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- 1 Thessalonians
by Johann Peter Lange
TWO EPISTLES OF PAUL
C. A. AUBERLEN
Dr. of Philosophy and Theology,
Late Extraordinary Professor in Basel
C. J. RIGGENBACH
Dr. of Theology, and Professor in Ordinary
TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, WITH ADDITIONS
JOHN LILLIE, D. D.
VOL. VIII OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: CONTAINING THE EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS, TIMOTHY, TITUS, PHILEMON AND THE HEBREWS
The exposition of the two Epistles to the Thessalonians was at first undertaken by my dear colleague, Professor Dr. Auberlen, who, however, was able to complete only the first two chapters of the First Epistle. A disease, which unhappily compelled him for years to forego severe labor, led him, on an understanding with the esteemed editor, to commit to my hands the continuation of the work. It grieves me that he was not to live to see the task accomplished. On May 2d of the present year he entered into rest.
For the Introduction to the First Epistle and for the last three chapters of the same, as well as for the whole of the Second, I alone am to be held responsible. The two chapters executed by my predecessor I went over along with him; but here, with the exception of a few additions1 to which he assented, every thing is from his hand. May the reader not find in what follows too great a contrast. Some points in which I slightly differ from the view of my late friend are in part too unimportant to require alteration, as, for example, the way in which ἔμπροσθεν is connected with what precedes (1 Thessalonians 1:3); the view of the dative ὑμῖν (1 Thessalonians 2:10); the question to what ὅς refers (1 Thessalonians 2:13); in other cases subsequent opportunities were found of recurring to them; thus, in regard to ἔργον τῆς πίστεως (1 Thessalonians 1:3) I refer to the note on 2 Thessalonians 1:11, and a small supplement in reference to the handicraft of the Apostle is furnished at 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9.
For what help I am indebted to Dr. Stockmeyer, Pastor of St. Martin’s, Basel, is mentioned in the Homiletical and Practical Notes to 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.
In now sending forth, along with the legacy of an honored divine, the first fruits of my labor in this department, I can but wish and pray God, that the joint work may promote the understanding of these glorious Epistles, love to the truth therein proclaimed, and the edification of the Church of Christ.
Dr. C. J. Riggenbach.
Basel, June, 1864.
This eighth volume of the English edition of Dr. Lange’s “Bible-Work” contains the exposition of seven Epistles of the New Testament, by the combined labor of ten European and American scholars, as follows:
I. and II. Epistles to the Thessalonians, By Drs. Auberlen and Riggenbach. Translated by Dr. Lillie.
I. and II. Epistles to Timothy. By Dr. Van Oosterzee. Translated by Drs. Washburn and Harwood.
Epistle to Titus. By Dr. Van Oosterzee. Translated by Dr. Day.
Epistle to Philemon. By Dr. Van Oosterzee. Translated by Dr. Hackett.
Epistle to the Hebrews. By Dr. Moll. Translated by Dr. Kendrick.
These authors and translators represent fire countries—Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Scotland,2 and the United States; and seven communions—the Evangelical Lutheran, Swiss Reformed, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, Congregational, and Baptist.
The reader may therefore look for a considerable variety of talent and difference of opinion in minor points of doctrine and polity. But in all essential articles of faith, he will find a striking degree of unity—a unity more spiritual and free, and for this very reason more deep and real than the consensus patrum, so called, by which the Roman Church would fain prevent or obstruct all further progress in working the inexhaustible mines of revealed truth. Far above all sectarian steeples rises the hill of Zion, where the discords of human creeds are solved in the divine harmony of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.”
The numerous additions of the translators, from their own researches, and from leading English commentators, will be found to raise the value of the American edition far above the German original.
As general Editor, I wish here publicly to congratulate the translators on the successful completion of their laborious task, and to express my grateful appreciation of their hearty and efficient co-operation in this noble work. I only regret that one of them—the late lamented Dr. Lillie, like the like-minded Dr. Auberlen—was not permitted to see the volume which owes so much to his accurate scholarship and faithful study.
The Epistles to the Corinthians are nearly ready for the press; as is also the volume on Genesis. The remaining books of the New Testament, excepting the Apocalypse, which has not yet appeared in Germany, are all in course of preparation by able and competent scholars.
5 Bible House, New York, Feb. 20, 1868.
AUTHORS OF THE COMMENTARY ON THE THESSALONIANS
THE AMERICAN EDITOR
Charles Augustus Auberlen, to whose competent hands the Commentary on the Epistles to the Thessalonians was first intrusted, and who would have prepared other parts of Lange’s Bibelwerk (probably the Book of Daniel and the Apocalypse of John), had not a premature death removed him from his earthly labors, was born Nov. 19, 1824, at Fellbach, near Stuttgard, in the kingdom of Württemberg, which for its small size has given rise to an unusual number of distinguished divines, philosophers, and poets. He was educated at Esslingen, Blaubeuren, and at the University of Tübingen, where he stood among the first in his class. For a short time he was in danger of being carried away by the enthusiasm then prevailing among German students for the humanitarianism of Goethe’s poetry and Hegel’s pantheistic philosophy, But his pious education and associations, the influence of his teachers, Drs. Schmid, Landerer, and Beck, and the diligent study of the Bible and the older Württemberg divines, especially Bengel and Oetinger, guarded him against serious error. After a literary journey through Germany, Holland, and Belgium, and a second residence at Tübingen as Repetent (Fellow or Tutor) of the Theological Seminary, he accepted a call as professor extraordinary of theology at the University of Basel in 1851, and was happily married in the same year to a daughter of Dr. Wolfgang Menzel, the well-known author of a History of Germany, a History of German literature (translated into English by the late President Felton of Harvard University), and other works. In 1860 the University of Basel, at its fourth centenary, conferred on him the honorary degree of D. D. In that post he labored with great acceptance and rising fame to his death, May 2, 1864. As his theology, so his departure was full of joyful hope.
Dr. Auberlen was one of the most gifted and promising of the present generation of evangelical divines in Germany, combining thorough learning with devout piety and profound reverence for the Word of God. He had imbibed the spirit of Bengel and Oetinger, but was fully at home in all the modern systems of theology and philosophy. He devoted special attention to the prophetical portions of the Scriptures. Characteristic for his standpoint is the following passage from the preface to the second edition of his work on Daniel: “The elevation on which Scripture places us is one, not merely of the life, but also of knowledge, and to descend from it is likewise to suffer a mighty loss in ideas, especially in the moral sphere. Here that word holds good: ‘In Thy light we see light.’... Here is a real solution of the problems of life—here a real answer to the questions of existence, so far as one can be given at all for beings, who as yet walk not by sight.”
