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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

1 Thessalonians 1

Verses 1-99

COMMENTARY ON THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS

I. SUPERSCRIPTION (1:1)

Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the assembly of Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace.

1. The superscription, which is to be distinguished from the address written “on the outside or on the cover of the folded letter” (Deissmann, Light, 148), comprises, as in contemporary letters, the name of the writer in the nominative, the people addressed in the dative, and the greeting. Although it is the shortest of extant Pauline superscriptions, it contains the essential points of the more developed forms, not simply the names of writers and recipients but also the divine names God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the characteristically Pauline “grace and peace.” The Holy Spirit is mentioned in no superscription and in but one benediction (2 Corinthians 13:13).


The inscription ΠΡΟΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΕΙΣ (אBAK, et al.), like the inscriptions and subscriptions in most mss. and like the introductions (ὑποθέσει) in some mss., is editorial and seems to presuppose a corpus Paulinum with some such title as ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΑΙ ΠΑΥΛΟ For elaborations of this briefest form of inscription (e. g. in DGF with a prefixed ἄρχετα; in P with a prefixed παύλου ἐπιστολη, or in G with a prefixed ἄρχετα and an added πρώτη ἐπιστολή). see von Soden, Schriften des N. T. I, 294 ff. For the influence of contemporary literature upon the general form and many phrases of the Pauline and other N. T. letters, see Deissmann, BS. 187 ff., EB. II, 1323 ff., and Light; Rendel Harris, Exp5 VIII, 161 ff., 401 ff.; Robinson, Ephesians, 275 ff.; Mill. 121 ff.; and Moff. Introd. 44 ff. Useful selections from contemporary letters may be found in Lietzmann, Griechische Papyri, 1905; Witkowski, Epistulae graecae privatae, 1906; and Mill. Selections from the Greek Papyri, 1910.

Since Silvanus and Timothy were with Paul in Thessalonica when the church was established and with him in Corinth when both our letters were written (Acts 18:5; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:19), it is natural to find the three names associated in the superscription. Paul takes precedence as he is the leading spirit and the letter is his in a peculiar sense; Silvanus, the Silas of Acts, comes next; and Timothy, who was not only a helper but a preacher (2 Corinthians 1:19), as youngest comes last. While the letter is Paul’s, the exceptionally frequent appearance of “we” where it is natural to think primarily not of an epistolary plural but of Paul and his companions suggests an intimacy of association in writing which is not true of 1 Cor. where Sosthenes is joined with Paul in the superscription, nor of 2 Cor. Col. Phile. Phil. where Timothy is joined with Paul.

It is generally admitted that “we” may be used in various senses including that of the epistolary plural (cf. not only Paul (1 Corinthians 9:11 and 9:15), but also Polybius, Josephus, and the papyri); but it is observed with force by Mill. (131-132) that owing to the “special circumstances under which the two epistles were written, we shall do well to give its full weight to this normal use of the plural in them, and to think of it as including St. Paul’s two companions along with himself wherever on other grounds this is possible”; cf. Zahn, Introd. I 209 ff. On the other hand, Dob. thinks that thought the associated authors may be in mind they have no prerogatives whatever (67-68); see Dick, Der schriftstellerische Plural bei Paulus, 1900.

The form Σιλβανό (DG; cf. B in 1 Peter 5:12) is regular in the papyri (Mill.); cf. P. Oxy. 335 (c. 85 a.d.) where Παῦλο sells Σιλβανό the sixth part of a house in the Jewish quarter. Our Silvanus is a Jew and a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37); cf. Schmiedel, EB 4514 ff. Timothy was of mixed Gentile and Jewish blood; whether a Roman citizen or not is unknown; cf. Moff. EB 5074 ff.

The designation�Galatians 1:2 Cor. addressed to communities in which Judaists attacked Paul’s apostleship (Philippians 3:2 ff. refers to unbelieving Jews as Lipsius, McGiffert, and most recently Dob. (117) insist); in that of Rom., a community not founded by him and not sharing his distinctive views, to which he is presenting his gospel; and in that of Col. Eph., churches founded by his converts whose Christianity he vouches for.

τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέω. There is but one Christian group in Thessalonica; it is small numerically, unless πλῆθος πολυ (Acts 17:4) is to be pressed, but intense in faith (v. 8; cf. Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:23); and it assembles perhaps in the house of Jason.

The numerical strength of the church in the house of Prisca and Aquila (1 Corinthians 16:19, Romans 16:5) is computed by Gregory (Canon and Text of the N. T. 524) to be at least fifty. Whether the church in Thess. that Paul addressed was as large as that is quite unknown.

No good reasons have been adduced to show why we have here and in II 1:1 (cf. Colossians 4:16) the nomen gentilicium θεσσαλονικεύ instead of the name of the place (Galatians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1). The view of von Soden (SK 1885, 274) that Paul “under the influence of the fresh impression of his success thinks of the inhabitants as already as a whole in touch with the church,” is unlikely in the light of the similar τῇ Λαοδικέων ἐκκλησίᾳ in Colossians 4:16. Equally obscure is the fact that I, II, Galatians 1:2 Cor. Phile. are addressed to the “church” or “churches” (cf. Philippians 1:1 σὺν ἐπισκόποις καὶ διακόνοι) while Rom. Col. Eph. are addressed to the saints and brethren.

ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ καὶ κυρίῳ Ἰ. This phrase, found only here and (with ἡμῶ after πατρι) in II 1:1 and to be attached closely to the preceding as in 2:14, specifies the Christian character of the ἐκκλησί in contrast with the civic assembly of the Gentiles and the theocratic assembly of the Jews (Chrys.). The omission of τῇ after θεσς, which on the analogy of Galatians 1:22 might have been retained, serves to accentuate the closeness of the attachment. Both the phrase as a whole and its component parts ἐν θεῷ πατρι (II 1:1) and ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰ. Χ (II 1:1, 3:12) are peculiar to our letters.

The ἐ, however, is the ἐ of the characteristic Pauline phrases ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησου (2:14, 5:18 and often in Paul), ἐν Χριστῷ (4:16 and often in Paul), ἐν κυρίῳ (3:8, 5:12, II 3:4 and often in Paul), ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησου (4:1, Romans 14:14, Ephesians 1:15, Philippians 2:19), ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶ (1 Corinthians 15:31, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:39, Ephesians 3:11, but not in I, II), ἐν πνεύματ (v. 5; Romans 8:9, Romans 9:1, etc.), and ἐν τῷ θεῷ (2:2; Colossians 3:3, Ephesians 3:9, but not Romans 2:17, Romans 5:11). The relation of the human and divine indicated by ἐ is local and realistic; the human is in the atmosphere of the divine. There is presupposed the indwelling of God (1 Corinthians 14:25, 2 Corinthians 6:16), Christ (Romans 8:10), or the Spirit (Romans 8:9, Romans 8:11) as an energising (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:16, Philippians 2:13) power both ethical and permanent. Hence when a man is in Christ or the Spirit, terms interchangeable as regards the operations, or in God, or when a man is possessed by them (ἔχει Romans 8:19, 1 Corinthians 7:40), he is as such under the control of a divine power that makes for newness of life (cf. ἐν δυνάμει πνεύματο Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19). The divine air which the human breathes is charged, so to speak, with ethical energy.

