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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Thessalonians 2

 

 


Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 2

1 Thessalonians 2:2. προπαθόντες] Elz. has καὶ προπαθόντες. Against A B C D E F G L א, min. plur. vss. and Fathers. καί is a gloss for the sake of strengthening.—1 Thessalonians 2:3. Elz. has οὔτε ἐν δόλῳ. So also Griesb. Matth. Scholz, Tisch. 2 and 7, Bloomfield, Alford. But it is to be read οὐδὲ ἐν δόλῳ, with Lachm. and Tisch. 1, after A B C D* F G א, min., which also the gradation of the language requires (see exposition).—1 Thessalonians 2:4. Instead of the Receptus τῷ θεῷ, B C D* א** 67** 114, et al., Clem. Bas. Oecum. require θεῷ. The article is erased by Tisch. and Alford, bracketed by Lachmann. The omission is not sufficiently attested. Opposed to this omission are the weighty authorities of A D*** E F G K L א**** min. and many Fathers. The article might easily have been omitted, on account of the similarity of sound with the two following words.—1 Thessalonians 2:7. B C* D* F G א* min. vss. (also Vulg. and It.) Orig. (once) Cyr. et al. have νήπιοι, instead of the Receptus ἤπιοι. Received by Lachm. But against the unity of the figure, and arisen from attaching the ν of the preceding word ἐγενήθημεν.—1 Thessalonians 2:8. ὁμειρόμενοι] Elz. has ἱμειρόμενοι. Against A B C D E F G K L א, min. plur. edd. Chrys. (alic.) Damasc. MS. Theophyl. dis. Reiche, I. 1, p. 326 ff., indeed, recognises ὁμειρόμενοι as primitiva scriptura; but he thinks that ἱμειρόμενοι was the word designed to be written by Paul, whilst ὁμειρόμενοι owed its origin to an error in dictation—to a mistake of the amanuensis in hearing or in writing.

γεγένησθε] A B C D E F G L א, min. plur. Bas. al. read ἐγενήθητε. Recommended by Griesbach. Rightly received by Lachm. Scholz, Tisch. Bloomfield, Alford. The Receptus γεγένησθε is a correction, from erroneously imagining εὐδοκοῦμεν to be in the present.—1 Thessalonians 2:9. νυκτός] Elz. Matth. have νυκτὸς γάρ. But γάρ is rightly erased by Griesb. Lachm. Scholz, Tisch. Alford, according to A B D* F G א, 23, 71, et al. perm. Syr. Copt. Arm. Vulg. It. Chrys. (comm.) Theophyl. Ambrosiast. Aug. An explanatory correction.—1 Thessalonians 2:12. Instead of the Receptus μαρτυρούμενοι, B D*** (also D**?) E (?) K L א, min. plur. Chrys. Damasc. Oec. have μαρτυρόμενοι. Rejected by Griesb. Lachm. Tisch. 1. Correctly approved by Matth. Fritzsche (de conform. N. T. critica, quam Lachm. edidit, comment. I., Giessen 1841, p. 38), de Wette, Tisch. 2 and 7, Bloomfield, Alford, and Reiche, as μαρτυρεῖσθαι is everywhere used only in a passive sense (see Meyer on Acts 26:22, and Rinck, lucubr. crit. p. 95), so that μαρτυρούμενοι would be without meaning. Also μαρτυρόμενοι by a careless scribe might easily have been formed into μαρτυρούμενοι, on account of the preceding παραμυθούμενοι, as the similarity of termination gave occasion to the entire omission of καὶ μαρτυρ. in A.

Instead of the Rec. περιπατῆσαι is, with Lachm. Scholz, Tisch. Alford, to be read περιπατεῖν, according to A B D* F G א, min. Recommended to consideration by Griesb.—1 Thessalonians 2:13. Instead of the Receptus διὰ τοῦτο, Lachm. Tisch. and Alford, according to A B א, Copt. Syr. p. al. Theodoret (cd.) Ambrosiast. read καὶ διὰ τοῦτο, which, as the more unusual reading, merits the preference.—1 Thessalonians 2:15. τοὺς προφήτας] Elz. Matth. Bloomfield, Reiche read τοὺς ἰδίους προφήτας. Against A B D* E* F G א, min. vss. (also It. and Vulg.) and Fathers. A gloss from 1 Thessalonians 2:14 for the sake of strengthening.—1 Thessalonians 2:16. ἔφθασεν] Lachm. and Tisch. 1 read ἔφθακεν, which is only attested by B D*, whilst the Receptus has the important authority of A C D** and *** E F G K L א, and as it appears of all min. of Orig. (twice) Chrys. Theodoret, Dam. et al.

Instead of the Receptus ὀργή, D E F G, Vulg. It. Ambrosiast. Pel. Sedul. have ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ; an explanatory addition.—1 Thessalonians 2:18. διότι] Elz. Matth. Scholz, Tisch. 2, Bloomfield, Reiche have διό. Against preponderating testimonies (A B D* F G א, al.). Suspected also by Griesbach.—1 Thessalonians 2:19. ἰησοῦ] Elz. Matth. Scholz have ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. χριστοῦ is doubted by Griesb., correctly erased by Lachm. Tisch. and Alford, according to A B D E K א, min. plur. Syr. utr. al. Theodoret, Damasc. Oec. Ambrosiast. ed.

CONTENTS.

The readers themselves know that the apostle’s entrance among them was not without effect: although he had just been maltreated at Philippi, yet he has the courage to preach the gospel at Thessalonica amid contentions and dangers; for God Himself has called him to preach the gospel. It is accordingly solely and entirely the approval of God which he seeks; impure motives for preaching the gospel, such as vanity, covetousness, desire of honour, are far removed from him; he has, full of love, interested himself for the Thessalonians; he himself day and night worked for his maintenance, that he might not be burdensome to them; he then, in a paternal manner, exhorts and beseeches every one of them to show themselves worthy in their life of the call to eternal blessedness, which had been brought to them (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12). He then thanks God that the Thessalonians had actually received the gospel as the word of God, which it really is, and that it had already been so mighty in them, that they shunned not to endure sufferings for its sake (1 Thessalonians 2:13-16). Hereupon the apostle testifies to his readers how he, full of longing toward them, who are no less than other Christian churches his hope, his praise, and his joy, had wished twice to return to them, but had been hindered by the devil (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20).


Verse 1

1 Thessalonians 2:1 is referred by Grotius to a thought to be supplied after 1 Thessalonians 1:10 : Merito illam spem vitae aeternae retinetis. Vera enim sunt, quae vobis annuntiavimus. Arbitrarily, as αὐτοὶ γάρ, emphatically placed first, yea, you yourselves, must contain a contrast of the readers to other persons; and, besides, this view is founded on a false interpretation of οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν (see below). Also 1 Thessalonians 2:1 cannot, with Bengel, Flatt (who, besides, will consider 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 as a parenthesis), Pelt, Schott, and others, be referred to 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6; nor, with Hofmann, “extending over εἰδότες τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶν” (1 Thessalonians 1:4) to εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ θεῷ (1 Thessalonians 1:2), the thought being now developed, “what justification the apostle had for making the election of his readers the special object of thanksgiving to God.” But must, with Zanchius, Balduin, Turretin, de Wette, Bloomfield, Alford, and others, be referred back to 1 Thessalonians 1:9. For to 1 Thessalonians 1:9 points—(1) αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε, by which the Thessalonians themselves are contrasted to the strangers who reported their praise; (2) τὴν εἴσοδον ἡμῶν τὴν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, even by its similarity of sound refers to ὁποίαν εἴσοδον ἔσχομεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς (1 Thessalonians 1:9); (3) the greater naturalness of referring γάρ (1 Thessalonians 2:1) to the preceding last independent sentence. The relation of this reference is as follows: in chap. 1 Thessalonians 2:1 the apostle refers to 1 Thessalonians 1:9, in order to develope the thought expressed there—which certainly was already contained in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6—by an appeal to the consciousness of the readers. But the thought expressed in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 was twofold—(1) a statement concerning Paul and his assistants, namely, with what energy they preached the gospel at Thessalonica ( ὁποίαν εἴσοδον ἔσχομεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς); and (2) a statement concerning the Thessalonians, namely, with what eagerness they received the gospel ( καὶ πῶς κ. τ. λ.). Both circumstances the apostle further developes in chap. 2.: first, and most circumstantially, the manner in which he and his assistants appeared in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12); and, secondly, the corresponding conduct of his readers (1 Thessalonians 2:13-16). But the description of himself (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12) was not occasioned by the calumniations of the apostle, and a diminution of confidence in him occasioned thereby (Benson, Ritschl, Hall. A. Lit. Z. 1847, No. 125; Auberlen); also, not so much by the heartfelt gratitude for the great blessings which God had conferred on his ministry at Thessalonica, as by the definite design of strengthening and confirming, in the way of life on which they had entered, the Christian church at Thessalonica,—which, notwithstanding their exemplary faith, yet consisted only of novices,—by a vivid representation of the circumstances of their conversion. How entirely appropriate was the courageous, unselfish, self-sacrificing, and unwearied preaching of the apostle to exhibit the high value of the gospel itself, seeing it was capable of inspiring such a conduct as Paul and his companions had exhibited!

γάρ] yea, or indeed. See Hartung, Partikellehre, I. p. 463 ff.

The construction: οἴδατε τὴν εἴσοδον, ὅτι—where we, according to our idiom, would expect οἴδατε, ὅτι εἴσοδος κ. τ. λ.—is not only, as Schott and others say, “not unknown” to classical writers, but is a regular construction among the Greeks. See Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 466.

εἴσοδος πρὸς ὑμᾶς] denotes here nothing more than our entrance among you.

κενός] is the opposite of πλήρης, and denotes empty, void of contents, null.

οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν] Grotius (whom Hammond follows) translates this by mendax, fallax ( שָׁוְא), and gives the sense: non decepturi ad vos venimus. But although κενὸς often forms the contrast to ἀληθὴς (see also Ephesians 5:6), yet it obtains only thereby the meaning falsus, never the meaning fallax; also 1 Thessalonians 2:2 would not suit to the meaning fallax, because then the idea of uprightness would be expected as a contrast. Oecumenius finds in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 the contrast of truth and falsehood: οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν· τουτέστιν οὐ ματαία οὐ μῦθοι γὰρ ψευδεῖς καὶ λῆροι τὰ ἡμέτερα κηρύγματα. But he obtains this meaning only by incorrectly laying the chief stress in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 on τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ ( οὐδὲ ἡμεῖς ἀνθρώπινόν τι ἐκηρύξαμεν εἰς ὑμᾶς ἀλλὰ θεοῦ λόγους). Similarly to Grotius, but equally erroneously, Koppe (veni ad vos eo consilio et studio, ut vobis prodessem, non ut otiose inter vos viverem) and Rosenmüller (vani honoris vel opum acquirendarum studio) refer οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν to the design of the apostle, interpretations which are rendered impossible by the perfect γέγονεν. With a more correct appreciation of γέγονεν, Estius, Piscator, Vorstius, Turretin, Flatt, and others give the meaning inutilis, fructu carens, appealing to the Hebrew רִיק. This meaning is in itself not untenable, but it becomes so in our passage by the contrast in 1 Thessalonians 2:2; for 1 Thessalonians 2:2 does not speak of the result or effect of the apostle’s preaching at Thessalonica, but of the character of that preaching itself. For the sake of this contrast, therefore, οὐ κενή is equivalent to δυνατή, δεινή (Chrys.: οὐκ ἀνθρωπίνη οὐδὲ τυχοῦσα), and the meaning is: the apostle’s εἴσοδος, entrance, among the Thessalonians was not weak, powerless, but mighty and energetic. Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, de Wette, and Bloomfield erroneously unite with this idea of οὐ κενὴ the idea of the success of the apostle’s εἴσοδος, which is first spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 ff.


Verse 2

1 Thessalonians 2:2. Calvin makes 1 Thessalonians 2:2 still dependent on ὅτι of 1 Thessalonians 2:1; but without grammatical justification.

