. For our exhortation was [is],4 not of deceit [delusion]5 4nor [yet]6 of uncleanness, nor7 in guile; but as [according as, καθώς] we were allowed of God [have been approved by God]8 to be put in trust with the gospel, even so [so, οὕτω] we speak; not as pleasing men, but God,9 which trieth [who proveth]10 our hearts. 5For neither at any time used we words of flattery, as ye know; nor a cloak of covetousness, God is witness; 6nor of men sought we [sought we of men]11 glory, neither of [from, ἀπο] you, nor yet of [nor from, οὔτεἀπό] others, when we might have been burdensome [or: have used authority],12 as, the apostles of Christ [Christ’s apostles, Χριστοῦ ]; 7but we were [were found]13 gentle14 among you [in the midst of you, ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν], even as a nurse 8cherisheth her children [as a nurse would cherish her own children];15 so [,]16 being affectionately desirous17 of you, we were willing to have imparted [to impart] unto you not the gospel of God only [not only the gospel of God],18 but also our own souls, because ye were [became]19 dear unto us. 9For ye remember, brethren, our labor [toil, κόπον] and travail: for laboring [working]20 night and day, because we would not be chargeable [that we might not be burdensome, πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἐπιβαρῆσαι] to any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 10Ye are witnesses, and God also [and God], how holily and justly [righteously, δικαίως] and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe [to, or for you, 11who believed];21 as [even as, καθάπερ] ye know how we exhorted, and comforted [encouraged],22 and charged [adjured]23 [you, ὑμᾶς] every one of you, as a father 12doth his children [as a father his own children],24 that ye would walk [should walk]25 worthy [in a manner worthy, ἀξίως] of God, who hath called [calleth]26 you unto [into, εἰς] His [His own, ἑαυτοῦ] kingdom and glory.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. (1 Thessalonians 2:1.) For yourselves know.—For the confirmation and clearer elucidation (γάρ) of the statement of the foreign brethren regarding his entrance at Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 1:9), the Apostle now appeals at length, as he had done cursorily at 1 Thessalonians 1:5, to the recollection of the Thessalonians themselves on the subject. Hence the same expressions, εἴσοδος πρὸς ὑμᾶς We might call 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 an explanation of the ὁποίαν 1 Thessalonians 1:9, just as the πῶς ἐπεστρέψατε is then carried out in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16. The third testimony, that of the Thessalonians themselves, serves to establish the second, that of the strangers, just as the latter serves to establish the first (comp. on 1 Thessalonians 1:8, Note 1). That 1 Thessalonians 2:1 begins with the same αὐτοὶ γάρ as 1 Thessalonians 1:9 is, of course, accidental; our αὐτοί does not stand opposed to that αὐτοί as such (that, indeed, has quite another reference, to ἡμᾶς of 1 Thessalonians 2:8), but to strangers generally, as in the sequel καὶ ἡμεῖς of 1 Thessalonians 2:13 corresponds to it.—The details that follow are, in fact, intelligible only on the supposition, that the Apostle has to confute certain aspersions on his person and ministry. Merely to strengthen the Thessalonians (Calvin, Lünemann, and most), he would not expatiate so much at large on the excellencies of his service amongst them, least of all with such solemn protestations (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10) and such frequent appeals to the recollection of the readers (1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-11); but he enters on boasting for the same reason as in 2 Corinthians 10-13, because he must defend himself. Only it is not here in Thessalonica any factious doings that he has to contend with, but simply the insinuations whereby the unbelieving Thessalonians sought again to withdraw from the gospel their believing kindred and neighbors. In what these insinuations consisted we learn from the negative clauses, 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:5 sq. The very fact that nearly our entire section proceeds in clauses with οὐκ and ἀλλά (1 Thessalonians 2:1-9) shows, that Paul (through Timothy) had been informed of false assertions in regard to his operations—falsehoods, to which it was necessary for him to oppose the truth. Already Rieger has remarked on 1 Thessalonians 2:3 : A denial of this kind from the Apostle indicates, that such imputations had been cast on him and his preaching. And says Roos more precisely: When the Thessalonian converts reflected on the change that had taken place with them, it might possibly occur to them that an unknown man, of the name of Paul, had come to them over the sea with certain companions, had preached of one Jesus whom he called Christ, and of whom they had previously heard nothing, and had exhorted them to believe in Him, and serve Him as their Lord. So now we are Christians, they may have thought, whereas formerly we were Gentiles or Jews. But, in making this change, have we done right? Is the name, the faith, the hope of Christians not a thing of vanity? Are we not suffering for it to no purpose? Has not Paul deceived us? Is it not some falsehood that he has talked to us? And, besides, our countrymen hold his teaching to be a fable. These thoughts are now met by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16.
2. Our entrance unto you, that it hath not been vain.—This is the first of the imputations. κενή comp. 1 Corinthians 15:14,=empty, idle, without power or substance, unreal; Œcumenius: μῦθοι καὶ λῆροι; Calvin: vana ostentatio; comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5, οὐκ ἐν λόγῳ μόνον, and the antithesis there, as here in 1 Thessalonians 2:2. Not, therefore,=in vain, fruitless (Luther, Flatt, &c.), nor yet at once powerless and fruitless (De Wette, [Jowett]), nor again=deceitful, fallax (Grotius). The γέγονεν, as distinguished from the simple ἦν or even ἐγένετο, expresses the secure consciousness of an accomplished, unassailable fact. In the original the subject of the dependent clause is by a Greek idiom attracted as object into the principal clause.27
3. (1 Thessalonians 2:2.) But having before suffered, &c.—The cause of an idle babbler is one for which he does not submit to suffering, and still less, when he has just with difficulty surmounted one trial, does he again joyfully appear for the same cause, especially in a new conflict. A deep earnestness in suffering, and yet, along with that, an unwearied alacrity and fidelity in his calling, showed Paul to be a man whose appearance the Thessalonians needed only to recall (καθὼς οἴδατε), in order to perceive the vanity of the suspicions alleged against him. Of what sort these were, may be inferred from Acts 17:6-7 : ringleaders, flatterers of the people, ambitious persons who sought their own advantage.—On the sufferings which the Apostle, immediately before (προπαθ.) his arrival in Thessalonica, had endured at Philippi, see Acts 16:12 sqq. Paul adds ὑβρισθέντες, insultingly treated (comp. Matthew 22:6; Luke 18:22), not so much because προπάσχειν like πάσχειν is a vox media (Lünemann), but because with his strong sense of right he had peculiarly felt the treatment received by him at Philippi to be arbitrary and unjust; see Acts 16:37. To such slight features even extends the harmony between the Acts and our Epistles.
4. We were bold in our God &c.—παῤῥησιάζεσθαι, once again in Paul’s writings, Ephesians 6:20, and in like manner of the preaching of the gospel; frequently in the Acts, and indeed, except Acts 18:26, only of Paul from his conversion onwards, Acts 9:27-28; Acts 13:46; Acts 14:3; Acts 19:8; Acts 26:26. Freedom and boldness in testimony was therefore a prominent characteristic of this Apostle. Olshausen: παῤῥηαία is the outward expression of πληροφορία (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Moreover, παῤῥησιάζεσθαι is not here=to speak or preach freely, so that λαλῆσαι should be an explanatory infinitive resolvable by: so that (De Wette, Koch, [Ellicott: so as to speak]), or an infinitive of the purpose: in order that (Schott); but, as in Acts 3:26 [?] and Acts 26:26,=to act with freedom and alacrity, and λαλῆσαι is simply an infinitive of the object (Lünemann), as in 1 Thessalonians 2:4 πιστευθῆναι. [And so Alford, who translates: We were confident. Ellicott, on the other hand, comparing Ephesians 6:20 and Acts 26:26, agrees with De Wette in thinking that “the idea of bold speech, even though reiterated in λαλῆσαι, can scarcely be excluded.”—J. L.] We had, says Paul, this παῤῥησία, not in ourselves, especially after such experiences, but in our God (in whom, as in our spiritual life-element, we live and labor; see 1 Thessalonians 1:1, Doctrinal and Ethical, 1). Not merely was it no idle babbler with whom the Thessalonians had to do; it was not, speaking generally, any mere man, but God; and this God Paul dares to call his God, because God visibly owned him, and the Thessalonians perceived in their conscience (2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:11) that in the power of God Paul spoke and acted. Therefore also he purposely adds: the gospel of God; he had not brought to them any empty talk, nor any kind of man’s word whatsoever (see 1 Thessalonians 2:13), but the glad tidings which God Himself will have proclaimed in the world. Comp. on τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ Exeg. Note 4 to 1 Thessalonians 1:8, ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου. Why Paul does not say: in Christ, the gospel of Christ, but in God, of God, see Doctr. and Eth., 3.
5. In much contention.—As Paul had testified of the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, that they received the word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Ghost, so here he can testify of himself that in much contention, with joy in God, he had published the same. Ἀγών, not outward and inward contention ([Chrysostom, Bishop Hall], Olshausen, [Jowett]), but the contention of outward suffering only, Philippians 1:30 (De Wette, and most).28
6. (1 Thessalonians 2:3.) For our exhortation is &c.—The verb to be supplied in 1 Thessalonians 2:3 is not ἦν but, as λαλοῦμεν of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 shows, ἐστίν. Paul confirms (γάρ) the statement as to his entrance at Thessalonica by a statement de toto perpetuoque more suo (Bengel). But since this general witness to himself might again also be called in question, people at Thessalonica knowing nothing from their own observation of his ministry elsewhere, it was necessary for him to establish this point likewise by again enlarging, 1 Thessalonians 2:5 sqq., on the spirit and method of his labors in Thessalonica. Similarly Jesus: If ye believe not me, my witness of myself, at least believe my works that are done amongst you (John 10:38; John 14:11).
7. Our exhortation [German: Predigt,=preaching, discourse]. Very well Lünemann: παράκλησις is a calling to, address; and, according to the different relations to which this address is applied, the word undergoes modifications of its meaning. In the case of sufferers it is consolation; directed toward a moral or intellectual need, it is exhortation and encouragement. Now, since even the first evangelical proclamation consists in exhortation and encouragement, to wit, in the summons to renounce sin and lay hold of the offered salvation (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:20), παράκλ. might also be used generally of the preaching of the gospel; whether objectively of the contents of the discourse, or subjectively of the preaching itself. So here; see 1 Thessalonians 2:4. Bengel: totum præconium, evangelicum [passionum dulcedine tinctum, as Bengel adds.—J. L.]; Olshausen: the work generally of Christian teaching. Paul uses this expression and not εὐαγγέλιον (1 Thessalonians 1:5), λόγος, κήρυγμα (1 Corinthians 2:4), or such like terms, because here the question is about the preaching, not in so far as it is a proclamation, but as it wins and transforms the hearers.29
8. Not of delusion, nor yet of uncleanness, nor in guile.—ἐκ marks the source from which the preaching proceeds; ἐν, the way and manner in which it is performed. The Apostle names two sources, one on the side of knowledge and doctrine, πλάνη, and one on the side of disposition, ἀκαθαρσια. He first repels the reproach, as if the Christian faith preached by him were a superstition, a chimera, and he himself an enthusiast or a babbler, like the sorcerers or magicians (Chrysost.). Opposed to this is the fact, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, that he had been entrusted with the gospel by God. With an οὐδέ—a stronger disjunctive than οὔτε (δέ and τε), like our nor yet, stronger than nor (comp. Winer, p. 432)—Paul passes to the second point. Ἀκαθαρσία, impurity, commonly in the sense of unchastity (Romans 1:24; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5), but also moral filth and uncleanness generally (Romans 6:19); here either an impure mind, foul motives in general, or perhaps it answers better to our sordid [schmutgig], specially=covetousness, selfishness (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Ephesians 4:19; Ephesians 5:3). Bengel: ἀκαθ. est, ubi fructus carnis quæritur, cf. Philippians 1:16, οὐχ ἁγνῶς.—δόλος, craft, fraud, all kinds of dishonest tricks for cheating and ensnaring. It adds to the impure design the impure means for its accomplishment, and so lies in like manner on the practical side. Whilst, therefore, for the reading οὐδέ there may be alleged the difference of the prepositions, yet on internal grounds οὔτε is perfectly justifiable (comp. Winer, p. 436 sq. [and Critical Note 7]). In the antithesis likewise, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, ἀκαθαρσία and δόλος are taken together in the sentence with οὕως, since ἀνθρώποις answers to δόλος and θεῷ τῷ δοκιμάζοντι τὰς καρδίας to ἀκαθαρσία. So in the confirmatory 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 the λόγος κολακείς answers to δόλος the πρόφασις πλεονεξίας and ζητοῦντες ἐξ to ἀκαθαρσία. The proof of 1 Thessalonians 2:1, in particular, that is given in 1 Thessalonians 2:3, lies in οὐκ ἐκ πλάνης answering to κενή of 1 Thessalonians 2:1; but the confirmatory sentence, just like 1 Thessalonians 1:8, goes beyond that which it confirms, since with οὐδέ the Apostle adds new considerations, which are then again themselves confirmed and carried further in 1 Thessalonians 2:5 sqq. This view is supplementary to Note 6.
9. (1 Thessalonians 2:4.) According as—so.—Καθώς, conformably to the fact that; οὕτως, according to that very rule: agreeably to the grace conferred and obligation laid upon us (Lünemann).
10. Approved.—Δοκιμάζειν means, first, to try, test, scrutinize; so at the close of our verse, and commonly in the New Testament, e.g. 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Timothy 3:10, and often; and then also of the result of the trial: to regard as tried, fit, worthy, and to choose accordingly for a position (1 Corinthians 16:3); hence in the next place generally, to value, prize.30 So here, and similarly Romans 1:28. Paul does not in this mean to assume any worthiness of his own, as the Greek interpreters (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Œcumenius) from their dogmatic standpoint characteristically explain. Rather his aim is just this, to exalt his authority as from God (similarly 1 Timothy 1:12). He would have it understood that, so far is he from preaching human heresy, or considering himself out of his own fancy called to be a preacher (ἐκ πλάνης, 1 Thessalonians 2:3), it is rather God Himself who, according to His gracious purpose (Grotius, Pelt, Lünemann, and even Theodoret [Alford: free choice]) has vouchsafed to him the distinction of being entrusted with the glad, heavenly message to the world. So in the apodosis with οὕτως the main emphasis lies on θεῷ in opposition to ἀνθρώποις. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:2 and note 4; observe also the impressive sonorousness of the expression. The perfect δεδοκ. marks what has happened once for all, the security of it as a matter of fact. At the close of the verse Paul purposely uses the same word once again; he knows himself to be the object of a continuous Divine δοκιμάζειν. There δοκ. is, to try, to examine; yet perhaps not without an accompanying intimation of favorable judgment. In the translation we have sought to indicate this, as well as the identity of the verbs.31 Πιστευθῆναι, infinitive of the object, denoting that which was vouchsafed to Paul. So Romans 1:28. On Paul’s frequent construction of πιστεύεσθαι, see Winer, p. 206. That Paul, moreover, here includes Silvanus and Timothy is obvious from the plurals καρδίας and ψυχάς 1 Thessalonians 2:8, as Lünemann properly remarks against De Wette, who appeals to 1 Thessalonians 2:7 , ἀπόστολοι, but see Note 16. Of course, however, Paul speaks primarily and chiefly of himself.32
11. (1 Thessalonians 2:4.) Not as pleasing men.—̔Ως before the participle gives it a subjective character, that of the conception and intention: We speak not with the thought of pleasing men, and so winning them with guile (ἐν δόλῳ 1 Thessalonians 2:3), but to please God who searcheth our hearts, and so knows and judges even impure designs (ἐξ 1 Thessalonians 2:3). Comp. Galatians 1:10.—[Alford: “ἀρέσκοντες, in the strict sense of the present tense: going about to please, striving to please.”—J. L.]
12. (1 Thessalonians 2:5.) For we—On the logical relation, expressed by γάρ, of 1 Thessalonians 2:5 sqq. to what precedes, see Notes 6 and 8 (at the end).
13. Used we words of flattery &c.—Τίγνεσθαι ἐν, of things 1 Thessalonians 1:5, here of persons (comp. 1 Timothy 4:15)=versari in re, to engage in any matter, be occupied therein. The flattering words thus answer to ἀνθρώποις , 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (Calvin: Whoever will please men, must basely flatter), and to δόλος 1 Thessalonians 2:3 (Chrysostom: We flattered not, as deceivers, who desire merely to draw people to themselves, and rule them). For the fact that he had not flattered them, Paul appeals to the recollection of his readers themselves: as ye know; but for what follows, that he had had no selfish aims, he can only appeal to God, who knoweth the heart: God is witness! Comp. Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:8. This appeal answers to θεῷ τῷ δοκιμάζοντι τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν (1 Thessalonians 2:4), as the repelling of the insinuation, that his mind had been set on earthly good and human glory (1 Thessalonians 2:6), answers to θεῷ , 1 Thessalonians 2:4, and οὐκ ἐξ , 1 Thessalonians 2:3, Πλεονεξία corresponds to ἀκαθαρσία, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:6-7; Ephesians 4:19; Ephesians 5:3. Πρόφασις (from προφαίνω, not πρόφημι), properly, what appears; hence the pretext, behind which one hides his real thought, an excuse; so here parallel with λόγος: My speech was neither a word of flattery, nor a fair pretext, a plausible form for covetous ends.
14. (1 Thessalonians 2:6.) Nor sought we glory.—Ζητοῦντες likewise is dependent on ἐγενήθημεν and parallel to ἐν λόγῳ κολ., ἐν προφάσει πλεονεξίας. Such a change of structure is truly Pauline (comp. Romans 12:9 sqq.). As to the thought, there is a close connection with the latter point, as of ambition with avarice. On ἐξ , comp. John 5:41; John 5:44.
15. Neither from you, nor from others.—In 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 there are, first, three mutually coördinate οὔτε, then two subordinate to the clause of the last of these three, since οὔτε ʼ ὑμῶν &c. distributes the ἐξ . Ἀπό, essentially=ἐκ, brings to view the special source as distinct from the general.33 From others, with whom we might perhaps have sought honor for ourselves through your conversion (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Erroneously Bengel: Qui nos admirati essent, si nos superbius tractassemus.
16. (1 Thessalonians 2:7 [1 Thessalonians 2:6].)34 When we might have used authority [or, been burdensome] as Christ’s Apostles.—The participle δυνάμενοι is subordinated to ζητοῦντες, and is resolvable by although. Ἐν βάρει εἶναι to be of weight, to appear important, dignified, to assume consequence. Against the connection, Theodoret, Ewald, and others: to be burdensome=ἐπιβαρεῖν, 1Th 2:9.35 Ἀπόστολοι, so far as it refers also to Silvanus and Timothy (see Note 10, at the end), is used in the wider sense, as in Acts 14:4; Acts 14:14 of Paul and Barnabas. But perhaps the old rule holds here: A potiori fit denominatio. As Christ’s Apostles, as messengers and envoys (ambassadors) of the Anointed King of the whole world, solemnly appointed by God (Acts 17:3; Acts 17:7), they might have stepped forth with dignity. Dicit Paulus se adeo abfuisse ab inani pompa, a jactantia, a fastu, ut legitimo etiam jure suo cesserit, quod ad vindicandam autoritatem pertinet (Calvin).