The new in these phrases with ἐ is neither the realism of the relation nor the grammatical form (cf. ἐν κυρίῳ Habakkuk 3:18; ἐν πνεύματ Ezekiel 11:24, Ezekiel 37:1) but the combination of ἐ with Χριστῷ, a combination due to Paul’s experience of Christ as Spirit and Lord. For influences on Paul’s conception, see Gunkel (Die Wirkungen des Geistes, 1888, 100 ff.); Deissmann (Die neutestamentliche Formel in Christo Jesu, 1892); Volz (Der Geist Gottes, 1910, 198 ff.); Reitzenstein (Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen, 1910) and a critique of the same in Schweitzer’s Geschichte der Paulinischen Forschung, 1911, 141-184, especially 170 ff.; Deissmann’s Paulus, 1911, 87 ff.; and Percy Gardner’s Religious Experience of St. Paul, 1911. An analogy to Paul’s phrase is found in ἐν πνεύματι�Mark 1:23) and ἔχειν πνεῦμα�Mark 3:30); the man is in the demon because the demon is in the man as an energising (cf. II 2:7, Ephesians 2:2; also II 2:9, 11) force; δαίμονος γὰρ οὐσία ἐνέργει (Reitzenstein, Poimandres, 35224).

θεῷ πατρι. The omission of the articles indicates that the phrase had long been fixed for Paul (cf. also II 1:2 (BD) Galatians 1:1, Galatians 1:3 (BD) Ephesians 6:23, Philippians 2:11). The name Father, inherited by the Master (cf. Bousset, Relig 432 ff.) and put into the central place in his teaching, is confirmed as primary in Paul’s redemptive experience. It is striking that this name occurs in passages giving fervent expression to his religious life, and that it is joined usually with the name Christ, e. g. in the superscriptions, thanksgivings (1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Colossians 1:3, Colossians 3:17, Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 5:20), prayers (3:11, 13, II 2:16, Romans 15:6, Ephesians 6:23), and the like (1 Corinthians 8:6, 15:24, 28, 2 Corinthians 11:31, Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:18, Ephesians 4:6). It is probable that as Paul insists that no man can say κύριος Ἰησοῦ but in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), so he would insist that no man can say Ἀββά ὁ πατή (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:15) but in the same Spirit. At all events, Paul’s specifically Christian name of the God of both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 3:29) is “God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “Our Father.”

κυρίῳ Ἰ. Χ. In these words both the primitive (Acts 2:36) and the Pauline convictions about Jesus are summed up: he is Messiah and Lord. The Lordship of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3, Romans 10:9), Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6, Romans 13:14, Philippians 2:11), Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:5, Colossians 2:6) is the essence of the Pauline experience; it receives conspicuous emphasis in the second epistle (see on II 2:13). While both Ἰησοῦς Χριστό and Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦ have already become proper names, the Messianic connotation of Χριστό is not lost (cf. Romans 9:5, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Philippians 1:15, Ephesians 1:10, etc.). It is Jesus the Messiah who is Lord.

On the divine names in I, II, see Mill. 135-140. Dob., (60-61) explains the placing of Χριστό before Ἰησοῦ (e. g. 2:14, 5:18), to which SH 3ff.) call attention, as due to the ambiguity of the casus obliqui of Ἰησοῦ; for apart from Romans 8:34, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Colossians 2:6, the order Χ. Ἰ appears only in the formulæ Χριστοῦ Ἰησου and ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησου, while Paul writes continually κυρίου Ἰ. Χ and ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰ. Χ

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήν. This phrase, common to all the ten Pauline superscriptions, bears, like the phrase έν Χριστῷ, the stamp of Paul’s experience. It is likewise the shortest Pauline præscript. χάρι, used here in its widest sense, is the favour of God by which he acquits all sinners, Jews and Gentiles, solely on the principle of faith and grants them freedom from the power of sin and newness of the life in Christ or the Spirit. εἰρήν is the spiritual prosperity enjoyed by the recipients of the divine favour. What is expressed in all the other letters of Paul (except Colossians 1:2 which adds only “from God our Father”), namely, that grace and peace come from God the (our) Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, is already implied in ἐν θεῷ κτλ There is, however, no reason either here or in Col. for attaching χάρι to the clause with ἐ

In coining, as he apparently does coin, this form of greeting, Paul is less influenced by current epistolary phrases than by his conviction that the blessings of the promised Messianic kingdom (Isaiah 9:5, Psalms 72:3) are realised only through the grace of God in Christ.

It is generally assumed (cf. Fritzsche on Romans 1:7 or Zahn on Galatians 1:3) that the Pauline greeting is suggested both by the Semitic and the Greek.

The influence of the Aramaic in εἰρήν (Ezra 4:17, Ezra 5:7, Dan. 3:31 (98), 6:26; see BDB sub שלם may have been felt (cf. also Apoc. Bar. 78:2 where Syriac suggests ἔλεος καὶ εἰρήν); but it is doubtful (Robinson, Ephesians, 141) whether χάρι has anything to do with χαίρει (James 1:1.Acts 15:23, Acts 23:26), for in some papyri at least (Witk., 22 ff. Ἀλκαῖος Σωσιφάνει χαίρειν. χάρις τοῖς θεοῖς πολλη or θεῷ πλείστη χάρι), χαίρει is the greeting and χάρι the thanksgiving. On the other hand, cf. 2 Malachi 1:1 χαίρει … καὶ εἰρήνην�

The word χάρι is rare in the Prophets and Psalms but frequent in the Wisdom literature. Paul’s usage has affected Luke and First Peter. The Johannist prefers�1 Peter 1:2, etc.), not Greek (which demands χάρι sc. λέγουσι) usage. The position of ὑμῖ serves to distinguish both χάρι and εἰρήν (Bl 80:2). It is doubtless “pedantry to reflect on the fact that the readers as Christians possess already that grace, that hence only an increase of the same could be desired for them” (Dob.). Most editors omit with BGF Orig. Pesh, Arm, f g r, Vulg the usual clause with�


II. THANKSGIVING (1:2-3:10)

In the thanksgiving (1:2-3:10; cf. 1:2, 2:13, 3:9) and closely related prayer (3:11-13) covering the major portion of the letter, Paul reviews his attitude to the church during his visit (1:2-2:16) and during the interval between his enforced departure and the writing of I (2:17-3:10). Though he praises without stint the faith and love of his converts, hardly mentioning the imperfections that exist (3:8, 10), and though his words pulsate with warmest affection, yet a tone of self-defence is heard throughout. The constant appeal to the knowledge or memory of the readers as regards his behaviour (1:5, 2:1-12), the references to oral reports which concern not only them but him (1:9), the insistence on the fact that the writers desired—Paul himself repeatedly—to return (2:17-20), the statement that the writers, Paul especially, had determined to send Timothy (3:1-5), and finally the prayer that the writers may return (3:11)—all serve to intimate that Paul is defending both his conduct during the visit and his failure to return against the allegations, not of the converts, not of Judaizers (for there are none in Thessalonica), not of the Gentile persecutors (2:14), for they are not attacked, but, as the ominous outburst (2:15-16) suggests, of the Jews.

It may be conjectured that the Jews, after Paul’s departure, were maligning his conduct and misconstruing his failure to return. Indeed they may well have been the real instigators of Gentile persecutions. Though it is unlikely that the converts actually distrusted Paul (3:6), it is not improbable that they were wrought up and worried by the representations of the Jews, especially since Paul did not return. Whether he had heard of the matter before he despatched Timothy is uncertain but altogether probable. That the self-defence arises purely from a suspicion of Paul without any basis of fact (Dob. 106-107) is unlikely. In the light of 2:15-16, the Jews not the Gentiles (cf. Zahn, Introd. I, 217-218) are the accusers.

(1) Visit and Welcome (1:2-10)

Paul thanks God, as he bears in mind the spiritual excellence of the readers, for their election, the certainty of which is inferred from the presence of the Spirit controlling not only the converts who welcomed the gospel in spite of persecutions (vv. 6-10; cf. 2:13-16), but also the preachers themselves (vv. 5, 9a; cf. 2:1-12).