προπαθόντες] although we suffered before. προπάσχειν in the N. T., an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, denotes the sufferings previous to the time spoken of (comp. Thucyd. iii. 67; Herod. vii. 11). As, however, the compound as well as the simple verb is a vox media, and so may denote the experience of something good (comp. Xen. Mem. ii. 2. 5), Paul fitly adds καὶ ὑβρισθέντες, and were insolently treated (comp. Demosth. adv. Phil. iii., ed. Reisk, p. 126; Matthew 22:6; Acts 14:5), by which προπαθόντες is converted in malam partem, and likewise the idea of πάσχειν strengthened. (For the circumstance, see Acts 16)

καθὼς οἴδατε] although αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε had just preceded, is involuntarily added by Paul, by reason of the lively feeling with which he places himself, in thought, in the time whereof he speaks.

ἐπαῤῥησιασάμεθα] is not, with de Wette, to be referred to the bold preaching of the gospel, and to be translated: “we appeared with boldness,” but is to be rendered: “we had confidence.” παῤῥησιάζεσθαι, indeed, primarily denotes speaking with boldness (Ephesians 6:20), then, also, acting with boldness and confidence.

ἐν τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν] in our God, by means of fellowship and union with Him, belongs to ἐπαῤῥησιάζεσθαι, and indicates wherein this confidence was founded—in what it had its ground. Oecum.: διὰ τὸν ἐνδυναμοῦντα θεὸν τοῦτο ποιῆσαι τεθαῤῥήκαμεν. ἡμῶν does not denote: eundem ipsis, idolorum quondam cultoribus, deum esse ac ipsi (Pelt), but is the involuntary expression of the internal bond which unites the speakers with God, with their God; comp. Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Philippians 4:19; Philemon 1:4.

λαλῆσαι] cannot be united with ἐπαῤῥησιασάμεθα in the sense of μετὰ παῤῥησίας ἐλαλοῦμεν (Koppe, Flatt, Pelt); nor is it the statement of design (Schott: summa dicendi libertate usi sumus, ut vobis traderemus doctrinam divinam laeta nuntiantem); nor is it an epexegetical infinitive (Ambrosiaster: exerta libertate usi sumus in deo nostro, loquendo ad vos evangelium dei in magno certamine; Fritzsche, ad 2 Cor. diss. II. p.102: non frustra vos adii (1 Thessalonians 2:1), sed … libere deo fretus doctrinam div. tradidi, ut vel magnis cum aerumnis conflictans evangelium apud vos docerem; de Wette: “so that we preached the gospel to you amid much contention;” Koch); but it is the statement of the object attached to ἐπαῤῥησιασάμεθα, as this gives to our passage a dependent sense, and only introduces the infinitive clause, thus: we had the confidence to preach to you the gospel of God amid much contention. From this it follows that the chief stress is not to be laid on ἐπαῤῥησιασάμεθα (1 Thessalonians 2:2); and thus the unbroken boldness of the apostle does not form the contrast to οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν, as de Wette thinks, but οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν has its contrast in λαλῆσαι τὸ εὐ. ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι. It is only thus that a real relation exists between the thoughts in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (and also only thus a real relation of 1 Thessalonians 2:3 to 1 Thessalonians 2:2; see below); for that the preaching of the apostle in Thessalonica was so powerful and energetic ( οὐ κενή), was by no means proved by the boldness of his preaching at Thessalonica, though a boldness unbroken by the persecutions which he suffered elsewhere shortly before; but rather this was something great, and demonstrated the power and energy of the apostle’s preaching, that he and his companions, though they had just undergone suffering and persecution at Philippi, nevertheless had the courage and confidence even in Thessalonica to preach the gospel amid sufferings and persecutions.

εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ] The genitive denotes not the object of the gospel, but its author; comp. Romans 1:1. Moreover, εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ is the usual form; and therefore, although θεῷ precedes, εὐαγγέλιον αὐτοῦ is not put.

ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι] in much contention. ἀγών is to be understood neither of the cares and anxieties of the apostle (Fritzsche), nor of his diligence and zeal (Moldenhauer), but of external conflicts and dangers.


Verse 3-4

1 Thessalonians 2:3-4 explain what enables and obliges the apostle to preach the gospel in sufferings and trials. The objective and subjective truth of his preaching enables him, and the apostolic call with which God had entrusted him obliges him. γάρ, 1 Thessalonians 2:3, accordingly does not refer to τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ (Moldenhauer, Flatt), nor to ἐπαῤῥησιασάμεθα (Olshausen, de Wette, Koch), but to λαλῆσαι ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι.

γὰρ παράκλησις ἡμῶν οὐκ ἐκ πλάνης κ. τ. λ. sc. ἐστίν, not ἦν (Bloomfield), for Paul establishes (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4) the manner of his entrance in Thessalonica (as the present λαλοῦμεν proves) by qualities which were habitual to him; and not until 1 Thessalonians 2:5 does he return to the special manifestation of those general qualities during his residence in Thessalonica.

παράκλησις] denotes exhortation, address. The meaning of this word is modified according to the different circumstances of those to whom the address is directed. If the address is made to a sufferer or mourner, then it is naturally consolatory, and παράκλησις denotes comfort, consolation; but if it is directed to a moral or intellectual want, then παράκλησις is to be translated exhortation, admonition. Now the first evangelical preaching naturally consists in exhortation and admonition,—namely, in a demand to put away their sins, and to lay hold on the salvation offered by God through the mission of His Son (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:20). Accordingly, παράκλησις might be used to denote the preaching of the gospel generally. So here, where to adhere to the meaning consolatio, with Zwingli, would be unsuitable. Yet it is erroneous to replace παράκλησις with διδαχή (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, de Wette) or with διδασκαλία (Theodoret); for, according to the above, more is contained in παράκλησις than in these ideas. Pelt explains παράκλησις erroneously by docendi ratio. But παράκλησις, understood as an exhortative address, or as the preaching of the gospel, may be taken either in an objective or subjective meaning: in the first case, it denotes the contents or subject of the preaching; in the second case, the preaching itself. The latter meaning is to be preferred on account of 1 Thessalonians 2:4.

The παράκλησις of the apostle and his assistants had its origin not ἐκ πλάνης. πλάνη, error, is used in a transitive and intransitive sense. In the former case it denotes deceitfulness (Matthew 27:64) or seduction (Ephesians 4:14); in the latter, which is the more usual meaning, delusion. In both cases πλάνη is the contrast of ἀλήθεια (1 John 4:6): in the former case, of ἀλήθεια in a subjective sense, truthfulness; in the latter, of ἀλήθεια in an objective sense, truth (thus in Romans 1:27, where πλάνη refers to the idolatrous perversion of Monotheistic worship). Also, here πλάνη (on account of the succeeding ἐν δόλῳ) is best rendered not impostura (Erasmus, Calvin, Hemming, Estius, Beza, Turretin) or seducendi studium (Vorstius, Grotius, Baumgarten-Crusius), but delusion. Accordingly the sense is: the apostle and his associates avoided not sufferings and trials in the preaching of the gospel, because their preaching rested not on a fiction, a whim, a dream, a delusion,—consequently it had not such as these for its object and contents; but it is founded on reality,—that is to say, it has divine truth as its source.

οὐδὲ ἐξ ἀκαθαρσίας] a second reason different from the first, and heightening it. Paul turns from the objective side of the origin of his preaching to its subjective side,—that is, to the motive which lay at the foundation of the gospel preaching of himself and his assistants. This motive is not ἀκαθαρσία (see Tittmann, de synonym. in N. T. I. p. 150 f.), uncleanness, i.e. impurity of sentiment, as would be the case were the apostle to preach the gospel from covetousness, vanity, or similar reasons.

οὐδὲ ἐν δόλῳ] nor also (does it consist or realize itself) in guile or deceit (contrast to εἰλικρίνεια, 2 Corinthians 2:17); a new emphasis, as it was something still worse, if not only an impure purpose lay at the foundation of a transaction, but also reprehensible means (e.g. κολακεία, 1 Thessalonians 2:5) were employed for the attainment of that purpose.


Verse 4

1 Thessalonians 2:4. The contrast.

καθώς] not equivalent to because, quoniam (Flatt), but according as, or in conformity with this.

δοκιμάζειν] denotes to prove, to try, then to esteem worthy, so that it corresponds to the verb ἀξιοῦν, 2 Thessalonians 1:11. Comp. Plut. Thes. 12: ἐλθὼν οὖν θησεὺς ἐπὶ τὸ ἄριστον οὐκ ἐδοκίμαζε φράζειν αὑτόν, ὅστις εἴη.

δεδοκιμάσμεθα denotes, accordingly, not the divine act of the purification of the human character (Moldenhauer), but the being esteemed worthy on the part of God; not, however, as a reward of human merit, or a recognition of a disposition not taken up with earthly things (Chrysostom: εἰ μὴ εἶδε παντὸς ἀπηλλαγμένους βιωτικοῦ, οὐκ ἂν ἡμᾶς εἵλετο; Theophylact: οὐκ ἂν ἐξελέξατο, εἰ μὴ ἀξίους ἐγίνωσκε); also, not as an anticipation that Paul and his associates would preach the gospel without pleasing men (Oecumenius: θεὸς ἐδοκίμασεν ἡμᾶς μηδὲν πρὸς δόξαν λαλεῖν ἀνθρώπων μέλλοντας), but as a manifestation of the free and gracious counsel of God (Theodoret, Grotius, Pelt). The chief idea, however, is not δεδοκιμάσμεθα (so Hofmann), but πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον.

The passive form: πιστευθῆναι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, is according to the well-known Greek idiom, of using in the passive the nominative of the person, even in verbs which in the active govern the genitive or dative. Comp. Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Galatians 2:7; Kühner, II. p. 34; Winer, p. 205 [E. T. 286].

οὕτως] emphatically: even in this condition, even according to this rule. It does not refer to the following ὡς (Flatt), but to the preceding καθώς, and denotes that the gospel preaching of the apostle and his associates was in correspondence with the grace and obligation imparted to them.

οὐχ ὡς κ. τ. λ.] explains and defines the whole preceding sentence: καθὼςοὕτως λαλοῦμεν.

ἀρέσκειν] is here, on account of the concluding words ἀλλὰ τῷ θεῷ κ. τ. λ., not to please, to find approbation, but to seek to please. For, in reference to God, the apostle, according to his whole religious views and habits of thought, could only predicate of himself an endeavour to please, but not the actual fact that he pleased Him. It would, however, be erroneous to put this meaning into the verb itself;(33) it arises only when the present or imperfect is employed, because these tenses may be used de conatu. See Pflugk, ad Eur. Hel. V. 1085; Stallb. ad Plat. Gorg. p. 185, and ad Protag. p. 46; Kühner, II. p. 67.

ὡς] may either be—(1) a pure particle of comparison: not as men-pleasers, but as such who seek to please God; or (2) may mark the condition: not as such who, etc.; or lastly, (3) may emphasize the perversity which would exist, if the apostle was accused of ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκειν: not as if we sought to please men. In the two first cases ὡς extends over the second member of the sentence: ἀλλὰ τῷ θεῷ κ. τ. λ., in the last only over ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκοντες. The second meaning is to be preferred, as according to it οὐχ ὡς κ. τ. λ. corresponds best to the qualifying words expressive of the apostle’s mode of preaching (1 Thessalonians 2:3).

τῷ δοκιμάζοντι τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν] who proves, searches our hearts. ἡμῶν refers to the speaker. To understand it generally, with Koppe, Pelt, Koch, and Bloomfield, is indeed possible, but not to be commended, as the general form τῷ δοκιμάζοντι τὰς καρδίας, without the addition of ἡμῶν, would be expected. Comp. Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23; Psalms 7:10. Moreover, Paul speaks neither here nor in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 ff. of himself only, as de Wette thinks “very probable” in 1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, but “certain” in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, but includes his associates mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:1. If the apostle spoke only of himself, he would not have put τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν (1 Thessalonians 2:4) and τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς (1 Thessalonians 2:8), but would have written both times the singular, τὴν καρδίαν ἡμῶν and τὴν ψυχὴν ἡμῶν.


Verse 5

1 Thessalonians 2:5. Proof of the habitual character of the gospel preaching by an appeal to the character which it specially had in Thessalonica.

γάρ] refers to οὐχ ὡς ἀνθρώποις ἀρέσκοντες ἀλλὰ τῷ θεῷ.

ἐγενήθημεν ἐν] we proved ourselves in, or we appeared as of such a character. The passive form ἐγενήθημεν (see on 1 Thessalonians 1:5) denotes here also that the mode of appearance mentioned lay in the plan of God, was something appointed by Him.

