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Bible Commentaries

Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 2

Verses 1-2

ARGUMENT 1

THESSALONIAN CONVERSION

2,3. Incessantly remembering your work of faith and labor of love. ” All who have faith and love are Christians, these two fundamental graces constituting the beautiful globe of the new creation, Faith the human, and Love the Divine hemisphere. Soul-saving work is the legitimate and normal fruit of a genuine faith; so is love demonstrated by evangelistic labor These people proved their faith and love by their works.

4. Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election. ” We are repeatedly informed in the Scripture that our election is through “sanctification of the Spirit.” In conversion we become candidates for heaven; in sanctification, we are elected. Though these people had not all been sanctified, God seeing it in the future recognizes it.

5. Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but even in dynamite and in the Holy Ghost and in much full assurance. ” You see from these inspired statements that their conversion was no modern bogus, but was like a sunburst from the throne of God. It is utterly impossible for a candid mind to call in question the genuineness of their spiritual birth.

6. Receiving the Word in much tribulation with joy of the Holy Ghost. ” No sinner has the joy of the Holy Ghost, but he has the sorrow and condemnation of conviction till he passes from death to life.

7. So that you are an example to all those who believe in Macedonia and Achaia. ” Here we see Paul holds them up as paragon saints for the exemplification of all others.

8. For from you the Word of the Lord has roared out, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith, which is toward God, has gone forth. ” Here we see that they were not only themselves saved, but efficient and enthusiastic missionaries, scouring all the surrounding country, and preaching with stentorian voices. Good Lord, give us everywhere the Thessalonian type of conversion!

8. The Thessalonian saints are bold missionaries, proclaiming the gospel in Macedonia and Achaia with stentorian voices. They were none of your dumb professors.

9. …We find Paul, on his first visit to Thessalonica, rendered the second coming of Christ exceedingly prominent. The Christhood, in which his first coming to suffer and die, and his second coming to conquer and to reign, are the great salient points, constituted the burden of apostolic preaching. So it is today. When we cease to preach Christ, we would better travel. “ To await his Son from the heavens, whom he raised from the dead, delivering us from the wrath to come. ” Christ is our great Deliverer, over all and in all.

1,2. Despite their cruel treatment in Philippi, and the hot and bloody pursuit of their enemies to Thessalonica, they were bold as lions, exposing the futility of the heathen gods, and the impertinency of the defunct Judaism; they fearlessly hold Jesus Christ as the only Savior of a lost world, the Holy Ghost attesting the truth of their testimony.

Verses 3-13

ARGUMENT 2

PAULINE MINISTRY

3,4. Not pleasing men, but God, who proveth our hearts. ” A man- pleasing gospel is Satan’s delusion. A preacher in a great metropolis said: “If we preach the Bible as it is, not one of us can hold our pulpit.” The whole country is cursed with a diluted, man-pleasing gospel.

5,6. Not in pretext of covetousness, seeking glory from men. ” “ God is our witness. ” Here Paul calls God to witness that money wielded no influence in the ministry of him and his comrades.

7-9. While they had a right to temporal support, they supplemented their income with manual labor. We must be true to the New Testament, and faithfully preach the Word, regardless of temporal support.

10. You and God are witnesses, how holily, righteously, and blamelessly we were among you! ” Here Paul, in behalf of himself and comrades, boldly professes sanctification. Holily, the literal translation of the Greek, means in a holy manner. The adverb includes the adjective, and could be affirmed of none but holy people.

13. As it truly is the Word of God, who worketh in them that believe. ” This affirms a wonderful truth. When you believe convicting truth, God works conviction in you. When you believe converting truth, God works conversion in you. When you believe sanctifying truth, God works sanctification in you. Faith is the hand by which you receive everything from God. Your faith is the measuring-line of your experience. Faith is the human side of the plan of salvation. Silently and imperceptibly to mortal eyes, the Holy Ghost works in you according to your faith. Not only does he work in you according to your faith, but he actually inspires and augments your faith. This is the secret of wonderful experiences.

Verses 14-19

ARGUMENT 3

SIN ALWAYS FIGHTS

14-16. Sin, like its symbol, the rattlesnake, always fights for its life. The Christians in Palestine were cruelly persecuted by the Jews. The Thessalonian Gentiles were most malignantly persecuted by the Gentile tribes. Graceless always fight the grace of God, that seeks to save them. The Gentiles were the apostate Patriarchal Church; the Jews, the fallen Mosaic Church, having retrogressed into formality and hypocrisy. So the devil had them both, and they were ready to unite against God. Fallen Churchism has always been Satan’s organized opposition. “But wrath cometh on them in the extreme.” Paul’s prophetic eye saw the awful storm of Roman castigation coming on the Jews. Within a score of years from this writing, the army of Titus laid siege to Jerusalem. Josephus says that a sword suspended high in the air hung over Jerusalem a whole year preceding her destruction. The horrors of the siege beggar all description. A solid million perished by sword, pestilence, and famine, and a million were sold into slavery; while the scathed and peeled remnant were driven to the ends of the earth, prohibited, on pain of death, to return to the home of their race and the land of their love. The Roman emperors hated the religion, both of Jews and Christians. Therefore they did their utmost to obliterate the very memory of Jerusalem, the Emperor Adrian even dropping the name, and founding a Roman colony on the site under the name of Elia Capitolina. It retained this name two hundred years, till the conversion of Constantine, A.D. 325, when he and his royal mother, Queen Helena, went to Palestine, rebuilt Jerusalem, restoring the name after an interregnum of two hundred years. Still the curse of expatriation is on the Jews. Methinks I see the day dawning on the wandering children of Abraham. Certainly the signs of the times portend the speedy fulfillment of the wonderful latter-day prophecies in reference to the hope of Israel.

Terrible has been their retribution. Correspondingly glorious will be their redemption when they shall come from their wanderings in the ends of the earth, and again take their place at the front of the world, to fall and wander no more.

17. We see here Paul’s “hour” indefinitely denoted simply a short period of time.

18. Satan is constantly maneuvering, especially through human instrumentality, to hinder God’s saints in their soul-saving enterprises. Blessed consolation amid all, God is infinitely stronger than the devil, and actually his assaults are a blessing to his true people.

19. The saints are Paul’s hope, joy, and crown, in presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his coming. In this and all other epistles, Paul keeps the second coming of the Lord constantly before the people, thus inspiring them to get ready. Parousia, the Greek translated coming, is from para, along with, and ousa, being. Hence, it means to come and stay, perfectly harmonizing with the pre-millennial view of his glorious reign on the earth after his coming. It literally means his presence.

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Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/1-thessalonians-2.html.