17. (1 Thessalonians 2:7.) But we were found gentle in the midst of you.—Ἐγενήθημεν answers to the ἐγενήθ. of 1 Thessalonians 2:5. Ἤπιος (from ἔπω, εἶπον, whence then νήπιος, infans) properly, affable, mild, kind, loving (comp. 2 Timothy 2:24). Suavissimum vocabulum, de parentibus præcipue et de medicis dici solitum (Bengel). [Ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν, in the midst of you, surrounded by you, as a teacher by his pupils, a mother by her children, a hen by her chickens (Bengel). It marks the centre of a group or society, drawing all eyes to itself (comp. Acts 1:15; Luke 2:46; Matthew 18:2): So that ye have all seen and experienced it (Koch). Riggenbach].36 Even this loving demeanor of the Apostle might be interpreted as flattery (1 Thessalonians 2:5), and so Paul confutes this reproach by showing it to be a perversion of his virtue into a fault. Then by the fuller description, ὡς ἄν &c. of this his tender and devoted love, he at the same time confutes the other reproach (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6) of his having been selfish or ambitious.
18. As a nurse would cherish her own children.—Before ὡς there should be a point with the force of our colon,37 so that ὡς answers to οὕτως of 1 Thessalonians 2:8. The sentence after ὡς is an explanation attached to what precedes by asyndeton, as in 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:9, yet so that here also again the explanatory sentence contains at the same time an advance, an enlargement of the thought. Τροφός, nourisher, she who suckles; here not a nurse, but the mother herself, as appears from τἁ ἑαυτῆς τέκνα, in which moreover, especially with this arrangement of the words (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:8; otherwise 1 Thessalonians 2:11), there exists the climactic intimation, her own children (see Alex. Buttmann, Grammatik des neutestamenflichen Sprachgebrauchs, 1859, p. 97). With Stier, we have also expressed both in the version.38 The figure of the mother (comp. Galatians 4:19; Isaiah 66:13; Isaiah 49:15) is still tenderer than that of the father (1 Thessalonians 2:11), but is here chosen especially for this reason, because truly a nursing mother with her child seeks not profit or honor, but is wholly bent on bestowing (not receiving) love. Θάλπειν likewise is a tender expression; properly to warm, then, like fovere, to foster and cherish (Ephesians 5:29; comp. Deuteronomy 22:6, LXX).
19. (1 Thessalonians 2:8.) So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing.—Ὁμειρόμενοι supported here by the best manuscripts, occurs in the New Testament only here, and but seldom elsewhere, in the LXX, &c.; in meaning it is=ἱμείρεσθαι (Recepta), and, like this, probably an enlarged form of μείρεσθαι, which should perhaps be distinguished from the ordinary μείρεσθαι (see Passow), and is used by Nicander in the sense of the common ἱμείρεσθαι (comp. Winer, p. 92)=ardently to long after any one, to love tenderly.39—Εὐδοκοῦμεν is the imperfect without augment, as frequently; Winer, p. 1Th 66: we were pleased, were cheerfully ready, took delight therein (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:8; Romans 15:26). In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 one feels in word and figure the tender heartiness and sweet breath of a first, fresh love, such as becomes the firstling of the apostolical Epistles.
20. To impart unto you &c.—Μεταδοῦναι stands emphatically forward, in order to mark the love as one altogether giving, imparting. The two objects of μεταδοῦναι are joined to one another ascensively by not only—but also, so that the second is held up as the one of greater importance for the connection (τοῦτο μεῖζον ἐκείνου Chrysostom). Ἑαυτῶν moreover, is opposed to τοῦ θεοῦ, and the Apostle means to say: We were willing not only to fulfil our official service, entrusted to us by God, in delivering to you His gospel, but there was formed also a personal relation of the most devoted love, in consequence of which we were ready to sacrifice to you our own life.40 [Webster and Wilkinson: “ ‘not only that which you could share without loss to me, but that which I must lose in giving;’ or, ‘not only that which I held in trust for others, had in charge to give, but that which was most my own.’ ”—J. L.] The latter point was here the main thing, over against the imputations of covetousness and ambition. The comparison with the mother has reference to this personal love, which is therefore still made specially prominent in the additional clause with δίοτι (stronger and more distinctive than ὅτι), which assigns the motive. How far now Paul with his attendants willingly gave up his own life to the Thessalonians, he shows himself by an example in 1 Thessalonians 2:9, which is joined to what precedes, by γάρ, and is therefore illustrative of it. At the risk of health and life, he performed along with his preaching strenuous manual labor day and night, that he might be burdensome to no one, just as a mother day and night with much labor and self-sacrifice cherishes her little child. Add to this, that the Apostle—and it is of himself that he speaks at least primarily—was probably of a weak and sickly constitution (2 Corinthians 10:10; 2 Corinthians 12:5 sqq.), and we shall the better understand how much there was here of a μεταδοῦναι τὴν ψυχήν. Μεταδοῦναι is indeed zeugmatic, since out of it only the simple δοῦναι must be supplied to τὰς ψυχὰς (comp. Matthew 20:28); but such constructions are frequent enough (see Winer, p. 548). On ἑαυτῶν ἡμῶν αὐτῶν, see Winer, p. 136. [Bengel’s paraphrase: Anima nostra cupiebat quasi immeare in animam vestram—and similarly Chrysostom: τὰς ψυχὰς εἰς ὑμᾶς κενῶσαι, eff undere—though suitable to μͅεταδοῦναι, is opposed to the γἀρ of 1 Thessalonians 2:9. and perhaps also contains a thought not quite apostolic, and only in seeming accord with the figure of the mother, since not the suckling as such, but the θάλπειν is the tertium comparationis. To think of the gospel as the milk, according to 1 Peter 2:2; comp. Hebrews 5:13 (De Wette, Lünemann, and others), is quite as little in keeping, since it is really not the Apostle’s gospel, but is expressly called the gospel of God, and since for that very reason, as has been pointed out, this consideration does not enter into the comparison with a mother. In μεταδοῦναι τὰς ψυξάς the exposure of the life in danger and persecutions is commonly thought of; nor is this excluded, since 1 Thessalonians 2:9 contains merely an illustrative example, such as was required by the context, and was fitted to repel the imputation of covetousness and ambition.—Riggenbach.]
21. (1 Thessalonians 2:9.) For ye remember our toil and travail.—Μνημονεύετε, more sonorous than οἴδατε (1 Thessalonians 2:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:11); here with an accusative; 1 Thessalonians 1:3, with a genitive.—On γάρ, see Note 20. [The reference of γάρ to ἤπιοι ἐγενήθημεν, 1 Thessalonians 2:7, is too remote; that to ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε (Lünemann), unsuitable—Riggenbach.] Κόπος strengthened by the addition of μόχθος,41 as at 2 Thessalonians 3:8 (a verse which agrees almost verbally with ours), and 2 Corinthians 11:27. The expressions in their connection denote the most strenuous bodily labor at his handicraft as σκηνοποιός (Acts 18:3), a maker of tents out of leather or cloth for shepherds, travellers, soldiers, &c. (Winer, Realwörterbuch II. pp. 213, 725). This κόπος and μόχθος is now explained in a sentence appended, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, by asyndeton (γάρ after νυκτός being spurious), in which the emphasis lies on what stands foremost, νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐργαζόμενοι, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 on τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς. And now, as ἐληρύξαμεν εἰς ὑμᾶς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ plainly answers to τὸ εὐαγγέλοιν τοῦ θεοῦ of 1 Thessalonians 2:8, so does νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐργαζόμενοι to τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς, so that there accrues from this a new and more precise confirmation of our view of the γάρ and of μεταδοῦναι τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς.
22. Working night and day.—Ἐργάζεσθαι, of manual labor, as 1 Thessalonians 4:11, and often. We [Germans] say day and night, as ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός, Luke 18:7; Acts 9:24, and frequently in the Apocalypse; but elsewhere, and always in Paul’s usage [both in his letters and speeches, 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Timothy 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:3; Acts 20:31; Acts 26:7.—J. L.], νυκτὸς καὶ ημέρας or νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, because the Jews, as also the Athenians, begin the civil day with the evening. Here this order is emphatic,42 because night-work is the more unusual and irksome. We are not, therefore, to suppose that Paul preached all day, and performed manual labor in the night-time; on the contrary, the latter occupation filled up also a good part of the day, as on the other hand he preached likewise at night (Acts 20:7); but, generally, day and night is, as with us, a vivid expression for without intermission (comp. especially Revelation 20:10).
23. That we might not be burdensome to any of you, by his having to care for my support. So little did the Apostle seek any profit from the Thessalonians, that he sought not even the necessaries of life from them but earned them for himself, that his intercourse with them might on his part be altogether one of giving. In hac etiam parte jure suo obstinuit (Calvin; comp. Note 16). For the matter in question, comp. Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 9:7 sqq.; 2 Corinthians 11:8 sqq.; Philippians 4:10 sqq., and Doctr. and Eth., 5.—On κηρύττειν εἰς, see Winer, p. 191.43
24. (1 Thessalonians 2:10.) Ye are witnesses and God.—The Apostle having in three sentences with οὐκ—ἀλλά (1 Thessalonians 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:9) confuted the reproaches cast upon him, and which are summed up in the fewest words in 1 Thessalonians 2:3—having shown that his doctrine is not an idle delusion, but the gospel of God, and that he himself has labored, not from selfish motives of covetousness and ambition, nor with impure methods of craft and flattery, but in the sight of God and with the most devoted love—he now at last opposes to that a brief, positive sketch of his ministry, and for this he again appeals to the Thessalonians and God as witnesses (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:5), by way of giving to his assertion so much the more of the impressive earnestness of truth. Men must witness for his manner of acting; God witnesses, in his conscience and theirs, for his inward disposition. This explanatory sentence likewise is added by asyndeton (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:9), a construction to which in the present instance the liveliness of emotion also contributes.
25. How holily, and righteously, and unblamably, &c.—Ὁσίως with perceptible, inward reverence of God; δικαίως, with due consideration of men, leaving and giving to every one his own (comp. Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12 [Luke 1:75; Titus 1:8]);44 ἀμέμπτως, unblamably, irreproachably in the whole deportment—the negative side to the two positive ones (Lünemann), especially to δικαίως (Olshausen). This qualification Paul adds, because reproaches had been cast upon him.45 [Bengel and others: toward themselves, in order to get the three references to God, men, themselves as in Titus 2:12; but this is here inadmissible, since all is referred to ὐμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσι—δσίως assigning merely the religious ground of the behavior toward the believers.—Riggenbach.] It is commonly not enough considered, that we have here before us, not adjectives, but adverbs (comp. Acts 20:18., πῶς ἐγενόμην μεθʼ ὑμῶν); Paul is not speaking of his walk, his entire personal bearing (De Wette, Hofmann)—otherwise we must have had ὅσιοι &c. (comp. οἷοι, 1 Thessalonians 1:5)—but of the manner of his dealing with the believers (Winer, p. 413).
26. To [for] you who believed.—ὑμῖν is simply the dative of direction or reference: to you, toward you (De Wette, Koch) [not a dative of interest: for your advantage,46 nor yet of judgment: appeared to you (Œcumenius and Theophylact, Calvin, Bengel, Lünemann); the adverbs in that case would scarcely be admissible.—Riggenbach.].47 The addition τοῖς πιστεύουσιν, at first view apparently superfluous [Jowett], must here as at 1 Thessalonians 2:13 have its own ground and. significance. The believers were told that their faith was credulity and superstition, that they had allowed themselves to be ensnared, abused, and misled by the stranger, and that this was now called faith. A similar way of talking to that nowadays, which confounds faith with opinion, notion, dim, baseless feeling. In opposition to this Paul dwells with emphasis on the word faith in its true import, and shows how he had never abused their confidence in him and his word so as to indulge himself in impurity of any kind, but rather, honoring their faith as faith in God and His word, he had in all his proceedings kept holy what was holy, and had with all earnest men exhorted them to a walk worthy of God. [Those, who explain the dative as a dative of judgment,48 take τοῖς πιστεύουσιν restrictively: tametsi aliis non ita videremur;49 Bengel. Especially contrary to 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (?).—Riggenbach.]—Ἐγενήθημεν as in 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1Th 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
27. (1 Thessalonians 2:11.) Whilst we, as ye know, &c. [Even as ye know how we, &c.]—Καθἀπερ οἴδατε is a parenthetical clause similar to καθὼς οἴδατε of 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; it belongs to the following participial construction. This time the Apostle puts καθάπερ for καθώς, because immediately after ὡς occurs twice. The first ὡς belongs to ἑνα ἑκαστον, and has here a strengthening force such as it carries also elsewhere in connection with ἕκαστος (see Passow under ἕκαστος), a usage very nearly akin to the connection of ὡς with superlatives. The corroboration εἷς ἕκαστος, of frequent occurrence in the New Testament, is found likewise in classic Greek (A. Buttmann, p. 105). With the double reënforcement, ὡς εἷς ἕκαστος, comp. Revelation 21:21; ἀνὰ εἷς ἑκαστος; Ephesians 5:33 : ὑμεῖς οἱ καθʼ ἕνα ἕκαστος The participial clauses, 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, show to what extent Paul behaved holily and righteously and unblamably toward the believers (1 Thessalonians 2:10), and we have therefore resolved the participles by in that.50 The main emphasis of the participial construction rests on the conclusion, εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν , &c. (Lünemann), and yet so that Paul would in connection therewith lay stress on two other considerations: 1. That he had taken pains to hold every one in particular to this worthy walk, and hence the doubly strengthened ἕκαστος; 2. That for this end he had exerted all his force of speech, and hence the combination of the three sonorous participles. The Apostle’s unblamable deportment towards the believers was shown in his exhorting every individual with the whole power of his address to nothing else but a walk worthy of God. This is simply the connection of 1 Thessalonians 2:10 with 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12. The comparison with a father has reference to all three points: a father keeps his children singly in his eye, and trains every one according to his individuality; he employs all the force of exhortation in kindness and severity; he would keep his children only to what is good, and to no evil of any kind. Here, where the question is not, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, about devoted love, but holy earnestness, Paul compares himself, not to a mother, but to a father. Paul never writes tautologically, but, even while repeating similar thoughts, advances to new and wider points of view. [Interpreters in general do not agree with me in regarding καθάπερ οἴδατε as a parenthesis, but take οἴδατε as a governing verb, on which ὡς, apart from ἕνα ἕκαστον, is dependent. But since ὡς is followed only by participles, they are obliged to supply the verbum finitum, and then, because ὑμᾶς is afterwards added, ἠγαπήσαμεν, οὐχ [οὐκ] ἀφήκαμεν, &c., is supplied to ἕνα ἕκαστον (Pelt, Schott, and others), or to the entire clause ἦμεν (Beza, Grotius, Flatt), or ἐγενήθημεν, from the previous context (Bengel, Lünemann, [Alford, Wordsworth]), or, the supplement being left indeterminate, an anacoluthon is assumed (De Wette, [Ellicott]). With these grammatical inconveniences there is then connected also an erroneous and artificial view of the logical relation of 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 to 1 Thessalonians 2:10, as that Paul speaks in 1 Thessalonians 2:10 of his behavior generally; in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, for confirmation of that, of the discharge of his duty as a teacher in particular (De Wette, Koch, similarly Hofmann); or that in proof of his own virtue he adduces the fact of his having exhorted the Thessalonians to virtue, it being here taken for granted that one, who has it so much at heart that others shall be virtuous, will be so himself (Lünemann). Independently of other objections to these views, they would require a καί after καθάπερ or after ὡς.—Riggenbach.]51
28. Exhorted and encouraged and adjured.—ὑμᾶς is superfluous52 after as ὡς ἕνα ἕκαστον ὑμῶν; similar repetitions in the classics and also in the New Testament, Col 2:13;53 Matthew 8:1; and often (Winer, p. 531). Παρακαλεῖν, to exhort generally; παραμυθεῖσθαι kindly to encourage; μαρτύρεσθαι, earnestly and solemnly to obtest, like διαμαρτύρεσθαι 1 Timothy 5:21; 2Ti 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1. Bengel: Παρα καλ. movet, ut facias aliquid (libenter); παραμυθ. ut cum gaudio; μαρτυρ, ut cum timore. The two last participles really specify the twofold style and method of the παρακαλεῖν, and may be also grammatically, subordinated to it, as, for example, δυνάμενοι of 1 Thessalonians 2:7 [1 Thessalonians 2:6] is subordinated to ζητοῦντες of 1 Thessalonians 2:6, and κωλυόντων of 1 Thessalonians 2:16 to μὴ of 1 Thessalonians 2:15 (comp. 2 Timothy 1:4). In favor of this are the facts, 1. that εἰς τὸ περιπατ. cannot depend on μαρτυρ., which must have either ἵνα (1 Timothy 5:21) or the simple infinitive (2 Timothy 2:14); 2. that ὑμᾶς is unsuitable to μαρτυρ., which cannot have an accusative of the person after it, except in the here inadmissible sense of taking one to witness. Perhaps the pleonastic ὑμᾶς is put after παρακαλοῦντες for the very purpose of separating the subordinate participles from the superior one. Even as to form, παραμυθ. and μαρτυρ. belong together as of the middle voice, and are jointly distinguished from the active παρακαλοῦντες. Thus: We exhorted you with kindly encouragement as well as with earnest obtestation.54 Comp., moreover, on the accumulation of participles Note. 27.—The division of verses is here very unapt.55
29. (1 Thessalonians 2:12.) That ye should walk in a manner worthy, &c.—Εἰς τὸ περιπατ. is thus dependent on παρακαλ., and denotes the contents or object of the exhortation. [So also Lünemann, who thinks, indeed, that εἰς may be referred to all the three participles; but in that case εἰς must rather denote the purpose, as De Wette and Koch understand it.—Riggenbach.]