κολακεία] comp. Theophrast. charact. c. 1 Thessalonians 2 : τὴν δὲ κολακείαν ὑπολάβοι ἄν τις ὁμιλίαν αἰσχρὰν εἶναι, συμφέρουσαν δὲ τῷ κολακεύοντι. The word is not again found in the N. T. ἐν λόγῳ κολακείας cannot denote in a rumour (report) of flattery, according to which the sense would be: for never has one blamed us of flattery (so Heinsius, Hammond, Clericus, Michaelis). Against this is the context, for the point here is not what others said of the apostle’s conduct, but what it was in reality. Also it is inadmissible to take ἐν λόγῳ κολακείας, according to the analogy of the Hebrew דָּבָר with the following substantive, as a circumlocution for ἐν κολακείᾳ (so Pelt, who, however, when he renders the clause: in assentationis crimen incurri, involuntarily falls into the afore-mentioned explanation). For—(1) the Hebrew use of דָּבָר is foreign to the N. T.; (2) it is overlooked that λόγος κολακείας finds in the context its full import and reference, inasmuch as the apostle, in complete conformity to the contents of the preceding verses (comp. λαλῆσαι, 1 Thessalonians 2:2; παράκλησις, 1 Thessalonians 2:3; λαλοῦμεν, 1 Thessalonians 2:4), in the beginning of 1 Thessalonians 2:5 still speaks of a quality of his discourse, and only in 1 Thessalonians 2:6 passes to describe his conduct in Thessalonica in general. Accordingly, the apostle denies that he appeared in Thessalonica with a mode of speech whose nature or contents was flattery (Schott falsely takes κολακείας as the genitive of origin), or that he showed himself infected with it. In Thessalonica, for this limitation of οὐποτέ is demanded by the accessory appeal to the actual knowledge of the readers

καθὼς οἴδατε, as ye know.

οὔτε ἐν προφάσει πλεονεξίας] sc. ἐγενήθημεν. πρόφασις, from προφαίνω (not from πρόφημι), denotes that which one puts on for appearance, and with the definite design to colour or to cloak something else It therefore denotes pretext, the outward show, and has its contrast (comp. Philippians 1:18) in ἀλήθεια. See proofs in Raphel, Polyb. p. 354. The meaning accordingly is: we appeared not in a pretext for covetousness, i.e. our gospel preaching was not of this nature, that it was only a pretext or cloak to conceal our proper design, namely, covetousness. Without linguistic reason, and against the context, Heinsius and Hammond understand πρόφασις as accusatio; Pelt, weakening the idea, and not exhausting the fundamental import of πρόφασις (see below), nunquam ostendi avaritiam; Wolf also unsatisfactorily considers πρόφασις as equivalent to species; similarly Ewald, “even in an appearance of covetousness;” for the emphatic even (by which that interpretation is at all suitable, and by means of which there would be a reference to a supplementary clause, “to say nothing of its being really covetousness”) is interpolated, and the question at issue is not whether Paul and his associates avoided the appearance of πλεονεξία, but whether they actually kept themselves at a distance from πλεονεξία. Lastly, erroneously Clericus (so also the Vulg.): in occasione avaritiae, ita ut velit apostolus se nullam unquam occasionem praebuisse, ob quam posset insimulari avaritiae.

θεὸς μάρτυς] comp. Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:8. Paul having just now appealed to the testimony of his readers that he was removed from κολακεία, now takes God for witness that the motive of his behaviour was not πλεονεξία. Naturally and rightly; for man can only judge of the character of an action when externally manifested, but God only knows the internal motives of acting.


Verse 6

1 Thessalonians 2:6. Nor have the apostle and his associates had to do in the publication of the gospel with external honour and distinction. Comp. John 5:41; John 5:44.

ζητοῦντες] sc. ἐγενήθημεν.

ἐξ ἀνθρώπων] emphatic. Oecumenius: καλῶς δὲ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων· τὴν γὰρ ἐκ θεοῦ (sc. δόξαν) καὶ ἐζήτουν καὶ ἐλάμβανον.

According to Schott and Bloomfield, the preposition ἐκ refers to the direct and ἀπό to the indirect origin,—a distinction in our passage impossible, as ἐξ ἀνθρώπων is the general expression which is by οὔτεοὔτε divided into subordinate members, or specialized. See Winer, p. 365 [E. T. 512].(34)

A new sentence is not to be begun with δυνάμενοι, so that either, with Flatt, ἦ΄εν would have to be supplied; or, with Calvin, Koppe, and others, δυνά΄ενοι κ. τ. λ. would have to be considered as the protasis, and ἀλλʼ ἐγενήθη΄εν (1 Thessalonians 2:7) as the apodosis belonging to it; or, with Hofmann, ἀλλʼ ἐγενήθη΄εν ἤπιοι ἐν ΄έσῳ ὑ΄ῶν as an exclamatory interruption of the discourse in its progress, distinctions chiefly occasioned by the misunderstanding of ἐν βάρει. But δυνά΄ενοι is subordinate to ζητοῦντες (sc. ἐγενήθημεν) and limits it, on account of which it is inappropriate to enclose δυνάμενοιἀπόστολοι, with Schöttgen and Griesbach, in a parenthesis. The meaning is: Also in our entrance to you our motive was not in anywise to be honoured or distinguished by men, although we certainly might have demanded external honour. Theodoret, Musculus, Camerarius, Estius, Beza, Grotius, Calixtus, Calovius, Clericus, Turretin, Whitby, Baumgarten, Koppe, Flatt, Ewald, Hofmann, and others take ἐν βάρει εἶναι in the sense of being burdensome (sc. by a demand of maintenance from the church), and thus equivalent to ἐπιβαρεῖν (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; and καταβαρεῖν, 2 Corinthians 12:16; comp. ἀβαρῆ ἐ΄αυτὸν ἐτήρησα, 2 Corinthians 11:9); but this is an arbitrary assumption from 1 Thessalonians 2:9—arbitrary, because ζητοῦντες δόξαν and ἐν βάρει εἶναι must correspond; but in the first half of 1 Thessalonians 2:6 Paul’s custom of not suffering himself to be supported by the church, but gaining his maintenance by working with his own hands, is not indicated by a single syllable. On account of this correspondence of ἐν βάρει with δόξαν, the explanation of Lipsius (Stud. u. Krit. 1854, 4, p. 912) is wholly untenable: “As the apostles of Christ we did not at all need glory among men, but were rather in a position to endure trouble and burden,—that is, to endure with equanimity persecutions and trials of all kinds which men inflict upon us,” not to mention that the idea of “not at all needing,” and the emphatic “rather,” are first arbitrarily interpolated. Heinsius, after the example of Piscator (who, however, wavers), understands ἐν βάρει εἶναι of severitas apostolica: Se igitur, ἐν βάρει εἶναι δυνάμενον, quum severitatem exercere apostolicam posset, lenem fuisse, eo fere modo, quo ἐν ῥάβδῳ ἐλθεῖν καὶ ἐν ἀγάπῃ πνεύ΄ατί τε πραΰτητος, 1 Corinthians 4:21, opponit. But thus ἐν βάρει and ἤπιοι will be erroneously opposed to each other. (See on 1 Thessalonians 2:7.) βάρος, heaviness, weight, occurs even among classical writers, as the Latin gravitas, in the sense of distinction, dignity (see Wesseling, ad Diodor. Sicul. IV. 61). ἐν βάρει εἶναι accordingly means to be of weight, to be of importance, i.e. to be deserving of outward honour and distinction. Thus Chrysostom, Oecumenius and Theophylact (both, however, undecidedly), Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Calvin, Hunnius, Wolf, Moldenhauer, Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, de Wette, Koch, Bisping, Alford, Auberlen, and others.

Paul annexes the justification of such an ἐν βάρει εἶναι by the words ὡς χριστοῦ ἀπόστολοι] i.e. not sicut apostoli alii faciunt (1 Corinthians 9:6; Grotius), but in virtue of our character as the apostles of Christ. ἀπόστολοι is, however, to be used in its wider sense, as Paul not only speaks of himself, but also of Silvanus and Timotheus, as in Acts 14:14.


Verse 7

1 Thessalonians 2:7. Paul begins in this verse the positive description of his appearance and conduct in Thessalonica.

ἀλλʼ ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι] a contrast not to δυνάμενοι ἐν βάρει εἶναι (Heinsius, Turretin, and others), but to the principal idea of 1 Thessalonians 2:6. The apostle’s conduct is not that of one δόξαν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ζητῶν, but of one who was ἤπιος; God had made him show himself ( ἐγενήθημεν) not as master, but as servant. Oecumenius: ὡς εἴς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐγενήθημεν.

ἤπιος] mild, kindly, is used of an amiable disposition or conduct of a higher toward a lower, i.e. of a prince to his subjects, of a judge to the accused, of a father to his children. Comp. Hom. Od. ii. 47; Herodian, ii. 4, init.; Pausan. Eliac. ii. 18.

ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν] in your midst, i.e. in intercourse with you. Erroneously Calovius, it denotes: erga omnes pariter. Non erga hos blandi, ergo illos morosi. There is, however, no emphasis on ὑμῶν; the apostle does not indicate that he behaved otherwise in other places.

A colon is to be put after ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν, so that ὡςοὕτως are connected as protasis and apodosis, and describe the intensity of Paul’s love to the Thessalonians; whilst in ἐγενήθημενὑμῶν this love only in and for itself, or according to its general nature, was stated as a feature of the apostle’s behaviour.

τροφός] a nurse ( מֵינֶקֶת) here, as is evident from τὰ ἑαυτῆς τέκνα, the suckling mother herself. Under the image of a mother Paul represents himself also, in Galatians 4:19, as elsewhere, under the image of a father; see 1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 4:15; Philemon 1:10.

θάλπειν] originally to warm, of birds which cover and warm their young with their feathers: (see Deuteronomy 22:6); consequently an image of protecting love and anxious care generally, our cherishing; see Ephesians 5:29.


Verse 8

1 Thessalonians 2:8. ὁμείρεσθαι] occurs, besides LXX. Job 3:21, and Symmachus, Psalms 62:2 (yet even in these two places MSS. differ), only in the glossaries. Hesychius, Phavorinus, and Photius explain it by ἐπιθυμεῖν. Theophylact derives it from ὁμοῦ and εἴρειν; and corresponding to this, Photius explains it by ὁμοῦ ἡρμόσθαι. Accordingly, ὁμειρόμενοι ὑμῶν would denote bound with you, attached to you. Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 792 f., Schott, and others agree. But this is questionable—(1) Because the verb is here construed with the genitive, and not with the dative; (2) because there is no instance of a similar verb compounded with ὁμοῦ or ὁμός; see Winer, p. 92 [E. T. 125]. Now, as in Nicander (Theriaca, ver. 2:402) the simple form μείρεσθαι occurs in the sense of ἱμείρεσθαι, it can hardly be doubted that μείρεσθαι is the original root to which ἱμείρεσθαι and ὁμείρεσθαι (having the same meaning) are related, having a syllable prefixed for euphony. Compare the analogous forms of κέλλω and ὀκέλλω, δύρομαι and ὀδύρομαι, φλέω and ὀφλέω, αὔω and ἰαύω, and see Kühner, I. p. 27. Accordingly, as ἱμείρεσθαι τινός denotes primarily the yearning love, the yearning desire for union with an absent friend, and secondarily is, according to the testimony of Hesychius, synonymous with ἐρᾶν, ὁμειρόμενοι ὑμῶν receives here the suitable meaning of filled with love to you. Beza unnecessarily, and against the context (because the word is a verbum ἐρωτικόν), supplies: videlicet vos ad Christum tanquam sponsam ad sponsum adducendi.

οὕτως] belongs not to ὁμειρόμενοι (Schrader), but to εὐδοκοῦμεν; thus it is not intensifying so much, but a simple particle of comparison: thus, in this manner.

εὐδοκοῦμεν] not present, but imperfect with the augment omitted. See Winer, p. 66 [E. T. 83]. εὐδοκεῖν, to esteem good, here, to be willing, denotes that what took place was from a free determination of will. Thus it is used both of the eternal, gracious, and free counsels of God (Colossians 1:19; Galatians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21), and of the free determination of men (Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς] not a Hebraism in the sense of nosmet ipsos (Koppe, Flatt), but our lives (Hom. Od. iii. 74; Aristoph. Plut. 524); the plural ψυχάς proves that Paul thinks not of himself only, but also of Silvanus and Timotheus.