2We thank God always for you all, making mention of you when we pray, 3bearing in mind continually your work resulting from faith, and your activity prompted by love, and your endurance sanctioned by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4because we know, brothers beloved by God, that you have been chosen, 5from the fact that the gospel we preach did not come to you with words only but also with power, and in the Holy Spirit and much conviction,—as you know the kind of men we became to you for your sake; 6and (from the fact that) you became imitators of us and of the Lord, welcoming the Word in the midst of great persecution with the joy that the Holy Spirit gives, 7so that you became a model community to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia: 8for starting from you the Word of the Lord has sounded out not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place your faith in God has gone out, so that we need not utter a word about you, 9for they themselves are reporting about us what kind of visit we paid you, and (about you) how you turned to God leaving behind those idols of yours, for the purpose of serving the living and genuine God 10and of awaiting his Son who comes down out of the heavens, whom he raised from the dead,—Jesus who delivers us from the judgment that is coming.

The epistolary arrangement of I (χάπι 1:1; εὐχαριστοῦμε 1:2-3:10; αὐτὸς δε 3:11-13; ἐρωτῶμε 4:1-5:22; προσεύχεσθ 5:25;�

As in the papyri, so also in Paul’s letters, there is freedom in the use both of the general epistolary outline and of the separate phrases. In Paul, the simplest thanksgiving is II 1:3, Romans 1:3. This is expanded in I 1:4, Colossians 1:4, Philemon 1:5 by a causal participle without ὅτ; in 1 Corinthians 1:4 by clauses with ἐπι and ὅτ; in Philippians 1:3 ff. with two clauses with ἐπι and a causal participle. In Phil. and our letter, the thanksgiving is full, while Gal. has no thanksgiving. In 2 Cor. and Eph., the O. T. εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεό takes the place of εὐχαριστοῦμε

From Paul’s usage we may assume that περὶ πάντων ὑμῶ is to be taken not with μνείαν ποιούμενο but with εὐχαριστοῦμε (hence a comma after ὐμῶ), as the simpler form (1 Corinthians 1:4, Romans 1:8) suggests; that μνημονεύοντε is parallel to and an expansion of μνείαν ποιούμενοι as δεόμενο (Romans 1:10; contrast Philemon 1:4, Ephesians 1:16) indicates; and that εἰδότε is a causal participle depending on εὐχαριστοῦμε, while ὅτ depends not on the latter but on the former. Doubtful is the reference of�


2. εὐχαριστοῦμεν κτλ. Thankfulness is not only felt but is expressed to God, and that too always and for all; in saying πάντων Paul is thinking not of their imperfections (3:10) but of their faith and love and personal affection (3:6).

Inasmuch as Paul always uses the article in the phrase εὐχαριστεῖν τῷ θεῷ, τῷ is not significant in this case. Born (69) presses the article to mean “the one God” in contrast to the pagan gods. But quite apart from the lack of definiteness in the use of the article (Bl 46:6), it is to be noted that ὁ θεό is more frequent than θεό in Paul; in I the proportion is about three to one, in Romans slightly greater; and in Col. all but two of the twenty-three cases have the article; cf. I 4:6 with Galatians 4:9—Both πάντοτ (except Romans 1:10) and περὶ ὑμῶ (except Philemon 1:4) follow εὐχαριστεῖ in the initial thanksgivings of Paul. πάντοτ, a late word, is rare in the Lxx (Sap. 11:21, 19:18) but common in Paul (3:6, 5:16, II 1:11, etc.).�2 Corinthians 4:11, 2 Corinthians 6:10); ἑκάστοτ but once (2 Peter 1:15).—For περι, we have ὑπέ in Philippians 1:3, Colossians 1:3 (v. l.); the distinction between them is fading away (Moult I, 105).

μνείαν ποιούμενοι κτλ This participial clause defines πάντοτ (cf. Philemon 1:4). ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν ἡμῶ = προσευχόμενο (Colossians 1:3); ἐπι = “in the time of.” Each time that they are engaged in prayer, the writers mention the names of the converts (contrast μνημονεύει v. 3 and μνείαν ἔχει 3:6) and give thanks for them.

While both ποεῖσθαι μνείαν περί τινο and ποιεῖσθαι μνείαν τινό (cf. Job 14:13, Psalms 110:4, Isaiah 32:10) are classic, epistolary usage favours the latter construction. ὑμῶ is to be supplied. Its omission is due both here and Ephesians 1:16 to the περὶ (ὑπὲρ) ὑμῶ; its retention by CDG, et al., is influenced by Romans 1:10, Philemon 1:4 (cf. I 3:6, Philippians 1:3 and papyri). ἡμῶ instead of μο (Romans 1:10, Ephesians 1:16, Philemon 1:4) is natural, since Silvanus and Timothy are associated with Paul in the thanksgiving.—The distinction between ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖ (Dan. Lxx 18, 20; Ign. Mag. 14:1 Trall. 13:1 with μνημονεύειν; cf. Paul in Romans 15:30, Colossians 4:12) and ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶ is probably slight; cf. 1 Mac. 12:11.


3.�

Whether�Romans 1:10 P. Lond. 42 (διαπαντὸς μνείαν ποιούμενο) is not decisive.�Romans 1:9; cf. 1 Mac. 12:12), εὐχαριστεῖ (2:13), and προσεύχεσθα (5:17; cf. Ign. Eph. 10:1; Hermas Sim. IX 11:7; and Polyc. 4:3 ἐντυγχάνει).—Since μνημονεύει with gen. (Galatians 2:10, Colossians 4:18) refers to the thought not to its expression in prayer before God, it is better to take ἔμπροσθεν κτλ not with the distant μνημονεύοντε but with the adjacent Ἰησοῦ Χριστου (Lft., Mill., Dob.), as indeed the position of the clause and the analogy of 3:13 make probable (but see Lillie, ad loc.).

ὐμῶ … Χριστου. The genitives are somewhat bewildering and the interpretations are various. The most favoured solution is that which joins ὑμῶ with ἔργου, κόπου, ὑπομονῆ, and which explains τῆς πίστεως, τῆς�Hebrews 6:10 reads not τοῦ κόπου τῆς�

Lillie notes that Olshausen and Steiger (1832 on 1 Peter 1:2) connect τοῦ κυρίο with all three gen. πίστεως,�Romans 8:28, 1 Corinthians 2:9, 1 Corinthians 8:3) or Christ (1 Corinthians 16:22, Ephesians 6:24) is rare in Paul compared with the love of God or Christ for men. On the name ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ (5:9, 23, 28, II 2:1, 14, 16, 3:18), see below on 2:19.

τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστεω. The work of faith is the activity that faith inspires, that is, love in all its manifestations (as in II 1:11).—τοῦ κόπου τῆς�Colossians 1:27), is the confident expectation of spiritual prosperity after death, the hope of salvation (5:8), the good hope (II 2:16) originating in Christ, a hope that those who are not in Christ do not share (4:13).


ὑπομονη (II 1:4, 3:5) is frequent in 4 Mac. (e. g. 15:30) in the sense of καρτερί In 1 Clem. 5:7 Paul himself is ὑπομονῆς μέγιστος ὑπογραμμό In II 3:5 the only adequate endurance is that inspired by Christ.

ἔμπροσθεν κτλ. Hope in Christ suggests the day of the Lord when all men must appear before God. For the unbeliever, it is a day of destruction (1:10, 5:3, II 1:9), but for the believer, a day of salvation (1:10, 3:13, 5:9), the fruition of hope. The Judge here is not Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) but God (Romans 14:10), and that too the God and Father of us Christians. As in 2:19, 3:13, ἔμπροσθε is attached loosely to the immediately preceding words.

