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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 2

Verse 1

1Th 2:1. The coming of Paul and his companions to Thessalonica resulted in the conversion of some of its citizens, which proved that it was not in vain. 1Th 2:2

Verse 2

The shameful treatment mentioned is recorded in Acts 16:19-24, after which they came to Thessalonica. But the persecution did not keep them from continuing their good work of preaching the Gospel. Instead, it made them bold ("confi-dent"--Thayer) in speaking it to them. Contention means earnestness and anxiety, which describes the attitude of Paul on account of the opposition that had been waged against him. In other words, Paul regarded the issues as being a contest between truth and error, and he was determined to perform his part of the struggle with the same zeal that men showed when they entered the arena of the athletic games.

Verse 3

1Th 2:3. Paul could not have had any wrong motive when he was exhorting the Thessalonians, for his conduct under persecutions while at Philippi showed that he had nothing to gain by practicing deceit or guile which means trickery. His conduct and teaching also had nothing unclean either physically or spiritually as he labored among them.

Verse 4

1Th 2:4. Put in trust is rendered "be entrusted" by The Englishman's Greek New Testament, which expresses the idea better. It denotes that even an apostle was to handle the word of God as a faithful agent, and not as if he were managing his own business. As long as he or any other disciple holds the law of the Lord in that light, he will not violate Rev 22:18-19. That is why Paul says he was speaking not as pleasing men, but God. Trieth our hearts. The first word is defined to mean "to examine" or "scrutinize." If Paul should handle the Gospel with a view to pleasing men, that motive would be seen by the Lord when He examined his heart (or mind).

Verse 5

1Th 2:5. Flattering words . . . . nor a choke of covetousness. Paul did not use flattery to hide a motive of covetousness, for he was not covetous, but was interested in their spiritual welfare and not their wealth.

Verse 6

1Th 2:6. Paul did not seek the praise of men when he was preaching the Gospel among them. This was true, whether he was with the Thessalonians or with others. When we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ. Paul could have used his authority as an apostle, but he did not burden them for his own advantage.

Verse 7

1Th 2:7. Instead of using the stern attitude of authority, Paul manifested that of an affectionate nurse toward the children under her care.

Verse 8

1Th 2:8. The word souls is from PSUCHE which has a wide range of meanings. Sometimes it refers to the inner man as distinguished from the body, and at others it means the part that makes one a living creature and not a dead one. It is used in the latter sense in our verse, and Paul means he and his companions would have been willing to die for the brethren at Thessalonica, had it been necessary for their welfare. He explains that the cause of it was their affectionate desire on behalf of these disciples, who had shown such courage after hearing the Gospel.

Verse 9

1Th 2:9. Labor and travail mean very much the same, and are used for the purpose of emphasis. When taken together, the idea is to show hard bodily toil, performed in connection with an intense concern for the comfort of the brethren. The apostle worked at his trade of tentmaking (Act 18:1-3), in order to relieve the Thessalonian brethren from the burden of supporting him. Being inspired, he did not have to spend time in reading and meditating as did other preachers of the Gospel (1Ti 4:13-16).

Verse 10

1Th 2:10. It is certain that God knows everything that is going on, and the fact is mentioned in connection with the knowledge of the Thessalonians to signify the unity of interest between God and his people. Holily and justly both mean virtually the same thing, but the first has special reference to one's responsibility to God, rind the second toward his fellowman. In being unblameable on both counts, Paul could claim to have a conscience "void of offence toward God and man" (Act 24:16).

Verse 11

1Th 2:11. The tender attitude of Paul toward the Thessalonian brethren was due to his close association with them in the beginning of their service to Christ. There was so much opposition from the enemies that it bound the apostle and his converts with a nearness that was like that between a father and his children. That relationship of feeling caused him to exhort them toward their duty and to encourage them in their work for Christ.

Verse 12

1Th 2:12. To walk worthy of God means to walk or conduct themselves in a way befitting these belonging to God. This is especially true, since their call from Him was not into a work of a temporal nature, but was unto his kingdom and glory.

Verse 13

1Th 2:13. Paul was thankful for the respect shown the word of God that the Thessalonians manifested. Although it was delivered to them by the mouth of man, they regarded it as of divine authority. Effectually work-eth means to work with energy and power in those who believe it; it has no effect on those who disbelieve it.

Verse 14

1Th 2:14. Followers of the churches. Not that the churches were looked to for authority, but as good examples of right living in Christ Jesus. Judea was the place where the first churches were planted, amidst persecution, and the Thesslonians imitated them by enduring opposition brought by the Jews. (See Act 17:5-9.)

Verse 15

1Th 2:15. The Jews did not directly kill Jesus, because they did not have that authority (Joh 18:31), but they caused it to be done, and for that reason they were charged with His death. Jesus and Stephen accused them of killing the prophets before them (Mat 5:12 Mat 23:27-36; Act 7:52). Persecuted is rendered "chased us out" in the margin. That is correct, for the original word is defined by Thayer as follows: "To drive out, banish; to pursue; to persecute, oppress with calamities." Paul was virtually chased out in Act 16:39-40. Contrary to all men. The Jews were forbidden to participate with the heathen in their false worship, but they were told not to oppress them (Exo 23:9). These instructions were observed for many years, but in later times, especially after the Greek and Roman Empire took control of the world, the Jews became suspicious of the Gentiles in general, and became bitter in their treatment of all who would not submit to their religious bigotry.

Verse 16

1Th 2:16. The feeling of the Jews toward the Gentiles as described in the preceding verse, will help to explain why they forbade the apostle to speak to the Gentiles, to offer them salvation through the Gospel. An example of their jealousy against any favor shown to them is recorded in Act 13:42-45. To fill up their sins alway. Such an attitude of the Jews toward their fellowmen was so evil that Paul used the phrase in italics, meaning that it rounded out or completed a very sinful character, which was destined to bring upon them the wrath of God to the uttermost. This was brought to pass when the nation was rejected and their temple destroyed by the Romans.

Verse 17

1Th 2:17. Being taken from you for a short time. In Act 17:10 is the account of Paul's departure from Thessa-lonica, and his pause at Berea. He was still present with them in heart (or mind), and he desired and planned to return to them in body soon.

Verse 18

1Th 2:18. Act 17:13-14 tells how Satan hindered Paul's return to Thessa-lonica. When the Jews persisted in their opposition to Paul's work, by even pursuing him to Berea, it was regarded as the work of Satan that hindered him from his plan.

Verse 19

1Th 2:19-20. No man's salvation depends on the faithfulness of his converts if he has done his duty in teaching them. However, there is an added joy in seeing them remain true, and this is the crown of rejoicing meant in this verse. They must be faithful until Christ comes again (or until death). This is the reward that is meant in 1Co 3:14-15; 2Jn 1:8 and 3Jn 1:4. While the reward will not be given to the converts until Christ comes, yet the hope that it will be done was possible for Paul to enjoy in this life, by observing the faithfulness of his brethren.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/1-thessalonians-2.html. 1952.