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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
1 Thessalonians 2

 

 

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Verses 1-16

REMINISCENT

For the story of the founding of this church by Paul, examine Acts 17. We call the first section of the epistle the reminiscent part, because the apostle is referring to what had taken place in Thessalonica at that time.

It opens with the usual salutation 1 Thessalonians 1:1, in which Silas and Timothy are named with Paul, not as co-writers, but co-workers with him when in that city, and so known to the church.

The thanksgiving follows, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, in which is mentioned a triad of graces (1 Thessalonians 1:3) that had been produced in these young Christians, testifying assuredly to their election of God (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

Next comes a testimony to the church of the deepest interest (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Through receiving the Word of God in the Holy Ghost, they had become imitators of Paul and of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:6) to such an extent that all the saints throughout Greece were reaping a blessing from their lives (1 Thessalonians 1:7).

Travelers passing from them to other parts, were carrying the news of what God had done for them, so that Paul’s own witness was made unnecessary (1 Thessalonians 1:8). It was an evidence of his ministry among them as the result of which they had “turned to God from idols” (a “work of faith”); “to serve the living and true God” (a “labor of love”); and to wait for His Son from heaven” (“patience of hope”). The explanation of it all is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

The testimony to the church leads to a testimony about himself (1 Thessalonians 2:1-16), not for his own praise, but the magnifying of the grace of God in him. In verse 5 of the previous chapter, he had shown that the wonderful result of the gospel among them was explained by the power of the Holy Ghost, with which it had been preached; and this power, in turn, was explained by the “manner of men we were among you for your sake.” Again, in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, he referred to the “manner of entering in we had unto you,” while in chapter 2, he expatiates upon it. In other words, “the manner of man” he had been was expressed: (1) by courage and devotion (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 with the story in Acts 16); (2) by faithfulness and impartiality. His preaching had not been of deceit (error), uncleanness, guile, flattery, covetousness, or vainglory. The gospel had been committed to him by God, as a sacred trust; and since to God he must give account of his stewardship, he ministered it not to please men but God, “which trieth our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6). (3) by kindness and affection. His gentleness was like that of a mother nursing her children (see RV). His affection was shown in the self- denying labor of tent-making in which he engaged to earn his living, that he might “not be chargeable” to them for his support (1 Thessalonians 2:7-9). (4) in holiness and consistency of life (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12). No wonder therefore that they received his message as the “Word of God” and not the word of men (1 Thessalonians 2:13); nor that it should have effectually wrought in them as it did “in the churches of God in Judea” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

QUESTIONS

1. Have you read Acts 16-17 in connection with this lesson?

2. Why is this lesson called “Reminiscent”?

3. Why are Silas and Timothy named?

4. What triad of graces was seen in these young Christians?

5. How do you explain 1:7?

6. What is the theme of chapter 2?

7. How was Paul’s Christian character exhibited among the Thessalonians?

8. What was the result?


Verse 17

PERSONAL AND CONGRATULATORY

PAUL’S DESIRE TO REVISIT THE CHURCH (1 Thessalonians 2:17-19)

Satan hindered in the execution of this desire in ways indicated in Acts 17, specifically, by stirring up opposition on the part of the Jews. Observe the teaching here as to the personality of Satan, his hatred of the true church, and the power he has to use agents in opposition to it. Paul’s desire to visit the church is explained by his interest in the saints (1 Thessalonians 2:19). Observe here the reference to the Second coming of Christ, and the teaching of Paul that he would then meet his converts, and know and rejoice over them in the Lord’s presence. What an answer to the question so often raised, Shall we recognize each other in the future life?

TIMOTHY’S MISSION TO THE CHURCH (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5)

Refer to Acts 17 and observe the circumstances under which Paul was left at Athens. Driven out of Thessalonica and Berea, by persecution, the brethren had sent him there. Observe the reason why Timothy was returned to Thessalonica; to establish and comfort the young saints (1 Thessalonians 3:2). Their affliction arising out of their faith was great, and though they had been warned to it (1 Thessalonians 3:4), yet they might have succumbed under it, and Paul’s labor on their behalf would in that sense have been “in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).

TIMOTHY’S REPORT OF THE CHURCH (1 Thessalonians 3:6-10)

Their faith was firm, their love warm, their remembrance of Paul keen, and he was comforted. This was life for him, to know that his children in the faith stood “fast in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3:8).

PAUL’S PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13)

That he might see them again and that their love might increase toward one another, and toward all. But all this would be fulfilled in permanent perfection only at the Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

QUESTIONS

1. What are the four main points of the lesson?

2. How did Satan hinder Paul?

3. What light does this lesson throw on the question of future recognition of believers?

4. Why did Timothy return to Thessalonica?

5. What was the nature of his report to Paul leading to the writing of this letter?

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/1-thessalonians-2.html. 1897-1910.

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Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
the Third Week after Epiphany
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