With ἀξίως τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καλοῦντος comp. Ephesians 4:1 : ἀξίως τῆς κλήσεως, Colossians 1:10 : ἀξίως τοῦ κυρίου. The two ideas are here combined. Καλοῦντος, present; because the kingdom and glory are still future, so that the call thereto, though it has already gone forth, yet continues till the coming of Christ, when the kingdom and the glory shall be revealed (Lünemann).56 The participle is even half-substantival, like ὁ ῥυόμενος, 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
30. Into his own kingdom and glory.—Magnificum syntheton (Bengel). Not a hendiadys: kingdom of His glory, or glory of His kingdom (Koppe, Olshausen, &c.); nor yet: earthly kingdom (the Church) and heavenly glory (Baumgarten-Crusius); nor is δόξα the glory of the Messianic kingdom (De Wette), but, since ἑαυτοῦ belongs also to δόξα, the glory of God, Romans 5:2 (Lünemann). Comp. the closing doxology of the Lord’s Prayer. Ἑαυτοῦ is emphatic by position, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 [Webster and Wilkinson: “implying a participation, or the most exalted fellowship and interest in the Divine blessedness,”—J. L.]. Paul would here again, at the end of the entire section as at its beginning (1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; see Notes 4 & 10), give prominence to the thought, that it is God with whom believers have to do, and of whom he had been the mere but honest instrument (hence the leading position of ὁσίως in 1 Thessalonians 2:10;—Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Thus: God calls you to a participation in His own kingdom, which will appear at Christ’s advent, and in His own Divine glory, into which believers then enter through the change [of the living, 1 Corinthians 15:51.—J. L.] or through the (first) resurrection. It might be asked whether βασιλεία here is not to be taken in the active sense=kingly dominion; yet this signification of βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ does not, to my knowledge, occur in the New Testament. But certainly the participation of Christians in the βασιλεία will really be a participation in the βασιλεύειν. Their calling is indeed to be glorified (Romans 8:17), not, however, to be ruled over, but to the βασιλεύειν or συμβασιλεύειν (Romans 5:17; 1 Corinthians 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:5).—The motive to a holy walk is therefore a double one, which yet again is but one and the same: Christians are to walk worthily, that is, they should regulate all their proceedings and life-conduct in such a way as becomes 1. the holy majesty of God, with whom by their calling they have fellowship: and 2. their own destination, expressed in this calling, to a share in the full dignity, imperial and essential, of this same God. This pure light of glory excludes all impurity (comp. 1 Timothy 1:11, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης, in connection with the preceding verses, and 1 John 3:3). This section also, like the one before it, thus closes with an eschatological outlook. And, in truth, there meets us here the high practical importance of the Christian hope. As in suffering it begets patience (1 Thessalonians 1:3), so in action a holy walk.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.) To the Thessalonians assailed on account of their faith Paul shows that there is something real about it, both in his case (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12) and in theirs (1 Thessalonians 2:13-16). As proof he here cites, not miracles, as, for example, in Galatians 3:5, but simply the demonstration of the spirit and of power—what of Divine, self-evidencing light they had perceived in him, and experienced in their own hearts and consciences. It is worthy of note that the Gentile Apostle, in the very first Epistle written by him for the Gentile world, insists on this. And such is still to-day the twofold evidence of Christianity in the midst of a world estranged from God, where so frequently all power, all culture, all historical life stands, or seems to stand, in opposition to the gospel: the children of light, in whom, as nowhere else in the world, we perceive a perfect and blessed life (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15), and the purifying and quickening Divine influences which we experience in ourselves from the gospel (2 Corinthians 13:5).
2. Our section is rich in self-praise, which, however, develops itself rather, step by step, as self-defence. A servant of Christ owes it, not so much to himself as his Master and his cause, to clear himself of unjust imputations, whenever they threaten to hinder the progress of the gospel, and prejudice the faith and love of the brethren. How in such a case one should express and demean himself may be learned from Paul, who first of all lets it be seen that he is Divinely certain of his cause, and is conscious of having acted with self-denial in the power of God and before the eyes of God, and then also he appeals freely to human testimony. The Lord knows how, by means of the oppositions of the world or other humbling experiences, so to dispose his servants inwardly, that when circumstances are, such that the ends of the Divine kingdom require it, they can and ought to speak of themselves in a way, that to the judgment of a merely natural morality appears as self-praise. Here belongs also, for example, the fact that John distinguishes himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved; here belong many expressions in the Psalms and passages of Daniel, as Daniel 1:17-20; Daniel 9:2-3; Daniel 2:0 Corinthians 10-13.
3. Our section is a true pastoral mirror.57 In the first and larger half (1 Thessalonians 2:1-9) are two principal points of view, one of which concerns the cause, the doctrine; the other the individual, in respect partly of his inner motives, partly of his manner of acting and speaking. 1. For what concerns the doctrine, we must be able to testify that it is no misleading error, no idle, impotent human invention of any sort, that we preach, but the gospel of God, the glad tidings which God Himself would have to be published to men. We speak in the consciousness, and in the power, of a Divine commission, not as those who are enthusiastic for some self-contrived, human system, and such like, nor as idle babblers believing nothing. 2. For what concerns, a. the disposition and purpose in the discharge of the office, we know that we are free from impure motives of avarice and ambition, for we prosecute our work for souls in the continual presence of Him who knows the heart, and, to please whom, we have to prosecute it earnestly, and in fervent love to those entrusted to us. That we may offer no hindrance to the gospel, we willingly forego the honor and profit that we might otherwise properly claim. We are not satisfied with the faithful fulfilment of what is officially prescribed, but voluntarily undertake additional toil and trouble of every kind. We spare not our health or our life, where the honor of our Lord and the salvation of souls are concerned. In short, instead of seeking aught for ourselves, the soul of our work is self-sacrificing love. It is more blessed to give than to receive. b. As regards the means and manner of our working, we stand in no need of any sort of cunning or spurious pastoral shrewdness to draw the people to us, and secure for ourselves their respect. We never deal in flattering words. We aim not at all at pleasing men.—In the second half (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12) Paul exhibits the holy and righteous behavior of a servant of Christ toward the believers, and shows how, 1. so far as concerns the Church, this consists in not merely proclaiming the word generally, but in also bringing it near to individual souls, so that in this way the special care of souls is added to preaching. 2. For what concerns the preacher himself, he should put forth all his strength, and in different ways, adapted to occasional circumstances, to individuals and spiritual conditions, point those committed to him to the right way. 3. With regard, finally, to the doctrine, it should aim at nothing else but to hold the hearers to what is good. But in Christianity that which is morally good has a thoroughly religious character. It is a walk worthy of God. Nor does even that exhaust the matter. It is not merely the relation of single souls, or even of the congregation, to God, that is to be held up to believers, but God has a kingdom, a corporate order of life, in which He really shares His glory with the creature. To this kingdom, already founded in Christ, but to be first manifested at His advent, we are called. Our walk should bear in itself the stamp of our so high destiny. We should act from motives drawn from the kingdom and the glory. The preaching, therefore, must teach what the kingdom is, and what the glory (comp. my Discourse: die biblische Lehre von Reiche Gottes in ihrer Bedeutung für die Gegenwart [The Bible Doctrine of the Kingdom of God in its importance for the present time], Basel, 1859).—Lastly, in our section there is this fact also to be particularly noticed, that the Apostle compares himself in his ministry to a father and a mother: the latter in the first half, the former in the second. The parental relation, that most original of all human relations (being preceded only by the conjugal), that image of God’s relation to men, is itself again the natural, God-given pattern for all other relations of superior and inferior, and so especially also for preachers and and pastors. A servant of Christ has in his own house a constant school for his office. What he feels and does for his own children, the same he should feel and do for his Church. Yet, not merely the earnestness of paternal love, but the tenderness and self-sacrifice likewise of the maternal, is in the Apostle. He speaks of the parental relation, not by way of making it the foundation of just claims, but with an eye to its obligations and performances.
4. (1 Thessalonians 2:2.) It is worthy of remark that in 1 Thessalonians 2:2. Paul does not say: we were bold in Christ, to speak unto you the gospel of Christ, but: in God, of God; and so throughout the entire section (see 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13). To obviate the objections of the Gentiles and Jews, he purposely reverts to the ultimate ground, still common more or less to them and Christians. Against Jesus Christ, that historical Person, they might bring forward the same exceptions as against the Apostle himself; but God is His own immediate witness in the consciences of all men. And this Divine witness of conscience was, and is, on the side of the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:11). To this we too, in contending with the adversaries, must always again revert. We must connect Christ with God, Christianity with religion, that is, with the religious and moral nature of man in general, the positive and historical with the ideal (comp. John 7:17).
5. (1 Thessalonians 2:5.) Twice in our short section does Paul call God to witness, 1Th 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10, as he does in like manner also elsewhere, Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:23; comp. 2 Corinthians 11:31; Rom 9:1; 1 Timothy 2:7. A servant of God may often find himself in the same position, especially when meeting assaults, and where the question is about dispositions and prayers. A parallel to this is presented by the Verily, I say unto you, which is found so frequently in the mouth of the Lord, in the Synoptists with a single, in John with a double, ἀμήν. It was necessary for Him, in opposition to the unbelief or dulness of His hearers, to corroborate the often very paradoxical truth which he had to advance. Such assertions and protestations are approaches to the oath, to which some of them come quite close, particularly 2 Corinthians 1:2-3, and therefore contributions to the Scriptural view of the doctrine of the oath, and to the correct interpretation and application of Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12.
6. (1 Thessalonians 2:9.) Paul insists strongly on the right of ministers to live of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:7 sqq.; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; Galatians 6:6), and he himself also receives support from the Philippians and other churches (2 Corinthians 11:8 sq.; Philippians 4:10 sqq.). But in Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 11:7 sqq.) and Thessalonica and apparently in Ephesus also (Acts 20:33-35) he accepted nothing during his work there, but provided for his own maintenance partly by manual labor (Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34), partly through the gifts of other Churches (2 Corinthians 11:9; Philippians 4:16). He did this, that he might offer no hindrance to the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:12); at Corinth, in consideration of the false Apostles (2 Corinthians 11:12 sqq.); at Thessalonica, in consideration probably of the unbelievers, whose calumnies he forsaw, or was already even in some measure aware of. For that the Thessalonian Christians were poor, as Chrysostom and others suppose, there is nothing to indicate; indeed, according to Acts 17:4, there were at any rate not a few rich persons among them. At the same time the Apostle desired also in his own person to furnish an example of fidelity in a earthly calling, of strenuous labor, of devoted love (Acts 20:35; 2 Thessalonians 3:7 sqq.). We have now here before us one of the cases in which, as in so many outward things—for example, in regard to usages, the times and places of Divine service, &c.—it could not be but that changes, to wit, specific regulations, should gradually be forth-coming in the Church. Soon the clerical calling could no longer be united with a secular one. It had therefore to be furnished with a regular income, and this is in accordance with Paul’s doctrine. If, then, we neither can nor should directly imitate his practice herein; if indeed, speaking generally, the exemplariness of the Lord and His Apostles does not require from us a direct, outward imitation—this were really to turn the gospel again into law and letter (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, Doctrinal and Ethical, Note 5),—it is only the more important that we enter into the meaning and spirit of the Apostle, and act on this Apostolic view of the matter. Not to the Pope alone does his worldly dominion prove to be ruin; among us also earthly good has already become the curse and snare of many clergymen. This is one of the tenderest points in the relation between the shepherd and the flock, and by it is often insensibly closed the mouth of the shepherd and the heart of the sheep. There are certain portions of income, those that partake more of the nature of perquisites, which still fall immediately under the apostolic rule, not to burden those who would thereby be burdened, and rather to undergo privations, “lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12). It deserves also to be noticed that the Apostle (1 Corinthians 9:14) says, that the Lord hath ordained that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel, should have wherewithal to live, and not more. With us, to be sure, and especially of late, care is commonly taken that we should not have it in our power to think of laying up treasures. The wish expressed by Schleiermacher in 1804, “that the relations of the preacher’s position should be put more and more on such a footing, that it could present no external attraction to those who did not value it for its own sake,” has already received a manifold fulfilment. Those, however, who have to struggle with want and privation, may seek and find a strong consolation in the fact, that they thus stand nearer to the apostolic model, than if they lived in abundance of everything. Comp. the flaming words of Ludwig Hofacker in his Life by A. Knapp, 1852, p. 157 sq.: “Often enough have I been offended with a certain class of ministers. To lament over their poor pay is the whole business, their main topic of conversation. Nowhere is there less of faith and contentment than among men of this sort. With them the earthly mind thoroughly predominates. In no class is there less of Divine understanding. In heaven we shall probably meet the smallest proportion of ministers; for it is well-nigh impossible that such an ease-loving, selfish minister should enter the kingdom of heaven. Is it not a real mercy that we are even kept a little short? How much money, then, must a preacher have on hand? Or how much must he have in furniture and pictures? On this absurdity I could descant for a day, and not exhaust the topic, dealing not with individual cases, but with the thing itself, nor yet out of illiberality of feeling, but from long observation. Ah, where is the imitation of Christ’s life of poverty? No doubt, there are many who suffer, but why? because they fancy that a son is not saved, unless he gets to be a gentleman at the University. The true sufferers are they who are silent and endure, looking up to God.”
[M. Henry: There is no general rule to be drawn from this instance; either that ministers may at no time work with their hands for supply of their outward necessities, or that they ought always to do so.—J. L.]
7. (1 Thessalonians 2:11.) Paul emphasizes the fact that he had exhorted every single individual. Comp. Acts 20:31, and especially the thrice repeated πάντα ἄνθρωπον of Colossians 1:28. Here, as in Romans 5:12; Romans 5:15; Romans 5:18 sq.; 1 Timothy 2:4 sqq., the emphasis is on ἄνθρωπος, since Paul is speaking of the spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles, of the removal of the distinction between Jews and Gentiles, of Jesus belonging as man to all mankind, and of every individual simply as a man having an interest in Him. This is that idea of humanity, of the infinite value of each individual human soul before God, which first came to light in the New Covenant, in Christianity, and of which the Gentile Apostle was preeminently the bearer. In ancient times, to which the Old Covenant still essentially belongs, mankind was as yet given up as fleshly to the forces of nature, and therefore also to national divisions. The opposition of עָם and גּוֹיִם, λαός and ἔθνη stood in force, as that of Greeks and Barbarians; for God in His revelation condescended to the στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου. Not yet was the individual of any consequence in himself as a man; he came into view merely as a member of the larger natural whole, the people. A relative advance in this respect is certainly not to be mistaken within the sphere of the old world, when, for example, we think in the Old Testament of the Psalms, in Greece of the schools of philosophy, in Rome of the domestic life of a Cato and others. But even the Psalmist, who knows that in covenant with his God he is strong and secure against all the world, is ever an Israelite; the Grecian sage is always a Hellene; and so forth. First on the cross of Christ was the flesh and the whole power of nature broken in pieces; first in Christ was the one new man created, so that now there is no longer a question of Jew, Greek, Barbarian, Scythian (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 3:11); there was born the idea at once of humanity and of man; universalism, and along with that the true subjectivity and individualism, for every one singly to lay hold in faith freely from within on the salvation of God, and so attain to the fulness of human dignity (as was already represented in the call of Abraham, Romans 4:0.; Galatians 3:0). Not only did Paul recognize and preach this great truth; he likewise at the same time made practical application of it, on the universal side in his Gentile mission, on the other in his special care of souls. The nationalists, therefore, have lost, not their significance, but merely the sting of mutual antipathy, so far as their members are in Christ; in the future kingdom of Christ the curse, the covering, will be removed from the nations as such, as from individuals at present, so that the whole life of history shall be a regenerate life, a life from the dead (Romans 11:15 : comp. Isaiah 25:7-8).
8. (1 Thessalonians 2:12.) Glory (δόξα, כָּבוֹד; for this Luther has also sometimes Klarheit [clearness, lustre], as for δοξάζειν verklären [to illustrate]) is a radical term used in Scripture of God, which in theosophy has met with more consideration than in theology. It is the real, organic side in the conception of spirit, whereby the Absolute Personality is not a mere abstract Ego, but the Absolute Life, unfolding and shaping itself in a fulness (πλήρωμα) of powers. What in earthly phrase has been called nature or the corporeity of God finds in the word glory—with which stand connected the expressions majesty, beauty, light, &c., when used of God—its Scriptural foundation and limitation. In glory is found the reason why the whole man, even as to his body, is called the image of God. By means of glory also is brought about, agreeably to its idea, the appearance or revelation of God. Christ’s glorification consists essentially in this, that His human nature is raised into the condition of this Divine glory. He makes a real, inward communication of it to His own (unio mystica, the sacraments), so that they become partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4; John 14:23; John 17:5; John 17:22; John 17:24), till in the resurrection they are manifested in this glory, even as to their body (Colossians 3:3-4). Bengel (on Acts 7:2) calls glory divinitas conspicua; Oetinger, the unveiled holiness,—the great word that sums up the whole New Testament: J. T. Beck, christliche Lehrwissenchaft, p. 67, the self-manifestation of the living image of God, which has for man a hidden side, but also one visible in rich forms and degrees, and for special revelations assumes special local shapes.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.—This section and its several parts are especially appropriate for texts of inaugural and ordination sermons, and such like; happy he, who can take from its also his farewell text! The principal thought of the two main divisions, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, are embraced in the Doctrinal and Ethical department, No. 2, and there already arranged also with reference to the Homiletic use.—J. Mich. Hahn: Our Epistle was written to such as had been awakened for about half a year; it is thus rather for such as are weaker and for beginners. For this reason Paul strengthens and animates the Thessalonians by very circumstantial arguments from his own behavior, and that of Silas, among them; considering that with inexperienced souls one must deal more largely in details, than with those who are more spiritually developed.—The same: That is it which in our days makes faith so difficult: sinful men dare to call in question the word of God, and to correct it, saying quite plainly that to a great extent it is just the word of man. This mischievous cavilling may in dark hours of temptation rack with doubts even the lovers of truth, and frequently, if they have thoughtful souls, they undergo no light struggle. But these doubts are by the lover of truth overcome, and tend to the strengthening and confirmation of faith; for as all things must work together for good to those who love God and truth, so likewise this, since it too belongs to the “all.”—Diedrich: For the Christian it is important frequently to review his previous guidance in Christ, that he may become ever more conscious of the work of the Lord, and also feel himself bound in hearty affection to those, through whom the Lord has come to us. To the calumniators of the Apostle we owe thanks to this day, for having been to him the occasion for such an exact self-portraiture. The enemies of the truth know not at all, what good service they often render to it.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-2. J. Mich. Hahn: The great boldness after the contumelious suffering is a sound, valid proof of the truth of God’s word, and of faith’s real ground. How should human nature be able to act and suffer thus aimlessly? Its wont truly is, to seek and intend self in everything.—The Same: The Lord’s true messengers are for the most part prepared in the school of suffering, and not in the society of trifling, young people, who in their frivolity often do not know what to go at. If one or another from that quarter is to prosper, he too is called out of the confusion into the school of the cross, like all the rest.—The Same: While the Spirit of glory rested on us (1 Peter 4:14), we had spiritual boldness, joy in God and with God, incomparable heart-joy; for the life of the spirit was so predominant, that we regarded nothing in nature.—Rieger: Suffering does not weaken faith, and so it does not even abate boldness in opening the mouth. Suffering, indeed, undergone lovingly and willingly, assures a man that he is renewed into the image of Christ, and is treading in the footsteps wherein have walked all the lovers of truth, who in the world have been reviled. Suffering makes good salt; avoidance of the cross makes the salt insipid.—The Same: When we hear of the boldness of the Apostles, we often suppose that all fear had been blown away. But the Apostles themselves commonly put the two things together; on the one side, what through grace obtained the victory, namely boldness, and, on the other side, those assaults from nature and from the aspect of the world, through which they had to fight their way with great contention.—Zwingli: The preaching of the gospel does not go forward without a struggle, and indeed many struggles; for Christ is the sign that is spoken against.