The principal works of Dr. Auberlen, besides a part of the Commentary on the Thessalonians, are the following:
The Theosophy of Friedrich Christoph Oetinger in its leading features. With Preface by Dr. R. Roth (of Heidelberg). Tübingen, 1847.
The Prophet Daniel and the Revelation of John, Basel, 1854; 2d edition revised, 1857. A very superior work, which has been translated into English (for Clark’s Foreign Library), and into French. It is not a full commentary, but a comparative exposition of the chief sections of the two books as a basis for a Biblical philosophy of history.
The Divine Revelation, Basel, 2 vols. 1861–64. The second volume, in the preparation of which he died, is unfinished, and was published after his death by Prof. Gess.
Comp. the Biographical Notice in the second volume of Auberlen’s work on Revelation, and an article of Dr. Fabri in Herzog’s Theol. Encyc!., vol. xix. p. 789 sqq.
Dr. C. J. Riggenbach, who completed the Commentary on the Thessalonians after the death of his friend and colleague, is a native of Switzerland, completed his studies at Berlin during 1839–41 (simultaneously with the writer of this notice), and, after laboring as pastor for some time, was elected professor of theology at the University of Basel, where he labors still and enjoys the full confidence of the Christian community. He was once a follower of the Hegelian philosophy, but became a thorough convert to orthodox practical Christianity. He is the author of a valuable work on the Life of Christ, and of several popular lectures against modern infidelity.—P. S.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF DR. LILLIE
It becomes my sad duty, as the general editor of Lange’s Commentary, to send out this part of the work with a biographical notice of the translator. A few weeks before his death, Dr. Lillie paid me a visit, in excellent health and spirits, and intrusted to me the manuscript of his translation, after having put to it his last touches in my study. We settled the form of the title page and several matters relating to the final revision. At his request I prepared the biographical notice of my friend Auberlen, who was called hence while engaged in this same Commentary. How little did I dream at that time that I would have so soon to add his own obituary, and to finish his work, as a labor of love to a departed friend and esteemed co-laborer!
The Rev. John Lillie, D.D., was born, December 16, 1812, at Kelso, Scotland, the youngest of a family of six children. He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1828, and was graduated in 1831, with the first honors of his class. During his course he received several prizes, among which was the gold medal given annually by the “Writers to the Signet” to the best Latin scholar. I well remember in what high terms his Latin Professor, James Pillans, to whom he gave me a letter of introduction in 1854, spoke of the classical scholarship, talent, and industry of his former pupil. His Alma Mater publicly recognized his merits, by conferring on him, in 1855, the diploma of Doctor of Divinity.
From 1831 to 1834 he studied theology, taught a classical academy at Edinburgh, and travelled in England.
In August, 1834, he sailed, in company with elder members of his family, for the United States, and completed his theological studies in the Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church at New Brunswick, N. J. In February, 1836, he was ordained and installed minister of the Reformed Dutch church at Kingston, Dutchess Co., N. Y., where he labored with ability and fidelity till August, 1841, when he was invited to the Presidency of the Grammar School connected with the University of the City of New York. Shortly afterwards he took charge of a church in Stanton street, New York, and edited the Jewish Chronicle (from 1844 to 1848) in behalf of missions among the Jews.
In 1852 the “American Bible Union,” which was organized in 1850 in the city of New York, engaged his services, and subsequently those of Drs. Conant, Hackett, Kendrick, Rödiger, Forsyth, and other scholars of various denominations, for the difficult work of preparing a new or revised version of the Holy Scriptures. He assisted the Society in collecting for the purpose one of the most complete and valuable exegetical and critical libraries extant, including a rare set of the best editions of the Greek and Latin fathers, and all the German commentators of note. He went into this arrangement as an enthusiast for Biblical studies, and in full sympathy with the movement for such a revision of the authorized English Version of the Scriptures as would correct admitted errors, and embody the approved results of modern textual criticism and biblical research for the benefit of all the Protestant churches of the English tongue. His part in the work, however, like that of several other scholars, was merely of a preliminary and strictly literary character; the final revision, for popular use, being reserved for a special commission, which has since completed the revision of the New Testament.
In this connection Dr. Lillie labored for five years with great zeal and energy. He fixed up a study with exquisite scholarly taste in the venerable Baptist church in Broome street, and felt perfectly happy in the company of all the great Bible translators and commentators, whose stately folios and handy octavos were laid out before him, together with grammars, dictionaries, and other auxiliary works of ancient and modern lore.
He prepared in the service of the Bible Union new versions and philological commentaries on the Epistles to the Thessalonians, the Epistles of John, the Second Epistle of Peter, the Epistle of Jude, and the Revelation 3:0 which were published in 1854 and 1856 in beautiful quarto style in three columns, containing the Greek text, King James’ Version, and the Revised Version, the greater part of the page being occupied with learned notes, and the amplest references to former versions and commentaries. They were published, however, merely as literary works, with the express declaration of the Bible Union “that the translation is not final.” These philological commentaries, together with the similar works of Dr. Conant on Job and on Matthew, and of Dr. Hackett on the Epistle to Philemon, are undoubtedly the most scholarly publications of the “American Bible Union,” and have a permanent exegetical and critical value. The late Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander, of Princeton, often spoke in very high terms of Dr. Lillie’s commentaries, and expressed to him the wish that he might treat in the same thorough manner all the books of the New Testament. Dean Alford, of England, was stimulated by them to write his article on “Bible Revision” in the Edinburgh Review.
Close application to study somewhat weakened the otherwise vigorous health of Dr. Lillie, In June, 1854, he sailed for Europe and returned in October, fully restored for his work.