On ἑαυτῶν, comp. Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 272; Winer, p. 136 [E. T. 187], However, the verb μεταδοῦναι does not strictly apply to τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς, as the idea of imparting is here transformed into that of offering up, devoting. (Erroneously Bengel: anima nostra cupiebat quasi immeare in animam vestram. Hofmann: In the word preached, which Paul and his companions imparted to the Thessalonians even to the exhaustion of their vital power, this as it were passed over to them, just as the vital power of the mother passes over to the child, whom she is not content with nourishing generally, but, from the longings of love to it, desires to nourish it by suckling.) From the compound verb μεταδοῦναι the idea of the simple verb δοῦναι is accordingly to be extracted (a zeugma; see Kühner, II. 606).

The thought contained in ὡςοὕτως is accordingly: As a mother not only nourishes her new-born child with her milk, but also cherishes and shelters it, yea, is ready to sacrifice her life for its preservation, so has the apostle not merely nourished his spiritual child, the Thessalonian church, with the milk of the gospel, but has been also ready, in order to preserve it in the newly begun life, to sacrifice his own life.

The inducement to such a conduct was love, which the apostle, although he had already mentioned it, again definitely states in the words διότι ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε, because ye were dear and valuable to us.


Verse 9

1 Thessalonians 2:9. γάρ refers not to δυναμενοι ἐν βάρει εἶναι, 1 Thessalonians 2:6 (Flatt), but either to ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι (1 Thessalonians 2:7), or to εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι, or, finally, to ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε (1 Thessalonians 2:8). For the first reference ( ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι), it may be argued that ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι is the chief idea, the theme as it were, of 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; but against this is, that the same thought which was expressed in ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι is repeated and more definitely developed in a much more vivid and special manner by means of the parallel sentence, attached without a copula, and thus complete. In such a case a causal conjunction following refers rather to the more vivid and concrete expression than to the more general and abstract. Accordingly, we are referred to the connection with εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι. Neither can this, however, be the correct connection; for then must 1 Thessalonians 2:9 have proved the readiness of the apostle when at Thessalonica to sacrifice his own life for the Thessalonians, as is expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. But this is not the case, for in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 Paul speaks indeed of his self-sacrificing love, but not of the danger of his life which arose from it. Also Auberlen, who recently has maintained a reference to εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι, can only support this meaning, that Paul has adduced his manual labour mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 as a “risking of his health and life.” But how forced is this idea of the context, and how arbitrarily is the idea of the sacrifice of life, supposed to be expressed therein, contorted and softened down! It is best, therefore, to unite γάρ with διότι ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε, a union which, besides, is recommended by the direct proximity of the words.

μνημονεύετε] as γάρ proves, is indicative, not imperative.

κόπος and μόχθος] labour and pains: placed together also in 2 Thessalonians 3:8 and 2 Corinthians 11:27. Musculus: Significat se haud leviter et obiter, sed ad fatigationem usque incubuisse laboribus. Arbitrarily separating and mixing the gradation, Balduin interprets κόπος “de spirituali labore, qui consistebat in praedicatione evangelii;” and μόχθος “de manuario labore scenopegiae.”

νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας] a concrete and proverbial circumlocution of the abstract ἀδιαλείπτως. But νυκτός, as usual (Acts 9:24 is an exception), is placed first, because the Jews (as also the Athenians, see Plin. Nat. Hist. ii. 79; Funke, Real-Schullex. II. p. 132) reckoned the civil day from sunset to sunset (see Winer’s bibl. Realwörterb. 2d ed. vol. II. p. 650). Pelagius, Faber, Stapulensis, Hemming, Balduin, and Aretius arbitrarily limit νυκτός to ἐργαζόμενοι, and ἡμέρας to ἐκηρύξαμεν.

ἐργάζεσθαι] (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:12; Acts 18:13) the usual word also among the classics (comp. Xen. Mem. i. 2. 57) to denote working for wages, especially manual labour or working by means of a trade (therefore the addition ταῖς χερσί, 1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28). Paul means his working as a tent-cloth maker, Acts 18:3.

πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἐπιβαρῆσαί τινα ὑμῶν] in order not to be burdensome to any, sc. by a demand of maintenance. Incorrectly, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Pelt, and others infer from this that the converted Thessalonians were poor. Evidently this unselfish conduct of the apostle had its ultimate reason in an endeavour that there should be no hindrance on his part to the diffusion of the gospel.

εἰς ὑμᾶς] represents the readers as the local objects of κηρύσσειν; comp. Mark 13:10; Luke 24:47. Therefore, according to the general sense, it is true that εἰς ὑμᾶς and ὑμῖν do not differ, but the mode of looking at it is somewhat different. See Winer, p. 191 [E. T. 266].


Verse 10

1 Thessalonians 2:10. This verse is designed to represent in a summary manner the conduct of the apostle among the Thessalonians, which was hitherto only represented by special features; but as thereby not merely what was patent to external observation, that is, the visible action on which man can pronounce a judgment, but likewise the internal disposition, which is the source of that action, was to be emphasized; so Paul naturally appeals for the truth of his assertion not only to his readers, but to God. The apostle, however, proceeds without a particle of transition, on account of the warmth of emotion with which he speaks.

ὡς] how very.

ὁσίως καὶ δικαίως] (comp. Ephesians 4:24; Luke 1:75; Wisdom of Solomon 9:3, ὁσιότης and δικαιοσύνη) is put entirely in accordance with classical usage; the first denotes dutiful conduct toward God, and the latter toward our neighbour. Comp. Plat. Gorg. p. 507: καὶ μὴν περὶ μὲν ἀνθρώπους τὰ προσήκοντα πράττων δίκαιʼ ἂν πράττοι, περὶ δὲ θεοὺς ὅσια; Polyb. xxxiii. 10. 8; Schol. ad Eurip. Hec. 788.

ἀμέμπτως] unblameably. Turretin, Bengel, Moldenhauer interpret this of dutiful conduct toward oneself, evidently from the desire of a logical division of love, in order to obtain a sharply marked threefold division of the idea. Flacius refers it to the reliqui mores besides justitia, that is, to castitas, sobrietas, and moderatio in omnibus; but this is without any reason. It is the general negative designation, comprehending the two preceding more special and positive expressions, thus to be understood of a dutiful conduct toward God and man. Too narrowly Olshausen: that it is the negative expression of the positive δικαίως.

ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν] belongs not only to ἀμέμπτως, but to the whole sentence: ὡς ὁσίως καὶ δικ. καὶ ἀμ. ἐγενήθ. It is not dat. commodi: “to your, the believers’, behoof;” so that it would be identical with διʼ ὑμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας. Nor does it mean toward you believers (de Wette: “This, his conduct, had believers for its object with whom he came into contact;” Hofmann, Auberlen), for (1) ὁσίως does not suit this meaning; (2) as ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν is not without emphasis, the unsuitable contrast would arise, that in reference to others the apostle did not esteem the upright conduct necessary. For, with Hammond, to apply ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν, in contrast to the time when those addressed had not yet been brought to the faith, is grammatically impossible, as then the participle of the aorist without the article must be used; (3) ἐγενήθημεν does not obtain its due force, as the passive form cannot denote pure self-activity. ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν is, as already Oecumenius and Theophylact (and recently Alford) explain it, the dative of opinion or judgment (see Winer, p. 190 [E. T. 265]; Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 83): for you, believers, so that this was the character, the light in which we appeared to you. Thus an appropriate limitation arises by this addition. For the hostility raised against the apostle, and his expulsion from Thessalonica, clearly showed how far from being general was the recognition that God had enabled the apostle to behave ὁσίως καὶ δικαίως καὶ ἀμέμπτως. Moreover, ὡς ὁσίως κ. τ. λ. ἐγεν. is not equivalent to ὡς ὅσιοι κ. τ. λ. ἐγεν. (Schott). The adverbs bring prominently forward the mode and manner, the condition of γενηθῆναι. See Winer, p. 413 [E. T. 582]; Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 337 ff.


Verse 11-12

are not a mere further digression into particulars, which we can scarcely assume after the general concluding words in 1 Thessalonians 2:10, without blaming the author, notwithstanding the freedom of epistolary composition, of great logical arbitrariness and looseness, but are a proof of the general concluding sentence 1 Thessalonians 2:10, ex analogia

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 are not a mere further digression into particulars, which we can scarcely assume after the general concluding words in 1 Thessalonians 2:10, without blaming the author, notwithstanding the freedom of epistolary composition, of great logical arbitrariness and looseness, but are a proof of the general concluding sentence 1 Thessalonians 2:10, ex analogia. As in all that has hitherto been said the twofold reference to the apostle and his two associates on the one hand, and to the readers on the other, has predominated, so is this also the case in 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12. The circumstance that he has anxiously and earnestly exhorted his readers to a similar conduct in ὁσιότης, δικαιοσύνη, and ἀμεμψία, is asserted by the apostle as a proof that he himself behaved in the most perfect manner ( ὡς) among the Thessalonians ὁσίως καὶ δικαίως καὶ ἀμέμπτως. For if any one be truly desirous that others walk virtuously, this presupposes the endeavour after virtue in himself. It is thus erroneous when de Wette and Koch, p. 172, think that the apostle in 1 Thessalonians 2:10 speaks of his conduct generally, and in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 of his ministerial conduct particularly. In 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 Paul does not speak wholly of his ministerial conduct, for the participles παρακαλοῦντες, παραμυθούμενοι, and μαρτυρόμενοι are not to be taken independently, but receive their full sense only in union with εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν κ. τ. λ., so that the chief stress in the sentence rests on εἰς τὸ κ. τ. λ., and the accumulation of participles serves only to bring vividly forward the earnestness and urgency of the apostle’s exhortation to περιπατεῖν. Entirely erroneous, therefore, is Pelt’s idea of the connection: Redit P. ad amorem, quo eos amplectatur, iterum profitendum; for the attestation of love, in the conduct described in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, is only expressed by the addition: ὡς πατὴρ τέκνα ἑαυτοῦ, and is thus only subsidiary to the main thought.

καθάπερ] as then, denotes the conformity of what follows to what precedes. As regards the construction: οἴδατε ὡς κ. τ. λ., we miss a finite tense.(35) Koppe considers that the participles are put instead of the finite tenses, ὡς παρεκαλέσαμεν καὶ παρεμυθησάμεθα καὶ ἐμαρτυρησάμεθα, an assertion which we can in the present day the less accept, as it is of itself self-evident that the participles of the present must have another meaning than that which could have been expressed by the finite forms of the aorist, i.e. of the purely historical tense. Others, objecting to the two accusatives, ἕνα ἕκαστον and ὑ΄ᾶς, have united ὑ΄ᾶς with the participle, and suggested a finite tense to ἕνα ἕκαστον, which, at the beginning of the period, must have been in Paul’s mind, but which he forgot to add when dictating to his amanuensis. Vatablus, Er. Schmid, Ostermann would supply to ἕνα ἕκαστον, ἠγαπήσα΄εν; Whitby, ἐφιλήσα΄εν, or ἠγαπήσα΄εν, or ἐθάλψα΄εν, from 1 Thessalonians 2:7; Pelt, οὐχ ἀφήκα΄εν(?); Schott, a verb containing the “notio curandi sive tractandi sive educandi.”(36) But (1) the two accusatives do not at all justify supplying a special verb to ἕνα ἕκαστον, as not only among the classics is the twofold use of personal determinations not rare (see Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 275), but also in Paul’s Epistles there are similar repetitions of the personal object (comp. Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5). (2) To supply ἠγαπήσαμεν, or a similar idea, is in contradiction with the design and contents of 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, as the chief point in these verses is to be sought in the recollection of the impressive exhortations addressed to the Thessalonians to aim at a conduct similar to that of the apostle. Not only the simplest, but the only correct method, is, with Musculus, Wolf, Turretin, Bengel, Alford, and Hofmann, to supply ἐγενήθημεν, which has just preceded 1 Thessalonians 2:10, to ὡς παρακαλοῦντες κ. τ. λ. And just because ἐγενήθη΄εν precedes, the supplying of ἦ΄εν, which Beza, Grotius, Flatt, and others assume, and which otherwise would be the most natural word, is to be rejected. Accordingly, there is no anacoluthon in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, but ἐγενήθη΄εν to be supplied in thought is designedly suppressed by the apostle in order to put the greater emphasis on the verbal ideas, παρακαλεῖν, παραμυθεῖσθαι, and ΄αρτύρεσθαι. The circumlocutionary form, ἐγενήθη΄εν παρακ. κ. τ. λ., has this in common with the form ἦ΄εν παρακ. κ. τ. λ., that it denotes duration in the past, but it is distinguished from it by this, that it does not refer the action of the verb simply as something actually done, and which has had duration in the past; but this action, enduring in the past (and effected by God), is described in its process of completion, i.e. in the phase of its self-development.

