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Bible Commentaries
1 Thessalonians 1

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary

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A.M. 4058. A.D. 54.

The apostle, after the usual salutation of the Thessalonian Christians,

(1,) Blesses God for their faith, love, and patient hope, as evidences of their being the true disciples of Christ, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4 .

(2,) He describes the powerful effect which the gospel had had on their hearts and lives, converting them from idols to the service of the true and living God, and rendering them genuine followers of the apostles and of Christ himself, and ensamples to all the believers in those parts, 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10 .

Verse 1

1 Thessalonians 1:1. Paul, &c. In this epistle St. Paul neither uses the title of an apostle, nor any other, as writing to pious and simple-hearted men with the utmost familiarity; and Silvanus, (also called Silas,) and Timotheus St. Paul joins these two faithful fellow-labourers with himself in this epistle, because they had been with him at Thessalonica, and were well known to and much loved by the believers there; to the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father The one living and true God, in whom they have believed, whose children they are become, and whom they acknowledge and worship as their God and Father, thereby distinguishing themselves from the idolatrous heathen; and in the Lord Jesus Christ Whom they also believe in, adore, and serve, as the Son of the Father, and their Redeemer and Saviour, thereby distinguishing themselves from Jews. The expression also implies that they had union and communion with God and Christ.

Verses 2-4

1 Thessalonians 1:2-4. We give thanks, &c. From hence to 1 Thessalonians 3:13, we have the chief object of this epistle, which was to comfort, strengthen, and establish the Christians at Thessalonica, and induce them to persevere under all the discouragements which he, their apostle, or they themselves, might meet with. And in his entrance upon this design he gives vent to what lay most upon his heart, thanking God for their conversion from idolatry to Christianity amidst so many discouraging circumstances; and praying that they might continue in the faith they had embraced, in which he takes all occasions of speaking well of the Thessalonians, as indeed he does through all the epistle, in which there is a peculiar sweetness, unmixed with any sharpness or reproof; those evils which the apostle afterward reproved, having not yet crept into the churches: remembering without ceasing Or constantly in all our prayers; your work of faith Your active, ever-working faith; and labour of love Your love to God and man, which induces you to labour continually to promote the glory of God, and do good to the bodies or souls of men; and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ Your patience under all your persecutions and other sufferings, the fruit of that blessed hope of eternal life, which is grounded on the death and resurrection of Christ, and is wrought in you by his saving grace; in the sight of God, even our Father Whose eye is continually upon you, who observes, and will not fail to reward, the graces wrought in you by his blessed Spirit. Observe reader, all true faith in Christ, and the truths and promises of the gospel, works; all genuine love to God and man, labours; and the hope which is well grounded and lively, patiently bears all things. Knowing, brethren, beloved of God And of us his servants; your election Your being chosen to be God’s peculiar people, by these plain marks. Of predestination and election, see on Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:4-5.

Verse 5

1 Thessalonians 1:5. For our gospel The gospel which we preach, and which has been solemnly committed to our charge; came not unto you in word only You not only heard, understood, and assented to it as a revelation from God, and received thereby information concerning those spiritual and divine things of which you were before ignorant; but it came also in power Awakening your minds to a deep sense of the infinite importance, as well as certainty, of the discoveries it makes you, especially concerning the future and eternal state awaiting you, and your present fallen, sinful, and depraved condition; convincing your consciences of the number and greatness of your sins and follies, and your want of a Saviour from that state of ignorance and guilt, depravity, weakness, and misery, in which you saw yourselves to be involved; thus humbling you before a holy and just God, and bringing you to the footstool of his mercy in true repentance and godly sorrow, productive of fruits worthy of repentance. And in the Holy Ghost Bearing an outward testimony by various miraculous operations to the truth and importance of the gospel which we preach; and by his enlightening, quickening, and renewing influences on your souls, causing it to produce the fore-mentioned effects; and above all, inspiring you with living faith in Christ, and in the promises of God through him, and thereby revealing him to and in you the hope of glory; Galatians 1:16; Colossians 1:27; and at the same time creating you anew in Christ Jesus, and strengthening you with might in the inner man, (Ephesians 3:16,) that you might be able, as well as willing, to withstand all the subtlety, power, and malice of your spiritual enemies, and to do and suffer the whole will of God. And in much assurance Greek, εν πληροφορια πολλη , literally, in full assurance and much of it; not only begetting in you a full persuasion of the certain truth and infinite importance of the doctrines, precepts, promises, threatenings, and every part of the gospel declared to you, but of your personal interest in the privileges and blessings of it, and therefore of your present justification and acceptance with God, of your adoption into his family, regeneration by his grace, and title to his glory; and causing you to rejoice in expectation thereof, and that with a lively and joyful expectation, even with joy unspeakable and full of glory. So that both the full assurance of faith, and the full assurance of hope, accompanied with perfect love casting out fear, (all which graces are expressly mentioned by the apostles in their epistles, see Hebrews 6:11; Heb 10:22 ; 1 John 4:17:) are implied in the much assurance here spoken of. And these effects, if not the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, always more or less attend the faithful preaching of the true and genuine gospel of Christ; neither are some extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost always wholly withheld, where the gospel is preached with power, and preachers and hearers are alive to God. As ye know what mariner of men we were among you How we conducted ourselves, and with what zeal and diligence we exerted ourselves in order to your salvation; for your sakes Seeking your advantage, not our own.