[Burkitt: The Apostle calls his boldness a boldness in God, because a boldness for God and from God.—Alford: All true confidence is in God as our God.—M. Henry: Suffering in a good cause should rather sharpen than blunt the edge of holy resolution.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Rieger: It is still at present an easy thing for the world, when the gospel is propounded, to give it sometimes the appearance of error, superstition, peculiar notions; and in other cases, where some concession must be made to any one, to impute to him impure aims and self-seeding.—The Same: In preaching the gospel, much depends on the heart and its purity tried and approved by God; only in a good conscience can the mystery of the faith be put. Not merely in the beginning and on our first reception into His service does God prove our heart, but daily and hourly.—Calvin: To please God and to please men are brought together by Paul as things mutually opposed.—Rieger: In striving to please, not men, but God, the gate is strait, and the way narrow. One should, of course commend himself to the consciences of men—should so deal with them, that, without his pleasing them after the flesh, they shall yet think favorably of him, and not in distrust turn away their heart and ear—should show to every man all gentleness, condescension, and readiness to oblige, and yet so keep himself apart in the spirit of the cross, as to be intent on pleasing, not men, but God (1 Corinthians 10:33).—Diedrich: We may well trust those, who, in their transactions with us, desire in everything only to please God; God certainly desires what is best for us. Such as would merely please us will at the least, and without their knowing it, be unfaithful to us.—Rieger: Precious operation of the Spirit of glory, who rests on the sufferers, and, in their deepest submersion in the baptism of sorrow, instructs them still to keep their head up, and to say to their God: For he knoweth the secrets of the heart (Psalms 44:22).58
1 Thessalonians 2:5-7. Rieger: We cannot do too much for the sake of winning men’s souls; and, if the world calls that flattery, we are to regard it as little as Jesus left off eating and drinking with publicans and sinners on account of the Pharisees. When, indeed, one’s aim with men is to steal some advantage for one’s self or one’s friends, and lull others to sleep to their own soul’s hurt, in that case there may be danger of indulging in words of flattery: and therefore the Apostle immediately disclaims covetousness also.—Calvin: Where avarice and ambition rule, there follow innumerable corruptions, and the whole man sinks into vanity; for these are the two fountains, whence flows the corruption of the entire ministry.—Chrysostom: Paul says not: We were dishonored, nor yet: We received no honor;—that were to have reproached the Thessalonians;—but: We sought it not. [Œcumenius extends the emphasis to ἐξ : “for the glory that is from God they both sought and received: τὴν γὰρ ἐκ θεοῦ καὶ ἐζήτουν καὶ ἐλάμβανον.—J. L.] J. M. Hahn: Although as ambassadors of the sovereign Lord of the whole creation we might have used authority, yet we did not seek to extort from you any such regard as that you should look upon us with fear and awe. This is the way nowadays of those who presume on their office. But what credit have they with the people, and what hearts trust them? That is the very reason why they are universally abandoned. Not so the Lord’s ambassadors!—Rieger: Therein consists a great secret of the kingdom of Christ, that by means of love, whereby the greatest becomes as the servant of all, He effects more, maintains a more fruitful order, than is achieved in any worldly empire by ever so rigorous a distinction of ranks.—The Same: Christians, it is true, are not an abject people; they deal in large aims and hopes. They do not, however, seek honor from men, nor in the present time, but take it on credit against the resurrection of the just.
[Burkitt: Flattery in any is odious, in a minister ’tis monstrous, both because spiritual men ought to be most plain-hearted, and also because flattery about spiritual things, is most fatal and pernicious, both to the giver and receivers.—A. Clarke: They that preach the gospel should live (not riot) by the gospel. But woe to that man who entered into the labor for the sake of the hire; he knows not Christ and how can he preach Him?—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:7-9. The Apostle’s motherly love to those committed to his care, as shown 1. in the most intimate heart-communications to them, 2. in tender affability, 3. in indefatigable self-sacrifice.—The connection of official fidelity with personal love.—Newborn children often cry a great deal, get sick easily, give also every kind of annoyance, and need much care, and only a mother’s love and a mother’s patience can bear with them (Büchsel: Erinnerungen aus dem. Leben eines Landgeistlichen, Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, 1859).—Roos: Dost thou from hearty love undergo day and night toil and trouble, which no man imposes on thee, or repays?—Calvin: Paul’s unwillingness to have his wants supplied was in order that he might not hinder the gospel. For good pastors must be careful, not merely to run strenuously in their ministry, but of this also, that, so far as is in their power, they remove all obstacles from their course.—Rieger: Ministers of the gospel never want occasion to practise many an economy in housekeeping, in the education of children, in clothes and comforts; whereby in some cases one has rather wherewithal to give to the needy, and in other cases our income suffices, nor is there any need to trouble ourselves and others with so many complaints, or with so much striving after changes. And again, there is always reason why we should not set so high a value on what we are compelled to add from our own means, but reflect whether it is quite as much, as when Paul along with his preaching labored as a handicraftsman.—Paul made no claims on this life—desired not to have things easy in the present world; and therefore also the world could do him no harm.—J. G. Kolb: He who has the Spirit of Christ is faithful also in his earthly calling. That is, he is not too lazy to apply his powers in that direction; and neither does he do too much, so as to waste his strength in vanity. He gives his time to securing the heavenly calling in the midst of the earthly one. Such a man is then so much more effective in the kingdom of God.
[1 Thessalonians 2:10. Webster and Wilkinson: Only believers can rightly estimate holiness and righteousness; and it betokens high attainments in religion to be considered, and to be, an example of holiness and righteousness to them.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:10-12. Rieger: He who in Divine things seeks not his own, but serves the will of God, acts holily, he who does no wrong to his neighbor in anything, but shows him all love, acts righteously; and he who, moreover, in his behavior, speech and entire conduct, puts it in no man’s power to charge him with an offensive contrast between his teaching and his life, acts unblamably. A father has and exerts an authority, but it is that of love, not of law.—Spener says in one of his farewell discourses: I cannot say that I am pure from the blood of all men; for I cannot say that I have not ceased to warn every one.—Paul a model, not merely in preaching, but also in the care of souls, and in the union of the two. The great Apostle, who filled the whole world with the sound of the gospel, at the same time went after individual souls with all zeal. The different ways in which salvation must be brought near to different men, and even to the same men at different times. We must learn to vary our voice.—[M. Henry: We should not only be good as to our general calling as Christians, but in our particular callings and relations.—J. L.]
[1 Thessalonians 2:12. Bp. Davenant, on Colossians 1:10 : By this form of speaking we are admonished, that Christianity consists in a perpetual journey towards the celestial country, and that no one must halt by the way.—Webster and Wilkinson: The kingdom is glorious, and the glory kingly.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:1.—[The Greek order, retained by most of the old English versions.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:1.—[κενή γέγονεν German: eitel gewesen ist. The reference is not to the results (Robinson and many others: fruitless, useless, &c., as in 1 Thessalonians 3:5, εἰς κενόν), but, like the rest of this section, to the character of the Apostle’s ministry. This is one of the cases in which Wiclif and Rheims are kept light by the Vulgate.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:2.—καί before προπαθόντες must be erased. [All the late critical editions omit it, on overwhelming evidence, including Sin.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:3.—[ λαλοῦμεν of 1 Thessalonians 2:4 shows that in this sentence the writer characterizes his ordinary preaching, and not particularly that at Thessalonica.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:3.—[πλάνης error, as it is here rendered by many, and always elsewhere in our Common Version, except at 2 Thessalonians 2:11, delusion. Auberlen, after De Wette, Lünemann, Koch: Irrwahn.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:3.—[See Ellicott’s note, p. 149 sq., on “the appropriate rendering in the different cases of continued negation.”—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:3.—Instead of οὔτε, A. B. C. D. F. G. [Sin.] and some minuscules have here also οὔδε, which Lachmann, De Wette, Lünemann [Hahn, Winer, Olshausen, Koch, Wordsworth, Alford’s last edition, Ellicott, who admits, however, that the reading is very doubtful.—J. L.] prefer; comp. Winer, p. 437. Yet the correspondent οὔδε may be also a correction, and accordingly Tischendorf has in the seventh edition gone back to οὔτε.
1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.—[ δεδοκιμάσμεθα ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ. For the rendering of the verb, comp. Romans 2:18; 1 Corinthians 16:3; Philippians 1:10. the tense also should be allowed its full force as a perfect.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.—[The τῷ before Θεῷ is bracketed by Lachmann, and cancelled by Tischendorf, Alford, Ellicott, after B. C. D.¹ Sin., &c.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.—[τῷ δοκιμάζοντι, a repetition of the previous verb, in a modified sense; comp. E. V. at 1 Thessalonians 5:21, and often elsewhere. In 1 Thessalonians 2:5 κολακείας is in Sin. κολακίας—J.L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:6.—οὔτε ζητοῦντες ἐξ . The Greek order is here followed by nearly all versions, English and foreign.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:6.—[This marginal rendering of E. V. is substantially that adopted by the majority of interpreters from Ambrosiaster to Alford, Ellicott, and Auberlen: uns ein Ansehen geben. Ellicott quotes Chrysostom as decidedly in favor of the same interpretation, whereas Chrysostom expressly includes the other reference also (preferred by many from Theodoret to Webster and Wilkinson): ἐνταυθα δὲ καὶ περὶ χρημάτων φησὶ τὸ, δυνάμενοι ἐν βάρει εἶναι κτλ. Others in like manner allow either interpretation, or combine the two. See Revision.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:7.—[ ἀλλ̓ (B. Sin. ἀλλὰ) ἐγενήθημεν. See 1 Thessalonians 1:5, Critical Note 6.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:7.—Lachmann’s νήπιος [νήπιοι], childlike, which arose from drawing over the ν from the preceding word, and as destroying the unity of the figure, must be rejected. [It has, however, very considerable support from manuscripts (B. C.¹ D.¹ F. G. Sin.¹), versions, and Fathers.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:7.—[ὡς ἄν τροφὸς θάλπῃ τὰ ἑαυτῆς τέκνα. Webster and Wilkinson: “as a nurse (any nurse) would.”—Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Ellicott: ἐάν, after B. C. D. E. F. G. &c., but not Sin.1 Many; including Auberlen, have a colon or a period after ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν, and attach this clause as protasis to what follows in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Erasmus, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Wordsworth, Ellicott, place a comma before and after it, Ellicott regarding the clause “both as an illustration of the preceding words, and as the protasis to the following.” But this divided duty is somewhat distracting. The simile of the nursing mother no doubt suggests what is said in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, but can scarcely be a grammatical protasis to it, and yet maintain a structural connection with what precedes. On the whole, I prefer the arrangement of our English Version, and would close 1 Thessalonians 2:7 with at least a semicolon.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:8—[οὕτως qualifies εὐδοκοῦμεν, not ὁμειρόμενοι—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:8—Instead of ἱμειρόμενοι the common reading now is ομειρόμενοι [all the uncials, and many cursives.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:8.—[The Greek order, followed by Wiclif and Rheims, and later versions generally.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:8.—[ ἐγενήθητε, the reading of recent critical editions, is sustained by abundant uncial authority, including Sin. The recepta γεγένησθε may have been an accommodation to the supposed present time of εὐδοκοῦμεν—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:9.—[ ἐργαζόμενοι].—γάρ after νυκτός should be cancelled [as it now is in nearly all critical editions. It is wanting in A. B. D¹. F. G. Sin.—J. L.].
1 Thessalonians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:10.—[ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν participle of the imperfect, not, as English Version, Ellicott, &c., of the present. German: euch, den Glaubenden; and similarly many others, from the Syriac to Lünemann. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:7.—For the import of the dative, see Exeget. Notes.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:11.—παραμυθούμενοι must have the same relation to 1 Thessalonians 2:12 as the other two participles between which it stands.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:11.—The reading μαρτυρούμενοι is indeed better attested than -όμενοι [this, which was doubtful before, can no longer be allowed, now that -όμενοι is sustained by Sin.—J. L.], and was therefore at first favored by Lachmann and Tischendorf. But by the latter, with De Wette, Lünemann [Bengel, Schott, Bloomfield, Alford, Ellicott], &c., it has again been abandoned with reason, since μαρτυρεῖσθαι is only used passively [some reading μαρτυρόμενος also at Acts 26:22.—J. L.], and the mistake might easily occur in copying, from the similarity in sound to παραμυθούμενοι [Latin versions generally use obtestor; German versions, beschwören. or bezeugen; Rhemish and Conybeare, to adjure; Alford, to conjure, &c. J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:11.—[ὡς πατὴρ τέκνα ἐαυτοῦ In Greek the verse is arranged thus: “Even as ye know how every one of you, as a father his own children, we exhorted you, and encouraged, and adjured.” All the accusatives are dependent on the participles, and therefore Ellicott’s translation: “Even as ye know how in regard of every one of you we did so, as a father toward his own children, exhorting you and encouraging you, and charging you,” is wanting in his usual exactness.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:12.—[For περιπατῆσαι of the textus receptus, Scholz, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Wordsworth, Ellicott, read περιπατεῖν, on large authority of manuscripts uncial (including Sin.) and cursive.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:12.—[ καλοῦντος A. and Sin., with a few cursive manuscripts, read καλέσαντος.—J. L.]
[And so in our English Version; whereas the German thus: Ye know that our entrance hath, &c.—J. L.]
[Including Lünemann, Alford, Ellicott, Vaughan. Yet, since there seems to have been no violent resistance to the preachers at Thessalonica, prior to the sudden outbreak which led to their immediate departure from the city (Acts 17:5-10), it is not well thus to restrict the reference. Comp. Paul’s use of the word at Colossians 2:1; 1Ti 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7. Fritzsche and many (Lünemann says, most) understand the word here of the Apostle’s cares and sorrows. Why not take in both the inward experience, and the outward?—J. L.]
[Ellicott: παράκλησις is “perhaps distinguishable” from διδαχή and διδασκαλία, “as directed more to the feelings than the understanding.” Jowett: “The two senses of παράκλησις, exhortation and consolation, so easily passing into one another (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:11), are suggestive of the external state of the early Church, sorrowing amid the evils of the world, and needing as its first lesson to be comforted; and not less suggestive of the first lesson of the Gospel to the individual soul, of peace in believing.”—J. L.]
[Ellicott states the gradation thus: (a) to put to the test; (b) to choose after testing; (c) to approve of what is so tested. This might perhaps be improved by transposing (b) and (c).—J. L.]
[German: von Gott werth geachtet—der unsere Herzen werthet (prüfet).—J. L.]
[And, at most, he for them, not they of themselves.—J. L.]
[So Lünemann, and similarly Alford (ἐκ, the abstract ground; ἀπό, the concrete object;—a distinction on which he insists against Ellicott, who pronounces it “artificial and precarious.”) That of Schott, assented to by Olshausen and Bloomfield, that ἐκ marks the immediate source, ἀπό the mediate, is rejected by Lünemann as here impossible. But, even if the two prepositions must be regarded in this place as synonymous, it is desirable that the translation should indicate the change. Webster and Wilkinson: “derived from men, whether tendered on your part or on the part of others.”—J. L.]
[The latter half of 1 Thessalonians 2:6 in our English Version is in Luther’s Bible attached to 1 Thessalonians 2:7.—J. L.]
[Macknight adopts the rendering of the English margin, but understands the Apostle to speak of his right to exact both obedience and maintenance. Perhaps, however, the other phrase, to be burdensome, no less admits of either reference, and it has the advantage of preserving—somewhat too strongly, indeed—the verbal affinity between 1 Thessalonians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:9. Comp. Critical Note 12.—J. L.]
[Alford and Ellicott find in ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῷν “a hint at the absence of all assumption of authority, ‘as one of yourselves,’ ” and cite Chrysostom, Œcumenius, and Zanchius to the same effect.—J. L.]
[But see Critical Note 15.—J. L.]
[wie eine säugende Mutter ihre eigenen Kinder pfleget. It is obvious, however, that the maternal relation is indicated solely by the ἑαυτῆς τέκνα, and is not at all necessarily implied in τροφός. Augustine, Serm. de Ps. 72:24 (Psalms 73:23): “Apostolus vero, germano et pio caritatis affectu, et nutricis personam suscepit, dicendo, fovet; et matris, addendo, filios suos. Sunt enim nutrices foventes quidem, sed non filios suos: item sunt matres nutricibus dantes, non foventes filios suos.”—J. L.]
[Ellicott prefers to regard μείρομαι as an apocopated, and ὁμείρομαι as a late and perhaps strengthened, form of ἱμείρομαι To the derivation from μείρομαἱ, Wordsworth objects the aspirated ὁ, and he adheres strongly to Theophylact’s account of the word as from ὁμοῦ and εἴρω,=προσδεδεμένοι, bound to, twined together with you, and clinging to you.”—J. L.]
[Our German, after Luther, gives Leben for ψυχάς; and this interpretation is given by very many, including the English margin; comp. 1 John 3:16, &c. But says Ellicott: There is “perhaps a faint reference to the deeper meaning of ψυχή, as pointing to the centre of the personality—our lives and souls (Fell), our very existences, and all things pertaining to them.”—J. L.]
[Ellicott: “The former perhaps marks the toil on the side of the suffering it involves (see on 1 Timothy 4:10), the latter, as derivation seems to suggest (connected with μόγις, and perhaps allied to μέγας, see Pott, Etym. Forsch. Vol. I. p. 283), on the side of the magnitude of the obstacles it has to overcome.” Nearly opposite to this is Wordsworth: “The former word expresses energy of action, the other indicates patience in bearing.” Alford: “No distinction can be established.”—J. L.]
[So Alford. But the correctness of the remark may be questioned, since Paul, as is mentioned above, observes the same order everywhere else.—J. L.]
[But Winer there reverts to Luther’s unter euch, instead of the preferable an of previous editions; and Auberlen’s own version has simply the dative: verkündigten wir euch. It may also he noted, here that, for εἰς ὑμᾶς, the Cod. Sin. a prima manu reads ὑμῖν.—J. L.]
[Bengel: Sancte in rebus divinis, juste erga homines—the classical distinction between ὁσίως and δικαίως, but not always to be pressed in the N. T.—J. L.]
[Ellicott: “Perhaps it is safer to say that ὁσίως and δικαίως form on the positive side a compound idea of holy purity and righteousness, whether towards God or towards men, while ἀμέμπτως states on the negative side the general blamelessness in both aspect is and relations.”—J. L.]
[An interpretation suggested by Musculus, allowed by Baumgarten, and adopted by Ellicott (whose version, however, to you that believe, does not convey that idea).—J. L.]
[The objection drawn from the adverbs to the construction of ὑμῖν as a dat. judicii—a construction followed also by Alford, who cites 2 Peter 3:14—is plausible only when, by an arbitrary rendering of the verb, as=appeared, were thought, the idea of judgment is transferred to it from the dative.—J. L.]
[German: als Dativ des Vortheils=as a dative of interest. But this must be a misprint for Urtheils.—J. L.]