In 1857, he accepted a call to the First Presbyterian church at Kingston, N. Y., where he labored faithfully and acceptably till his death. In January, 1867, he paid a visit to New York, and was hale and strong and in excellent spirits. On his return, Saturday, January 19, during a snow storm of unusual severity, he caught a cold, but recovered, and attended to his pastoral duties till the week of his death. On Sunday, the 17th of February, he preached his last sermon with unusual vigor and solemnity; on the day following he was taken sick with inflammation of the lungs, and on Saturday, the 23d, in the fifty-fifth year of his life on earth, he peacefully fell asleep to awake in his heavenly home. He bore the severe pains of his illness without a murmur,—so completely had his naturally irritable temper been softened and subdued by Divine grace. He left behind him a most amiable and worthy wife (a daughter of A. Bruyn Hasbrouck, LL.D., late President of Rutgers College, N. J.), and six promising sons and daughters. His funeral was largely attended, the church being insufficient to accommodate the assemblage of ministers and people. On March 17, 1867, the Rev. W. Irvin, of Rondout, N. Y., at the request of the First Presbyterian church of Kingston, preached an appropriate memorial sermon in the Reformed Dutch church of that place, to which he had devoted the first years of his ministry. The session of his church, as also that of the Reformed Dutch church of Kingston, the Ulster County Bible Society, and the higher ecclesiastical courts with which he was connected, gave fit expression to their high sense of esteem and affection, in a number of highly complimentary resolutions.
Besides the exegetical works already mentioned, Dr. Lillie wrote a volume of Expository Practical Lectures on the Epistles to the Thessalonians (published by his friends and countrymen, Messrs. R. Carter & Brothers, N. Y., 1860), and occasional sermons and pamphlets, which are all written with great care and some of which were published by request. He finished in manuscript a Commentary on the First Epistle of Peter, which he regarded as his best work, and which we hope will before long be given to the public.
The last work of his life was the translation of the Commentary on the Thessalonians for the American edition of Lange’s Bible-Work. I could not have found in America a scholar better qualified for this task than Dr. Lillie, who had made the Epistle to the Thessalonians the subject of repeated and thorough study, and had already published on this portion of the Scriptures a philologico-critical commentary with a new translation, and a volume of Practical Expository Lectures. He finished the manuscript of the translation a few weeks before his death, but read the proof only of the first sixteen pages. The task of completing his work fell upon me, as the responsible editor. I read the proof with scrupulous regard to his copy. Lillie’s Thessalonians will be found to be one of the best executed portions of the American edition of Lange. The translation is remarkably accurate and elegant, and the additions from his own researches and the best English commentaries are carefully selected and valuable. He took great delight in this task, especially in the critical notes below the text, and would have contributed other portions to this Biblical work, had Providence spared his life. I had already assigned to him the Apocalypse (for which, by his previous labors and his deep interest in eschatology, he was likewise thoroughly prepared), and the books of Leviticus and Numbers.
Dr. Lillie was undoubtedly one of the first classical and Biblical scholars in the United States. He would have adorned a chair of Biblical Literature in any of our Theological Seminaries, although his difficulty of hearing might have interfered somewhat with his efficiency as a teacher. He was naturally a close student, and had rare opportunities for cultivating his talents in the best institutions of his native Scotland. He was remarkably accurate and nice, even to the smallest minutiæ of Greek accents and punctuation. Besides the Latin, Greek and Hebrew, he had mastered the French, German and other modern languages. He was at home in the ancient and the English classics, and in the vast field of Biblical literature, especially in the critical department.
He was, moreover, an earnest, solemn, and impressive preacher, a faithful pastor, a conscientious and devout Christian, a genial, hospitable companion, with a stout Scotch heart, an ardent temper, strong affections, and a frank, social disposition. In his theology he was thoroughly orthodox and evangelical, but with a strong leaning to millennarianism, and considerable sympathy with the spiritual and devotional (but not with the hierarchical and ritualistic) features of the Irvingite movement. He admired the writings of Auberlen, the author of a portion of the commentary on the Thessalonians. Much as he cherished the hope of the second coming of Christ, he knew how to subordinate disputed eschatological opinions to the great central truths of the gospel, on which the churches are agreed.
In personal appearance, Dr. Lillie was a fine-looking, robust gentleman, with a genial face and manly bearing, very neat in his dress and methodical in all his habits. He was called away in the midst of his usefulness to see his Lord and Master face to face, for whose coming he had so often and so earnestly prayed.
To this notice I am happy to add a tribute to the memory of Dr. Lillie from the pen of his countryman, fellow-student, and life-long friend, the Rev. James Inglis, who edits in this city a highly spiritual and devotional periodical, The Witness. The letter, which I subjoin, with his kind permission, breathes the spirit of a sweet and holy friendship that was made in heaven and for heaven, and outlives the fleeting changes of earth. It reminds me of those beautiful lines in which Gregory Nazianzen, in a sad moment of temporary alienation, describes his friendship with Basil, which commenced in the community of literary study at Athens, and culminated in the consecration of their souls to Christ and the service of His Church:
Τοιαῦτ’ Ἀθῆναι, καὶ πόνοι κοινοὶ λόγων,
Ὁμόστεγός τε καὶ συνέστιος βίος,
Νοῦς εἷς ἐν , οὐ δύω, θαῦμʼ Ἑλλάδος,
Καὶ δεξιαὶ, κόσμον μὲν ὡς πόῤῥω βαλεῖν,
Αὐτοὺς δὲ κοινὸν τῷ Θεῷ ξῆσαι βίον,
Λόγους τε δοῦναι τῷ μόνῳ σοφῷ Λόγῳ,
New York, October 12, 1867.
REV. DR. SCHAFF:
Any of the early and intimate friends of Dr. Lillie would be embarrassed in speaking publicly of his memory; I most of all, who, in the intimate associations of our college life, when I shared the same room with him, knew him best. Our embarrassment arises from his superiority as known to us, to all that he ever made himself publicly known to be; so that our severest estimate of him might be regarded as the partial judgment of affection. Professor Pillans in his old age stated to me that John Lillie was the most accomplished scholar of all the pupils who had passed from his care in a professional career, which, at Eton and Edinburgh, extended over more than half a century. Probably any member of the Faculty of Letters in the University of Edinburgh at that day, would have endorsed this testimony. His attainments at the age of twenty-one, were not those of a precociously brilliant or a merely studious youth, but rather those of a vigorous and cultivated mind in its maturity. When from this distance of time I recall them, they seem more wonderful to me now than they did then. If he did not fulfil all the high expectations which we cherished of his future eminence in the world, his was not the failure of a superficial precocity which had awakened hopes which it could not make good, but the sacrifice of worldly ambition to the higher aims of an office to which he was called by the Lord, by whose blood he was redeemed, and by whose love he was constrained. We are more than content with his loss of an earthly crown, since we know that “when the Chief Shepherd shall appear,” the loss will be compensated by a crown of glory which fadeth not away.
