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Bible Commentaries
1 Thessalonians 2

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

Was not in vain [ου κενη γεγονεν] . More accurately, hath not proved vain. Kenh is empty. Mataia, also rendered vain, is fruitless.

Verse 2

Having suffered before [προπαθοντες] . N. T. o. Although we had suffered.

Having been shamefully entreated [υβρισθεντες] . Comp. Matthew 22:32; Acts 14:5. This may have been added because propaqontev alone might denote the experience of something good; but it is more probably intended as an expansion and illustration of that word. Paul 's sensitiveness to personal indignity appears in the narrative in Acts 16:0, which gives the historical explanation of the two words. It appears frequently in 2nd Corinthians.

As ye know [καθως οιδατε] . One of the many characteristic expressions of these Epistles which indicate community of experience and sentiment on the part of Paul and his readers. See 1 Thessalonians 1:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 1 Thessalonians 2:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:4, 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 4:1 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:2. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 2 Thessalonians 3:6 Philippi. See Acts 16:19-40; Philippians 1:30.

We waxed bold [επαρρησιασαμεθα] . Only once elsewhere in Paul, Ephesians 6:20. Frequent in Acts. Always in N. T. in connection with speaking. Derived from pan every, and rJhsiv speaking. Hence parrhsia boldness, bold speaking out of every word. The noun is very often used adverbially, as parrhsia boldly or openly, Mark 8:32; see also John 18:20. In Acts always meta parrhsiav with boldness, comp. Hebrews 4:16. En parrhsia in boldness, John 7:4; John 16:29; Ephesians 6:19; Philippians 1:20. Both the verb and the noun are found in LXX See Leviticus 26:13; Proverbs 10:10; Wisd. 5 1; 1 Macc. 4 18; Sir. 6 11. In our God [εν τω θεω ημων] . Const. with we waxed bold. Their boldness was not mere natural courage, but was inspired by God. There is a slight emphasis on our God, as contrasted with the idols from which they had turned (ch 1 Thessalonians 1:9). The phrase only here in N. T.

Gospel of God (eujaggelion tou Qeou). For the phrase see Mk. i. 14; Romans 1:1; Romans 14:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:8, 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Peter 4:17. It points to the monotheistic character of the gospel.

In much contention [εν πολλω αγωνι] . Better conflict. Comp. Colossians 2:1; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 12:1. Agwn originally of a contest in the arena; but it is used of any struggle, outward or inward.

Verse 3

Exhortation [παρακλησις] . See on Luke 6:24 and 1 Corinthians 14:3. Exhortation or counsel is Paul 's usual sense.

Of deceit [εκ πλανης] . Better, of error. It may imply deceit as accompanying or causing error, but it does not occur in the sense of deceit. Our exhortation did not proceed from any false teaching which we had ourselves received. We were guided by " the spirit of truth "; See 1 John 4:6, and comp. 2 Peter 1:16.

Of uncleanness [εξ ακαθαρσιας] . " Akaqarsia in Matthew 23:27 of the corruption of the sepulchre. Elsewhere in N. T. of sensual impurity. See Romans 1:24; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19. Here in the sense of impurity on the side of sordidness. 17 In Ephesians 4:19, Paul speaks of working uncleanness [ακαθαρσιαν] in a spirit of selfish desire [πλεονεξια] which is the spirit of covetousness. In Ephesians 5:3, uncleanness and covetousness are closely associated. Paul means that his exhortation did not proceed from greed for gain or lust for power.

In guile [εν δολω] . While uncleanness expresses impure purpose or motive, guile has reference to improper means; plausible but insincere methods of winning converts; suppression of the truth; "huckstering the word of God" (see on 2 Corinthians 2:17); adulterating it for purposes of gain or popularity.

Verse 4

We were allowed [δεδοκιμασμεθα] . More correctly, approved. See on 1 Peter 1:7. We came and spoke to you as tested men.

Pleasing [αρεσκοντες] . As being those who seek to please. Comp. Galatians 1:10, and ajnqrwpareskoi man - pleasers, Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:22. Comp. LXX, Psalms 52:5 : "God hath scattered the bones of men - pleasers." The fourth Psalm of Solomon is entitled : Against the men - pleasers [ανθρωπαρεσκοις] .

Who proveth [δοκιμαζοντι] . Word - play with dedokimasmeqa we were approved.

Verse 5

Used we flattering words [εν λογω κολακιας εγενηθημεν] . Better, were we found using flattering discourse. Very literally and baldly it is, we came to pass in discourse of flattery. It means more than the mere fact that they were not flatterers : rather, they did not prove to be such in the course of their work. Similar periphrases with ejn are found, Luke 22:44; Acts 22:17; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Philippians 2:7; with eijv, Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:5. Kolakia flattery, N. T. o. o LXX Rare in Class. Logw is explained by some as report or rumor. Common report did not charge us with being flatterers. This meaning is admissible, but the other is simpler. Paul says that they had not descended to flattery in order to make the gospel acceptable. They had not flattered men's self - complacency so as to blind them to their need of the radical work which the gospel demands.