ὁ πατή (Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:18, Ephesians 3:14, Colossians 1:2 v. l.),�Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:15), ὁ θεὸς πατή (Colossians 1:12 (א) 3:17), θεὸς ὁ πατή (1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:12 FG), ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατή (1 Corinthians 15:24, Ephesians 5:20), ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ (Romans 15:6, 2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3, Colossians 1:3 (אA; BCDG omit και) 2 Corinthians 11:31 D) do not occur in I, II. We have, however, θεὸς πατή (1:1, II 1:2 (BD) Galatians 1:1, Galatians 1:3 (BD) Ephesians 6:23, Philippians 2:11), θεὸς πατὴρ ἡμῶ (II 1:1, Galatians 1:3 (אA) Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Philemon 1:3), and ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ ἡμῶ (1:3, 3:11, 13, Galatians 1:4, Philippians 4:20). Unique is II 2:16 whether we read θεὸς ὁ πατήρ ἡμῶ (BD) or ὁ θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶ (אG). Paul does not use ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν καὶ πατή or πατὴρ θεό (Sir. 23:4).

4. εἰδότε = ὅτι οἴδαμε. The causal participle (cf. Philippians 1:6, Colossians 1:3, Philemon 1:4) introduces the ultimate ground of the thanksgiving, namely, the election of the readers. Of this election Paul is assured both from the fact that (ὅτ v. 5) the gospel which he preached, the gospel through which God calls men unto salvation (II 2:14), came home to them with the power of the Spirit, and from the fact that (sc. ὅτ before ὑμεῖ v. 6) the same Spirit operated in the believers, as could be plainly inferred from the welcome they gave to the Word and its messengers in spite of great persecution. It is significant both that here, as Calvin observes, Paul infers the pretemporal election of the readers from the fruits of the Spirit, and that it is taken for granted that the readers understand what ἐκλογη means, an evidence that this idea formed an integral part of the gospel of God proclaimed in Thessalonica.

ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ τοῦ θεου. The frequency of�Romans 1:7). The connection of this phrase with ἐκλογη makes plain that election proceeds from the love of God (cf. Isaiah 41:8-9 where ἐκλέγεσθα is parallel to�

Moses in Sir. 45:1 is ἠγαπημένος ὑπὸ θεοῦ καὶ�Nehemiah 13:26 is�Deuteronomy 33:12 and Issachar in Test. xii Iss. 1:1 are ἠγαπ. ὑπὸ κυρίο; and Samuel in Sir. 46:13 is ἠγαπ. ὑπὸ κυρίου αὐτου See further Colossians 3:12, 1 Corinthians 15:58, etc.—ἀδελφοί μο (Romans 7:4, Romans 7:15:14, 1 Corinthians 1:11, 1 Corinthians 11:33, 1 Corinthians 14:39, Philippians 3:1),�1 Corinthians 15:58, Philippians 4:1),�Romans 12:19, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 2 Corinthians 12:19, Philippians 4:1),�1 Corinthians 10:14, Philippians 2:12), do not occur in I, II as forms of address. The simple�

τὴν ἐκλογὴν ὑμῶ. “The election of you,” that is, “that you have been chosen,” namely, by God, as always in Paul. The eternal choice of God, “the divine purpose which has worked on the principle of selection” (SH ad Romans 9:11), includes, according to II 2:14, not only the salvation of the readers but also the means by which or the state in which salvation is realised.

The words ἐκλέγεσθα (1 Corinthians 1:27 ff. Ephesians 1:4), ἐκλεκτό (Rom. 16:33), ἐκλεκτοὶ θεου (Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12), and ἐκλογη (Romans 9:11, Romans 9:11:5, Romans 9:7, Romans 9:28) are rare in Paul. ἐκλογη does not occur in the Lxx For its use in Ps. Sol., see the edition of Ryle and James, 1891, 95 f. κλῆσι (II 1:11), καλεῖ (2:12, 4:7, 5:24) is the historical calling mediated by the preaching of the gospel (II 2:14).

5. ὅτ … ἐγενήθ. We infer your election from the fact that (ὅτ = “because” as in II 3:7, Romans 8:27, 1 Corinthians 2:14) the Spirit was in us who preached (v. 5) and in you who welcomed the Word (vv. 6-10). By saying “our gospel came” instead of “we came with the gospel” (2 Corinthians 10:14), Paul puts the emphasis more upon the message as the means of realising God’s call than upon the bearers of the message. The presence of the Spirit is the central fact in Paul’s experience and the test of its validity. Hence such passages as Galatians 3:2, 1 Corinthians 12:2, Romans 8:15 and the inevitable 2 Corinthians 13:13.

That ὅτ = quia (Vulg) is the usual view. εἰδότε … ἐκλογὴ … ὅτ = οἴδαμεν ὅτ (that) ἐκλήθητε ὅτ (because), as in Romans 5:4-5, Romans 8:28-29, Philippians 4:15-16. An alternative interpretation takes ὅτ as an object clause further explaining ἐκλογή Since, however, ἐκλογή of the original purpose of God is not exactly the equivalent of the ὅτ clause, ἐκλογή is held to mean “the manner of your election” and ὅτ “how that” (Lft., Mill.). In support of this view, 2:1, 1 Corinthians 16:15, 2 Corinthians 12:3-4 should not be adduced, or Romans 11:3 where τὸν καιρό is resumed by ὥρ On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 1:26, especially if ἐκλήθησα be not supplied, might be considered a parallel, although βλέπετ is not εἰδότε But this alternative view is not “exegetically satisfactory” (Ell.).—The passive ἐγενήθ = ἐγένετ is frequent in Lxx; in the N. T. it is found chiefly in Paul, Heb. Mt. Of the score or more instances in Paul, eight appear in 1:5-2:14; cf. Bl 20:1.

In Lxx, γίνεσθαι πρό or ἐπι with accus. or ἐ with dat. are frequent as also γίνεσθαι εἰ for nominative (I 3:5; cf. 2:1), but otherwise γίνεσθαι εἰ is rare. It is used with persons (Ezekiel 23:10, Ezekiel 23:2 Mac. 12:5) or things (3 Reg. 13:33; Judges 17:8 A ἐγενήθη εἰς ὄρο where B has ἦλθεν ἕως ὄρου). On γίνεσθα = ἔρχεσθα, cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1, 1 Corinthians 2:3 and the prophetic phrase λόγος κυρίου ἐγενήθ (ἐγένετ) πρό In Paul, we expect with persons either πρό (1 Corinthians 2:3, 1 Corinthians 16:10 and here ADG) or ἐ (so below אAC with ὐμῖ); εἰ here and Galatians 3:14 may be equivalent to the dative (I 4:8; cf. Bl 39:5; κηρύσσειν εἰ 2:9 where א has dative as in 1 Corinthians 9:27), or to πρός For the interchange of εἰ and πρό with γίνεσθα, cf. Luke 1:44, Acts 10:13, Acts 26:6, Acts 13:32. ἐ = “with” (2 Corinthians 2:1) or “clothed with” (1 Corinthians 4:21); cf. Moult I, 61.

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶ. “Our gospel” (II 2:14, 2 Corinthians 4:3; cf. Romans 2:16, Romans 16:25) is the gospel with which Paul and his associates have been intrusted (2:4) and which they preach (Galatians 2:2). The author of the gospel is God (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεου 2:2, 8, 9, Romans 1:1, Romans 1:15:16, 2 Corinthians 11:7) or Christ (τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστου 3:2, Galatians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 9:12, 2 Corinthians 2:12, 2 Corinthians 9:13, 2 Corinthians 10:14, Romans 15:19, Philippians 1:27; τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτου Romans 1:9). “The gospel” (τὸ εὐαγγέλιο 2:4 and frequently in Paul) represents Paul’s convictions about Christianity, the good news of the grace of God unto salvation proclaimed in the prophets and realised in Christ (Romans 1:2) by whose death and resurrection the Messianic promise is mediated to all believers. Only such elements of this comprehensive gospel are explicitly treated in a given letter as the specific need requires (cf. Dob. 81 f.). Hence, for the purpose of determining the content of the gospel, what is said implicitly may be more important than what is accentuated. For example, the gospel preached in Thessalonica had to do not simply with faith in the living and true God and ethical consecration to him, not simply with the Parousia and Judgment, but also with God’s election and calling, the significance of the death of Christ (5:9), the new life in Christ or the Spirit, and the attendant spiritual gifts (5:19 ff).