The life of such a student as he was, was necessarily far apart from the vices and follies which dishonored the name of student in that day. But besides the habits which kept him aloof from ignoble dissipations, he was distinguished by a peculiar sensitiveness of honor, truthfulness and purity which gained involuntary respect even from those who were irritated by its living reproof. The tone of his mind was indicated by an enthusiastic admiration of the prose works of Milton, upon which his early style and use of English were moulded. The inspiration of liberty from that source determined him to seek a home in America. After years of separation I saw what the grace of God could effect even in such a character as his; I saw the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the highest human virtue.
He was what is styled a Calvinist, not as a mere theologian, but as a Christian whose soul yielded a reverent and uncavilling submission to what God has been pleased to reveal of Himself, and what to many are mere speculations or party distinctions, were to him divine and influential verities. He was clear and uncompromising in his testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, in whose glorious person and perfect work he found life and all that satisfies life. To him it was evidently a small matter to be judged of man’s judgment, and so he was often found on the unpopular side with the truth of God. He was the earnest advocate of Millennarianism, when to be a Millennarian was to expose himself to ecclesiastical ostracism. He dared take the attitude of a candid enquirer into the claims of the self-styled “Catholic Apostolic Church.” But when it is said that “he sympathized with some features of the Irvingite movement,” it should be known that it was not with the doctrinal system nor with the ritualism of that Church that he sympathized.
His sympathy, so far as it went, arose from his exalted conception of what the Holy Scriptures teach of the Church as the temple of the Holy Ghost, the body of Christ, invested, as the representative of her Head, with His authority and endowed with His ascension gifts; and from his convictions regarding the destiny of the Church as the bride, the Lamb’s wife—in the words of one of his published sermons, “The Queen-consort of a renewed and emancipated world,” in which the everlasting purpose of Divine love will be accomplished and the manifold wisdom of God will be displayed. He could not be satisfied with low views of the Church as a voluntary association of men, defining its own prerogatives, framing its own laws, choosing its own ministry, whose qualifications and functions it prescribes, adapting itself to the expediencies of the hour, and renouncing a heavenly destiny for the empty boast of a temporal triumph. He was attracted by the pretensions of a body which claimed to realize his august conception, or, permit me to say, the divine revelation of the Church’s existence, and which, in its testimony, gave great prominence to the Church’s glorious destiny. But the fact that he did not die in the communion of “the Catholic Apostolic Church,” is the proof that, on careful examination, he did not find its pretensions substantiated.
Pardon me that I have written at such length on these points to you who are so much more capable than I am to do justice to the character, gifts and views of my friend. I know what your friendship was to him in his lifetime, and I am happy that it is your hand that is to pen the brief record which will associate his memory with the enduring work in which he counted it a privilege to be your fellow-laborer. For me it would perhaps have seemed more fitting that I should speak only of the generosity and tenderness of his unfailing friendship, and the disinterestedness of his brotherly love. The memory of these is rather to be cherished as a solace of the “little while” which separates me from him who was the last of the friends of life’s spring-tide who remained to be the companion of its autumn days, and the only one, of them whose sympathy relieved “the sear and yellow leaf” with the light of that blessed hope in which he sleeps, and in which
I am, Dear Sir,
Yours, with high respect,
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL
§ 1. TO WHOM THE EPISTLE WAS ADDRESSES
Thessalonica (see Winer, Realwörterbuch), called Therme by Herodotus and Thucydides, lies at the head of the Sinus Thermaicus. The later name was given to it by Cassander in honor of his wife Thessalonica, a daughter of Philip. (Others allege that the name was intended to commemorate a victory over the Thessalians.) Under the Romans Thessalonica was the chief city of the second region of the province of Macedonia, and the residence of a Roman Prætor and Quæstor. Pliny mentions it as libera. Subsequently it is called Metropolis, and that not only for Macedonia, but also for Achaia. Throughout the whole mediæval period it is a city of importance, belonging for a time to Venice, but since 1430 to Turkey. At present it bears the slightly abbreviated name of Saloniki, and still, as in the time of the Romans, the population is large, and includes thousands of Jews. What was wanting in Philippi Paul found in this flourishing capital and emporium—namely, a synagogue.
The founding of the church in this place is related in Acts 17:1 sqq. It was one of the fruits of the second missionary journey, Acts 15-18, and the second church5 that arose on the European continent. First in Philippi (where perished republican Rome a century before) had the Apostle had fulfilled to him the promise implied in that vision of the man of Macedonia (Acts 16:9). And there too he had had his first experience of a persecution springing altogether from heathen motives. The selfishness of those who made their gains by soothsaying had turned against him the pretext of the religio illicita. After the bloody violence, and while his wounds could scarcely yet have been healed, he had in company with Silas, his fellow-sufferer, and with Timothy6, on whom the persecution had not fallen, repaired in joyous elevation of spirit to Thessalonica.
He made his appearance in the synagogue, where he found ready such a point of attachment as it was his principle to avail himself of (agreeably to Romans 1:16; Romans 9:4-5, and not at variance with the geographical partition of Galatians 2:9). Starting from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, he sketched the full prophetic image of the suffering and risen Messiah, and then he set forth the fulfilment, to wit, that in Jesus the predicted Christ had appeared. The Second Epistle shows us how he especially expounded to them the prophet Daniel. Some (not many) Jews were convinced, together with a great multitude of devout Greeks (proselytes);—the insufficiently attested reading καὶ Ἑλλήνων would distinguish between devout persons (proselytes) and Greeks (still altogether heathen); that some had been idolaters is presupposed also at 1 Thessalonians 1:9;—and, lastly, special prominence is given to the fact that not a few of the most honorable women believed; not that a higher value is put upon their souls on account of their rank, but they had more opposition to overcome than others. It is moreover implied in the exhortations of 1 Thessalonians 4:6-11 that the majority of the converts consisted of tradesmen and mechanics. All these by God’s appointment fell to the Apostle’s share,7 after he had preached in the synagogue only three sabbaths, though no doubt he did so in the intervals also, as his custom was, to wit, within doors while working with his hands (1 Thessalonians 2:9). But that he still labored on in the young separated church for some time after the three sabbaths is improbable (against Wieseler, Chronol. des apost. Zeitalters, p. 40; and others8); for the Apostolic History, without giving the least hint (as in Acts 18:7; Acts 19:9) of such a continuance of labor, connects immediately with the mention of the three sabbaths the account of the uproar that drove the Apostle away. Again, that the Apostle worked at his trade proves nothing for a longer stay; and quite as little does the statement (Philippians 4:16), that the Philippians had sent him presents once and again to Thessalonica. It may even be questioned whether Paul here refers to his first residence in Thessalonica; but even so, the two communications may have followed quickly one on the other.