Cloke of covetousness [προφασει πλεονεξιας] . For profasiv see on John 14:22. Properly pretext : pro before, fasiv a word or saying. Others, less probably, from profainein to cause to shine forth or before. Paul means that he had not used his apostolic office to disguise or conceal avaricious designs.

God is witness [θεος μαρτυς] . Comp. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:23; Philippians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:10. God or the Lord is witness is a common O. T. formula : see Genesis 31:44, Genesis 31:50; 1 Samuel 12:5, 1 Samuel 12:6; 1 Samuel 20:23, 1 Samuel 20:42; Wisd. 1 6. For testimony to his conduct, he appeals to the Thessalonians (as ye know) : for testimony to his motives, he appeals to God. Comp. ver. 10, where there is the double appeal.

Verse 6

Of men [εξ ανθρωπων] . To extract glory from men.

When we might have been burdensome [δυναμενοι εν βαρει ειναι] . Lit. being able to be in weight. The phrase ejn barei in weight is unique in N. T., and does not occur in LXX The better rendering here is to be in authority. Paul means that his position as an apostle would have warranted him in asserting authority or standing on his dignity, which he did not do. Barov weight, in the sense of influence, is found in late Greek. Paul 's Epistles were called weighty [βαρειαι] , 2 Corinthians 10:10 : others explain as referring to the apostolic right to exact pecuniary support. 18

Verse 7

Gentle [ηπιοι] . This reading is adopted b; y Tischendorf, Weiss, and the Rev. T. Westcott and Hort read nh. pioi babes. This gives a stronger and bolder image, and one which falls in better with the course of thought, in which Paul is asserting his innocence of guile and flattery, and not of harshness.

Among you [εν μεσω υμων] . Better, and more literally, in the midst of you, which implies more intimate intercourse than among you. Comp. Luke 22:27.

Nurse [τροφος] . N. T. o. In Class. sometimes of a mother, and so probably here. See Galatians 4:19.

Cherisheth [θαλπη] . P o. Here and Ephesians 5:29. The verb originally means to warm. See LXX, Deuteronomy 22:6.

Her own children. Note the inversion of metaphor. Paul is first the babe, then the nurse or mother. For similar instances see ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Corinthians 3:13-16; Romans 7:1 ff. See Introduction to 2 Corinthians, Vol. 3, p. 19

Verse 8

Being affectionately desirous [ομειρομενοι] . N. T. o. Once in LXX, Job 3:21. The figure of the nursing mother is continued. She is not satisfied with nursing the child, but interests herself affectionately in all that concerns it.

We were willing [ηυδοκουμεν] . Better, we were pleased. Imperfect tense : we continued to entertain and manifest our affectionate solicitude. The verb occasionally in later Greek, and often in LXX In N. T. it is used of God 's decrees, as Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15; Colossians 1:19; and of the free determination and plans of men, as Romans 14:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:1.

Souls [ψυχας] . Better lives. See on Romans 11:3; 1 Corinthians 14:45; Mark 12:30.

Verse 9

Labor - travail [κοπον - μοχθον] . The two words are associated in 2 Corinthians 11:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:8. Mocqov travail, P o. Frequent in LXX Kopov emphasises fatigue, mocqov hardship.

Because we would not be chargeable [προς το μη επιβαρησαι] .

Incorrect. Rend. that we might not burden. Put you to expense for our support. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:8.

Verse 10

Holily - justly - unblameably [οσιως - δικαιως - αμεμπτως] . For dikaiwv holily, see on Luke 1:75; for dikaiwv justly or righteously, on Romans 1:17; Romans 5:7. Amemptwv unblameably, only in these Epistles. See ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23. For the distinction between osiov and dikaiov see Plato, Gorg. 507.

Verse 11

Comforted [παραμυθουμενοι] . The A. V. renders the three participles in this verse as finite verbs, we exhorted, etc. Rev. retains the participial construction. Better than comforted, persuading. Persuasion is the form which the exhortation assumed. Paraklhsiv exhortation, and paramuqiou persuasion, are associated in Philippians 2:1. The verb paramuqeomai, to persuade occurs only four times in N. T. See on Philippians 2:1. Neither verb nor noun in LXX

Charged [μαρτυρομενοι] . Rev. testifying; but the A. V. is more correct. Rend. charging. The verb means to conjure, or appeal to by something sacred. So Ephesians 4:17. Comp. Acts 20:26; Galatians 5:3, and diamarturomai I charge, 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1. Comp. Thucyd. 6 80.