[Sometimes also they restrict ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστ, to ἀμέμπτως (Syriac, Theoderet, Œcumenius, Calvin, &c.). The Greek order is this: “Ye are witnesses, and God, how holily and righteously and unblamably to (for) you who believed we behaved.” Probably the precise import of the dative in this case must be left doubtful. Ellicott’s objection to it as a dative of judgment, that “the Apostle would scarcely have appealed to God in reference to the judgment of the Thessalonians,” is by no means decisive. Solemnly to remind converts of their earliest convictions and first love is a Scripture means of guarding them, or recovering them, from declension and apostasy. Comp. Galatians 4:14-15; Revelation 2:3; Revelation 2:5; &c.—J. L.]
[in dem wir, wie ihr ja wisset, &c.—J. L.]
[Notwithstanding the above remarks, I adhere still to the ordinary construction of καθάπερ ὄιδατε, ὡς ἔνα ἔκαστον, &c. The objections to it are more than counterbalanced by the exceeding awkwardness of the new arrangement proposed. As a parenthesis belonging to what follows it, καθάτερ αἴδατε would be strangely misplaced. It is also very improbable that any considerations of euphony determined the use of καθάπερ here, instead of καθώς (1Th 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5. See 1 Thessalonians 2:13, καθώς ἐστιν ). Perhaps it might rather be said, that the former was selected for the sake of still more strongly emphasizing the exactness of the correspondence between the personal and the official conduct of the Apostle.—J. L.]
[It is wanting in Cod. Sin.—Ellicott speaks of it as a “collective ὑμᾶς serving still more clearly to define all that were included—a defining and supplementary accusative, somewhat allied to the use of that case in the σχῆμα καθ̓ ὅλον καὶ μέρος.”—J. L.]
[Some editions repeating ὑμᾶς after συνεξωοποίησε.—J. L.]
[Similarly Peile: “in words both of encouragement and solemn admonition.”—It is quite probable that παρακαλοῦντες may draw the ὑμᾶς to itself as being the generic word. But what is said above more than that is too confidently stated. Certainly there is not another instance in the New Testament of παρακαλέω (in the sense of exhorting) being followed, any more than μαρτύρομαι, by είς τό. The prevailing construction of the former also is with ἴνα or an infinitive.—J. L.]
[The Greek Testament begins 1 Thessalonians 2:12 with καὶ μαρτυρόμενοι.—J. L.]
[Vaughan: “A reiterated sound, continued through the individual life.”—J. L.]
Comp. Lehrer- und Predigerspiegel 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 in Zeller’s Monatsblatt von Beuggen, 1860, No. 10 sqq.
[Psalms 44:21 of the English version. Luther’s version, followed in our text: nun kennet er ja unsers Herzens Grund.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
3. b. The Apostle now on his part also reminds the Thessalonians, with thanksgiving to God, that they had received his word as the word of God, as they have since continually experienced in themselves God’s mighty working (1 Thessalonians 2:13). They could not otherwise have endured such vexations from their countrymen, as the brethren in Judea had from the Jews (1 Thessalonians 2:14), whose enmity to the truth and the Apostles, moreover, need give the less offence, that they are thereby rather only filling the measure of their sins, and ripening rapidly for judgment (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16)
13For this cause59 also thank we [we also give thanks to]60 God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us [received from us the word of preaching that is of God],61 ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God [ye accepted, not men’s word, but, as it is in truth, God’s word],62 which effectually worketh also [also work eth]63 in you that believe. 14For ye, brethren, became followers [imitators, μιμηταί] of the churches of God which in Judea are [which are in Judea, τῶν οὐσῶν ἐν τῇ Ιουδαὶα] in Christ Jesus; for ye also have suffered [suffered, ἐπὰθετε] like things [the same things, τὰ αὐτά]64 of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews; 15who both killed the Lord [also killed the Lord]65 Jesus and their own prophets,66 and have persecuted [and persecuted, ἐκδιωξάντων] us,67 and they please not God, and are contrary to all men, 16forbidding us to speak [hindering us from speaking, κωλυόντων … λαλῆσαι] to the Gentiles, that they might [may] be saved, to fill up their sins always: for [but, δἐ] the wrath68 is come [came]69 upon them to the uttermost [to the end, εἰς τέλος].
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. (1 Thessalonians 2:13.) For this cause we also give thanks.—Διὰ τοῦτο: Because it is God who calls you to His kingdom, therefore we thank Him that ye received our word, not as man’s word, but God’s.70—Καὶ ἡμεῖς stands opposed to αὐτοὶ γἁρ οἴδατε (1 Thessalonians 2:1)71 and means Paul and his attendants, who now, in further explanation of 1 Thessalonians 1:6 and πῶς ἐπεστρέψατε of 1 Thessalonians 1:9 sq., remind the Thessalonians of their lively reception of the word of God, just as the Thessalonians were appealed to, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, as witnesses of the pure and powerful ministry of the Apostle among them; see on 1 Thessalonians 1:8, Exeg. Note 1. We have mutually received from one another the deepest impressions of an operation of the Divine Spirit: that is the third argument, adduced in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16, whereby Paul seeks to convince the Thessalonians of the reality of their faith. So deep an impression did he retain of the faith of the Thessalonians, with which they received his word as the word of God, that he has ever since felt himself moved to unceasing thanksgiving to God. If he speaks of the matter to God, and here repeatedly emphasizes this fact (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:2), they may at once herein recognize a new indication, how little the question is about something merely human (comp. on διὰ τοῦτο). So far τῷ θεῷ answers both to the previous τος͂ θεοῦ (1 Thessalonians 2:12) and to the subsequent λόγον θεοῦ. The discourse thus turns back here, at the end of the entire section, to the beginning (1 Thessalonians 1:2. Ewald).
2. When ye received from us the word of preaching that is of God.—Παραλαβ., the objective, outward, matter-of-fact reception, in distinction from δέχεσθαι, the subjective, inward acceptance (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6.)72—ἀκοή=שְמֻעָה, Isaiah 53:1; Romans 10:14-17=pass, what one hears, a report, announcement, preaching, message. Λόγος (comp. Hebrews 4:2) is one of those genitival connections, which we in German are accustomed to express by a combination of nouns: Botschaftswort; Ewald: Predigtwort [as if we should say in English, message-word, preaching-word]. The addition of ἀκοῆς marks the audible, oral announcement, coming to men as a (new, hitherto unknown) message: comp. Romans 10:17, where ἀκοή is distinguished from ῥῆμα θεοῦ, the latter going forth from God to His messengers, the former from the messengers to the rest of men. The anarthrous λόγος should perhaps be translated a message, to indicate it as unknown, new; comp. λόγος κυρίου of 1 Thessalonians 4:15 with ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κ. of 1 Thessalonians 1:8, With this message Paul appeared among the Thessalonians; he knew that it was from God; they could not yet of themselves know that. This he here represents to us in a measure by the purposely anomalous arrangement, παῤ ἡμῶν τοῦ Θεοῦ: they received the word of the message immediately from him, but behind him stood God as the Author and Sender of the message. Παῤ ἡμῶν naturally depends on παραλαβ., to which also the preposition expressly points back (De Wette, Koch [Ellicott, Webster and Wilkinson], &c.), [not on λόγος (Beza, Pelt, Olshausen, Lünemann, &c.), whereby the construction becomes very harsh and clumsy withal, since τοῦ θεοῦ would have to be a closer definition of the composite idea, λόγος .—Riggenbach.]; τοῦ θεοῦ, on the other hand, depends on λόγος , and is a gen. autoris, as in εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ of 1Th 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9, ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρὶου of 1 Thessalonians 1:8, (see there Note 4). It comes last with emphasis, the point in the subsequent context being that the preaching was the word, not merely of the man Paul, but of God. Thus the participial clause, παραλαβόντες—παρ’ ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ, takes in once more the contents of 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12; for there, from the beginning to the end (see especially 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:12), it is shown that Paul had not labored among the Thessalonians in his own name or in an egotistic manner, but, as an agent of God, had brought them His message and call.
3. Ye accepted it, not as men’s word, &c. [Ye accepted, not men’s word, &c.].73—The Thessalonians, then, understood and acknowledged the real nature, the Divine character and origin, of the apostolic preaching. They perceived in the word such a supernatural, essential power, as can proceed from no mortal man, himself involved in the disorder of the world’s sin. They felt the Godhead drawing near to them in the word of life; for the Holy Spirit was thereby active in their souls. And as the inward sense and instinct of the Divine light in the consciousness opened to, and allowed itself to be intimately pervaded by, the concurrent light in the word, mightily judging and irradiating their previous darkness (2 Corinthians 4:4-6; John 3:19-21), they therefore accepted the preached word for what it is, as the word of God.—Ἐδέξασθε, comp. δεξάμενοι 1 Thessalonians 1:6—a text for general comparison. As immediate object, λόγον must be supplied out of the participial clause; οὐ λόγον &c. is a second accusative of the predicate: to accept something as—Winer, p. 203 sq.—Λόγον , in opposition to θεοῦ indicates the origin, and at the same time the quality, which necessarily passes over from the source to what springs therefrom (Olshausen). The plural ἀνθρώπων stands with reference to the plurality of the preachers, and also indeed generically; comp. Matthew 9:8. Winer, p. 158. Λόγον θεοῦ, the word which God Himself causes to be proclaimed by men, whom He by His Spirit equips as His instruments; comp. Romans 10:17. Rieger: An expression of God’s heart concerning us.—Καθώς ἐστιν : a simple, forcible testimony to inspiration.
4. Who [which] also worketh in you that believe.—Ὅς can be referred either to λόγον (Œcumenius, Olshausen, Lünemann, &c. [Conybeare, Peile, Jowett, Alford, Ellicott, Wordsworth, Webster and Wilkinson, &c]; comp. Winer, p. 231), and in favor of this it is alleged that elsewhere the active ἐνεργεῖν is used of God, and the middle ἐνεργεῖσθαι only of things (yet comp., for example, Colossians 1:29; Ephesians 3:20)74; or to θεοῦ (Theodoret, Luther, Bengel, &c), and this is preferable, because the context treats, not of an energetic operation generally, but specially of a Divine operation;75 Bengel: Deus ostendens, verbum vere esse verbum Dei (1 Thessalonians 4:8-9; Acts 14:3). On the former view the meaning must be: which also shows itself as such, &c. [comp. Acts 20:32].—Καί adds to the acceptance of the word as God’s word on the side of the Thessalonians the effective, and that a continuous, confirmation of it on the side of God (ἐδέξασθε, aorist; ἐνερλεῖται, present).76 From that time onward you are in real communion with God, who shows Himself operative in you by the power of His heavenly Spirit, overruling everything human, as may be seen in the fact that even the strongest human ties cannot bind you, since you have suffered severely from your own relations and countrymen (1 Thessalonians 2:14). Τοῖς πιστεύουσιν: so far is faith from being some empty thing, that it is rather the organ for God’s operations in us (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:10 and Exeg. Note 26; for the topics, Ephesians 1:19).77
5. (1 Thessalonians 2:14.) For ye, brethren, became imitators, &c.—On γάρ, see Note 4. ὑμεῖς resumes the immediately preceding ἐν ὑμῖν 1 Thessalonians 2:13, and stands with honorable distinction foremost. Μιμηταὶ ἐγενήθητε, as in 1 Thessalonians 1:6. There the Thessalonian believers are described as followers of the Apostle and of the Lord Himself; here, in terms of scarcely less honor and encouragement, as followers of the original Christian churches in Judea. The Apostle points out historically a fundamental law of the kingdom of God, that is now fulfilling itself in the case of the Thessalonians: The bearers of the Divine are always expelled by the natural community to which they belong (comp. Matthew 10:35-37). Thus the Thessalonian Christians by their associates of their own race, and the Jewish Christians by the Jews, who in like manner killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and now also have driven out the Apostle. So little need the Thessalonians allow themselves to be disconcerted by the injustice done them by their compatriots, that herein rather lies the evidence of the reality and power of the Divine influences present with them; for only that which is really Divine is hated by the world (comp. the forcible word of Jesus, John 7:7; John 15:18 sq.), just as the strength to endure this enmity likewise rests on God’s operation in believers. Ἐπάθετε denotes strictly nothing more than the actual experience (there has befallen you), but according to the connection it includes the inward endurance of what has happened. For in no other way can πάσχειν serve to establish the efficiency of the Divine word in them, and in no other way, especially, can the preterite ἐπάθετε, which, being parallel to the ἐδέξασθε of 1 Thessalonians 2:13, has primary reference to the time of their conversion, serve to confirm the present ἐνεργεῖται, than as implying that the Thessalonians have really encountered the enmity of their fellow-countrymen, and do not allow themselves to be thereby driven into apostasy. Taken together, 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14 thus answer pretty closely to the parallel statement in 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:13 to δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου 1 Thessalonians 5:14 to ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ; comp. there Exeg. Note 14.
6. (1 Thessalonians 2:14.) Of the churches of God which are in Judea, &c.—Τοῦ θεοῦ answers to the threefold mention of God in 1 Thessalonians 2:13; τῶν οὐσῶν has ἐν twice connected with it: in the first instance, ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ, it denotes the external, geographical sphere; in the other, ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, the inner, essential life-sphere, on which see 1 Thessalonians 1:1, Exeg. Note 3, and Doct. and Esther 1:0. By the latter specification the Jewish-Christian congregations are distinguished from the Jewish, which also εἶναι δοκοῦσι congregations of God (Œcumenius).—Τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν is also to be noted in this respect, that the Thessalonians were the first church out of Palestine that was persecuted as a church.
7. Countrymen.—Συμφυλ., those of the same tribe, exhibits the natural connection (Luther only too strongly: blood relations), and the epithet ἰδίων gives it additional force, in order the more clearly to show the gospel’s penetrating, overcoming power as supernatural, Divine. By the συμφυλέται, therefore, as the contrast τῶν Ἰουδαίων shows, are meant chiefly [only] Gentiles (Olshausen, De Wette, Lünemann, Ewald, [Alford, Ellicott, &c.] &c), because the Thessalonian church was composed almost entirely of Gentile Christians (Acts 17:4). [Not Jews (Chrysostom, &c.): Calvin, Bengel, &c, think of Jews and Gentiles both.—Riggenbach.]—Αὐτοί are the members of the churches in Judea; constructio ad sensum.
8. (1 Thessalonians 2:15.) Who also, &c.—Καί is not perhaps to be connected with the καί following=as well—as also, since several καί follow one another in simple series: it rather adds to what precedes something new and correspondent: The Jews have not only persecuted the Christian churches in Judea, but also killed the Lord Jesus, &c. The subsequent strong expressions respecting the Jews are at first sight somewhat strange, indeed almost displeasing, especially because one does not well see, at least not at once, how the Apostle was led to them by the context. Looked at more closely, they fall apart into two divisions, the first consisting of past participles (ἀποκτεινάντων, ἐκδιωξάντων), the second of present (ἀρεσκόντων with ἐναντίων, κωλυόντων). Both divisions end in something that has reference to the Apostle: ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξ 1 Thessalonians 2:15, κωλυόντων ἡμᾶς 1 Thessalonians 2:16. Thus, the point in question is the relation of the Jews to the Apostle, on which comp. Acts 17:5. This seems also to have been used against the Apostle by the countrymen of the Thessalonians. They might say: “How can you still believe that stranger? His own people, in fact, have driven him out, and are utterly unwilling to have him draw you over to his side;”—an objection which might have the more weight for the Thessalonian Christians, because most of them had previously been proselytes (Acts 17:4), and so accustomed to seek and find the truth among the Jews. To this Paul now answers: “Yes, they have persecuted me, but no otherwise than they did the Lord Jesus and their own prophets; nor are they willing to endure it, that I should publish salvation to you, and the Gentiles generally; but in this they are merely contrary to God and men, and fill up the measure of their sins.” Thus regarded, 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 have a meaning and significance in where they stand, and thus also is set aside the offensive harshness that seems to lie in the words; it is set aside from the same point of view, which in the earlier sections removes the offence of self-praise or of the praise of the Thessalonians. But the treatment of this matter is attached to this particular context for the reason that it falls under the same law as the suffering of the Thessalonians from those of their own race (see Exeg. Note 5): Paul had the same experience from his countrymen, as they from theirs: and as they were preceded by the Jewish Christians, so he himself by the Lord and the prophets. With such predecessors, and with this uniformity of experience, the offence must surely cease. It is moreover evident that the example in 1 Thessalonians 2:14 is there selected with an eye to the fact, that Paul means presently to speak of the Jews. And this point he has kept to the close of the entire section; for having fully reestablished his own authority with his readers, he can the more powerfully subvert their earlier authority, the Jews. [While expositors generally deal with the difficulty, some of the expedients adopted by them in accounting for 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 are very far fetched. Olshausen: “Paul foresaw that the Judaizers, standing on the same level as the Jews, would damage him in this Church also, and therefore, by way of precaution, he here expressed himself on the points in regard to which he was usually blamed.” But would any one attack the Jews beforehand, in order to resist a possible, later incursion of Judaizing Christians, to whom, besides, several things are here inapplicable, whilst their characteristic peculiarities, especially their legality, are wanting? Von Hofmann, on the contrary, supposes that some desired to persuade the Thessalonians, that the gospel was purely a Jewish affair, and that it is in opposition to this notion that Paul here speaks. But one cannot understand how this objection could arise, since the Jews were certainly the first and most vehement adversaries of the gospel in Thessalonica; and then an attack on the Jews would still have been a very indirect and extravagant way of defending himself against that objection. De Wette contents himself altogether with the remark, that the Apostle seizes the opportunity to give vent to his displeasure with the Jews. Lünemann is correct in finding the occasion of the philippic, 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16, in the fact, that in Thessalonica the Jews were the real instigators of the persecutions of the Christians, and that in other places likewise they manifested the same obdurate spirit of contradiction; but with this generality he stops, and so fails to account for the complexion of the entire passage, as well as its particular phrases, and overlooks the reference to Paul. Calvin, who is followed by Calixtus;, comes nearest the truth: Poterat Thessalonicensibus hoc venire in mentem: si hæc vera est religio, cur eam tam infestis animis oppugnant Judæi, qui sunt sacer Dei populus? Ut hoc offendic-ulam tollat, primum admonet, hoc eos commune habere cum primis ecclesiis, quæ in Judæa erant, postea Judæos dicit obstinatos esse Dei omnis sanæ doctrinæ hostes. The only mistake here is, that Calvin, whilst he too overlooks the special reference of 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 to Paul, and understands συμφυλετ. 1 Thessalonians 2:14, principally of the Jews, brings to bear on 1 Thessalonians 2:14 the point of view, that is applicable to 1 Thessalonians 2:15 sq.—Riggenbach.]