Thus within scarcely three weeks9 was formed a numerous and flourishing congregation. The time, indeed, was fully occupied, the people in a susceptible state of mind, and Paul fervent in spirit, as also the Epistles show; but the phenomenon is still an extraordinary one, and Paul himself holds it up as such.
The powerful movement was met by a powerful hostility. The unbelieving Jews knew how to use idle people in stirring up a tumult. The Apostle himself they did not find, but his host Jason and some other Christians they dragged before the Præfectus urbis on a charge slanderous, but crafty, and adapted to Roman ears. These seditious men, they said, who had agitated the whole orbis Romanus, incited to revolt against the Emperor by proclaiming Jesus as king. Just at that time the Jews (assidue tumultuantes, Sueton.) had been expelled from Rome by Claudius (Acts 18:2), and found themselves everywhere jealously watched as disturbers of the peace. How gladly did they now seize on the pretext, for the sake of clearing themselves, and fastening an effective calumny on those they hated! The reproach that is cast at us lights only on them. So they feigned loyalty, and betrayed their dearest religious hopes to the princes of worldly empire; precisely like the accusers of Jesus before Pilate (Luke 23:2; John 19:12 sqq.). The Apostle is struck by the resemblance, 1 Thessalonians 2:14 sqq. It is commonly supposed that the peculiar emphasis laid by Paul in his preaching on the βασιλεία θεοῦ (1 Thessalonians 1:10, and elsewhere)10 had given occasion to this perversion. But it is no less true that the wickedness of the Jews, of which he had already had manifold experience, impelled the Apostle, as being itself a momentous sign of the time, to proclaim the nearness of the judgment. That Israel is filling up the measure of his obduracy, is an idea with which he is fully impressed. Therefore does he proclaim the coming of the Lord, but, of course, in a manner remote from all political offence. The Roman magistracy is spiritually incapable of investigating the matter; the people are alarmed by fears about the uproar and Roman vengeance; but the course of the authorities is moderate. They take security that no disturbances are meditated; and Paul, to spare the young church a renewal of the storm, withdraws to Berœa. From this place, which lay not two days’ journey to the south-west, he might still work in the direction of Thessalonica. But the Jews of this city showed themselves to be peculiarly implacable adversaries (as Saul had been before the day of Damascus). They drove him also from Berœa, and he, leaving behind his two attendants, set off for Athens.
The Apostolic History makes no mention at all of Timothy as having come to Paul at Athens, and as having been sent from there to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2), but only that he came again to him from Macedonia, Acts 18:5; comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:6. Where Paul was at that time, the Epistle does not tell us. According to the Acts, the meeting took place at Corinth, and indeed along with Timothy Silas also came from Macedonia. And so it appears likewise from 1 Thessalonians 1:1, that both of his assistants were with the Apostle when he wrote the letter. As to whether and how the accounts from these two sources may be more closely adjusted, see the note on 1 Thessalonians 3:0 On the whole it is evident that, while independent of one another, they agree well together.
§ 2. PLACE, TIME, AND OCCASION OF WRITING
From what was last mentioned we may gather that the subscription in old manuscripts: “Written from Athens,” is not only (as are all these subscriptions) spurious, but also incorrect. It arose probably as a hasty inference from 1 Thessalonians 3:1, as if the place where Paul wrote must have been the same as that from which he sent Timothy. In Corinth rather was our Epistle written, and indeed at the time when Paul was commencing his labors in that city; not very long after the conversion of the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:9); immediately after Timothy’s return to Paul (1 Thessalonians 3:6, ἄρτι); consequently in the year 5311 (prior to 54 when Claudius died, comp. Acts 18:2; and see Wieseler, Chronol. des ap. Zeitalters, p. 253). Such is also the old and generally received opinion. That in favor of its later composition (Wurm: at the date of Acts 18:22; Schrader: at that of Acts 20:2; Köhler, on account of 1 Thessalonians 2:14 sqq.: not till the time of the Jewish war, later than Acts 28:0) rests on untenable grounds. The mention of presidents (1 Thessalonians 5:12)—and that without any official title—does not disprove the recent establishment of the church. Though at a later period, when a selection could be made, no novices were chosen (1 Timothy 3:6), yet Acts 14:23 shows that Paul left no church without presidents. Further on we shall meet with still other considerations that are supposed to support a later composition, and shall find them equally invalid.
But what it was that prompted the Apostle to write is easily explained from the condition of the church. The faithful pastor could not but be deeply concerned about it. He knew that quick conversion is not experience and confirmation. Except where circumstances prevented, he always spent considerable time on the firm settlement of a church (Acts 18:11; Acts 18:18; Acts 19:8; Acts 19:10). But driven as he had been so soon from Thessalonica by violence, he sought from a distance to provide against the noble church being again torn from him by persecution or seduction (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Twice he sought to return in person (1 Thessalonians 2:18); once perhaps from Berœa. And when this, probably on account of the threatening malice of his enemies, could not be accomplished (Satan hindered us, he says), he sent Timothy in his stead (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Nor was this any light task for his still youthful associate, who seems, indeed, thus far to have less attracted the enemies’ notice. Through the reports of Timothy the Apostle was greatly rejoiced (1 Thessalonians 3:6 sqq.); he was able to thank God that under all persecutions (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14 sqq.; 1 Thessalonians 3:3) they were steadfast in the faith, an example to all (1 Thessalonians 1:7) in brotherly love (1 Thessalonians 4:9), and in the Christian walk generally (1 Thessalonians 4:1 sqq.). Still his longing to be able to visit them himself is not at all abated (1 Thessalonians 3:10 sqq.); rather it was just what he had learned through Timothy that induces him in the mean time to commune with them at least by letter. He will thereby yet further strengthen what Timothy has wrought, draw ever tighter the bond between himsel and te church, and by his exhortation supply what he had observed to be wanting in them. As the readers of the Epistle are there represented, they appear to us throughout standing in the freshness of their faith and first love, hut yet as beginners, in need of establishment; troubled, on the one hand, by a want of clear apprehension, and in danger, on the other, from the terrors of persecution and the power of delusion. The Apostle, however, treats them with a noble tenderness, without expressing distrust on account of their inexperience, and knows how to combine in the wisest way encouragement with admonition.