Verses 6-10

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Ye became followers of us Obedient to our directions, and imitators of our example; and of the Lord also Both in the holiness of your lives, and in the courage and patience with which you endured those sufferings which lay in the way of your duty; having received the word When first preached to you; in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost That is, though attended with persecution, yet with joy, such as only the Holy Ghost could inspire you with. So that ye were ensamples Patterns to be imitated; to all that believe in Macedonia Chiefly in Philippi and Berea; and in the more distant province of Achaia Namely, to the Corinthian converts, who, hearing of their pious and virtuous conduct, were excited to emulation. The apostle mentions Macedonia and Achaia, because he had just been travelling through these parts before he came to Corinth, from whence, as has been observed in the preface, he wrote this epistle. For from you sounded forth the word of the Lord Was echoed, as it were, from you; not only in your own borders of Macedonia and Achaia With which you could easily have correspondence; but also in every place That is, far beyond these countries; your faith to God-ward The report of your embracing the gospel, and of consequence believing in the living and true God; is spread abroad Is become notorious; so that we need not to speak any thing Concerning it. The apostle does not mean that the Thessalonian brethren sent persons to preach the gospel in the countries here mentioned, but that their relinquishing idolatry had occasioned the preaching of the gospel at Thessalonica to be much talked of in these provinces, and in many other places. Grotius observes, that many of the Thessalonians being merchants, who travelled into foreign countries for the sake of commerce, the news of their fellow-citizens having renounced the worship of the heathen gods must have been spread abroad widely by their means, as the apostle here affirms. And as this was a very extraordinary event, it would naturally occasion much discourse among them to whom it was reported. For they themselves The faithful, wherever we come; show of us what manner of entering in, &c. Are able to give an account of the success of our ministry among you, and what entertainment it found with you; and how ye turned to God from idols

In the worship of which ye had been brought up; to serve the living and true God The epithet living is given to God to distinguish him from the heathen idols, which were destitute of life. And he is called the true God, in opposition to the fictitious deities worshipped by the heathens, who, though some of them may have formerly lived, or are now living, are not true gods; such as demons and the souls of men departed. And to wait for his Son from heaven To raise the dead and judge the world; whom he raised from the dead In proof of his future coming for these purposes. “Christ himself, on two different occasions, promised that he would return from heaven, Matthew 16:27; John 14:3. The angels, likewise, who attended at his ascension, foretold the same things, Acts 1:11. And as the great design of his return is to punish his enemies, and reward his faithful servants, his second coming was always a principal topic on which the apostles insisted in their discourses; consequently it was a principal article of the faith and hope of the first Christians, a frequent subject of their conversation, and a powerful source of consolation to them in all their afflictions and troubles. May it ever be the object of our faith and hope, and the source of our consolation, especially at death!” Macknight. Even Jesus, who delivered Greek, ρυομενον , rather, delivereth; us from the wrath to come He hath redeemed us once, he delivers us continually; and will deliver all that believe in him from the wrath, the eternal vengeance, which will then come upon the ungodly.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-thessalonians-1.html. 1857.
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