On the origin and meaning of εὐαγγέλιο, see Zahn (Introd. II, 377-379), Mill. (141-144), Dob. (86), and Harnack, Verfassung und Recht, 1910, 199 ff. (also in English). The use of εὐαγγέλιο to designate the good news unto salvation may have originated in Palestinian Christianity. In the Lxx (and Test. xii, Ps. Sol.), the singular does not occur. A papyrus of the third century (a.d.) seems to read ἐπεὶ γνώστης ἐγενόμην τοῦ εὐαγγελίο (Deiss. Light, 371). בשרה = “good tidings” is rendered in Lxx by εὐαγγελί (2 Reg. 18:20, 27, 4 Reg. 7:9 and (according to Harnack but not Swete) 2 Reg. 18:25); while בשרה = “reward for good tidings” (see BDB) is translated by the plural εὐαγγέλι (2 Reg. 4:10, 18:22). For the plural εὐαγγέλι = “good news” in the Priene inscription, see Deiss. (op. cit. 371).

In Paul’s usage, the genitive in εὐαγγέλιον θεου is subjective, pointing to the fact that God, ὁ ἐνεργῶ (Philippians 2:13) in Paul, inspires the message preached (cf. I 2:13); it is ἐν τῷ θεῷ that the missionaries speak the gospel of God (2:2). Similarly the genitive in εὐαγγέλιον Χριστου is subjective (Zahn; Harnack, 217-218, against Dob.). The indwelling Christ speaks in Paul (2 Corinthians 13:3) and reveals the gospel (Galatians 1:12). Such a view of the genitive does not preclude references to the content of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 6:15) or the employment of κηρύσσειν Χριστό (1 Corinthians 1:23, etc.) or εὐαγγελίζεσθαι αὐτό (Galatians 1:16), for when Paul preaches Christ he preaches not only Christ but the plan of salvation conceived by God, promised by the prophets, and realised in the death and resurrection of Christ (Harnack, op. cit. 235).

Like εὐαγγέλιο but with a distinctively O. T. flavour is the rarer ὁ λόγο (1:6, Galatians 6:6, Colossians 4:3), ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεου (2:13, 1 Corinthians 14:36, 2 Corinthians 2:17, 2 Corinthians 4:2, Philippians 1:14, Colossians 1:25) and ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίο (1:8, II 3:1 = Χριστου Colossians 3:16); cf. Harnack (op. cit. 245 f.). This word is the word which God or Christ in Paul speaks, a divine not a human oracle (2:13) which comes to Paul as it came to the prophets (cf. Romans 9:6). The content of the word is occasionally specified as truth (2 Corinthians 6:7, Colossians 1:5, Ephesians 1:13), life (Philippians 2:16), the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18), or reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).—The gospel is also the proclamation (τὸ κήρυγμ 1 Corinthians 1:21; μο 1 Corinthians 2:4; ἡμῶ 1 Corinthians 15:14) which Jesus Christ inspires (Romans 16:25); or the testimony (τὸ μαρτύριο) which God (1 Corinthians 2:1) or Christ (1 Corinthians 1:6) inspires and which Paul and his associates proclaim (II 1:10; cf. εὐαγγέλιο 1:8).—On the Pauline gospel, see further J. Weiss, Das älteste Evangelium, 1903, 33 ff., and J. L. Schultze, Das Evangelium im ersten Thess. 1907.


λόγῳ … δυνάμε. The stress is laid on the manner of the coming of the gospel: “clothed not only with a form of words but also,” and significantly, “with power,” that is, with a reality back of the form, and that too a divine reality as the added ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ explains.

Unlike the Corinthians, the Thessalonians did not object to Paul’s style, for we have not οὐ …�1 Corinthians 2:3 f. 4:19-20 where λόγο and δύναμι are mutually exclusive) but οὐ … μόνο …�2 Corinthians 12:12)—in which case we should expect δυνάμει (but cf. II 2:9) or an added phrase (Romans 15:19 ἐν δυνάμει σημείων καὶ τεράτω)— but to the power itself, as the contrast with λόγῳ and the explanatory πνεύματ indicate.—ἐ with πνεύματ as with λόγῳ and δυνάμε is ultimately local; to be clothed with the Spirit is to be in the Spirit. There is no reference to glossolalia in πνεῦμ Furthermore ἐν δυνάμει καὶ ἐν πνεύματ is not a hendiadys, though the operation of the Spirit is in its essence δύναμι (1 Corinthians 2:5 of God; 1 Corinthians 5:4, 2 Corinthians 12:9 of Christ; 1 Corinthians 2:4, Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19 of the Spirit; cf. ἐν δυνάμε II 1:11).


καὶ πληροφορίᾳ πολλῇ. Closely connected with ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ (omit ἐ before πληροφορίᾳ with אB and resulting from the indwelling of the Spirit, is the inward assurance, certa multa persuasio (Beza), of the missionaries (cf. 2:2 ἐπαρρησιασάμεθα ἐν τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶ).

πληροφορί is rare in Gk. Bib. (Colossians 2:2, Hebrews 6:11, Hebrews 6:10:22; cf. I Clem. 42:3); the verb is less rare (e. g. Ecclesiastes 8:11, Romans 4:21 I Clem. 42:3; and in papyri; cf. Deiss. Light, 82 f.). Of the meanings “fulness” or “conviction,” the latter is more appropriate here; see Hammond on Luke 1:1 and Lft. on Colossians 2:2. The phrase ἐν πολλῇ (πολλῷ) happens to occur in the N. T. only in Paul, the adjective preceding (2:2, 17, Romans 9:22) or following (1:5, 6, 1 Corinthians 2:3, 2 Corinthians 6:4) the noun.

καθὼς οἴδατε κτλ. “As you know what sort of men (οἷο = quales; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:20) we became in your eyes for your sakes.” The connection appears to be: “We preached the gospel in the power of the Spirit and in full persuasion of its divine reality. That means that we preached not for our own selfish interests, as the Jews insinuate, but solely for your advantage, as you know.” The theme of self-defence here struck is elaborated in 2:1-12 where the appeal to the knowledge of the readers in confirmation of Paul’s statements becomes frequent.

καθὼς οἴδατ (2:2, 5, 3:4), αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατ (2:1, 3:3; 5:2, II 3:7), καθάπερ οἴδατ (2:11), οἴδατ (4:2, II 2:6), μνημονεύετ (2:9; II 2:5), μάρτυ (2:5, 10) occur chiefly in the thanksgiving (1:2-3:10), especially 2:1-12. καθώ (13 times in I) is later Gk. for καθα which Paul does not use; cf. καθάπε (2:11, 3:6, 12, 4:5).—The reading ὑμῖ (אAC) has been assumed with WH.; ἐν ὑμῖ (BDG) is preferred by Tisch Zim Weiss, Dob. In Romans 10:20, אAC read εὑρέθην τοῖς, ἐγενόμην τοῖ with Isaiah 65:1, while BD insert ἐ in each instance. The ἐ interprets the simple dative; 2:10 is a good parallel, but γίνεσθαι ἐν λόγῳ 2:5 is quite different, and 2:7 has ἐν μέσῳ as we should expect after νήπιο The simple ὑμῖ is a dative of reference (2:10), expressing neither advantage nor disadvantage, and importing scarcely more than “before.”—On διʼ ὑμᾶς cf. 1 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 1:24.

6. The sentence is getting to be independent, but ὅτ (v. 5) is still in control: “and from the fact that you became,” etc. The proof of election is the presence of the Spirit not only in the preachers (εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶ) but also in the hearers who welcomed the word (ὑμεῖς δεξάμενο) with joy in the midst of great persecution. To be sure, Paul mentions first not the welcome but the imitation. But the two things are inseparable, if we take δεξάμενο as a participle not of antecedent action, “when you had welcomed,” but of identical action, “in that you welcomed.” μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν κτλ. “Imitators of us and above all of the Lord” (ipsius Domini, Ambst). Paul’s consciousness of his own integrity (1 Corinthians 4:4), due to the power of Christ in him (Galatians 2:20), permitted him to teach by example (1 Corinthians 11:1) as well as by precept. As an example not simply of endurance but of joy in persecutions, he could point to himself and especially to Christ. Some knowledge of the life of Jesus on the part of the readers is here presupposed (cf. Galatians 3:1). μετά χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίο. The inward joy which is the accompaniment (μετα) of external persecution, and which is cogent proof of election, is an enthusiastic happiness (Philippians 1:25) due to the new δύναμι operating in the believers, the power of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, Romans 14:17) or Christ (Philippians 3:1, Philippians 3:4:4, Philippians 3:10).

Although θλίψι alone is the point of comparison in 2:14, and although Paul, who frequently refers to the sufferings of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:1, Philippians 3:10, Romans 8:17), does not elsewhere refer to Christ’s joy in suffering, yet Chrys. is right in finding the point of comparison here in θλίψις μετὰ χαρᾶ The context alone here as elsewhere ( II 3:7, 9, 1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17, Philippians 4:9, Galatians 4:12) determines the scope of imitation. ἐν θλίψε = ἐν μέσῳ θλίψεω; external persecution (Acts 17:5 ff. and the like) is meant (3:3, 7, II 1:4, 6; cf. 2 Corinthians 1:8), not distress of mind (2 Corinthians 2:4).—δέχεσθαι as the contrast with παραλαμβάνει (2:13) shows, means not simply “receive,” but “receive willingly,” “welcome.” The phrase δέχεσθαι τὸν λόγο (only here and 2:13 in Paul) is used by Luke (Luke 8:13, Acts 8:14, Acts 11:1 and especially 17:11) but not by Lxx; it is equivalent to δέχεσθαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιο (2 Corinthians 11:4).—χύχριο is not θεό(A) but Christ, as always in I, II (Mill. 135-140).—B inserts και before πνεύματο conforming to δυνάμει καὶ πνεύματ v. 5—On μετα of accompaniment, cf. 3:13, 5:28, II 1:7, 3:12. 16, 18.—On joy in suffering, cf. 2 Corinthians 6:10, 2 Corinthians 13:9 and especially 7:4, 8:2.


7. ὥστε γενέσθαι κτλ. The actual result of their imitation of Christ and Paul is that the Thessalonians became themselves an example to all the Christians “in Macedonia and in Achaia,” the two provinces constituting Greece since 142 b.c. In the matter of how one ought to welcome the gospel, the taught have become the teachers. Knowledge of their progress came to Paul not only from Timothy’s report (3:6) but also from other news that kept coming to him in Corinth �

In the mainly Pauline phrases πάντες οἱ πιστεύοντε (Romans 3:22, Romans 3:4:11; cf. Romans 1:16, Romans 10:4, Acts 13:39), ὑμεῖς οἱ πιστεύοντε (2:10, 13; Ephesians 1:19, 1 Peter 2:7), and οἱ πιστεύοντε (Galatians 3:22, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Corinthians 1:14:22; John 6:47), the present tense is timeless. Paul does not use the aorist (cf. Mark 16:17, Acts 2:44, Acts 4:32, Hebrews 4:3) in these expressions except in II 1:10.—The reading τύπο is necessary in Romans 5:14, Romans 6:17 and certain in II 3:9, Philippians 3:17. τύπο is secure in 1 Corinthians 10:6. On the analogy of II 3:9, Philippians 3:17, Philippians 3:4 Mac. 6:19 τύπο is here to be read with BD. τύπου (אAC) may be due to ὑμᾶ


8-10. The general drift of these verses is clear, but some of the details are obscure. The statement (v. 7) that the readers have become a pattern to all the Christians in Greece may well have surprised the Thessalonians. But the explanation (vv. 8 f.) must have been a greater surprise, for it is added that news of the gospel as proclaimed in Thessalonica and of the Christianity of the readers has spread not only in Greece (v. 7) but everywhere, as if v. 7 had ended with πιστεύουσι The point of vv. 8 f. is not that Paul himself is everywhere extolling the readers, as he probably did (II 1:4), for ἡμᾶ (v. 8) and αὐτοι (v. 9) are designedly contrasted; not that the readers are boasting at home and abroad of their spiritual life, even if they might have boasted of the gospel, for�

ἀθʼ ὑμῶν κτλ. “Starting from you, the word of the Lord (the word that Christ inspires) has sounded forth.” The parallel ἐξελήλυθε and the similar ἢ�1 Corinthians 14:36) suggests that�

Whether ἐξήχητα implies the sound either of a trumpet (Chrys.) or of thunder (Lft.) is uncertain; it may mean simply “has spread.” The word itself is rare in the Gk. Bib. (active in Joel 3:14, Sir. 40:13, middle in 3 Malachi 3:2 (Ven.) and here); cf. Luke 4:37 ἦχο with 4:14 φήμ Before Ἀχαίᾳ, ἐν τῇ is retained by אCD, et al., a reading perhaps conformed to v. 7 (Weiss); cf. Acts 19:21 where אB omit and AD retain τή before Ἀχαία If with B, et al. ἐν τῇ is omitted, then Greece as a whole is contrasted with the rest of the world.—The ἐ with ἐξήχητα and ἐξελήλυθε (cf. Luke 7:17) may be interpreted with the older grammarians to mean “not only the arrival of the report, but its permanence after its arrival” (Lün.), as, inded, the perfects of resultant action likewise suggest. Recent grammarians (Bl 411 and Mill.) are inclined not to press the point, in view of the frequency in later Gk. of ἐ for εἰ—After οὐ (μή) μόνο …�Philippians 2:12; but to insert και here with KL is to fail to observe that the omission is purposed, for ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ includes Macedonia and Achaia (Bl .77:13).—ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ is a pardonable hyperbole (1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 2:14; cf. Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:6). As Paul is not speaking with geographical accuracy, it is unnecessary to assume that since he left Thessalonica he went beyond Greece or that he has Galatia or Rome in mind.


ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τὸν θεό. The repetition of the article serves to make clear the object toward which their faith is turned and also to suggest a contrast (Ell.) between their present attitude to God and their past pagan attitude to idols. The phrase is rare in the Greek Bible (4 Mac. 15:24 (א) 16:22) but frequent in Philo (cf. Hatch, Essays, 86 f.).

With πίστι and πιστεύει Paul uses εἰ (Colossians 2:5, Philemon 1:5 v. l.), ἐ (Colossians 1:4, Galatians 3:26, Ephesians 1:15), ἐπι (Romans 4:5) and πρό (Philemon 1:5 v. l.). ἡ πίστις ὑμῶ (3:2, 5, 6, 7, 10, II 1:3, 4) is frequent in Paul (Romans 1:8, Romans 1:12, etc.) and elsewhere (James 1:3, etc.). ἐξέρχεσθα, a rare word in Paul, is used with εἰ (Romans 10:18) and πρό (2 Corinthians 8:17).

λαλεῖ has to do strictly with the utterance as such, λέγει with the content of the utterance (SH on Romans 3:19), as when we say: “he speaks well but says nothing.”

On λαλεῖ with accus., cf. 2:2, Philippians 1:14, Romans 15:18 (τ). Observe the parallelism of ὥστ … γά in vv. 7-8, 8-9. On ὥστε μή cf. 1 Corinthians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 3:7. The common χρείαν ἔχει with infin. only here and 4:9, 5:1 in Paul. The reading ὑμᾶ (B, et al.) for ἡμᾶ is probably conformation to ὑμῶ after πίστις


9. αὐτοὶ γάρ κτλ There is no need for us missionaries (ἡμᾶ) to speak, for they themselves, that is, such believers from Greece and elsewhere as happen to be in Corinth (αὐτοι in contrast with ἡμᾶ) keep reporting �

αὐτοι is constructio ad sensum as αὐτοῖ Galatians 2:2.�1 Corinthians 14:25) is frequent in Lxx and Luke; ἡμῖ is to be understood. The reading περὶ ὑμῶ (B) misses the point of contrast between visit and welcome. adnuntiatis (r), which Rendel Harris prefers, is due to the supposed difficulty in περὶ ἡμῶ (Dob.).—The indirect interrogative ὁποῖο (Galatians 2:6, 1 Corinthians 3:13), which is rare in Gk. Bib., expresses like οἷο (v. 5) the quality of the visit.—εἴσοδο in Lxx is used both of the action (Malachi 3:2) and of the place (Ezekiel 42:9). ἔχειν εἴσοδον πρό appears to be unique in Gk. Bib. (cf. 2:1); the reference is not to a door opening into their hearts (cf. Marc. Aur. 5:19 ἔχει εἴσοδον πρὸς ψυχή and Hermas Sim. IX, 12:6), for that is excluded by 2:1; nor to the favourable reception (which even P. Oxy. 32 peto a te ut habeat introitum ad te does not of necessity suggest), for the welcome is not mentioned until πῶς ἐπεστρέψατ (cf. 2:1-12 the visit; 2:13 ff. the welcome); but simply to the act of entering (Acts 13:24, Hebrews 10:19, 2 Peter 1:11). εἴσοδο = παρουσί “visit” (Philippians 1:26, Philippians 1:3 Malachi 3:17); cf. also εἰσέρχεσθαι, εἰσπορεύεσθαι πρό (Acts 16:40, Acts 28:30).

καὶ πῶς ἐπεστρέψατε κτλ. “And” about you they report “how you turned to God,” etc. πῶ introduces a second object clause parallel to ὁποία In keeping with v. 8, faith in God is singled out as the primary characteristic of the readers, but the idea is expressed not, as we might expect, with ἐπιστεύσατε ἐν τῷ θεῷ but, since Gentile rather than Jewish converts are in mind, with a phrase perhaps suggested by the contrast with idols, ἐπεστρέψατε πρὸς τὸν θεό In facing God, they turned their backs on idols. These εἴδωλ are looked upon as dead (1 Corinthians 12:2) and false, not being what they purport to be. While the idol in itself is nothing (1 Corinthians 10:19), communion with it brings the worshipper under the power of the gods and demons who are conceived as present at the ritual act, or as resident in the idol, or, to the popular mind, as identified with the idol (1 Corinthians 10:20). Unlike these dead and false idols, God is living and genuine, what he purports to be (contrast 1 Corinthians 8:5, Galatians 4:8).

πῶ describes the fact (Ruth 2:11, Acts 11:13) rather than the manner (Sap. 6:22 τί δέ ἐστιν σοφία καὶ πῶς ἐγένετο�Galatians 4:9 πῶς ἐπιστρέφετε πάλιν ἐπιστρέφειν rare in Paul, is frequent in Lxx In the phrase ἐπιστρέφει .… κύριον (θεόν). the Lxx uses both ἐπί which Luke prefers, and πρό (Luke 17:4, Acts 9:40, 2 Corinthians 3:16). The article in τὸν θεό need not be pressed as Galatians 4:8 indicates.—εἴδωλο (Romans 2:22, 1 Corinthians 8:4, etc.) in the Lxx renders a variety of Hebrew words both proper and opprobrious. For the meaning of these words and for the forms of idolatry mentioned in the Bible, see G. F. Moore, EB 2146 ff. The polemic against images begins with the prophets of the eighth century. “With the prophets of the seventh century begins the contemptuous identification of the gods of the heathen with their idols, and in the sixth the trenchant satire upon the folly of making gods of gold and silver, of wood and stone, which runs on through the later Psalms, Wisdom, Baruch, the Jewish Sibyllines, etc., to be taken up again by Christian apologists” (op. cit. 2158). See further Bousset, Relig. 350 ff. and Wendland, Die hellenistische-römische Kultur, 142.—θεὸς ζῶ (Romans 9:26 = Hosea 1:10, 2 Corinthians 3:3, etc.) is common in Gk. Bib. (Isaiah 37:4, Isaiah 37:17, etc.);�John 17:3, 1 John 5:20, 2 Chronicles 15:3, 2 Chronicles 15:3 Malachi 2:11, 6:18). The total phrase θεὸς ζῶν καὶ�Hebrews 9:14 (AP) is a scribal reminiscence of our passage).

10. δουλεύειν καὶ�Romans 6:22) demanding righteousness of life (cf. 4:3 ff.); and a hope, hitherto unknown (4:13), which awaits God’s Son who comes (τὸν ἐρχόμενο) or comes down (τὸν καταβαίνοντ 4:16) out of the heavens, to finish his work as rescuer, by freeing believers from the impending judgment.

On the infin. of purpose with ἐπιστρέφει, cf. Revelation 1:12 Sap. 19:2, Ecclesiastes 2:20. Like the Galatians (Galatians 4:8 f.), the readers have exchanged a slavery to idols for a slavery to God. Usually Paul speaks of a slavery to Christ (δουλεύει Romans 12:11, Romans 14:18, Romans 16:18, etc.; δοῦλο Galatians 1:10, Romans 1:1, etc.). δουλεύειν κυρίῳ (Psalms 2:11, Psalms 99:2, Sir. 2:1, etc.) like ἐπιστρέφειν ἐπι (πρὸ) κύριο is a common phrase in the Lxx On the meaning of δοῦλο in Paul, see Zahn on Romans 1:1 (in Zahn’s Kommentar).

ἀναμένει (classical, Lxx) appears only here in N. T. Paul does not use περιμένει at all (Genesis 49:18, Acts 1:4) or μένει transitively (Isaiah 8:17, Isaiah 8:2 Mac. 7:30, Acts 20:5, Acts 20:23), choosing the stronger ἐκδέχεσθα (1 Corinthians 11:33, 1 Corinthians 16:11) and�Galatians 5:5, Romans 8:19 ff. 1 Corinthians 1:7, Philippians 3:20). The nearness of the thing expected is suggested by the very idea of waiting (cf. Isaiah 59:11).

τὸν υἱὸν αὐτου … Ἰησοῦ The faith of the readers had to do not only with God but with his Son who is to come down out of the heavens, the Messiah of the apocalyptic hope. Specifically Christian is the phrase, explanatory of τὸν υἱόν, ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶ which intimates not only that the Messiah had lived and died but also that he is now, as ἐγερθείς, κύριο (cf. Romans 4:24, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 1:20). Likewise specifically Christian is the name Jesus; to Paul as to the Christians before him Ἰησοῦ is Χριστό and κύριο (see on 1:1). In the explanatory words τὸν ῥυόμενον ἡμᾶς κτλ (a timeless participle), the function of Jesus as Messiah is stated negatively as that of deliverance or rescue from the judgment which though future is not far distant.

This is the only mention of Jesus as Son in our letter; the designation does not occur at all in II, Phil. Phil. For ὁ υἱὸς αὐτου, cf. Galatians 1:16, Galatians 1:4:4, Galatians 1:6, Romans 1:3, Romans 1:9, Romans 1:5:10, Romans 1:8:29; Romans 8:3 (ἑαυτου) 8:32 (ἰδίο) 1 Corinthians 1:9 (+ Ἰ. Χ. τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶ); for υἱὸς θεου cf. Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 1:19, Romans 1:4, Ephesians 4:13; ὁ υἱό 1 Corinthians 15:28; ὁ υἱὸς τῆς�Colossians 1:13).—οὐρανό is rare in Paul compared with the gospels; the singular (11 times) and the plural (10 times) appear to be used interchangeably (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2). Paul may have shared the conception of seven heavens (Slav. En. 8:1 ff. 20:1 ff.; cf. 2 Corinthians 12:2 ff.). ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶ (Mark 1:11 = Matthew 3:17, Psalms 148:1 Sap. 9:10) occurs only here in Paul, who prefers ἐξ οὐρανου (Galatians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 15:47, 2 Corinthians 5:2) or�Ephesians 5:14) but�Matthew 27:53). The phrase ἐγείρειν ἐκ νεκρῶ is not found in Lxx (but cf. Sir. 48:5). The reading ἐκ νεκρῶ (AC) is more usual in Paul than ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶ (אBD; cf. Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 5:14); see Weiss, 76.—.ῥύεσθα is frequent in Psalms and Isaiah. Paul uses of things (Romans 7:24, 2 Corinthians 1:10, Colossians 1:13) and�Romans 15:31) with ῥύεσθα, a point overlooked by CDG which read�Galatians 6:17, Romans 3:26, Romans 3:8:11, 1 Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 4:5 ff. 2 Corinthians 4:11:4, Philippians 2:10, Ephesians 4:21, and Mill. 135.

ἐκ τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένη “From the wrath which is coming.” This phrase seems to occur only here in the Gk. Bib. ἔρχετα, however, is used in a similar way in 5:2, Colossians 3:6 = Ephesians 5:6 (cf. ἔφθασε 2:16 and�Romans 1:17 f.). The choice of ἐρΧομέν rather than μέλλους (Matthew 3:7 = Luke 3:7; cf. Ign. Eph. 11:1) may have been determined by the fact that Paul purposes to express not so much the certainty (which the attributive participle present might indicate, GMT. 826) as the nearness of the judgment. Nearness involves certainty but certainty does not necessarily involve nearness. (η) ὀργη (2:16, 5:9, Romans 3:5, Romans 5:9, Romans 9:22, Romans 13:4) is (η) ὀργη (του) θεου (Romans 1:18, Colossians 3:6, Ephesians 5:6), ἡ θεία ὀργη (4 Mac. 9:32) as expressed in punishment and is equivalent to κρίσι (in Paul only II 1:5), the eschatological judgment, as ἡμέρα ὀργῆ (Romans 2:5) indicates.

The term ὀργη is Jewish; cf. especially Sir. 5:7. On the phrase ἡμέρα ὀργῆς, cf. Zephaniah 1:15; on ἡ ἡμέρα ὀργῆς κυρίου, cf. Zephaniah 1:18, Zephaniah 2:3, Ezekiel 7:19 (A). On the idea of the day of judgment in the O. T. see Briggs, Messianic Prophecy, 1886, 487 ff. In Paul σωτηρί (σώζει) and ζωη are often contrasted with ὀργη (e. g. 2:16, 5:9, Romans 2:5 ff. Romans 2:5:9).










אԠא (e a p r). Cod. Sinaiticus, saec. iv, now at St. Petersburg. Edited by Tischendorf, its discoverer, in 1862. Photographic reproduction by H. and K. Lake, Oxford, 1911. Contains I and II complete.

B B (e a p r). Cod. Vaticanus, saec. iv, now in the Vatican Library. Photographic reproduction by Cozza-Luzi, Rome, 1889, and by the Milan firm of Hoepli, 1904. Contains I and II complete.

A A (e a p r). Cod. Alexandrinus, saec. v, now in the British Museum. Edited by Woide in 1786. Facsimile by E. M. Thompson, 1879. Contains I and II complete.

K K (a p). Cod. Mosquensis, saec. ix, now at Moscow. Collated by Matthaei, 1782. Contains I and II complete.

D D (p). Cod. Claromontanus, saec. vi, Graeco-Latin, now in the National library at Paris. Edited by Tischendorf in 1852. Contains I and II complete.

G G (p). Cod. Boernerianus, saec. ix, now in the Royal Library at Dresden. “It is closely related to F, according to some the archetype of F” (Souter). Edited by Matthaei, 1791. Im Lichtdruck nachgebildet, Leipzig (Hiersemann), 1909. Contains I and II complete.

F F (p). Cod. Augiensis, saec. ix, Graeco-Latin, now in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. An exact transcript by Scrivener, 1859. Contains I and II complete.

P P (a p r). Cod. Porphyrianus, saec. ix, now at St. Petersburg. Edited by Tischendorf (1865). Contains I and II except I 3:5 μηκετι—ημεις οι 4:17.

EB The Encyclopædia Biblica (London, 1899-1903; ed. J. S. Black and T. K. Cheyne).

Exp The Expositor (London; ed. W. R. Nicoll).

Mill George Milligan.

Moff James Moffatt.

Dob Ernst von Dobschütz,

SK Studien und Kritiken.

Chrys Chrysostom.

Bousset, W. Bousset, Die Religion des Judentums im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter (19062).

SH Comm. on Romans in ICC. by W. Sanday an A. C. Headlam.

BDB Brown, Driver, Briggs, Heb.-Eng. Lexicon.

Witk St. Witkowski, Epistulæ Privatæ Græcæ (1906).

Exp. Times The Expository Times (Edinburgh; ed. J. Hastings).

Lxx The Old Testament in Greek (ed. H. B. Swete, 1887-94).

Bl F. Blass, Grammatik des neutestamentlichen Griechisch (1896, 19022).

Pesh Syriac Vulgate.

Arm Armenian version.

Vulg Vulgate.

L L (a p). Cod. Angelicus, saec. ix, now in the Angelican Library at Rome. Collated among others by Tischendorf (1843) and Tregelles (1845). Contains I and II complete.

Deiss. A. Deissmann, Bibelstudien (1895).

Born Bornemann.

Moult James Hope Moulton, A Grammar of N. T. Greek, I (1906).

C C (e a p r). Cod. Ephraemi Rescriptus, saec. v, now in the National Library at Paris. The N. T. fragments were edited by Tischendorf in 1843. Contains I 1:2 ευχαριστουμεν—2:8 εγενηθητε.

Find G. G. Findlay.

Wohl Wohlenberg.

Lft Lightfoot.

Lillie John Lillie, Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, Translated from the Greek, with Notes (1856).

Ell Ellicott.

Deiss. A. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East (1910) = Licht vom Osten (19093).

Weiss B. Weiss in TU. XIV, 3 (1896).

WH The New Testament in the Original Greek (1881; I, Text, II, Introduction and Appendix).

Tisch Tischendorf.

Zim F. Zimmer, Der Text der Thessalonicherbriefe (1893).

Ambst Ambrosiaster.

Lün Lünemann.

Hatch, E. Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek (1889).

r r saec. vii, a fragment now in Munich containing Philippians 4:11-23 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, discovered and edited by Ziegler, Italafragmente der Paulinishcen Briefe, 1876.

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Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1". International Critical Commentary NT. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/1-thessalonians-1.html. 1896-1924.