9. The Lord Jesus and their own prophets, &c.—Τὸν κύριον stands emphatically first, and is still more marked in being separated by ἀποκτειν, from Ἰησοῦν: Yea, the Lord Himself they killed (comp. 1 Corinthians 2:8); is it to be wondered at, if they persecute the servant (comp. John 15:20)? What is expressed in the case of Ἰησοῦν by the prominent putting forward of τὸν κύριον is in the case of τοὺς προφήτας expressed by the addition of ἰδίους: their own prophets, ὧν καὶ τὰ τεύξη περιφέρουσι (Chrysost.), they treated no better than they have done the Gentile Apostle. This internal evidence is favorable to the genuineness of ἰδίους; if regarded as spurious, this makes no change whatever in the thought; we lose merely that particular stroke. Τοὺς προφήτας might grammatically be connected, as Koch would have it, with what follows; but com mentators correctly refer it to what goes before, both because in other places also mention is made of the Jewish murder of the prophets (Matthew 23:31; Matthew 23:37; Luke 11:47 sq.;Luke 13:34; Acts 7:52), and on account of ἐκδιωξάντων, of which presently.—When Paul now proceeds: καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκ διωξάντων, we are by this time so well prepared for it, that it can no longer furnish an objection to him, but rather an argument for him and against the Jews. ̔Εκδιώκειν is no doubt in the Sept. Psalms 44:17 [Psalms 44:16]; Psalms 119:157 the strengthened διώκειν (De Wette, Lünem.); but the proper meaning of the word (see, for instance, Passow, who indeed gives no other meaning) is to pursue forth, chase out, expel, persequendo ejicere (Bengel, who adds: frequens verbum apud LXX.), and so the word stands in the only other passage where it occurs in the New Testament, Luke 11:49 (in the parallel passage, Matthew 23:34, διώξετε )—a point of so much the more importance, as Paul probably has here in his eye that expression of Christ. In this case we are (with J. Mich. Hahn, Baur, &c.) to think simply of the expulsion of Paul and his companions from Thessalonica (see Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13), the very thing at which many believers might stumble. [Bengel, Pelt, Schott, Lünemann, (Ellicott,) think of the persecutions of Paul and the Apostles generally; but this extension of ἡμᾶς is against the context, see 1 Thessalonians 2:16-17, as well as 1 Thessalonians 2:13; besides, the aorist participle leads us the more readily to think of a single act, since the Jewish persecutions of the Apostles in general still continued (see Acts 17:13; Acts 18:6; Acts 18:12), so that it must have been ἐκδιωκόντων as well as afterwards κωλυόντων—Riggenbach.]
10. And they please not God, &c.—The participles now pass from the aorist [Alford: definite events] into the present [Alford: habits] and, as τῶν καὶ τὸν κύριον—ἐκδιωξάντων hangs closely together, so again does all that follows as far as σωθῶσιν. For not to please God and to be contrary to all men are correlatives, and κωλυόντων, &c. adds to it nothing new and independent, but, having no καί before it like all the previous participles, is to be subordinated to ἀρεσκ, and ἐναντίων [with Lünem., though he makes it depend only on ἐναντίων (and so Alford.—J. L.).—Riggenbach.], comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:6 sq.; 11 sq. The subordinate clause shows to what extent the Jews displease God, and are contrary to all men; and thus at the same time these strong expressions lose much of their harshness.—Θεῷ μὴ : the Jews were jealous at Thessalonica (Acts 17:5), as they were elsewhere both before and afterwards (Acts 13:45; Acts 18:6-13; comp. Acts 22:21 sq.; Acts 26:19 [Acts 26:21]), because through Paul so many Gentiles were converted, and this jealousy was with them a zeal for God and His kingdom in Israel (Romans 10:2), whereby they thought to please Him (comp. John 16:2). In opposition to this Paul now says; they please not God. Thus the subjective negative μή does not imply placere non quærentium (Bengel, &c.); but, on the contrary, it denies the ἀρέσκειν as conceived by the Jews and also by the Thessalonians (Winer, p. 428 sq.)78 Ubi dicit non placere Deo, hoc vult, indignos esse, quorum ratio inter Dei cultores habeatur (Calvin). The very softness of the expression has a peculiar force.—Πᾶσιν ἄνθρ. ἐναντίων: as contrary to God, so contrary to men; but the former passively=objects of the Divine displeasure, the latter actively=hostile to all men. πᾶσιν , of course, excepting themselves, and so, as to the sense,=τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ill the explanatory clause. But Paul purposely holds up to view the inhumanity of this state of mind. When heathen writers, as interpreters are here in the habit of reminding us, reproach the Jews with adversus omnes alios hostile odium (Tac. Hist. 1 Thessalonians 2:5; Juv. Sat. 14:103 sqq.; Jos. c. Revelation 2:10-14, etc.), they do not at any rate properly distinguish in this thing the Divinely sanctioned particularism of Israel, and the proud, narrow-minded exclusivism of the Jews. Paul, of course, blames only the latter, which would not acknowledge that God Himself had now abolished the former.
11. (1 Thessalonians 2:16.) Hindering us, &c.—Κωλυόντων, see Exeg. Note 10. Δαλῆσαι ἴνα σωθῶσιν, either: to preach to the Gentiles, in order that they may be saved, (Bengel, Olshausen, De Wette; thus taking λαλ. as a meiosis or tapeinosis for εὐαγγελίζεσθαι); or ἵνα is weakened, as in the New Testament it so often is, and marks the object (Winer, p. 299 sqq.)=λαλῆσαι περὶ τῆς σωτηρίας, λαλῆσαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον 1 Thessalonians 2:2 (Lünemann, [Ellicott, Webster and Wilkinson], &c.). The latter method is the more simple.
12. To fill up their sins always.—Εἰς τό, &c., belongs, not merely to κωλυόντων, but to the whole description from 1 Thessalonians 2:15. The result is here presented as an unconscious purpose, just as we say: to fill up the measure [De Wette). [εἰς then, is not=ὤστε, of the result as such (Pelt, &c.); but neither does it mark God’s purpose in the sins of the Jews (Olshausen, Lünemann)1Th 79: the expression belongs not so much to the Pauline style of thought, as to ordinary speech.—Riggenbach]:—αὐτῶν stands emphatically before τὰς ὰμαρτ: their sins, while they are persecuting others, God’s messengers, as sinners.—̔Αναπλμρῶσαι, comp. Matthew 23:32, καὶ ὑηε͂ις πληρώσατε τὸ μὲτρον τῶν πατέρων ὑηῶν [also Genesis 15:16]. The compound ἀναπληρ. means to fill up to fill again higher, so that, as it were, the still empty space in the vessel becomes ever smaller. We thus get a simple explanation of πάντοτε (which is thought to be difficult by De Wette, and strange by Olshausen, who, with Bretschneider, would take it as=πάντως, παντελῶς). The subsequent clause likewise with its εἰς τελος, will in this connection obtain its natural interpretation. Πάντοτε means always, at every time, by the persecution of the prophets, of the Lord, of the Apostle, the sins were always again filled up, filled higher, till now the measure is full.
13. But the wrath came upon them to the end.—Δέ opposes to the sin its punishment, and to the ever fresh increase the end. Parallel to the heaping up of the sin went the heaping up of the judicial wrath of God (Romans 2:5), which now, however, is come to the end, to the uttermost, where it must discharge itself (Lünemann). On ἡ ὀργή [Jowett: either the long-expected wrath, or the wrath consequent upon their sins.—J. L.] see 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Exeg. Note 14. Εἰς τελος is to be connected with ἔφθασε, which means simply pervenit (Vulgate, Calvin, De Wette, Lünemann, &c.), not prævenit (Beza, Schott, Pelt, &c.), since in the New Testament, with the exception of 1 Thessalonians 4:15, φθάςειν occurs only in the later, weakened sense of reaching to, with εἰς (Romans 9:31; Philippians 3:16), ἐπί τινα. (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20; comp. Daniel 4:25), ἄχρι τινός (2 Corinthians 10:14). Here it is connected with two prepositions of the direction, one of which (εἰς τέλος) indicates the inward development to the end; the other (ἐπʼ αὐτούς), the outward movement. [At this many interpreters needlessly stumble, and have either taken εἰς τέλος adverbially (=finally or totally), or have thought it necessary to refer it to ἡ ὀργή: the wrath which lasts to the end of the world, or for ever (Theodoret, Theophylact, Œcumenius, &c.), or till its full manifestation (Olshausen),80 or to the destruction of the Jews (Grotius, Pelt, Flatt, &c.). The last view is shared also by De Wette, Ewald, &c., who connect εἰς τέλος with ἔφθασε in the sense of 2 Chronicles 31:1; Daniel 9:27,=to utter ruin, to complete extinction.—Riggenbach.]—Paul knows that the Jews, having likewise rejected the Messiah and the spiritual witness of his Apostles, are now ripe for judgment, which accordingly followed soon after in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. He neither appeals to any revelation that he had received on this subject, nor does he merely draw inferences from the political situation of the Jews [Jowett: “To the Apostle, reading the future in the present, the state of Judea at any time during the last thirty years before the destruction of the city, would have been sufficient to justify the expression, ‘wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.’ ”—J. L.], but in the light of prophecy of the Old Testament and of the Lord Himself (Ewald mentions Matthew 23:37-39; Matthew 14:16 sqq.; Daniel 9:24 sqq.) he discerns with clear spiritual glance the interpretation of the signs of the time. With this earnest word on the near imminence of the Divine judgment on the principal adversaries of the gospel the section closes, and so again in a measure with an eschatological prospect (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12). While the Jews fall under wrath, Christians are saved from wrath (1 Thessalonians 1:10), and called to God’s kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12).
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. (1 Thessalonians 2:13.) It may seem strange that Paul should thank God for something that the Thessalonians had done (ἐδέξασθε). We are not to infer from this, that their acceptance of the word, or their faith, is thought of as an operation of God to the exclusion of man’s free receptivity. Had Paul meant to say this, he must have expressed himself otherwise, as thus: We thank God that He wrought the acceptance, or faith, in you. But the indication in ἐδέξασθε of free receptivity is the more marked, as it is only afterward that the operation of God in them is named in confirmation of the Divine character of the freely accepted word (ὃς καὶ ἐνεργεῖται ἐν ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν).81 Nevertheless, Paul can and must thank God for the faith of the Thessalonians, partly because it would not have existed but for His preparative grace, and the accompanying influence of His Spirit, whereby the Thessalonians were convinced that Paul’s word was God’s word, and thus faith is no independent act of man (Olshausen), but really rests on a Divine causality; partly because for every good thing that happens to the Christian, and makes him glad—and the faith of the Thessalonians was for Paul something in the highest degree exhilarating (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)—he gives thanks and honor to the Father of lights, under whose providential guidance and control stand even the free actions of men (Lünemann). Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6, and its Exegetical Note 14, and Doctrinal Principles, No. 3.
2. Paul calls his word God’s word. To what extent he knew himself to be justified in doing so has been shown already, especially in 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4 and 1 Thessalonians 1:5. God Himself, by a miraculous call and the light of revelation had entrusted him with the proclamation of His glad tidings to the world (comp. Galatians 1:11-16; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Colossians 1:25-29; Ephesians 3:1-12), and now in Thessalonica, as in Corinth and elsewhere (1 Corinthians 2:4-5; Romans 15:18-19), he has preached the gospel in the energy of the Holy Ghost. There are thus two essential points in the case: 1. The apostolic call and illumination (inspiration), which, effected by special acts of God, concerns the whole man, and assigns to him an official mission, a fundamental position and significance in the kingdom of God (comp. Ephesians 2:20); 2. the separate acts of proclamation, performed on the ground of that general inspiration, and yet again in every particular instance, “in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance,” or “in demonstration of the spirit and in power.” Now what is true of the oral proclamation of Apostles holds good of the written. “For the relation between word and writing is ordinarily this, that the writing compresses the copiousness of the spoken word into a settled elementary form—the final expression, made clear and strong by deliberate reflection, of the inspired thought—and so in Holy Scripture we have the ripe, developed fruit of inspiration” (Martensen, Dogmatik, 2d ed., p. 455). We are therefore at liberty, and are bound, to call also the written word of Apostles (and Prophets) the word of God. And down through all centuries the Church has borne to it in the power of the Spirit the same witness, that the Thessalonians did to Paul’s oral proclamation; she has freely recognized and accepted it as God’s word. The testimonium Spiritus Sancti continually asserts itself as the subjective correlative and living evidence of inspiratio—But now, as regards the uninterrupted oral proclamation of the word of God in the preaching of the Church, on that point Paul says in the Pastoral Epistles, which may be regarded as his legacy to the Church in its gradual transition from the first age of the Apostles into the common course of history: “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me,” and: “The thing that thou hast heard of me, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:2). He will thus have the Church’s doctrine and preaching expressly bound to the fundamental apostolic word, and, though here too the reference is to what is spoken and heard, yet we properly may and ought once more to think of the written word, which, indeed, is the only authentic tradition of the oral for later generations (1 John 2:7; 1 John 2:24; 1 John 1:3-4; 2 Peter 1:13-15). Essentially, therefore, the Church’s doctrine and preaching is a propagation, reproduction, an ever new appropriation of the apostolic word. But as the preaching Apostles would not have fulfilled their task by a mere dry communication of God’s revelations, but for every announcement they had to be freshly endued with the Spirit from on high, that the gospel might be brought powerfully to bear on the heart and conscience of the hearers according to their general and special needs, as, for example, on the Jews otherwise than on the Gentiles, so likewise for our preaching the objective agreement with apostolic, orthodox doctrine does not suffice, but there must always be a subjective fulness, and that in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. It is not the preaching, but the preacher, that preaches (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:5, and its Exegetical Note 12, and Doctrinal Principles, No. 4). This, in fact, is precisely what is proposed in the oral word, to bring near to men in a human way the objective gift of God—to convey it to them with a spiritual, personal vivacity. The preacher is not a mere messenger, who may have no interest in the intelligence he has to bring; he is a witness, guaranteeing what he says by all that he is (John 15:27; Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22; 1 John 1:2). And, accordingly, he too can and should testify to his hearers the one apostolic truth in the freedom of the spirit, ever according to their needs, in this or that form, from this side or from that. The more these two elements mutually interpenetrate, the objective agreement with the apostolic doctrine and the subjective, spiritual fulness of the individual, so much the more may even the preaching of the Church be called the word of God. At the same time we here perceive that the Divine does not in its revelation and communication exclude or suppress the human, but assimilates it, fills it with itself, and so consecrates it for its own organ. [When our Confessions teach: “Sacramenta et verbum propter ordinationem et mandatum Christi sunt efficacia, etiamsi per malos exhibeantur” (Conf. Aug. 8; comp. Hebrews 1:0.), this contains a truth, no doubt; and yet there is here a somewhat hasty making of a virtue out of necessity, and especially the difference between the word and sacrament, in relation to the personality of the minister, is not duly considered. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:14-17—Riggenbach.] Thus, in the connection of our passage with earlier statements in the Epistle, and in its harmony with expressions of the Apostle elsewhere, it furnishes essential features to the doctrine of the verbum divinum, both as written and as preached.
3. (1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.) At that time there had arisen even among the heathen a searching after truth. The great world-empires had along with the populations shaken also the gods and the religions. Light and happiness were sought in schools of philosophy, in the renewal of the mysteries, from the Goëtæ, &c. There had ensued, as in our day, a dissolution of the spiritual life—a confused, conflicting throng of all possible standpoints and attempts at deliverance. The point then was, to discriminate between man’s word and God’s. For this end the conscience is of service (2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:11), which is given to us as a compass on the swelling sea of life. When it is aroused, a separation is made between what is Divine and what is human. At this time many, at Thessalonica also, had already attached themselves as proselytes to the Jews, because even in the preparatory revelations of God they found the best satisfaction of their needs of conscience. Such were in a peculiar degree prepared, inwardly and outwardly, to accept the Gospel as the word of God. They were so more than the Jews, because the latter generally held the law and the prophets in the way merely of outward tradition, whereas the former consented thereto with heart and life. Thus frequently upright men, belonging as to their external position to the world, are nearer to the kingdom of God than others, who have perhaps from their youth up been associated with the pious. In like manner churches, which assume to be those in which alone salvation is to be had, or which boast of their orthodoxy, are not exactly those which bring forth the most children to the Lord, because the Spirit departs in a measure proportioned to the reliance placed, as by the Jews, on institutions, the form of doctrine, &c. (Romans 2:17 sqq.)
4. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.) We can here almost perceive the growth in Paul of his leading view of the position of Gentile Christians in relation to Jewish Christians and Jews. The latter are the proper enemies of the gospel, not only amongst those of their own nation, but also in the Gentile world; for this reason he sees the judgment now breaking in on them. On the other hand, he recognizes in the Gentile Christians the followers of the Jewish Christians, of the true congregation of God in Israel. They belong—this thought here presents itself as a matter of course—to the genuine seed of Abraham, and take the place of the exscinded branches (Romans 4:11). The condition for this is simply faith, on which such special stress is laid in 1 Thessalonians 2:13; through faith a man quits his natural connections, and enters the circle of the Divine operation in the world (the connection of 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14). To the Jews were entrusted the λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ (Romans 3:2); to believers from among Jews and Gentiles is not merely entrusted outwardly the λόγος θεοῦ, but God thereby works in them with a living power (1 Thessalonians 2:13). We have thus here, in regard to the history of the kingdom of God, the genesis of Paul’s objective, fundamental view respecting the setting aside of the Jews and the participation of the Gentiles in that kingdom, just as in Acts 13:38-39 we have the genesis of his fundamental view of subjective salvation, of the doctrine of justification by faith. Then in the Epistle to the Romans both views are developed jointly.
5. But it must not be forgotten, that our text is not the last word of the Gentile Apostle respecting the Jews. It is rather in the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 9-11) that he has uttered this. There, with an extreme, self-denying love, he expresses his profound, continual sorrow on account of the rejection of Israel (Romans 9:1-3; Romans 10:1-2). He places the ultimate aim of his Gentile apostleship in this, that by means of the converted Gentiles the Jews should be provoked to emulation (Romans 11:13-14). He makes it the duty of Gentile Christians not to be proud and severe in regard to the Jewish branches broken off on account of their unbelief, because otherwise the same fate awaits us (Romans 11:17-22). To his Gentile Church, accordingly, which has so often, alas, actually fallen into that spirit of arrogance toward the Jews which he repudiates, and is still for the most part ensnared therein, he has rather bequeathed it a her task, by means of her walk of faith before Israel, and her loving sorrow in their behalf, to win over the blinded people. The Church has a mission of faith and love to the Jews; she has and should have a Jewish mission. If among us evangelicals this obligation is again here and there acknowledged and discharged, yet these efforts are but feeble, slight germs and beginnings. The Jewish mission is still far too much a thing singular, peculiar; it is too little sustained by the intercessory sympathy of the believing Church. We must in this thing learn to walk more fully in the steps of our Apostle and of the Lord Himself, of whom in reference to this very people Matthew 9:36-38 stands written. The Jewish mission, moreover, is in a quite special sense the mission also of hope. For the very last word of the Gentile Apostle respecting Israel is this, that the entire people shall yet be saved, and from the receiving of them again shall a new life stream forth to the nations of the world (Romans 11:12; Romans 11:15; Romans 11:23 sqq.). This national conversion of Israel is, indeed, not a matter that we can introduce; with other developments in the kingdom of God, it is connected with the coming of Christ (Matthew 23:39; Acts 3:19-21) [Zechariah 12:13, Zechariah 12:14.—J. L.]. But in order to this, to say nothing of the salvation of individual souls, the Jewish mission has to perform the office of a forerunner, and prepare the way.