§ 3. GENUINENESS OF THE EPISTLE
What Olshausen wrote as early as 1840 about the First Epistle to the Thessalonians being one of the few New Testament Epistles, that have had the good fortune to be attached neither formerly nor in recent times, was not quite correct even then. For already in 1835 had Baur (die Pastoralbriefe) and in 1836 Schrader (der Apostel Paulus) brought forward at least suspicions against its genuineness. Since then Baur (Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi, 1845, p. 480; with corroborations in theol. Jahrbb., 1855, II.) has decided against the authenticity not only of the Second, but also of the First Epistle; not, however, that this was any misfortune for it; for the result can only be the recognition so much the more thorough of its peculiar character and high value.
The evidence of antiquity for our Epistle is neither stronger nor weaker than it is, e.g., for the Epistle to the Galatians, and the so-called internal grounds are all that Baur urges against it. He finds the contents unimportant; there is an utter lack of special interest, of precise motive; mere general exhortations, instructions, wishes, which in other Epistles occur incidentally, are here the main thing. Besides, the Epistle shows itself to be dependent on the book of Acts and on other Epistles; especially do we meet with many things to remind us of the Epistles to the Corinthians. The very detailed statement of the conversion of the Thessalonians appears to be altogether aimless; why write to a church everything that it knows from its own experience? Moreover, it is assumed that the church has not been long in existence, and yet it is asserted that in every place it is commended as an example of faith (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8); that it has already shown its brotherly love to the brethren in all Macedonia (1 Thessalonians 4:10); that withal there is already imminent danger of the prevalence of an idling disposition (1 Thessalonians 4:11); and already has Paul once and again desired to return to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:17 sq.). That the Epistle speaks of the coming of the Lord in a very familiar way, Baur is compelled to allow; essentially as 1 Corinthians 15:0; and then again, he thinks, quite otherwise, far more in the style of the Jewish Rabbis than in that place. So also the way in which it speaks of the sufferings of the Jewish Christians, and already takes for granted the destruction of Jerusalem (1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:16), is quite unpauline; and equally so 1 Thessalonians 5:27.
Baur’s attack has met with nothing but contradiction: from Koch (1848), then especially from Lünemann (1850–59), from Wilib. Grimm (Stud, und Krit., 1850, iv.), Lange (das ap. Zeitalter, 1:108; 1853), Reuss (Gesch. der heil. Schriften des Neuen Testam., 2d ed., 1853; 3d ed., 1860. “The suspicion appears to be arbitrary, got up to favor a historical system.”), Guerike (Isagogik, 2d ed., 1854), Lipsius (who indeed sets up untenable fictions of his own, Stud, und Krit., 1854, IV.; against him Lünemann and others), Hofmann (die heil. Schrift Neuen Testaments, I. 270; 1862), Bleek (Einleitung in’s Neue Testament, 1862), and even (as regards the First Epistle) from Hilgenfeld (Zeitschrift für Wissensch. Theologie), 1862, III.
That the contents of the Epistle are unimportant can be affirmed by Baur only from his having an eye exclusively for abstract ideas, and not for living personal interests. He partly contradicts himself, when in the section on the Parousia he finds the (solitary) dogmatic idea that had led to the composition of the Epistle. At the same time, on the affinity and the difference of this idea, compared with the teaching of the Apostle elsewhere, he decides just as he does on the questions of style. “When a resemblance presents itself, it must be a servile imitation; but let a peculiar thought or an original application occur, then it is said: That is unpauline. In truth, the points of agreement with other Epistles are not more marked than, for example, between the Epistle to the Romans and that to the Galatians, and in every instance the word suits the connection. On the other hand, what there is of peculiar is by no means unapostolic. The exposition will have to show how very Pauline the whole is, even to the niceties of thought and style.
On the whole, it must be said that Baur even precludes himself from understanding the Epistle. What he urges with most plausibility is, the features that seem to be inconsistent with the composition of the Epistle soon after the establishment of the church. But if we reckon the Apostle’s ministry in Berœa, in Athens, and now also in Corinth at about half a year, and represent to ourselves, moreover, the unusually striking character of the conversion that had here taken place, we perceive that a speedy and widespread propagation of the important news is fully explained; and nowhere more easily than at a maritime emporium, like Corinth, might people come from all sides to whom Paul had no need to tell the story of Thessalonica, as the report thereof had already reached them. As to Paul’s having by this time desired once and again to visit Thessalonica, on that point after what was said before not another word need be wasted. That the church should already have shown its brotherly love towards the Christians in Macedonia, and that, on the contrary, there were faults to be censured, such as a fanatical indolence, how long time after its establishment was required for that? Indeed, of the latter fact it is to be said, that it is more easily accounted for at the beginning, immediately after the conversion, than subsequently at a time of quiet composure.
Still more is that the case in regard to the doctrine of the resurrection. To be sure, Baur thinks that the anxiety about the Christians who had fallen asleep cannot be conceived as existing only a few months after the founding of the church, but rather implies that nearly a generation of Christians had already died. But could there not be anxiety as to the fate of the departed, though there were but a few of them? some perhaps martyrs? or even though none had died? if only, in the time of persecution, the nearness of death stood more than usually threatening before the eyes of all? Nay, must we not ask in turn: Supposing that the Epistle were spurious, not written till a lifetime after the founding of the church, at a period also when the clear apostolic instruction had long been everywhere spread abroad, what forger would still have invented even then such a case of dark apprehension, as that the dead might fare worse than those who should survive till the Coming? But this apprehension might easily arise among novices, who had enjoyed the apostolic instruction for only three weeks. Not less are we justified in asking: What forger would have allowed the Apostle, a lifetime after Paul’s death, to write about the hope that he himself might survive till the Coming (1 Thessalonians 4:17)? As composed in the beginning and by Paul himself, the whole is intelligible; as a fiction of a late date, the whole becomes incomprehensible.