ἕνα ἕκαστον ὑμῶν ὡς πατὴρ τέκνα ἑαυτοῦ] The thought, according to Flatt, consists in this: the apostle has exhorted and charged, “with a view to the special wants of each, just as a father gives heed to the individual wants of his children.” But ἕνα ἕκαστον ὑ΄ῶν denotes only the carefulness of the exhortation which is addressed to each individual without distinction (of rank, endowment, Chrysostom: βαβαὶ ἐν τοσούτῳ πλήθει μηδένα παραλιπεῖν, μὴ μικρόν, μὴ μέγαν, μὴ πλούσιον, μὴ πένητα), and the addition ὡς πατὴρ τέκνα ἑαυτοῦ denotes only paternal love (in contrast to the severity of a taskmaster) as the disposition from which the exhortations proceeded. But in a fitting manner Paul changes the image formerly used of a mother and her children into that of a father and his children, because in the context the point insisted on is not so much that of tender love, which finds its satisfaction in itself, as that of educating love; for the apostle, by his exhortation, would educate the Thessalonians for the heavenly kingdom. That the apostle resided a long time in Thessalonica (Calovius) does not follow from ἕνα ἕκαστον.

παρακαλεῖν] to exhort by direct address. Erroneously Chrysostom, Theophylact: πρὸς τὸ φέρειν πάντα.

ὑ΄ᾶς] resumes ἕνα ἕκαστον ὑ΄ῶν; but whilst that emphatically precedes, this is placed after παρακαλοῦντες, because here the verb παρακ. has the emphasis (comp. Colossians 2:13). Paul adds ὑ΄ᾶς, which certainly might be omitted, not so much from carelessness or from inadvertence, but for the sake of perspicuity, in order to express the personal object belonging to the participles in immediate connection with them.

Also παρα΄υθεῖσθαι does not mean here to comfort (Wolf, Schott, and others), but to address, to exhort, to encourage; yet not to encourage to stedfastness, to exhort to moral courage (Oecumenius, Theophylact, de Wette), for the object of παρα΄υθού΄ενοι does not follow until 1 Thessalonians 2:12.


Verse 12

1 Thessalonians 2:12. ΄αρτύρεσθαι] (comp. Ephesians 4:17) in the sense of διαμαρτύρεσθαι (1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1), earnestly conjuring; comp. also Thucyd. vi. 80: δεόμεθα δὲ καὶ μαρτυρόμεθα ἅμα, and viii. 53: μαρτυρομένων καὶ ἐπιθειαζόντων μὴ κατάγειν, which later passage is peculiarly interesting on this account, because there (as in our verse, see critical notes) most MSS. read the meaningless μαρτυρουμένων. μαρτυρόμενοι strengthens the two former participles.

εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν ὑμᾶς κ. τ. λ.] contains not the design (de Wette, Koch), also not the design and effect of the exhortation (Schott), but is the object to all three preceding participles. The meaning is: Calling on you, and exhorting, and adjuring you to a walk worthy of God, i.e. to make such a walk yours. But Christians walk ἀξίως τοῦ θεοῦ (comp. Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 4:1; Romans 16:2; Philippians 1:27; 3 John 1:6), when they actually prove by their conduct and behaviour that they are mindful of those blessings, which the grace of God has vouchsafed to them, and of the undisturbed blessedness which He promises them in the future.

τοῦ καλοῦντος] The present occurs, because the call already indeed made to the Thessalonians is uninterruptedly continued, until the completion succeeds to the call and invitation, namely, at Christ’s return. The meaning of Hofmann is wide of the mark: that by the present, the call is indicated as such that would become wholly in vain for those who walk unworthily.

βασιλείαν καὶ δόξαν] not an ἓν διὰ δυοῖν; to the kingdom of His glory, or to the glory of His kingdom (Turretin, Benson, Bolten, Koppe, Olshausen). Both substantives have the same rank and the same emphasis. Baumgarten-Crusius erroneously distinguishes βασιλεία and δόξα as the earthly and heavenly kingdom of God. Further, δόξα is not the glory of the Messianic kingdom, which is specially brought forward after the general βασιλείαν (de Wette); but God calls the readers to participate in His kingdom (i.e. the Messianic) and in His (God’s) glory, for Christians are destined to enter upon the joint possession of the δόξα which God Himself has; comp. Romans 5:2; Ephesians 3:19.


Verse 13

1 Thessalonians 2:13. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 passes from the earnest and self-sacrificing publication of the gospel to the earnest and self-sacrificing reception of the gospel. Erroneously Baumgarten-Crusius: Paul, having taught in what manner he has been among the Thessalonians, shows in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 what he has given to them, namely, a divine thing.

καὶ διὰ τοῦτο] And even in this account. καί, being placed first, connects the more closely what follows with what precedes. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

διὰ τοῦτο] not: “quoniam tam felici successu apud vos evangelium praedicavimus” (Pelt, Bloomfield); for (1) from 1 Thessalonians 2:1 and onwards the subject spoken of is not the success or effect, but only the character of the apostle’s preaching; (2) the intolerable tautology would arise, as we have preached to you the gospel with such happy success, so we thank God for the happy success of our ministry; (3) lastly, if Paul wished to indicate a reference of 1 Thessalonians 2:13 to the whole preceding description, he would perhaps have written διὰ ταῦτα, though certainly διὰ τοῦτο might be justified, as 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 may be taken together as one idea. According to Schott, διὰ τοῦτο refers back to εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν: “Quum haec opera in animis vestris ad vitam divina invitatione dignam impellendis minime frustra fuerit collocata, quam vos ejusmodi vitam exhibueritis, ego vicissim cum sociis deo gratias ago assiduas, ὅτι ff.” But still a tautology remains, which Schott himself appears to have felt, since he takes καὶ ἡμεῖς in sharp contrast to ὑμᾶς, 1 Thessalonians 2:12; besides, the ground of this explanation gives way, inasmuch as εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν can only denote the object, but in no way the result of the exhortations. Also de Wette refers διὰ τοῦτο to εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν, but explains it thus: Therefore, because it was so important an object for us (so already Flatt, but who unites what is incapable of being united) to exhort you to a worthy walk. But there is in the preceding no mention of the importance of the object of the apostle’s exhortations. Accordingly there remains for διὰ τοῦτο only two connections of thought possible, namely, either to refer to the earnestness and zeal described in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, with which the exhortations of the apostle were enforced. Then the thought would be: because we have so much applied ourselves to exhort you to walk worthy (Flatt), so we thank God for the blessed result of our endeavours. Or διὰ τοῦτο may be referred to the concluding words of 1 Thessalonians 2:12 : τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βασιλείαν καὶ δόξαν, so that the meaning is: Because God calls you to such a glorious goal, so we thank God continually that you have understood this call of God which has come to you, and that you have obeyed it. Evidently this last reference, which is found in Zanchius, Balduin, and Olshausen, is to be preferred as the nearest and simplest. So recently also Alford and Auberlen.

καὶ ἡμεῖς] to be taken together, we also. For not only Paul and his companions, but every true Christian who hears(37) of the conduct of the Thessalonians, must be induced to thankfulness to God. Comp. Ephesians 1:15. Hardly correctly, Zanchius, whom Balduin follows, places καί in contrast to the Thessalonians: non solum vos propter hanc vocationem debetis agere gratias, sed etiam nos. Erroneously also de Wette; καί belongs to the whole clause: therefore also, which would require διὰ καὶ τοῦτο.

εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ θεῷ] For although the spontaneous conduct of the readers is here spoken of, yet thanks is due to God, who has ordained this spontaneous conduct.

ὅτι παραλαβόντες λόγον κ. τ. λ.] The object of εὐχαριστοῦμεν, because that when ye received, etc.

παραλαμβάνειν] which Baumgarten-Crusius erroneously considers as equivalent to δέχεσθαι, indicates the objective reception—the obtaining (comp. Colossians 2:6; Galatians 1:9); δέχεσθαι, on the other hand, is the subjective reception—the acceptance (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 8:17).

ἀκοή] is used in a passive sense, that which is heard, i.e. the preaching, the message (comp. Romans 10:16; Galatians 3:2; John 12:38). Arbitrarily Pelt; it is that to which one at once shows obedience. παρʼ ἡμῶν is to be closely connected with ἀκοῆς (Estius, Aretius, Beza, Calixtus, Koppe, Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, Alford, Hofmann, and others), and to the whole idea λόγον ἀκοῆς παρʼ ἡμῶν is added the more definite characteristic τοῦ θεοῦ. Thus: the word of God which ye have heard of us, the word of God preached by us. We must not, with Musculus, Piscator, Er. Schmid, Turretin, Fritzsche (on 2 Cor. diss. I. p. 3), de Wette, Koch, and Auberlen, unite παρʼ ἡμῶν with παραλαβόντες; for against this is not only the order of the words, as we would expect παραλαβόντες παρʼ ἡμῶν λόγον ἀκοῆς τοῦ θεοῦ, whereas in the passage there exists no reason for the separation of the natural connection; but also chiefly the addition of ἀκοῆς would be strange, as along with παραλαβόντες παρʼ ἡμῶν it would be superfluous. It is otherwise with our interpretation, in which an important contrast exists, Paul contrasting himself as the mere publisher to the proper author of the gospel; and in which also the construction is unobjectionable (against de Wette), as ἀκούειν παρά τινος (see John 1:41) is used, substantives and adjectives often retaining the construction of verbs from which they are derived. See Kühner, II. pp. 217, 245.

τοῦ θεοῦ] not the objective genitive, the word preached by us which treats of God, i.e. of His purposes of salvation (Erasmus, Vatablus, Musculus, Hunnius, Balduin, Er. Schmid, Grotius), against which the following οὐ λόγον ἀνθρώπωνἀλλὰ λόγον θεοῦ is decisive; but the word which proceeds from God, whose author is God Himself.

ἐδέξασθε] ye have received it, sc. the word of God preached.

οὐ λόγον κ. τ. λ.] not as the word of man. The addition of a ὡς ( οὐχ ὡς λόγον ἀνθρ. ἀλλὰὡς λόγον θεοῦ), dispensable in itself (see Kühner, II. p. 226), is here the rather left out, because the apostle would not only express what the preaching of the word was in the estimation of the Thessalonians, but likewise what it was in point of fact, on which account the parenthesis καθώς ἐστιν ἀληθῶς, according as it is in truth, is emphatically added.

The Thessalonians received λόγος θεοῦ as the word of God, seeing they believed it, and were zealous for it.

ὅς] is not to be referred to θεοῦ (Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Auberlen, and others), but to λόγον θεοῦ (Syr. Ambrose, Erasmus, Estius, Balduin, Aretius, Wolf, Turretin, Benson, Fritzsche, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koch, Hofmann); for (1) in what immediately precedes, the subject is not θεός, but λόγος θεοῦ. (2) Paul uses always the active ἐνεργεῖν of God (comp. 1 Corinthians 12:6; Galatians 2:8; Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 1:11; Philippians 2:13), and of things the middle ἐνεργεῖσθαι (comp. Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:29).

ἐνεργεῖται is middle (which is active), not passive (which is made active), as Estius, Hammond, Schulthess, Schott, Bloomfield, and others think.

ἐν ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν] does not mean: “ex quo tempore religionem suscepistis” (Koppe); for then ἐν ὑμῖν πιστεύσασιν would have to be put. Also not: “quum susceperitis” (Pelt), or “propterea quod fidem habetis” (Schott), because or in so far as, ye believe and continue believing (Olsh. Koch); for if it were a causal statement, the participle πιστεύουσιν without the addition of the article would be put. τοῖς πιστεύουσιν rather serves only for the more precise definition of ὑμῖν, thus indicating that πιστεύειν belongs to the Thessalonians.


Verse 14

1 Thessalonians 2:14 is not designed, as Oecumenius, Calvin, and Pelt think, to prove the sincerity with which the Thessalonians received the gospel, but is a proof of ὃς καὶ ἐνεργεῖται, 1 Thessalonians 2:13. In not shunning to endure sufferings for the sake of the gospel, the Thessalonians had demonstrated that the word of God had already manifested its activity among them, had already become a life-power, a moving principle in them.

ὑμεῖς γάρ] an emphatic resumption of the previous ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν.

μιμηταί] imitators, certainly not in intention or design, but in actual fact or result.

ἀδελφοί] The frequent repetition of this address (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:4, 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:17) is significant of the ardent love of Paul toward the church. That Paul compares the conduct of the Thessalonians with that of the Palestinian churches is, according to Calvin, whom Calixtus follows, designed to remove the objection which might easily arise to his readers. As the Jews were the only worshippers of the true God outside of Christianity, so the attack on Christianity by the Jews might give rise to a doubt whether it were actually the true religion. For the removal of this doubt, the apostle, in the first place, shows that the same fate which had at an earlier period befallen the Palestinian churches had happened to the Thessalonians; and then, that the Jews were the hardened enemies of God and of all sound doctrine. But evidently such a design of the apostle is indicated by nothing, and its supposition is entirely superfluous, as every Christian must with admiration recognise the heroism of Christian resistance to persecution with which the Palestinian churches had distinguished themselves. Accordingly, it was a great commendation of the Thessalonians if the same heroic Christian stedfastness could be predicated of them. This holds good against the much more arbitrary and visionary opinion of Hofmann, that Paul, by the mention of the Palestinian churches, and the expression concerning the Jews therewith connected, designed to meet the erroneous notion or representation of what happened to the readers. As the conversion of the Thessalonians might in an intelligible manner appear in the eyes of their countrymen as a capture of them in the net of a Jewish doctrine, and hence on that side the reproach might be raised that, on account of this strange matter, they had become hostile to their own people; so it was entirely in keeping to show that the apostolic doctrine was anything but an affair of the Jewish people, that, on the contrary, the Jews were its bitterest enemies! Grotius would understand the present participle τῶν σὐσῶν in the sense of the participle of the preterite; whilst, appealing to Acts 8:4; Acts 11:19, he thinks that the Palestinian churches had by persecutions ceased to exist as such, only a few members remaining. But neither do the Acts justify such an opinion, nor is it in accordance with the words of Paul in Galatians 1:22. The further supposition which Grotius adds is strange and unhistorical, that some Christians expelled from Palestine had betaken themselves to Thessalonica, and that to them mainly a reference in our passage is made.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] Oecumenius: εὐφυῶς διεῖλεν· ἐπειδὴ γὰρ καὶ αἱ συναγωγαὶ τῶν ἰουδαίων ἐν θεῷ εἶναι δοκοῦσι, τὰς τῶν πιστῶν ἐκκλησίας καὶ ἐν τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ λέγει εἶναι.

ὅτι] for.

τὰ αὐτά] the like things, denotes the general similarity of the sufferings endured. Grotius precariously specifies them by res vestras amisistis, pars fuistis ejecti.

συμφυλέτης] of the same φυλή, belonging to the same natural stock, contribulis, then generally countryman, fellow-countryman, ὁμοεθνής (Hesychius). Comp. Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 172, 471. By συμφυλέται we are naturally not to understand the Jews (Cornelius a Lapide, Hammond, Joachim Lange); for that the expression is best suited to them, as Braun (with Wolf) thinks, whilst possibly Jews of a particular tribe (perhaps of the tribe of Juda or Benjamin) were resident in Thessalonica, only merits to be mentioned on account of its curiosity. Also συμφυλέται is not, with Calvin, Piscator, Bengel, and others, to be understood both of Jews and Gentiles, but can only be understood of Gentiles. To this we are forced—(1) by the sharp contrast of συμφυλετῶν and ἰουδαίων, which must be considered as excluding each other; (2) by the addition of ἰδιών to συμφυλετῶν, as the great majority of the Thessalonian church consisted of Gentiles; comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:9. However, although Paul in the expression συμφυλετῶν speaks only of Gentiles as persecutors, yet the strong invective against the Jews which immediately follows (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16) constrains us to assume that the apostle in 1 Thessalonians 2:14 had more in his mind than he expressed in words. As we learn from the Acts, it was, indeed, the heathen magistrates by whose authority the persecutions against the Christian church at Thessalonica proceeded, but the proper originators and instigators were here also the Jews; only they could not excite the persecution of the Christians directly, as the Jews in Palestine, but, hemmed in by the existing laws, could only do so indirectly, namely, by stirring up the heathen mob. This circumstance, united with the repeated experience of the inveterate spirit of opposition of the Jews, which Paul had in Asia at a period directly preceding this Epistle (perhaps also shortly before its composition at Corinth), is the natural and easily psychologically explanatory occasion of the polemic in 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. Erroneously Olshausen gives the reason; he thinks it added in order to turn the attention of the Christians in Thessalonica to the intrigues of those men with whom the Judaizing Christians stood on a level, as it was to be foreseen that they would not leave this church also undisturbed; against which view de Wette correctly remarks, that there is no trace of such a warning, and that the Thessalonians did not require it, as they had learned sufficiently to know the enmity of the Jews against the gospel.

καθώς] Instead of this, properly or ἅπερ should have been put, corresponding to τὰ αὐτά (comp. Philippians 1:30, τὸν αὐτὸνοἷον). However, even in the classics such inexact connections are very frequently found. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 426 f.; Bremi, ad Demosth. adv. Phil. I. p. 137; Kühner, II. p. 571. The double καί ( καὶ ὑμεῖςκαὶ αὐτοί) brings out the comparison.

αὐτοί] denotes not the apostle and his assistants (Erasmus, Musculus, Er. Schmid), as such a prominent incongruity in the comparison is inconceivable; but the masculine as a recognised free construction (comp. Galatians 1:22-23) refers to τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ, thus denotes the Palestinian Christians.


Verse 15-16

1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. As to the occasion of this invective, see on 1 Thessalonians 2:14.

καί] not signifying even; also not to be connected with the next καί, both … and; but τῶν καί means who also, and proves the propriety of the preceding statement from the analogous conduct in 1 Thessalonians 2:15. Grotius (comp. Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Pelagius): Quid mirum est, si in nos saeviunt, qui dominum nostrum interfecerunt …?… Non debent discipuli meliorem sortem exspectare quam magistri fuit.

Moreover, τὸν κύριον emphatically precedes, and is separated from ἰησοῦν in order to enhance the enormity of the deed.

καὶ τοὺς προφήτας] De Wette and Koch unite this with ἐκδιωξάντων; Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calvin, Musculus, Bengel, Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bloomfield, Alford, Hofmann, Auberlen, and most critics, more correctly refer it to ἀποκτεινάντων. In the catalogue of the sins of the Jews which Paul here adduces, he begins directly with that deed which formed the climax of their wickedness—the murder of the Son of God, of Jesus the Messiah. In order to cut off all excuses for this atrocious deed of the Jews, as that they had done it in ignorance, not recognising Jesus as the Son of God, Paul adds, going backwards in time, that they had already done the same to the Old Testament prophets, whom, in like manner, they had murdered against their better knowledge and conscience. Christ Himself accuses the Jews of the murder of the prophets, Matthew 23:31; Matthew 23:37, Luke 11:47 ff; Luke 13:34; and Stephen does the same, Acts 7:52; with which passages comp. 1 Kings 19:10; 1 Kings 19:14 (see Romans 11:3); Jeremiah 2:30; Nehemiah 9:26.

καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων] and have persecuted us. ἡμᾶς refers not to Paul only (Calvin), also not to Paul and Silas only (de Wette, Koch, Alford), or to Paul and the companions who happened to be with him at Thessalonica (Auberlen); but to Paul and the apostles generally (Estius, Aretius, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Pelt, Schott). The preposition ἐκ in ἐκδιωξάντων strengthens the verbal idea. In an unjustifiable manner, Koppe and de Wette (the latter appealing to Luke 11:49 and Ps. 118:157, LXX.) make it stand for the simple verb.

καὶ θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων] and please not God. Erroneously Wieseler on Galatians 1:10, p. 41, note, and Hofmann: live not to please God; similarly Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, and Baumgarten-Crusius: placere non quaerentium; for after the preceding strong expressions that would be flat. Rather the result is inferred from the two preceding statements, namely, the consequences of the obstinacy of the Jews, with which they persecute the messengers of God, is that they please not God, that is, are hateful to Him ( θεοστυγεῖς, Meiosis).

καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων] and are hostile to all men. Grotius, Turretin, Michaelis, Koppe, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koch, Bloomfield, Jowett, and others, erroneously find here expressed the narrow exclusiveness, by means of which the Jews strictly separated themselves from all other nations, and about which Tacit. Hist. v. 5 (“adversus omnes alios hostile odium”); Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 103 ff.; Diod. Sic. xxxiv. p. 524; Philostr. Apollon. v. 33; Joseph, c. Apion. ii. 10, 14, wrote. For (1) that hostile odium and desire of separation among the Jews was nothing else than a shrinking from staining themselves and their monotheistic worship by contact with idolaters. But Paul would certainly not have blamed such a shrinking, which was only a fruit of their strict observance of their ancestral religion. (2) If 1 Thessalonians 2:16 begins with an independent assertion, κωλυόντωνσωθῶσιν would denote nothing essentially new, but would only repeat what was already expressed in ἡμᾶς ἐκδιωξάντων, 1 Thessalonians 2:15. (3) It is grammatically inadmissible to understand the words καὶ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίων as an independent assertion, and thus to be considered as a general truth. For the participle κωλυόντων (1 Thessalonians 2:16) must contain a causal statement, as it is neither united with καί, nor by an article ( καὶ κωλυόντων κ. τ. λ. or τῶν κωλυόντων κ. τ. λ., or τῶν καὶ κωλυόντων κ. τ. λ.), and thus is closely and directly connected with the preceding, and giving a reason for it, i.e. explaining wherefore or in what relation the Jews are to be considered as πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἐναντίοι. Thus the thought necessarily is: And who actually proved themselves to be hostilely disposed to all men since they hindered us from publishing the gospel to the Gentiles, and thus leading them to salvation. That is to say, the gospel offers salvation to every one, without distinction, who will surrender himself to it. But the Jews, in opposing themselves with all their might to the publication of this free and universal gospel, prove themselves, in point of fact, as enemies to the whole human race, in so far as they will not suffer the gospel, which alone can save men, to reach them. So Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calovius, Bern. a Piconio, Schott, Alford, Hofmann, and others correctly interpret the words; also Wieseler on Galatians 1:10, p. 49, note, and Auberlen, only that he would incorrectly unite καὶ θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων with κωλυόντων, which would only be tenable if, instead of the simple connected clause καὶ θεῷ μὴ ἀρεσκόντων, the more definitely separating form τῶν θεῷ κ. τ. λ. had been put.(38)

κωλυόντων ἡ΄ᾶς] hindering us, namely, by contradictions, calumnies, laying snares for our life, etc. Comp. Acts 9:23 ff; Acts 13:45; Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13; Acts 22:22. Unnecessarily, Pelt, Schott, de Wette, Koch, seeking to hinder; for the intrigues of the Jews are an actual hindrance to the preaching of the apostle,—certainly not an absolute, but a partial hindrance, conditioned by opportunity of place and influence.

ἡμᾶς] as above, us the apostles.

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] to the Gentiles, with emphasis; for it was the preaching to the Gentiles that enraged the Jews. τοῖς ἔθνεσιν resumes the previous πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις, as that expression comprehended the non-Jewish humanity, i.e. the Gentile world.

λαλῆσαι] is not to be taken absolutely, so that it would be equivalent to docere (Koppe, Flatt), or would require τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ for its completion (Piscator), but is to be conjoined with ἵνα σωθῶσιν in one idea, and the whole is then another expression for εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, but in a more impressive form.