6. The result of the entire development of the Jewish people during more than fifteen centuries was their division into a believing minority (1 Thessalonians 2:14) and an unbelieving majority (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16), which oppressed and persecuted the former. Already, indeed, had the prophets prophesied of the remnant which alone should be converted (comp. Romans 9:27-29; Romans 11:1-10). This division [Scheidung] being completed, there came the crisis [Entscheidung], the judgment (κρίσις includes both) in the destruction of Jerusalem, from which the believers were delivered (Pella, &c.), whereas ruin befell the unbelieving people. The same result will follow the development also of the New Testament Church and of the Christian nations. On this rests the deep, biblical truth of the distinction between the visible and the invisible Church. We too stand in the time of separation, and are advancing toward the crisis.
7. (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16.) It is worthy of notice that the ideas of 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 obviously lean on a sentence of the Lord, and are evolved from it. Comp. with 1 Thessalonians 2:15, Matthew 23:34; Luke 11:49 : ἀπαστελῶ προφήτας καὶ and, with 1 Thessalonians 2:16 Matthew 13:32 : καὶ ὑμε͂ις πληρώσατε τὸ μέτρον τῶν πατέρων ὐμῶν, and 2:36: ἥξει ταῦτα πάντα ἐπὶ τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην. We thus see how, under the illumination of the Spirit, the words of the Lord and the Apostle’s own experiences originated his thoughts. At another time it was words of the Lord, which the Apostle received in immediate revelations from heaven. In his eschatological teachings which we shall have later to consider, we shall see both kinds of words coöperating, and along with them Old Testament prophecy. The sayings of Jesus were evidently not unknown to Paul. With him they frequently sound still in a freer form (preceding the written determination of them).
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1 Thessalonians 2:13. Rieger: Where we said: I am glad, I ever think of it without joy, there the spirit, in which Scripture is written, impels us to say: We thank God, that He may ever be acknowledged as she Giver of these joyful providences, and that joy itself may be so seasoned with salt, that the flesh shall be less able to attribute aught to itself.—J. Mich. Hahn: How greatly must it rejoice a servant of the Lord, when he is permitted also to see fruits of his labor! Or are we going to find fault with this joy, even though it be a joy in the Lord? Or have we perchance any cause to blame the Apostle, when, for the strengthening of the faith of those dear to him, he exhibits to them something of the fair fruits of the Spirit? Did not Jesus Himself first tell His churches of whatever good things they had, and then of their evil, if they had any?—Rieger: Perhaps some one thinks, it was possible for the Thessalonians at once to accept as the word of God the word from the mouth of such a gifted Apostle; but who will require of us now, that we accept for God’s word everything that sounds from pulpits? That time also had its own difficulties. Paul was not regarded at Thessalonica with quite the same degree of respect that we can now feel toward him. Outwardly he was to be looked upon as a mechanic (1 Thessalonians 2:9); inwardly the opposition he had to endure gave him great trouble. The acceptance in these circumstances of his word as the word of God was promoted by means, that would still be effective in the case of our expositions at the present day—by searching the Scriptures, whether those things are so (Acts 17:11). That at least accept as God’s word, which thou canst so accept with the concurrence of thy conscience.—The apostolic word (the word of the Bible) is God’s word, and certifies itself as such by its Divine, spiritual working in us (the witness of the Holy Ghost).—Roos: You experience a Divine working within you. Before you believed, there was none of this Divine working. It exists while you believe, and ever since you believe. You feel it, and may thence infer that what you believe is the word of God.—The Same: Is it not the effect of the Divine working, that you can allow yourselves to be harassed by people of your nation, without becoming thereby disheartened or enraged? Who has at any time seen this fruit of the Spirit in an unbelieving Gentile or Jew? Thus the patience and faith of the saints (Revelation 13:10; Revelation 14:12)—these two main elements of the suffering and contending Church—are likewise the main proofs of the Divine character of her foundation, as laid in the apostolic word. In this sense the Church is the proof of the Divine character of Scripture (comp., at 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, Doctrinal Principles, No. 5). This is, indeed, no glorious proof, such as might strike even the natural sense, the merely logical or mathematical understanding. On the contrary, it is a proof from her humiliation. But the very fact that the Church of Jesus amidst all depressing and adverse circumstances, and while having the whole world opposed to her, still endures, is a proof that supernatural, Divine powers here rule—that Jesus has given to her the glory which He received from the Father (John 17:22; 1 Peter 4:14).—The preached word as God’s word (comp. Luke 10:16): What this includes, 1. for preachers (see Doctrinal Principles, No. 2), 2. for hearers: a. the obligation not to carry themselves with indifference or even offensively toward the word, but to receive it as a real message from God attentively and willingly; b. the blessing, that from the word thus received there proceed Divine influences upon us.—Pfaff: God’s word cannot be without stir and fruit, wherever it is but allowed to rule, any more than fire and light in cold and darkness.—Zwingli: The persecutors of God’s word, in order to render it odious, put forward the name of Luther or Zwingli. The believer alone can decide whether it is God’s word or man’s; that is when God works in the hearers, and arouses and quickens within them the external, preached word, so that a new man is born.
1 Thessalonians 2:14. See on 1 Thessalonians 2:13.—Roos: Novices in Christianity are commonly spared by the Lord sharp trials; but this was not the experience of the Thessalonians, the Lord often indeed showing that He does not always act according to one rule.—Though in our Christian world relations are in part changed from what they were then, yet even now also the convert has often to suffer, and that severely, from kinsmen and other companions. But let us be thoroughly penetrated by the power of the Divine word, and we are thereby enabled to hearken unto God more than unto the dearest of men. Then too have we the best hope of drawing after us those connected with us, when they see how the truth is sacred and precious to us above all things else; this inspires them first with respect for it, and afterwards perhaps with love to it.—Bengel: The same fruits, the same afflictions, the same experiences of believers of all places and times afford an excellent criterion of evangelical truth.—Roos: A congregation or a household of believers may take comfort from the example of others, and, in particular, converts in Christianity may do so from the example of older Christians.—Zwingli: The churches in Judea believed first on the Lord Jesus, and then the Gentiles also followed them; they did not, therefore, follow the Roman church or the Pope. [Moreover, the promise given to Peter, Matthew 16:18 sq., was fulfilled in Jerusalem at Pentecost and afterwards, Acts 2:0 sqq., not in Rome.—Riggenbach.]
[Matthew Henry: The cross is the Christian’s mark: if we are called to suffer, we are called only to be followers of the churches of God; so persecuted they the prophets that were before you, Matthew 5:12.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. On the Jews, see Doctrinal Principles, Nos. 3–6.—The sin of the Jews was peculiarly grievous, and more grievous than that of the Gentiles; for it consisted not merely in the doing of evil, but in the rejection of the help offered them against the evil, in their hostility to the messengers of salvation, in hardening themselves against the ever new and higher revelations and more urgent invitations of God (Matthew 21:33 sqq.; Matthew 22:3-7). Indeed, the real sin is unbelief (Mark 16:15 sq.; John 16:9; John 5:46 sq.). What was true, therefore, at that time of the Jews is now true of Christians; since the light shines now for us, for us is the day of salvation.—Bengel: Stubborn resistance to the word is that which most of all fills up the measure of sin. And Rieger: He who neglects his own salvation grudges to see in others greater zeal for their salvation; and so by the persecution of others is the measure of sins commonly filled up.—Diedrich: To love Christ, and that alone, is truly to love humanity; for true humanity is in Him alone, and by His word it is propagated and trained.—There is among us Christians also a Jewish illiberality, which thinks to please God by drawing the circle in some one sense very tight. This is a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2), a zeal which, as with the Jews, is ever connected somehow with self-righteousness (1 Thessalonians 2:3), and does not duly understand Christ as the end of the law (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Let us allow grace to be really grace, and we shall recognize it also in its universality, nor will we make the strait gate still straiter. We learn to unite with a strict conscience a wide heart and a free vision.—Pfaff: God seldom punishes the first sin, but He suffers iniquity to mount for a certain period and to a certain pitch. When it has reached the measure fixed by Him, He breaks in with His judgment; but this limit is not very discernible before the event. Foretokens of it, however, are not obscurely to be inferred from, for example, the long duration and heinousness of the sins, from contempt of the richly proffered means of grace, from obduracy, &c.—Burkitt: It is a singular support to suffering saints, to consider that Christ and His Apostles suffered before them, and by His sufferings has sanctified a state of affliction and persecution to them.—A spirit of persecution seems ofttimes to run in a blood, and passes from parent to child through many generations. The Jews killed Christ, stoned the prophets, and persecuted the Apostles.—Paul ranks them that are enemies to the preaching of the gospel with the obstinate shedders of Christ’s blood; they are enrolled amongst the capital enemies of mankind.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.—Καί read before διὰ τοῦτο [as well as after it] by Lachmann, Tischendorf, [Alford,] after A. B. [Sin.]; but the authority is insufficient (Lünemann).
1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.—[καὶ ἡμεῖς εὐχαριστοῦμεν. The καί belongs, as usual, to what immediately follows it.—E. V. renders εὐχαριστέω by to give thanks in 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 23 times elsewhere out of 34.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.—[The above is Ellicott’s version of παραλαβόντες λόγον . Auberlen; da ihr das Wort der Botschaft Gottes von uns empfinget. Alford retains the construction of the common English Version. See Exegetical Note 2.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.—[ἐδέξασθε ου λόγον , ἀλλὰ … λόγος θεοῦ. Lünemann: “The addition of a ὡς (οὐχ ὡς λόγον . ἀλλὰ … ὡς λόγον θεοῦ), in itself superfluous (see Kühner II. p. 226), was so much the more inadmissible, because the Apostle wished to express, not merely what the preached word was in the view of the Thessalonians, but at the same time what it was in fact. Hence also the emphatic parenthesis, καθώς ἐστιν .” To the same effect many others, including Alford, Wordsworth, and Ellicott.—In the Cod. Sin. ἀληθῶς, omitted a prima manu, is supplied by correction.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13.—[καὶ ἐνεργεῖται. The effectually of E. V., probably from Calvin’s efficaciter—Bishops’ Bible: effectuously—is scarcely warranted; though neither is our simple worketh quite satisfactory. Auberlen: sich wirksam beweist=shows itself operative; and so many others.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:14.—[So Sin. B. D. B. F. &c., and the critical editors, instead of ταὐτά (Rec., after A. &c.).—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:15.—[If the first καί of this verse is rendered both, it must belong to τὸν κύριον, as in Wiclif: which slowen bothe the lord ihesus and the profetis; and so others, including Conybeare, Ellicott, Vaughan. But see the Exegetical Notes, 8.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:15.—Ἰδίους before προφήτας is wanting in A. B. D*. E1. J. G. [Sin.] &c., and is therefore cancelled by Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf [and nearly all the other recent editors], but defended by Schott, De Wette, Reiche, &c. Even if spurious, it is at any rate an intelligent gloss. [Revision: “Tertullian asserts (Adv. Marc. 1 Thessalonians 2:15.) that it was heretically introduced (adjectio hæretici). De Wette, on the other hand, thinks that it may have been dropped either in consequence of the ὁμοιοτέλευτον (τοὺν ἰδι̇ους), or as offensive to the anti-gnostic spirit, and commends Schott for retaining it.”]
1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:15.—[Or, as in the English margin: chased us out, ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων. Auberlen: uns vertrieben haben; Ellicott, Alford: drove us out; Am. Bible Union: drove us forth; &c.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:16.—[The MSS. D. E. F. G. have the Vulgate addition of τοῦ Θεοῦ after ἡ ὀργή.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:16.—[ἔφθασε (Lachmann: ἔφθακε after B. D.).—The historical time is determined by that of ἀναπληρῶσαι. Comp. the Greek of Matthew 12:28, and see the note in Revision. Wordsworth, Webster and Wilkinson, Alford, and the Am. Bible Union: came.—J. L.]
[The same explanation of διὰ τοῦτο is given by Olshausen, Lünemann, Alford. Others prefer a reference to “the general subjects of the preceding verses,—the earnestness and zeal of the Apostle and his associates” (Ellicott; and similarly Webster and Wilkinson). Less probable is Vaughan’s reference to what follows.—J. L.]
[Perhaps rather to ὑμεῖς of 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Ye are our witnesses, and now we too are yours. Or as Zanchius: Not you alone ought to give thanks for this calling, but we also. And similarly Ellicott. Either explanation is better than Lünemann’s: We, as well as every true Christian that hears of your deportment; or Alford’s reference to those expressly mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:7.—J. L.]
[German versions represent the two verbs by empfangen and auf-or an-nehmen. For ἐδέξασθε Calvin has am-plexi estis=ye embraced of Benson, Macknight, and other English versions.—Wordsworth, Webster and Wilkinson. accepted.—J. L.]
[See Critical Note 4.—J. L.]
[These two texts, in which the middle participle is connected, not with θεός, but with (the Divine) ἐνεργεία or δύναμις, cannot properly he regarded as exceptional.—J. L.]
[It may quite as well he said, that in the context “the writer is magnifying the word, by way of justifying his continual thanksgiving to God for the Thessalonian reception of it” (Revisied)—J. L.]
[Καί is no less intelligible on the other view: “As it is God’s word, so also, and in a manner that befits and proclaims its great Original, it worketh, &c. (Revision). Ellicott adds, that perhaps it suggests also “a contrast with the inoperative nature of the word, when merely heard and not believed.”—J. L.]
[In the preface Dr. Riggenbach intimates his dissent from his colleague’s reference of the ὅς.—J. L.]
[Ellicott: “It is not correct always to find in the μὴ (as Alford here) a reference to the feelings or views of the subject connected with the participle (compare on Galatians 4:8). It sometimes refers to the aspect in which the facts are presented by the writer, and regarded by the reader.” In this correction Alford now acquiesces.—J. L.]
[Alford and Ellicott also agree in thinking this the main reference of εἰς τό, considered not grammatically, but theologically. Jowett: the object and the result blended together in one; the natural event, as the Apostle regards it, in the order of Providence.—J. L.]
[Lünemann: “even to its—the wrath’s—end, that is, the wrath of God has come upon them to its extreme limit, so that it must now discharge itself; now must judgment take the place of the previous long-suffering And patience.” To the same effect Alford and Ellicott. See the note in Revision.—J. L.]
[Comp. Exegetical Note 4, with the foot-notes.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:17 to 1 Thessalonians 3:13
What Paul did for the Thessalonians after his departure
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
1. He had once and again earnestly purposed to come unto them, but was hindered
17But we, brethren, being taken [having been bereaved by separation] from you82 for a short time, in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly 18[the more ab. end.]83 to see your face with great desire. Wherefore84 we would have [wished to, ἠθελήσαμεν] come unto you, even I Paul, once and again [both once and again, καὶ ἄπαξ καὶ δίς]; but [and, καί] Satan hindered us. 19For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing [glorying]85? Are [Or are]86 not even ye [ye also, καὶ ὐμεῖς], in the presence of [before, ἔμπροσθεν] our Lord Jesus Christ87 at His coming? 20For ye are our glory and joy.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
1. (1 Thessalonians 2:17.) But we.—̔Ημε͂ις, emphatic in itself and by its position in front: As to what concerns us. Having spoken, 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16, of the Thessalonians (comp. the ὑμε͂ις standing foremost with like emphasis in 1 Thessalonians 2:14); Paul again reverts to himself, in order to do away with a second imputation or doubt, as if, since he has been gone from the Thessalonians, after they had been readily persuaded and won over, he had left off caring for them. Suspicionem contemtus et negligentiæ prævenit (Calvin; similarly Pelt and others). Thus, as the first section (1 Thessalonians 1:2 to 1 Thessalonians 2:16) sketches for us a lively picture of Paul’s ministry at Thessalonica and of the founding of the church there, a like sketch is given in the second section (1 Thessalonians 2:17 to 1 Thessalonians 3:13) of the manner in which, during the interval of some six months that has since elapsed, the founder of the church has cared for it and been active in its behalf. This authentic information respecting the Apostle’s doings in the establishment and rearing of churches is of high value.—[ἡμε͂λς, resumed from 1 Thessalonians 2:13, and now contrasted—δέ—with the persecuting Jews of 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. So Lunemann, Alford, Ellicott.—J. L.]
2. Bereaved of you.—Chrysostom: Paul does not say separated, but more than that. ̔Ορφανός and ὀρφανίξω are even in the classics used, not merely of children bereaved of their parents, but also of parents bereaved of their children, and in other similar relations. The expression is one of tenderness, and belongs to the same category as the figure of the mother (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8) and of the father (1 Thessalonians 2:11) [so that Paul does not really compare himself to a child, as Chrysostom &c. improperly assume.—Riggenbach]. The Apostle would, first of all, intimate to his readers, that, so far from having forgotten them, his separation from them has been for him a painful experience. Hence also the two additions: for the space of an hour, that is, only a very short time, as we say: for a moment (elsewhere πρὸς ὥρας, for a short time, Philemon 1:15; Galatians 2:5; 2 Corinthians 7:8, or προς καιρόν, for a time at least limited, Luk 8:13; 1 Corinthians 7:6; here both are strengthened by being joined together), and: in presence only, not in heart, which ever remained with you (dative of reference, comp. 1 Corinthians 5:3; and, on the opposition between πρόσωπον and καρδία, 2Co 5:12; 1 Samuel 16:7, LXX.). Thus: We had almost no sooner been parted from you, and that only outwardly, not inwardly, than we again had a great longing to see you. [Πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας does not state that the separation altogether lasts but a short time, as if Paul here anticipated the fulfilment of the wish expressed in 1 Thessalonians 3:10 (De Wette, Koch), or even thought of the reunion at the approaching parousia (Olshausen).—Riggenbach].
3. Endeavoured quite earnestly [the more abundantly endeavoured].—When the idea, with which the comparison exists, is at once understood from the context, it is not uncommon for the comparative to stand alone, and it then has the force of a positive, as in Acts 17:21; especially does this happen with the comparative of adverbs, as τάχιον, μᾶλλον, περισσοτέρως.88 Alex. Buttmann, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Sprachgebrauchs, 1859, p. 72 (on the form περισστέρως, ibid, p. 61). If it is desired to specify the idea round which the comparison turns, it is evidently from the connection the πρόσωπον purposely repeated in opposition to καρδία: Because the Apostle was not separated from them in heart, though in face [presence], he therefore strove the more keenly to see again their face also.89 Less suitable supplements are introduced by others90 ̓Εν πολλῇ ἐπιθομίᾳ is a reiterated confirmation of ἐσπουδάσαμεν. The one confirmation stands at the beginning, the other not less emphatically at the close, of the sentence. Here also the Apostle’s love again shows itself so fervent, and as it were that of a bridegroom, that Chrysostom, impressed thereby, remarks: ἐρώμενος ἦν μανικός τις καὶ .—To see your face is a select phrase of love, instead of the more prosaic to come unto you of 1 Thessalonians 2:18; comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:10.