That holds good also in a particular relation. Baur finds something at variance with the Apostle’s manner, in the way in which the author sets up the Jewish Christians as a model, and assails the Jews without. He is able to recognize him only when he is contending with the Jewish Christians. But the real Apostle informs us how the churches in Judea rejoiced in his ministry (Galatians 1:22 sqq.), and at a much later date he makes collections for the saints in Jerusalem. On the other hand, he suffered not only from the false brethren, but expressly also from the Jews (2 Corinthians 11:24-26). And that is what we meet with in Thessalonica; not yet, as afterwards in many places, a Judaistic strife within the church, but, suitably to the earlier period, an attack from without by altogether unbelieving Jews. There is no ground for the idea of Lipsius, that the Apostle is trying beforehand (1 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6) to avert Judaistic aspersions; it was rather unbelieving Jews that slandered the Apostles as agitators, and as persons who flattered the people from motives of ambition and greed. The Romans would not of themselves have thought thus early of regarding the gospel as dangerous to the state; their moderate course even shows, that they laid no great stress on the slander itself. Those who got it up were Jews. That Jews perceived sooner than the heathen the power of the gospel to transform the World, is what was to be expected; that they raised the charge of a revolutionary movement, is the lie of their passionate hatred. Therefore also does the Apostle pronounce on them a severe, but well-merited, judgment (1 Thessalonians 2:14 sqq.). They have killed their Messiah, as formerly their old prophets; the followers of the Messiah in Judea they have persecuted, and now also they have driven out us Apostles; from Thessalonica last of all, hut on previous occasions also (comp. Acts 9:23; Acts 9:29; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:19). The aorist cannot hinder us from referring the statement to the whole of the persecution of the Apostle, which is thus taken together as one act; and so likewise in the case of the prophets. But in this way, says the Apostle, they fill up the measure of their ungodly and misanthropic temper. It is not simply the odium generis humani, in the sense of a Tacitus, that he upbraids them with, but that they are contrary to men, in that they will not suffer the word of salvation to be spoken to the Gentiles, So now the wrath is come upon them, ready for the final burst. Does not the Apostle here speak quite like a prophet of God, just as in Romans 9:0?
And to what now does the whole amount? What of the detailed recital of things that the Thessalonians knew by their own experience? In this De Wette also sees nothing but a gushing of the heart, and thinks that only in the exhortations and instructions (chh. 4 and 5) are we to seek for the object of the Epistle. We hold, on the contrary, that to describe the first three chapters as aimless is nothing else but to confess that one does not yet understand the Epistle; whereas thoroughly to understand it will be the best vindication of its genuineness.
§ 4. COURSE OF THOUGHT AND IMPORTANCE OF THE EPISTLE
The very simple course of thought in the Epistle is as follows: After the salutation 1 Thessalonians 1:1 comes the
first part, 1 Thessalonians 1:2 to 1 Thessalonians 3:13, personal and historical.
I. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 to 1 Thessalonians 2:16. Paul signifies to the Thessalonians the genuineness of his preaching and of their faith.
1) 1 Thessalonians 1:2-7. He begins with thanksgiving for the state of the church. He is sure of their Divine election. How? Because of the peculiar joyousness and power of his preaching, that had there been granted to him and his companions, and because of the unreserved readiness with which they received the word. The extraordinary result is for him an ever memorable work of God.
2) 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10. Others also far and wide have been struck both with the agency of the Apostle and the conversion of the Thessalonians.
So should the Thessalonians likewise be ever mindful not to allow themselves to be withdrawn from the ground of their former experience. To recall afresh and explain what they had gone through ought to retain them in this position.
Once more, and with yet greater exactness, he reviews both sides of their experience:
3) a. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. The conduct of the Apostles, when, coming from their recent ill treatment at Philippi, they had so joyfully proclaimed the gospel, free from all deceit, impurity, and selfishness. By this too he would establish them—arm them, that is, against all insinuations that might possibly have staggered them. Let Jewish calumny charge us with what it will, and let Gentile adversaries repeat it, in order to turn you away from us; you know that your experience of us has been different. And so he
b. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16, bears testimony to their hearty faith, through which they had willingly endured all opposition; they have thereby (they first from among the Gentiles) entered into the noble fellowship of the oldest churches persecuted for the gospel’s sake; but the instigators of the hostility will be overtaken by the judgment.
It tends mightily to strengthen them, when he interprets to them their experience, and opens to them a clear insight into the state of the times. But that they may understand how that even after his expulsion he had by no means unfeelingly abandoned them, he informs them
II. Ch, 1 Thessalonians 2:17 to 1 Thessalonians 3:13, what he had done for them since his departure;
1) 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20, how he had once and again desired to come to them;
2) 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5, how he had sent Timothy in his stead, and so for their sakes had deprived himself of his attendance;
3) 1 Thessalonians 3:6-13, how he is now full of thankful joy over his report; yet he intimates at the same time, that he might nevertheless still supply something lacking in them. Since he cannot at present accomplish this in person, he therefore does it at once by letter, and so follows the
SECOND PART, CH 4 AND 5, DIDACTIC AND HORTATORY.
The warnings that meet us here have reference, first of all, to sins to which the temptation must have been peculiarly great in a Gentile city of maritime trade. Farther on, the instructions and exhortations respect merely such manifestations as could not but occur in a young and unsettled church—cases of indistinctness and excitement in doctrine and life; to this belongs as well the fanatical indolence as the setting aside of ordinary occupations. In particular, we find
1) 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, a warning against fornication and covetousness;
2) 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, an incitement to growth in brotherly love, and, that love be not prejudiced, to quiet and sober industry;
3) 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11, instruction and exhortation respecting the coming of the Lord;
a. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, they who have fallen asleep will rise again, and so at the lord’s advent will suffer no loss;
b. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, but when He will come, we know not; let your walk, therefore, be at all times watchful and sober. Then come
4) 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24, the closing exhortations: to honor their presidents, to live in peace, to keep themselves free from all bitterness against persecutors, to unite vivacity with sobriety of spirit. The whole concludes
5) 1 Thessalonians 5:25-28, with the salutation and benediction.
Thus the Epistle is throughout adapted to the need of the church—an exceedingly significant example of fatherly loving care of a church still in its infancy. And this is just the earliest or the Apostle’s letters that have been preserved to us.
It was natural that in the Epistle to the Galatians, whose life of faith was threatened by false doctrine, Paul should have had to let his dialectics act in a quite different fashion. It was natural that the spiritual life of the Corinthians, much more richly developed, but distracted also by internal division, should have demanded from the Apostle work of more varied thought. In the Epistle to the Colossians also he has to do with an adulteration of the Gospel, and one indeed more refined. If the Epistle to the Romans marks the highest achievement of the apostolic thought, and that to the Ephesians the mightiest prophetic flight of his spirit, the one that comes nearest to our Epistle in tone and style is that to the Philippians. And this is readily understood; for the two Macedonian churches, less conspicuous for a high display of the charisms, than for the inner life of faith and love, gave the heart of the Apostle for that very reason the most untroubled joy. But such is the rich fulness of his apostolic spirit, that he was able to be to all his churches all that they required.