Verse 12

Walk [περιπατειν] . By Paul exclusively in the metaphorical sense of behaving or conducting one's self. Similarly in Hebrews. In the Synoptic Gospels, with one exception (Mark 7:5), of the physical act. Both senses in the Fourth Gospel, but only the metaphorical sense in John's Epistles. Once in the metaphorical sense in Acts 21:21. In LXX almost exclusively literal; but see 2 Kings 20:23; Proverbs 8:20; Ecclesiastes 11:9. The phrase ajxiwv peripatein to walk worthily, in Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:10. Worthy of God [αξιως θεου] . Better worthily. For ajxiwv comp. LXX, Wisd. 7 15; 16 1; Sir. 14 11. The formula ajxiwv qeou is found among the Pergamum papyri. A priest of Dionysus is described as having performed his sacred duties ajxiwv qeou. A priestess of Athene as having served ajxiwv thv qeou kai thv patridov worthily of the goddess and of her fatherland. A chief herdsman as having conducted the divine mysteries. ajxiwv tou kaqhgemonov Dionusou worthily of his chief, Dionysus. The dates of these papyri are from 141 B. C. to the beginning of the first century A. D. 19 Kingdom and glory. The only instance of this collocation. God 's kingdom is here conceived as present - the economy of divine grace to which the readers are called as Christians. Glory is the future consummation of that kingdom. For basileia kingdom, see on Luke 6:20. Doxa glory is not used in N. T. in its primary, classical sense of opinion or notion. It signifies reputation, John 12:43; Romans 2:7, Romans 2:10 brightness or splendor, Acts 22:11; Romans 9:4; 1 Corinthians 14:40. Glory of God expresses the sum total of the divine perfections. The idea is prominent in redemptive revelation : see Isaiah 60:1; Romans 5:2; Romans 6:4. It expresses the form in which God reveals himself in the economy of salvation : see Romans 9:23; Ephesians 1:12; 1 Timothy 1:11. It is the means by which the redemptive work is carried on : see 2 Peter 1:3; Romans 6:4; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11. It is the goal of Christian hope : see Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18, Romans 8:21; Titus 2:13.

Verse 13

Also - we. Also may point to an expression of thanksgiving in a letter from the Thessalonians to Paul. You say "we give thanks to God." We also give thanks. Comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us [παραλαβοντες λογον ακοης παρ ημων του θεου] . Rend. when ye received the word of the message (which came) from us, even the word of God. The words the word of the message from us form one conception, governed by paralabontev having received or when ye received; therefore from us is not to be taken as depending on having received, as Rev. when ye received from us the word, etc. Of God (supply the word) is added in order to correct any possible false impression made by from us. Akoh in N. T. means the sense of hearing, as Matthew 13:14; 1 Corinthians 12:17; 2 Peter 2:8 : or the organ of hearing = ear, as Mark 7:35; Luke 7:1 : or a thing heard, a report, rumor, as John 12:38; Romans 10:16. The phrase logov ajkohv or thv ajkohv the word of hearing, or word of the message, signifies the word which is heard. Comp. Hebrews 4:2. See on the fame, Luke 4:37.

Effectually worketh [ενεργειται] . Referring to the word, not to God. Comp. Philippians 2:13. In the middle voice as here, used only by Paul and James, and only of things. See Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:29; James 5:16, and footnote on Colossians 1:29. The noun ejnergeia, P o. It means power in exercise, and is used only of superhuman power.

Verse 14

In Christ Jesus. Seems to be added to distinguish the Christian churches in Judaea from the synagogues of the Jews, which would claim to be churches of God. Comp. Galatians 1:22, and see on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:1. In Christ Jesus, in Christ, in Jesus, in the Lord, in him, are common Pauline formulas to denote the most intimate communion with the living Christ. These phrases are not found in the Synoptic Gospels. En ejmoi in me (Christ) is frequent in the Fourth Gospel. The conception is that of a sphere or environment in which a Christian or a church lives, as a bird in the air, or the roots of a tree in the soil. 20 Countrymen [συμφυλετων] . N. T. o. o LXX Not in pre - Christian Greek writers. Lit. belonging to the same tribe or clan. The reference is to the Gentile persecutors who were instigated by the Jews.

Verse 15

Persecuted [εκδιωξαντων] . Rev. more literally and correctly, drave out. The word only here, though it occurs as an alternative reading, Luke 11:49. Probably with special reference to his own expulsion from Thessalonica. Acts 17:5-10.

Contrary to all men. Tacitus (Hist. 5 5) describes the Jews as stubborn in their faith, prompt in kindly offices to each other, but bitterly hostile toward everybody else : Juvenal (Sat. 14 102 f.) says that they observe and respect whatever Moses has taught in his mystical volume; not to show the way except to one who practices the same rites, and to show the well only to the circumcised.

Verse 16

To speak - that they might be saved (lalhsai ina swqwsin). Not, to speak to the Gentiles in order that they might be saved, but to tell the Gentiles that they might be saved. Comp. 1 Corinthians 10:33.

To fill up [αναπληρωσαι] . The verb means the making up of what is lacking to perfect fulness; the filling of a partial void. Comp. Philippians 2:30. Once in LXX of filling up of sins, Genesis 14:16. Always blind and stubborn, the Jews filled up the measure of their sins by their treatment of Christ and his apostles.

Alway [παντοτε] . Emphatically placed at the end of the sentence. At all times - before Christ, in Christ 's time, now - the Jews by their resistance to the divine word fill up their 'sins.

Is come [εφθασεν] . The verb not frequent in N. T. and used mostly by Paul. See on 2 Corinthians 10:14, and comp. Romans 9:31; Philippians 3:16.

To the uttermost [εις τελος] . This is not the meaning of the phrase in N. T. It is to the end : see Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:13; Luke 18:5; John 13:1. The wrath of God had not come upon them to the uttermost. The meaning is that the divine wrath had reached the point where it passed into judgment.

Verse 17

Being taken from you [απορφανισθεντες] . N. T. o. o LXX Rev. better, being bereaved of you. From ojrfanov bereft. See Mark 12:40, John 14:18; James 1:27. The word suggests the intimate personal fellowship of the writer with his readers. The separation was like that between parents and children. Comp. vv. 7, 8.

For a short time [προς καιρον ωρας] . N. T. o. Lit. for the season of an hour. Comp. Lat. horae momentum. Stronger than the usual phrase prov wran for an hour : see 2 Corinthians 7:8; Galatians 2:5; Philippians 1:15. Comp. prov kairon for a season, Luke 8:13; 1 Corinthians 7:5. The more abundantly [περισσοτερως] . Rev. the more exceedingly. Paul uses this adverb very freely, and outside of his letters it appears only Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 13:19. He is much given to the use of comparatives, and sometimes heaps them together : see Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 1:23.

Verse 18

We would [ηθελησαμεν] . Implying more than a mere inclination or desire. It was our will to come. See on Matthew 1:19.

I Paul. Not implying any less desire on the part of his associates, but emphasising his own. See on the use of the epistolary plural, ch. 1 2. Satan [σατανας] . From the Aramaic Satana, adversary. In the canonical LXX the name appears only three times, 1 Kings 11:14, 1 Kings 11:23, 1 Kings 11:25, and in each case is applied to a man. In LXX diabolov is used, almost without exception, as the translation of the Hebrews Satan. Of 22 instances of diabolov only 9 are outside of the book of Job. From the more general conception of an adversary, there is, in the O. T., a gradual development toward that of an evil personality. For instance, in 2 Samuel 24:1, the numbering of the people is ascribed to the anger of the Lord. The later historian, in 1 Chronicles 21:1, ascribes the act to Satan. See also Job, Wisd. 2 24; Zechariah 2:1. The specialising of the conception was due, in part, to the contact of the Jews with the religions of Babylon and Persia. In N. T. Satan appears as the personal spirit of evil - the same who is called the devil, the wicked one, the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this world, the serpent, the God of this world, the tempter. He tempts to evil, opposes God 's work, inspires evil dispositions, torments God 's people. The word Satan occurs only once in the Fourth Gospel, not in the Epistles, but often in Revelation. Mark never uses diabolov, Matthew never Satan. Paul seldom diabolov, often Satan. Satan alone in Pastorals. Luke uses both. It is clear that Paul here as elsewhere employs the word in a personal sense; but any attempt to base the doctrine of a personal devil on this and similar passages is unsafe.

Hindered [ενεκοψεν] . See on 1 Peter 3:7.

Verse 19

Hope. Used of the object of hope, as Colossians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18.

Joy - crown [χαρα - στεφανος] . Comp. Philippians 4:1. The phrase crown of rejoicing or boasting, in Proverbs 16:31; Ezekiel 16:12; Ezekiel 23:42. Comp. Isaiah 61:3, stefanov kallouv crown of beauty, and Soph. Aj. 465. stef eujkleiav crown of renown. The Thessalonians were "a chaplet of victory of which Paul might justly make his boast in the day of the Lord" (Ellicott). For stefanov see on Revelation 4:4.

Coming [παρουσια] . See on Matthew 24:8, and on ejpifaneia appearing, 1 Timothy 6:14 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/1-thessalonians-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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