εἰς τὸ ἀναπληρῶσαι κ. τ. λ.] to fill up their sins always. εἰς does not denote the result = ὥστε or quo fit ut (Musculus, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Koppe, Flatt, Pelt, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koch, Bloomfield), but the object, the design; and that not of κωλυόντων (Hofmann), as this is a dependent clause, but of the whole description. But it expresses not the ultimate design which the Jews themselves, in their so acting, had either consciously (Oecumenius: φησὶ γάρ, ὅτι πάντα ἐποίησαν οἱ ἰουδαῖοι, σκοπῷ τοῦ ἁμαρτάνειν ἐποίουν, τουτέστιν ἤδεισαν, ὅτι ἁμαρτάνουσι καὶ ἡμάρτανον) or unconsciously (de Wette: they do it, though unconsciously, to the end, etc.; Auberlen), so that an ironical expression would have to be assumed (Schott). But in entire conformity with the Pauline mode of thought, which delights to dive into the eternal and secret counsels of God, it expresses the design which God has with this sinfulness of the Jews. So, correctly, Piscator. God’s counsel was to make the Jews reach in their hardness even to the extreme point of their sinfulness, and then, instead of the past long-suffering and patience, the severity of anger and punishment was to commence.

ἀναπληρῶσαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας] to fill up their sins, i.e. to fill up the measure destined for them, to bring them to the prescribed point; comp. LXX. Genesis 15:16; 2 Maccabees 6:14.

αὐτῶν] refers to the subject of the preceding verses—the Jews.

πάντοτε] emphatically placed at the end, is not equivalent to πάντως or παντελῦς (Bretschneider, Olshausen), on all sides, in every way (Baumgarten-Crusius), but merely involves the notion of time, always, that is, the Jews before Christ, at the time of Christ, and after Christ, have opposed themselves to the divine truth, and thus have been always engaged in filling up the measure of their iniquities. (Oecumenius: ταῦτα δὲ καὶ πάλαι ἐπὶ τῶν προφητῶν καὶ νῦν ἐπὶ τοῦ χριστοῦ καὶ ἐφʼ ἡμῶν ἔπραξαν, ἵνα πάντοτε ἀναπληρωθῶσιν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι αὐτῶν.) When, however, the apostle says that this ἀναπληροῦν τὰς ἁ΄αρτίας is practised by the Jews πάντοτε, at all times, his meaning cannot be that the Jews had at any given moment, thus already repeatedly, filled up the measure of their sins (Musculus), but he intends to say that at every division of time the conduct of the Jews was of such a nature that the general tendency of this continued sinful conduct was the filling up of the measure of their sins. Paul thus conceives that the Jews, at every renewed obstinate rejection of the truth, approached a step nearer to the complete measure of their sinfulness, ἔφθασε δὲ ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος] but the wrath has come upon them even to the end. The Vulgate, Luther, Beza, Wolf, erroneously take δέ in the sense of γάρ. Rather, δέ forms the contrast to ἀναπληρῶσαι πάντοτε (not to the whole preceding description), in so far as the increase of the divine wrath is contrasted to the continued wicked conduct of the Jews.

φθάνειν] contains, in classical usage, the idea of priority in time. Schott thinks that this idea must also be here preserved, whilst he finds indicated therein the ὀργή breaking forth upon the Jews citius quam exspectaverint vel omnino praeter opinionem eorum. Incorrectly; for when φθάνειν is united not with the accusative of the person (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:15), but with prepositions ( φθάνειν εἴς τι, Romans 9:31 [see Fritzsche in loco]; Philippians 3:16; φθάνειν ἄχρι τινός, 2 Corinthians 9:14; φθάν. ἐπί τινα, Matthew 12:28; Daniel 4:25), then, in the later Greek, the meaning of the verb “to anticipate” is softened into the general meaning of reaching the intended end. The aorist ἔφθασε is not here to be taken in the sense of the present (Grotius, Pelt), also not prophetically instead of the future (Koppe: mox eveniet iis; Flatt: it will certainly befall them, and also it will soon befall them; and so also Schott, Bloomfield, Hilgenfeld, Zeitschr. f. wissensch. Theol., Halle 1862, p. 239), but reports in quite a usual manner a fact which already belongs to the past.

ὀργή] sc. θεοῦ, does not mean the divine punishment, which certainly in itself it may denote (Erasmus, Musculus, Cornelius a Lapide, Flatt, Schott, de Wette, Ewald), but the divine wrath. The article denotes either the wrath predicted by the prophets (Theophylact, Schott), or generally the wrath which is merited (Oecumenius).

εἰς τέλος] belongs to the whole sentence ἔφθασε ὀργή, and denotes even to its (the wrath’s) end, i.e. the wrath of God has reached its extreme limits, so that it must now discharge itself,—now, in the place of hitherto long-suffering and patience, punishment must step in. The actual outbreak of the wrath, the punishment itself, has thus not yet occurred at the composition of this Epistle. To interpret the words of the destruction of Jerusalem as already happened, would be contrary to the context. On the other hand, it is to be assumed that Paul, from the by no means dark signs of the times, had by presentiment foreseen the impending catastrophe of the Jewish people, and by means of this foresight had expressed the concluding words of this verse. It is accordingly an unnecessary arbitrariness when Ritschl (Hall. A. Lit. Z. 1847, No. 126) explains the words ἔφθ.… τέλος as a gloss. Incorrectly, Camerarius, Er. Schmid, Homberg, Koch, and Hofmann understand εἰς τέλος in the sense of τελέως, penitus. Also incorrectly, Heinsius, Michaelis, Bolten, Wahl: postremo, tandem. Others erroneously unite εἰς τέλος with ὀργή, whilst they supply οὖσα, and then either explain it: the wrath which will endure eternally or to the end of the world (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Theodoret, Fab. Stapulens., Hunnius, Seb. Schmid, and others); or: the wrath which will continue to work until its full manifestation (Olshausen); or lastly: the wrath which shall end with their (the Jews’) destruction (Flatt). In all these suppositions the article must be repeated before εἰς τέλος. Erroneously, moreover, de Wette refers εἰς τέλος to the Jews, although he unites it with the verb: “so as to make an end of them.” So also Bloomfield and Ewald: “even to complete eradication.” The apostle rather preserves the figure used in ἀναπληρῶσαι; namely, as there is a definite measure for the sins of the Jews, at the filling up of which the divine wrath must discharge itself; so also there exists a definite measure for the long-suffering patience of God, whose fulness provokes divine punishment. Comp. also Romans 2:5.

REMARK.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Baur (see Introd. § 4) finds a “particularly noticeable” criterion for the spuriousness of the Epistle. “The description has a thoroughly un-Pauline stamp,” and, besides, betrays a dependence on the Acts. First of all, the comparison of the Thessalonian church with the Palestinian churches is “far-fetched,” although nothing is more simple, more natural, and more unforced than these very parallels, since the tertium comparationis consists simply in this, that both were persecuted by their own countrymen, and both endured their persecutions with similar heroic courage. The parallels are further “inappropriate” to Paul, as he does not elsewhere hold up the Jewish-Christians as a pattern to the Gentile-Christians. As if the repeated collections which the apostle undertook for the poor churches of Palestine had not demonstrated by fact that his love extended itself equally to the Jewish as to the Gentile churches! As if the words of the apostle, in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, did not express a high esteem for the Palestinian Jewish-Christians! As if, in Romans 15:27, the Gentile churches are not called debtors to the Jewish-Christians, because the spiritual blessings of Christianity reached the Gentiles only from the mother church of Jerusalem! As if Paul himself, after the fiercest persecutions, and after openly manifested obstinacy, did not always cleave to his people with such unselfish and solicitous love, that he could wish in his own person to be banished and driven from Christ, who was his all in all, in order by such an exchange to make his hardened and always resisting fellow-countrymen partakers of salvation in Christ! But if such were his feelings toward the unconverted among his people, why should he not have been proud of those among them who believed? Why should he not have recognised the heroic faith of the Palestinian brethren, and recognised and praised the stedfastness of a Gentile church as an imitation and emulation of the pattern given by these?

Further, the mention of the persecutions of the Palestinian Christians was inappropriate, because Paul could not speak of them “without thinking of himself as the person principally concerned in the only persecution which can have come properly into consideration.” But how little importance there is in such an inference is evident from this, that Paul elsewhere does not shun openly to confess his share in the persecutions of the Christians, although with a sorrowful heart (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13); and, besides, this very participation in the persecution was for him the occasion that, from being the bitterest enemy of Christianity, he became its most unwearied promoter and the greatest apostle of Christ. If, further, “the apostle unites his own sufferings for the sake of the gospel with the misdeeds of the Jews against Jesus and the prophets,” this serves strikingly to represent the continuation of Jewish perversity.

Baur may be right when he asserts that we could not expect from the apostle “a polemic against the Jews so general and vague, that he knew not how to characterize the enmity of the Jews against the gospel than by the well-known charge brought against them by the Gentiles, the odium generis humani;” only it is a pity that this odium generis humani is an abortion of false exegesis.

Baur infers a dependence upon the Acts from “the expressions: ἐκδιώκειν, κωλύειν, etc., which correspond accurately with the incidents described in Acts 17:5 ff. and elsewhere;” likewise from the verb λαλεῖν, which “elsewhere is never used by Paul of his own preaching of the gospel, but is quite after the manner of the Acts (Acts 14:1, Acts 16:6; Acts 16:32, Acts 18:9).” But that the expressions: ἐκδιώκειν, κωλύειν, etc., cannot be borrowed from Acts 17:5 ff. is evident enough, as they are not even found there; that, moreover, the circumstances of the persecution itself are narrated in both writings, is only a proof of its actual occurrence; also there is nothing objectionable in λαλεῖν, as it is so used by Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Colossians 4:4; Ephesians 6:20, and elsewhere.

Lastly, if Baur, in ἔφθασε δὲ ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς ὀργὴ εἰς τέλος (so also Schrader on 1 Thessalonians 3:13), finds the destruction of Jerusalem denoted as an event that has already occurred, this is only the result of an interpretation contrary to the context.


Verse 17

1 Thessalonians 2:17 begins a new section of the Epistle.

ἡμεῖς δέ] is not in contrast to ὑμεῖς, 1 Thessalonians 2:14 (de Wette, Koch, Hofmann); for 1 Thessalonians 2:14 is only an explanation of the main thought in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, and, besides, the invective against the Jews given in 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 is too marked and detailed, that δέ passing over it could be referred to ὑμεῖς in 1 Thessalonians 2:14. It is therefore best to assume that ἡμεῖς δέ, whilst it contrasts the writer to the Jews whose machinations have just been described, and accordingly breaks off the polemic against the Jews, refers to 1 Thessalonians 2:13 as the preceding main thought, and accordingly resumes the ἡμεῖς in 1 Thessalonians 2:13. To the attestation of his thanksgiving to God on account of the earnest acceptance of the gospel on the part of the Thessalonians, the apostle joins the attestation of his longing for his readers, and his repeatedly formed resolution to return to them. The view of Calvin, which Musculus, Zanchius, Hunnius, Piscator, Vorstius, Gomarus, Benson, Macknight, Pelt, Hofmann, and Auberlen maintain, is erroneous, that 1 Thessalonians 2:17 ff. were added by Paul as an excusatio “ne se a Paulo desertos esse putarent Thessalonicenses, quum tanta necessitas ejus praesentiam flagitaret.” For evidently in the circumstances that constrained the apostle to depart from Thessalonica, such a suspicion could not arise, especially as, according to Acts 17:10, the Thessalonians themselves had arranged the departure of the apostle. Accordingly no justification was requisite. The explanation has rather its origin only in the fulness of the apostolic Christian love, which cared and laboured for the salvation of these recent disciples of Christ.

ἀπορφανισθέντες] bereaved. ὀρφανίζεσθαι is originally used of children who are deprived of their parents by death. It is however used, even by the classics, in a wider sense, expressing in a figurative and vivid manner the deprivation of an object, or the distance, the separation from a person or thing. Thus the adjective ὀρφανός occurs in Pindar (see Passow) in a wider sense (e.g. ὀρφ. ἑταίρων, Isthm. vii. 16); also of parents, ὀρφανοὶ γενεᾶς, childless, Ol. ix. 92; comp. Hesych.: ὀρφανὸς γονέων ἐστερημένος καὶ τέκνων. Here also ἀπορφανισθέντες expresses the idea of distance, of separation, but is not exhausted by this idea. We would accordingly err, if we were to find nothing further in it than is expressed by χωρισθέντες; for the verb, in union with the feeling of tender love which pervades the whole passage, vividly describes the feeling of emptiness and solitude which by the separation came over the apostle—a feeling of solitude, such as befalls children when they are placed in a condition of orphanage.

ἀφʼ ὑμῶν] away from you. The apostle repeats the preposition ἀπό, instead of putting the simple genitive ὑμῶν after the participle, in order to give prominence to the idea of local severance, which was already expressed in ἀπορφανισθέντες, here once more specified by itself.

πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας] not subito (Balduin, Turretin), literally, for the space of an hour; but as an hour is relatively only a short space, generally “for the space of an instant,” i.e. for a very short period.(39) It is a more definite expression for the simple πρὸς ὥραν, Galatians 2:5, 2 Corinthians 7:8, Philemon 1:15, John 5:35, or πρὸς καιρόν, 1 Corinthians 7:5, Luke 8:13, and corresponds to the Latin horae momentum. Comp. Hor. Sat. I. 1. 7, 8: “horae | momento aut cita mors venit aut victoria laeta.” Plin. Nat. Hist. vii. 52: “Eidem (sc. Maecenati) triennio supremo nullo horae momento contigit somnus.” The expression does not import that the apostle even now hopes soon to return to the Thessalonians (Flatt; and appealing to 1 Thessalonians 3:10, de Wette and Koch). This is forbidden by the grammatical relation of ἀπορφανισθέντες to the preterite ἐσπουδάσα΄εν, according to which πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας can only be the time indicated by the participle. Thus the sense is: After we were separated from you for scarcely an instant, that is, for a very short season, our longing to return to you commenced.

προσώπῳ οὐ καρδίᾳ] comp. 2 Corinthians 5:12, in presence, not in heart, for the severance refers only to our bodies; but love is not bound in the fetters of place or time; comp. Colossians 2:5.

περισσοτέρως ἐσπουδάσαμεν] we endeavoured so much the more. σπουδάζειν, to show diligence to reach something, implies in itself that the apostle had already taken steps to realize his resolution to return, and thus proves the earnestness of the design. περισσοτέρως is not to be referred to οὐ καρδίᾳ, “more than if I had been separated from you in heart” (de Wette, Koch), for then there could have been no mention of a σπουδάζειν at all;(40) but is, with Schott, to be referred to πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας, so much the more, as the separation has only recently occurred. For it is a matter of universal experience, that the pain of separation from friends, and the desire to return to them, are more vivid, the more freshly the remembrance of the parting works in the spirit, i.e. the less time has elapsed since the parting. Therefore the explanation of Oecumenius and Theophylact, after Chrysostom, is unpsychological: περισσοτέρως ἐσπουδάσαμεν ὡς εἰκὸς ἦν τοὺς πρὸς ὥραν ἀπολειφθέντας. Winer’s view (Gram. p. 217 [E. T. 305]) is also inappropriate, because without support in the context: The loss of their personal intercourse for a time had made his longing greater than it would have been, if he had stood with them in no such relation. Further, arbitrarily, because the proximate reference of περισσοτέρως can only result from the directly preceding participial sentence, but not from 1 Thessalonians 2:14, Fromond.: “magis et ardentius conati sumus, quum sciremus pericula, in quibus versaremini;” and Hofmann: “for the readers the time after their conversion is a time of trouble; for their teachers it is on that account a time of so much the more anxious endeavour to see them again.” Lastly, grammatically incorrect Turretin, Olshausen, and de Wette, ed. 1, more than usual, i.e. very earnestly.

Schott discovers an elegance and force in Paul, not having written ὑμᾶς ἰδεῖν, but the fuller form τὸ πρόσωπον ὑ΄ῶν ἰδεῖν, with reference to the preceding προσώπῳ; but hardly correct, as τὸ πρόσωπον ἰδεῖν is a usual form with Paul. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Colossians 2:1.

ἐν πολλῇ ἐπιθυ΄ίᾳ] with much desire (longing). A statement of manner added to ἐσπουδάσαμεν, for the sake of strengthening.


Verse 18

1 Thessalonians 2:18. διότι] on which account, that is, on account of this great longing for you ( διὰ τὸ ἐν πολλῇ ἐπιθυμίᾳ σπουδάζειν τὸ πρόσωπον ὑμ. ἰδεῖν).

ἠθελήσαμεν] Paul uses θέλειν in agreement with ἐσπουδάσαμεν (1 Thessalonians 2:17), not βούλεσθαι, as the latter word expresses only the wish, the inclination to something; but the former the active will, the definite purpose. See Meyer on Philemon 1:13 f., and Tittm. Synon. p. 124 ff. But whether this purpose was already formed at Berea (Fromond., Baumgarten-Crusius), or elsewhere, cannot be determined.

ἐγὼ μὲν παῦλος] a restriction of the subject contained in ἠθελήσαμεν, as the apostle in this section intends only to speak of himself. But that he considered the addition ἐγὼ μὲν παῦλος here necessary, whilst he omitted it in what preceded, is a proof that he there regarded what was said as spoken likewise in the name of his two associates. Moreover, ἐγὼ μὲν παῦλος is an actual parenthesis, and is not to be connected with καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δίς, as Hofmann thinks, from the insufficient reason, because otherwise ἐγὼ μὲν παῦλος must have stood after ἠθελήσαμεν (!); and as we find also with Grotius, who makes a suppressed δέ correspond to the μέν, in the sense: “nempe Timotheus et Silas semel.”(41)

΄έν] serves only to bring the subject into prominence. See Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 413.

καὶ ἅπαξ καὶ δίς] both once and twice, a definite expression for twice (comp. Philippians 4:16); not in the general sense of saepius (Grotius, Joachim Lange, Turretin, Koppe, Pelt), for then ἅπαξ καὶ δίς would have been written. Calvin: “Quum dicit semel et bis voluimus, testatur non subitum fuisse fervorem, qui statim refrixerit, sed hujus propositi se fuisse tenacem.” A longer continuance of the church (Baur) is not to be assumed from this expression, as the interval of probably half a year, which is to be assumed between the departure of Paul from Thessalonica and the composition of this Epistle (see Introd. § 3), was a period sufficiently long to give rise to the twice formed resolution to return.

καὶ ἐνέκοψεν ἡμᾶς σατανᾶς] and Satan hindered us. καί, not equivalent with δέ, by which certainly this new sentence might have been introduced (Vorstius, Grotius, Benson, Koppe, Schott, Olshausen, de Wette, Koch, Bloomfield), mentions simply the result of the apostle’s resolution in the form of juxtaposition. In an unnatural and forced manner Hofmann subordinates ἠθελήσα΄εν ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑ΄ᾶς as the antecedent to καὶ ἐνέκοψεν ἡ΄ᾶς σατανᾶς as the principal sentence, whilst διότι denotes while, and ἐν πολλῇ ἐπιθυμίᾳ (1 Thessalonians 2:17) is “in intention added to the sentence introduced by διότι.” Accordingly the sense would be: Therefore the anxiety to visit the church became so strong, that when it came to the intention to go to Thessalonica, Satan hindering prevented it (!).

On ἐγκόπτειν, comp. Romans 15:22; Galatians 5:7; 1 Peter 3:7.

σατανᾶς] denotes not “the opponents of Christianity, the enemies of God and men” (Schrader), but, according to the Pauline view, the personal author of evil, the devil, who, as he is the author of all hindrances in the kingdom of God, has brought about the circumstances which prevented the apostle from carrying out his purpose. But whether, under these preventive circumstances occasioned by the devil, are to be understood the wickedness of the Thessalonian Jews (Fromond., Schott, de Wette, Bisping), “qui insidias apostolo in itinere struebant” (Quistorp and, though wavering, Zanchius), or the contentions of the church where Paul was, and which prevented his leaving them (Musculus), or even the “injecta ei necessitas disputandi saepius cum Stoicis et Epicureis, qui Athenis erant” (Grotius), or what else, must be left unexplained, as Paul himself has given no explanation.


Verse 19

1 Thessalonians 2:19. A reason not for περισσοτέρως ἐσπουδάσαμεν τὸ πρόσωπον ὑμῶν ἰδεῖν, 1 Thessalonians 2:17 (Hofmann), but of the twice formed resolution of the apostle to return to Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 2:18. This earnest desire to return is founded on the esteem of the apostle for his readers, on account of their promising Christian qualities. Grotius: Construi haec sic debent: τίς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἐλπὶςἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίου οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς; Certainly correct as regards the matter and the thought, as ἔμπροσθενπαρουσίᾳ is to be referred to the preceding predicates, but ought not to be connected with οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς, as a second independent question. So also Olshausen, who renders it thus: “or do not ye also (as I myself and all the rest of the faithful) appear before Christ at His coming, i.e. without hesitation, without any doubt, ye will surely be also recognised by Christ as His, and therefore will not fall away again at any time from the faith.” But the reason and justification for this strange position of the words consist in this, that Paul originally conjoined the words τίς γὰρὑμεῖς in thought, and originally wrote them by themselves; but then to present the predicates already put down as considered not in a worldly, but in a specifically Christian sense, he introduces, as a closer definition and explanation of the whole clause τίςὑμεῖς, the words ἔμπροσθενπαρουσίᾳ. There is, accordingly, no need for the supposition of Laurent (Neutestam. Studien, Gotha 1866, p. 28 f.), that Paul only at a later period, after he had read through the whole Epistle once, placed these words in the margin, or ordered them to be inserted. Accordingly, the apostle says: For who is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing, or are not even ye this? before our Lord Jesus at His coming; i.e., if any one deserves to be called our hope, etc., ye deserve it. As the addition ἔμπροσθεν κ. τ. λ. proves that the apostle thinks on the judgment connected with the coming of Christ.

Paul, however, calls the Thessalonians ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν (comp. Liv. xxviii. 39), not because he anticipates a reward for himself on account of the conversion of the Thessalonians effected by him (Estius, Fromond., Joachim Lange, Hofmann, and most critics), or at least a remission of the punishment for his early persecution of the Christian church (for the emphasis rests not on ἡμῶν, but on the predicates ἐλπὶς κ. τ. λ.), but because he has the confident hope that the Thessalonians will not be put to shame at the trial to be expected at the advent, but will rather be found pure and blameless, as those who embraced the faith with eagerness, and heroically persevered in it in spite of all contentions.

χαρά] or joy, as by the conversion and Christian conduct of the Thessalonians the kingdom of God has been promoted.

στέφανος καυχήσεως] or crown of glory (comp. עֲטֶרֶת תִּפְּאֶרֶת, Ezekiel 16:12; Ezekiel 23:42; Proverbs 16:31, and also the LXX.; Philippians 4:1; Soph. Aj. 460; Macrob. in somn. Scip. i. 1), inasmuch as this greatness and glory, occasioned by the labours of the apostle for the church, is, as it were, the victorious reward of his strivings.

οὐχί] not nonne (Erasmus, Schott, and others), but an non, for here introduces the second member of a double question.

καὶ ὑμεῖς] also ye: for, besides the Thessalonians, there were other churches planted by Paul worthy of the same praise. According to de Wette, to whom Koch and Bisping attach themselves, ὑμεῖς should properly have followed στέφ. καυχήσ.: “no one is more our hope than you;” but with καί the apostle corrects himself, not to say too much, and not to offend other churches. But just because ὑμεῖς imports too much, why should not the apostle have designed to put οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς from the very first!

ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ παρουσίᾳ] at his coming (return) to establish the Messianic kingdom (comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, et al.; Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 341 ff.); an epexegesis to ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν ἰησοῦ.


Verse 20

1 Thessalonians 2:20. An impassioned answer to the question in 1 Thessalonians 2:19. Thus γάρ is not causal, but confirmatory, you or truly ye are ( ὑμεῖς ἐστέ, emphatic) our glory and our joy. Comp. Winer, p. 396 [E. T. 558]; Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 473. Flatt and Hofmann refer 1 Thessalonians 2:19 to the future, to the παρουσίᾳ χριστοῦ, and 1 Thessalonians 2:20 to the present: “Ye are now our glory and our joy, therefore I hope that ye will be yet more,” etc. Without justification, as this distinction of time would have been marked by Paul.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-thessalonians-2.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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