Of the style of our Epistle Bengel says: Habet hæc epistola meram quandam dulcedinem, quæ lectori dulcibus affectibus non assueto minus sapit quam ceteræ, severitate quadam palatum stringentes.
§ 5. LITERATURE
Of the older literature a detailed estimate is given by Pelt. We name Chrysostom and Theophylact; Zwingli, Calvin and Beza; Grotius; Bengel; Olshausen, De Wette, Ewald (die Send-schreiben des Apostels Paulus, 1857); Pelt (Gryphiswaldiæ, 1830); Schott (Lipsiæ, 1834); Koch. (1848; with a new title, 1855); Lünemann (as part of Meyer’s Handbuch, 1850; 2d ed., 1859); Hofmann (die heilige Schrift Neuen Testaments, I., 1862).
Practical Expositors: Heinr. Stähelin, das Neue Testament; M. F. Roos, Kurtze Auslegung (1786) C. H. Rieger, Betrachtungen über das Neue Testament; Von Gerlach; Heubner; Diedrich, die Briefe St. Pauli an die Epheser, Philipper, Kolosser und Thessalonicher (1858).
[Besides these works, and the commentaries on the whole Bible, or on the New Testament, referred to in Poli Synopsis, or in the General Introduction to the Holy Scriptures in Lange’s Matthew, ed Schaff, p. 19, the student of the Epistles to the Thessalonians may consult the following:—Faber Stapulensis, Epistolæ Pauli cum commentariis, Paris, 1517; Musculus, In, Pauli Epistolas aa Philipp. etc. commentarii, Leipzig, 1565; Wells, Help for the more clear and easy understanding of the Holy Scriptures, London, 1709–28 (in this work are anticipated very many of the best results of the modern textual criticism); Turretine, Commentarius in Epp. ad Thess, Basel, 1739; Guyse, Practical Expositor, London, 1739–52; Benson, Paraphrase and Notes on Six of the Epp. of St. Paul, 2d ed., London, 1752; Wesley, Notes, &c, Bristol, 1764; Pyle, Paraphrase on the Acts and the Epp., vol. ii., London, 1765; Baumgarten, Auslegung der Briefe Pauli, Halle, 1767; Moldenhauer, Gründliche Erläuterung der heiligen Bücher neues Test., vol. iii., Leipzig, 1768; J. D. Michaelis, Paraphrasis u. Anmerkungen uber die Briefe Pauli an die Gal., &c, 2d ed., Bremen and Göttingen, 1769; Krause, Die Briefe an die Phil. u. Thess., Frankfurt, 1790; Macknight, on the Epistles, Edinburgh, 1795; Coke, Commentary on the N. T., London, 1803; Koppe, Nov. Test, ed. Tychsen, Göttingen, 1823; Flatt, Vorlesungen über die Briefe Pauli, Tübingen, 1829; Trollope, Analecta Theologica, London, 1842; Peile, Annotations on the Apostolical Epp., vol. iii., London, 1851; Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epp. of St. Paul, London, 1853; Jowett, The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thess., Gal., Rom.; with Critical Notes and Dissertations; London, 1855, 1859 (the references are to the former edition); Lillie, Revised Version, with Notes, of the Epp. of Paul to the Thess., published by the American Bible Union,12 New York, 1856, and London, 1858 (containing a very extensive and minute comparative view—on all moot points bearing on the translation—of critical editions, versions, and commentaries.13 This work, and my similar one on the closing books of the Canon, II. Pet. Revelation, are here cited under the title of Revision.); also my Lectures on the same Epp., New York, 1860 (referred to under the title, Lectures); Ellicott, Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paul’s Epp. to the Thess., London, 1858, and Andover, 1864; Vaughan, The Epp. of St. Paul for English Readers, London, 1864 (No. I., which is all that I have seen, contains the First Ep. to the Thess.).—J. L.]
[N. B. For the sake of readier distinction, the small-print notes immediately following the translation will be referred to as Critical; the first division of the Commentary, simply as Exegetical.—J. L]
[Distinguished in the original by brackets, and here by also appending the name of the writer.—J. L.]
The late Dr. Lillie was a Scotchman by birth and education. All the other translators are Americans.
Also the First Epistle of Peter and the Epistle of James; but these were never printed.
[Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, c. ix.: “The heroic age of Thessalonioa was the third century. It was the bulwark of Constantinople in the shock of the barbarians; and it held up the torch of the truth to the successive tribes who overspread the country between the Danube and the Ægean,—the Goths and the Sclaves, the Bulgarians of the Greek Church, and the Wallachians, whose language still seems to connect them with Philippi and the Roman colonies. Thus, in the mediæval chroniclers, it has deserved the name of ‘the Orthodox City.’ ”—J. L.]
[Or possibly the third. It is not improbable that the church at Rome, as well as that of Philippi, preceded it.—J. L.]
[That is not equally certain. Only Paul and Silas are mentioned at the departure from Philippi, and during the stay at Thessalonica. Timothy may for some reason have been left behind at the former place, as he was afterwards at Berœa. Or the omission of his name may be accounted for as in Doctrinal Note 2 on 1 Thessalonians 3:2.—J. L.]
[“Fielen dem Apostel von Gott als sein Loos zu;”—so the author would give the peculiar force of προσεκληρώθησαν, Acts 17:4.—J. L.]
[Including Benson, Paley, Davidson, Conybeare and Howson, &c.—J. L.]
[Alford: “We are hardly justified in assuming, with Jowett, that it was only three weeks. For ‘three Sabbaths’, even if they mark the whole stay, may designate four weeks: and we are not compelled to infer that a Sabbath may not have passed at the beginning, or the end, or both, on which he did not preach in the synagogue.”—J. L.]
[This idea is favored also by the special charge urged at Thessalonica against the preachers, to wit, that they were revolutionary propagandists, “doing contrary to the decrees of Cæsar, saying, that there is another king, Jesus, Acts 17:7.—J. L.]
[Schaff dates both Epistles in 53; Conybeare, Alford, and Ellicott, in 52–58; Lünemann, in 53–54; Lange about 54–55—J. L.]
[To the officers of the Bible Union I beg leave here to express my sense of obligation for the kind courtesy with which they admitted me to the free use of their excellent library.—J. L.]
[In the following pages the Editor has paid special attention, in the exegetical department, to the latest representatives of English scholarship—Jowett, Alford (4th ed., 1865), Wordsworth (4th ed., 1866), Ellicott, Webster, and Wilkinson.—J. L.]
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29