4. (1 Thessalonians 2:18.) Wherefore we wished to come unto you.—From the general disposition, 1 Thessalonians 2:17, proceeded positive resolutions, for the non-fulfilment of which Paul is not to be blamed.—̔Εγὼ μὲν Παῦλος: μέν solitarium for the greater prominence of the subject. From this too we see, as from καρδίας 1 Thessalonians 2:4, and ψυξάς 1 Thessalonians 2:8, that in the first person plural Paul intends to include Silvanus and Timothy (Lünemann). Had he meant himself alone by it, the addition of ἐγὼ μὲν Παῦλος would have been unnecessary. But here especially he had to distinguish himself, because indeed Timothy had in the meanwhile come to Thessalonica. But having once singled himself out, he afterwards speaks even of himself alone in the plural; so even in our verse ἡμᾶς, and with peculiar distinctness in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-2.—καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δίς, not simply δις, nor yet ἅπαξ καὶ δίς (which is used indefinitely=more than once), but stronger than the former expression and more precise than the latter: both once and twice, not only once but twice (comp. Philippians 4:16): “testatur non subitum fuisse fervorem, qui statim refrixerit, sed hujus propositi se fuisse tenacem, quum varias occasioned captaverit’ ’ (Calvin).
5. And Satan hindered us.—Instead of δέ, Paul chooses the Hebraistic connective, which in this case is almost the more energetic.—Satan, the personal devil (comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:5), in whose existence, therefore, Paul not merely believes, but refers to his agency even such comparatively trifling and external matters, because therein there lies prepared a hindrance to the kingdom of God (comp. Ephesians 6:12; otherwise at Romans 1:13; Romans 15:22; Acts 16:6 sq.). The Apostle, then, does not everywhere, and as a matter of course, speak of Satan, but he knows how with testing insight to distinguish. There is nothing about him of mere cant. In what the restraint consisted, we know not; only it cannot have been an accumulation of business, or anything of that sort, but must have been something of evil—whether on the side of the Thessalonians or on that of Paul. In the first case we should have to think with De Wette &c. of the enemies of the gospel at Thessalonica, whose hatred had been a source of danger to the Apostle on his arrival in Thessalonica; in the other case, either, with Chrysostom and others, of trials in the churches where Paul had since been, which rendered a removal from them impossible for him, or, perhaps better, of some sickness of the Apostle, and in connection with this we might think of Satan’s messenger, 2 Corinthians 12:1—a topic, it is true, on which we know just nothing very clear and certain. (Comp. also 1 Thessalonians 3:1.) It is even very possible that both kinds of reasons concurred; that the first time, for example, and this would best agree with 1 Thessalonians 2:17, Paul desired to turn back again to Thessalonica from Berœa, but was hindered in that by the Thessalonian Jews (Acts 17:13.—See Calvin, Bengel, and others.)
6. (1 Thessalonians 2:19.) For.—Paul gives the reason of his longing after the Thessalonians, and of his repeated purpose to come unto them. Illum desiderii ardorem inde confirmat, quia in ipsis felicitatem suam quodammodo repositam habeat; perinde enim valet hæc sententia ac si dixisset: Nisi me ipsum obliviscar, necesse est ut vos expetam (Calvin).
7. Who91 [What] is our hope, &c.—Ἤ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμε͂ις belongs to τίς, and it is, of course, merely incidental that ἤ is coincident with the ἤ before χαρά and στέφανος; ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίου &c. belongs to ἐλπὶς ἤ χαρά &c.92 But ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμε͂ις is purposely put between, so that ἔμπροσθεν &c. attaches itself immediately to these words, because the Apostle would have it observed that, so far from his relation to them being a transient one, it is rather to reach on to the coming of Christ, and verify itself before the eyes of the Lord.—Hope and joy, here, of course, objective=the subject of hope and joy. This the Thessalonians are not, in so far as Paul hopes in regard to them that they shall be found blameless (Lünemann), but in so far as they are the fruits of his ministry, after which the Lord at His return will inquire (see Luke 19:15). To this also there is special reference in στέφανος καυχήσεως, an
expression derived from the garland that crowns the competitor at the goal in the successfully contested race (1 Corinthians 9:23; 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:8). Καύχμσις, moreover, is not glory in the objective sense, but glorying; not gloria, but gloriatio; and so a crown for glorying=in which I may glory (comp. Ezekiel 16:12; Ezekiel 23:42; Proverbs 16:31; LXX.). Roos: We hope on your account to have some great experience at the coming of Christ; we shall then be able to rejoice over you; we shall be able to parade with you, as one parades with a crown won in a contest of the games.—Ye also, as well as other churches; those, for example, in Philippi or Corinth (see Philippians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 1:14—parallelisms also for the expression).
8. (1 Thessalonians 2:20.) Ye are verily93 [For ye are], &c.—Τάρ confirms and strengthens the readily understood affirmation in the oratorical question of 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (comp. Winer, p. 396). Our glory and joy. The expression glory [Herrlichkeit] is properly retained in translation here also by Ewald and J. Mich. Hahn, and is by the latter emphasized in a theosophic way. Δόξα is weakened, when rendered merely by renown or honor [Lünemann: Ruhm; Luther, De Wette: Ehre.—J. L.] (Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:7, where the woman is called the δόξα of the man, the man the εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα of God; and 2 Corinthians 8:23, where approved brethren are distinguished by the title, δόξα Χριστοῦ.) As δόξα in God Himself is His life-impression, life-form (see at 1 Thessalonians 2:12 Doctrinal Principles, No. 8), so with such genitives it denotes the representation of the life, resting on the communication of life,—the copy, standing in essential connection with the original, belonging to it, and forming as it were one whole with it, so that the latter is surrounded by it with a halo, as the sun by its beams, as the head by the crown (δόξα parallel with στἐφανος κανχήσεως). Thus it is with the man and the woman taken from him; with Christ and believers; with Paul and the spiritual children begotten by him.—That such objective, actual glory then becomes in the subjective experience a matter of joy, lies in the nature of the case.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. (1 Thessalonians 2:18.) Satan appears in Scripture in a threefold activity; as tempter and seducer, as accuser, as destroyer. In the first relation he is the first and perpetual author of sin amongst men (ὀ πειράζων, 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 4:3; ὁ λανῶν, Matthew 12:9). As accuser (κατήγωρ, Revelation 12:10), he seeks, when the sin is accomplished, to make the most of it with lying exaggeration before the Divine Judge (Zechariah 3:1), and also to exhibit it in the worst possible colors before our inner judge, the conscience, in order to bind the sinner inwardly, rendering him fainthearted and paralyzing his resistance to sin. Here belong the two most common names of the devil, the Hebrew הַשָּׂטָן, properly adversary, especially in court (comp. לְשִׂטְנוֹ, Zechariah 3:1, and ἀντίδικος, 1 Peter 5:8), and the Greek διάβολος, informer, slanderer, defamer, properly one who strikes through with words. As destroyer (comp. Ἀπολλύων, Revelation 9:11) Satan works, in so far as he, as prince of the fallen world, sets in motion all the powers of physical and moral evil against salvation, the kingdom of God, and in behalf of mischief, which in the last instance is ἀπώλεια, eternal damnation. It is thus that lie appears in our text. In the two first relations he is a liar; in the last, and—in so far as that lies as the ultimate aim at the bottom also of the earlier—in all three, a murderer (John 8:44). In the case of Judas he succeeded first in his trade as a seducer, then in that of an accuser; hence the end of the former in despair and suicide, whereby he fell a prey to the destroyer.
2. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.) Paul’s hope is to be adorned with the fruits of his ministry before the Lord at His coming. Holy Scripture everywhere lays stress on this point, that every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor (1 Corinthians 3:8). The fundamental relation of every man to God in respect of faith or unbelief decides the question of his happiness or misery (Ephesians 2:8; Mark 16:16; John 3:18; John 3:36; John 5:24). But within these two great classes there is still possible an extraordinary diversity in the life-acting of faith or unbelief—in practical honesty and dishonesty. Through faith we are become children of God; but now we must yield ourselves to be also trained as such, and renewed ever more and more into the image of the Father and of our First-born Brother (χάρις παιδεύουσα, Titus 2:11-12; comp. Hebrews 12:7-10; Colossians 3:10; Romans 12:2; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18), that we remain not weak, new-born children, but grow to the ripe age of a perfect man (Hebrews 5:13-14; comp. Ephesians 4:13-14). We are rooted in the right ground and soil, and bear within us the full germ of life; but for that very reason it concerns us now to grow and bring forth fruit (Colossians 2:7; Colossians 1:10-11; Matthew 13:23; Mark 4:26-28; John 15:2; Philippians 1:9-11). The whole walk of a man contributes to the formation of his disposition and character; all the issues of the life exert a formative reacting influence on our inner man—impress and stamp themselves also in ourselves (character from χαράσσω). In the Divine judgment, therefore, justification and condemnation are made to depend even on our words (Matthew 12:36-37); but especially is our fate determined according to our works, or (in the singular) our work, life-work, so far as therein is exhibited the total result of the religious and moral life, rearing itself on the foundation of faith or unbelief (Romans 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 20:12 sq.; Revelation 22:12; Matthew 16:27; John 5:29). As a man walks, so he becomes; and as he becomes, so is he also in death; his works do follow him (Revelation 14:13), and agreeably thereto his destiny in that other world spontaneously shapes itself; on which account there will be among the blessed and among the lost very different degrees of glory or of torment (comp., for example, Luke 19:17-19; Luke 12:47 sq.; Matthew 11:22-24; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. Of course, this is not the place to go into more precise definitions respecting heaven, hades, hell, the first and second resurrections, &c.). By this view justice is done also to the scriptural idea of reward, without our falling into the Catholic idea of merit. And in this way, especially, sanctification, a spiritual walk, inward growth, and the outward activity of the life, here acquire an importance which in the original Protestantism was not duly recognized and acknowledged—a defect, that has been in many ways prejudicial, and here and there is so still, to our evangelical doctrine and practice. It is true, our Confessions teach emphatically, that faith by an inward necessity brings forth good works; and yet the main point of view, from which they had to handle this doctrine over against Catholicism, was the negative one: that righteousness and salvation depend neither for their attainment nor their preservation on good works. For this reason, and the kindred one, that for the doctrine of faith and justification that of regeneration was neglected, it was impossible for the idea of sanctification, and what is connected therewith also in eschatology, to reach fully its positive, scriptural development and significance. Meanwhile, there is by no means any want of good suggestions, particularly in Melancthon’s excellent discussion de dilectione et impletione legis in the Apology for the Augsburg Confession.
3. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.) Whatever work we perform in an earthly calling, even in art and science as such, belongs to the domain of the perishable—of means, not of everlasting ends. Only what of good or evil is wrought in the souls of men is of eternal import. And the highest service is to help a soul to the life in God. On this rests the singular dignity, and also the responsibility, of the ministerial office. In an altogether peculiar sense, this is work for the day of Jesus Christ, whether we are now good shepherds or hirelings.
4. Paul hopes on the day of the Lord to be surrounded by those converted through him, as by a glory. This δόξα, this crown of glorying, is the true halo, when, coming into the presence of the heavenly Judge, one is able to say: Behold, I and the children whom God hath given me. At His coming the Lord will present to Himself His entire Church glorious, without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2). But the Church is an organism, not merely in the sense that the body as a whole depends on the head, but also in that it is composed of various members, the weaker depending on the stronger. Thus do spiritual children hang on their spiritual fathers, and are as it were embraced in them, and ruled by them. In this sense Paul hopes to be surrounded by his Gentile churches; in this sense is the promise made to the Twelve of ruling the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29-30). This agrees with the fundamental view which Scripture, in this case also the true interpreter of experience, takes of humanity. It regards it, not as an atomic mass of individuals, but as an organism, depending for its natural life on Adam, for its spiritual life on Christ; and that in such a manner, that from these two genealogical heads the membership branches off to every single individual. Hence the importance of progenitors and their primitive doings in the sphere itself of nature and of race (Adam, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Abraham, David, &c.; Adam’s fall, Ham’s misdeed, Abraham’s faith, the gracious treatment of David’s descendants for David’s sake, &c.), just as prominent prophetic and apostolic persons are centres of light and union in the spiritual sphere. The case is similar with the Lord of the world’s history.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
1 Thessalonians 2:17. The Apostle’s loving union with his churches even when absent from them. J. Mich. Hahn: In the Apostle, who certainly loves all the children of God, and even all the Lord’s dearly redeemed, with a priestly, cordial love, there is yet a predilection for his spiritual children (1 Corinthians 4:15; Galatians 4:19). The reason of that is the closer affinity of spiritual kindred. If it is so in the earthly nature, and cannot be said to be improper, who then shall blame it in the spiritual? Whoever blames it, would mend an arrangement of the Creator, who is also our Redeemer.—Rieger: As matters now stand with us, we are unable to estimate what a benefit it was to come together in person, and strengthen one another concerning the common faith.—Diedrich: Christians may well even long to see one another, whilst they are in the flesh; worldlings are soon fain to get out of one another’s way.—[The same principles of the new creature, that led the primitive Christians to delight in personal intercourse with one another (comp. Acts 4:23; Acts 20:38; Romans 1:11; Rom 15:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 2Ti 1:4; 2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:14), were still more powerfully operative in their relations to their Lord (comp. John 14:3; John 14:19; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 John 3:2; &c.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:18. Calvin: It is certain, that whatever opposes the work of the Lord proceeds from Satan. Would that it were a firmly settled conviction in all pious souls, that Satan is continually making every effort to retard or hinder the edification of the Church! We should certainly be more intent on resisting him; we should have more at heart the preservation of sound doctrine, of which Satan takes such eager pains to rob us.—A part of that Bound doctrine is the doctrine of Satan himself.—[Bishop Wilson: Non-residence. N. B. It is the work of Satan, and his desire, to keep a pastor from his flock.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20. It is important that a man should not merely be assured of his gracious standing and salvation, which, indeed, is the first thing and most important, but should also be zealous to bear fruit for the day of the Lord, and to be able hereafter to say to the Loud: Lord, my pound hath gained ten pounds (Luke 19:16). He can also set his aim too low, and cover with false humility his own drowsiness and sloth.—A great and main point for the preacher, that he appear not empty before the Lord in His day.—Calvin: At the last day Christ’s servants will obtain glory and triumph according as they have spread abroad His kingdom. Therefore should they even now rejoice and glory in nothing save the blessed result of their labor, in seeing the glory of Christ advanced through their service. In this way also they will attain to a true love for the Church.—Theodoret: Paul has compared himself to a mother (1 Thessalonians 2:1), and mothers are wont to call their young children their hope, joy, &c.94—Chrysostom: Who would not exult in such a numerous and well-bred troop of children?—To whose lot fall these joys of spiritual paternity? Do we even know any thing of them?—The Apostle’s joys and cares of spiritual fatherhood are a pattern for us also in regard to our children after the flesh, how we should be faithful in our families, and should carefully engage that not one of the members be lost.—To keep the coming of the Lord at all times before our eyes, that is to be likeminded with the Apostles.—Rieger: In the gospel the Lord’s coming shines in upon us so near, that it affords us already at every step much light for our feet.—[ Matthew Henry: The Apostle here puts the Thessalonians in mind, that though he could not come to them as yet, and though he should never be able to come to them, yet our Lord Jesus Christ will come; nothing shall hinder that.—Benson (Macknight, Barnes, &c.): Paul expected to know his own converts again in the great day; and particularly to rejoice in them. We may, therefore, hope to know our friends in the future state.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:17.—[ἀπορφανισθέντες ̓ ὑμῶν. German: verwaiset von euch; Vaughan: “literally, orphaned from you.” The double ἀπό emphasizes the fact of separation; ὀρφανισθ., the feeling of bereavement and desolation that ensued.—Peile, Ellicott, Vaughan and others: torn from you; Peile adding, and bereaved. Jowett: bereaved in being taken from you; Robinson: “bereaved and separated.”—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:17.—[The Greek order, “throwing the emphasis more distinctly on the more abundantly” (Ellicott).—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 Thessalonians 2:18.—Instead of διό Lachmann, Lünemann [Tischendorf in the first and latest editions, Alford, Ellicott] and others, read, after Sin. A. B. D.1 F. G. and some other manuscripts, διότι, whereas Tischendorf (Exodus 2:0), De Wette, Reiche and others, retain διό of the received text. At any rate διότι must be=on which account, therefore, and so equivalent to διό, as Lünemann also supposes; but elsewhere διότι is with Paul=because; comp. in our Epistle 1Th 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:6.
1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:19.—[καυχήσεως. See the English margin, and 2 Corinthians 7:4; comp. also Romans 15:17, and the several instances (6 out of 12) in which the noun is in our version rendered boasting.—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:19.—[The ἤ before οὐχὶ καί is wanting in Sin.1, but was added by correction; and the same thing is true of ἡ before χαρά in 1 Thessalonians 2:20—J. L.]
1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:19.—[Ellicott: “The addition χριστοῦ (Rec. with F. G. L.; many Vv.) is rightly rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and most modern editors,” and our German text. It is wanting in Sin.—J. L.]
[Περισσοτέρως occurs eight times in Paul’s other Epistles (besides Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 13:19), and in some of those in stances does it stand for the positive.—J. L.]
[So De Wette, Koch, Ellicott, and others. The objection to this is, not merely that, had the separation been in heart, there would have been no desire whatever to see them again [Lunemann), but that οὐ καρδίᾳ is simply an incidental, parenthetical correction of the main thought, ἀπορφανισθέντες ̓ ὑμῶν. I prefer Calvin’s explanation: The writer’s love, instead of being lessened by absence, was rather the more inflamed thereby (and so Aretius, Gill, Winer, Wordsworth, Vaughan, and others).—J. L.]
[See Notes in my Revision of this verse.—J. L.]
[So Luther, and other German versions.—J. L.]
[This is frequently indicated by a comma after καυχήτεως, and another after ὑμε͂ις.—J. L.]
 [Ihr seid ja—making the γάρ intensive, as is done also by Luther, Scholefield, Ellicott, and many others. But the rendering of our common version is quite as good;—the 20th verse now justifying, as if “after reconsideration” (Webster and Wilkinson), the confident tone of the previous question by the triumphant assertion of what is there only strongly implied. The reader will notice likewise the emphatic ἐστε.—J. L.]
[In this suggestion Theodoret, as usual, follows Chrysostom. Wordsworth: “ ‘These are my jewels,’ as the Roman mother, Cornelia, said of her offspring. Comp. Proverbs 17:6, στέφανος γερόντων, τέκνα τέκνων, καύχημα δὲτέκνων πατέρες αὐτῶν.”—J. L.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany