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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 3

Verses 1-2

When we could no longer forbear (μηκετ στεγοντες). Στεγω is old verb to cover from στεγη, roof (Mark 2:4), to cover with silence, to conceal, to keep off, to endure as here and 1 Corinthians 9:12; 1 Corinthians 13:7. In the papyri in this sense (Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary). Μηκετ usual negative with participle in the Koine rather than ουκετ.

We thought it good (ηυδοκησαμεν). Either literary plural as in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 or Paul and Silas as more likely. If so, both Timothy and Silas came to Athens (Acts 17:15), but Timothy was sent ( we sent , επεμψαμεν, verse 1 Thessalonians 3:2) right back to Thessalonica and later Paul sent Silas on to Beroea or Thessalonica (verse 1 Thessalonians 3:5,

I sent , επεμψα). Then both Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia to Corinth (Acts 18:5).

Alone (μονο). Including Silas.

God's minister (διακονον του θεου). See on Matthew 22:13 for this interesting word, here in general sense not technical sense of deacon. Some MSS. have

fellow-worker (συνεργον). Already

apostle in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 and now

brother, minister (and possibly

fellow-worker ).

Verse 3

That no man be moved (το μηδενα σαινεσθα). Epexegetical articular infinitive in accusative case of general reference. Σαινω is old word to wag the tail, to flatter, beguile and this sense suits here (only N.T. example). The sense of "moved" or troubled or disheartened is from σιαινεσθα the reading of F G and found in the papyri.

We are appointed (κειμεθα). Present middle, used here as passive of τιθημ. We Christians are set

hereunto (εις τουτο) to be beguiled by tribulations. We must resist.

Verse 4

We told you beforehand (προελεγομεν υμιν). Imperfect active, we used to tell you beforehand. Old verb, rare in N.T. (only in Paul).

That we are to suffer persecution (οτ μελλομεν θλιβεσθα). Μελλω and present passive infinitive. Not mere prediction, but God's appointed will as it turned out in Thessalonica.

Verse 5

That I might know (εις το γνωνα). Paul's common idiom (verse 1 Thessalonians 3:2), εις το and the infinitive of purpose (second aorist ingressive active of γινωσκω, come to know).

Lest by any means the tempter had tempted you (μη πως επειρασεν υμας ο πειραζων). Findlay takes this as a question with negative answer, but most likely negative final clause with μη πως about a past action with aorist indicative according to the classic idiom as in Galatians 2:2 (μη πωσ--εδραμον) and Galatians 4:11 after verb of fearing (Robertson, Grammar, p. 988). It is a fear that the thing may turn out to be so about the past.

Should be (γενητα). Here the usual construction appears (aorist subjunctive with μη πως) about the future.

Verse 6

Even now (αρτ). Just now, Timothy having come (ελθοντος Τιμοθεου, genitive absolute). Why Silas is not named is not clear, unless he had come from Beroea or elsewhere in Macedonia.

Glad tidings of (ευαγγελισαμενου). First aorist middle participle of the verb for evangelizing (gospelizing).

Good remembrance (μνειαν). Same word used by Paul 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

Longing to see us (επιποθουντες ημας ιδειν). Old and strong verb, επι-, directive, to long after. Mutual longing that pleased Paul ("we also you").

Verse 7

Over you (εφ' υμιν). Επ with the locative, the basis on which the "comfort" rests.

In (επ). Locative case again with επ.

Distress (αναγκη).

Physical necessity , common sense in late Greek, choking (αγχω, ανγορ), and

crushing trouble (θλιψισ, θλιβω).

Verse 8

If ye stand fast (εαν υμεις στηκετε). Condition of first class, εαν and present active indicative (correct text, not στηκητε subj.) of στηκω, late form from perfect εστηκα of ιστημ, to place.

Verse 9

Render again unto God (τω θεω ανταποδουνα). Second aorist active infinitive of double compound verb αντ-αποδιδωμ, to give back (απο) in return for (αντ). Old verb rare in N.T., but again in 2 Thessalonians 1:6.

For you (περ υμων). Around (concerning) you, while in verse 1 Thessalonians 3:2 υπερ (over is used for "concerning your faith."

For (επ). Basis again as cause or ground for the joy.

Wherewith we joy (η χαιρομεν). Probably cognate accusative ην with χαιρομεν attracted to locative χαρα (Matthew 2:10).

Verse 10

Exceedingly (υπερεκπερισσου). Double compound adverb, only in 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:13 (some MSS. -ως). Like piling Ossa on Pelion, περισσως, abundantly, εκ περισσου, out of bounds, υπερεκπερισσου, more than out of bounds (overflowing all bounds).

And perfect (κα καταρτισα). First aorist active articular infinitive of purpose (εις το ιδειν--κα) of καταρτιζω, to mend nets (Matthew 4:21) or men (Galatians 6:1) repair. Chiefly late.

That which is lacking in (τα υστερηματα). The shortcomings, the lacks or left-overs (Colossians 1:24). From υστερεω (υστερον), to be late.

Verse 11

Our God and Father himself (αυτος ο θεος κα πατηρ ημων). Note one article with both substantives for one person.

And our Lord Jesus (κα ο Κυριος ημων Ιησους). Separate article here with Ιησους. In Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1 only one article (not two) treating "our God and Saviour Jesus Christ" as one just like "our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" in 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:18.

Direct our way (κατευθυνα την οδον ημων). First aorist optative (acute accent on penult, not circumflex first aorist active infinitive) of κατευθυνω, old verb to make straight path. Singular verb also, though both God and Christ mentioned as subject (unity in the Godhead). Apart from μη γενοιτο ( may it not come to pass ) the optative in a wish of the third person is found in N.T. only in 1 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Romans 15:5; Romans 15:13.

Verse 12

The Lord (ο Κυριος). The Lord Jesus. Paul prays to Christ.

Make you to increase (υμας πλεονασα). First aorist active optative (wish for future) of πλεοναζω, late verb from πλεον (more),

to superabound .

And abound (περισσευσα). First aorist active optative (wish for future) of περισσευω from περισσος, old verb, to be over (common in N.T.). It is hard to see much difference between the two verbs.

Verse 13

To the end he may stablish (εις το στηριξα). Another example of εις and the articular infinitive of purpose. Same idiom in 1 Thessalonians 3:2. From στηριζω, from στηριγξ, a support.

Unblameable (αμεμπτους). Old compound adjective (α privative and verbal of μεμφομα, to blame). Rare in N.T. Predicate position here. Second coming of Christ again.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.