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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 3

Verse 1

1Th 3:1. Left at Athens alone. This means the time when Paul had Timothy sent from him to go and visit the Thessalonians and inquire after their condition. Act 17:15 states that the brethren who conducted Paul from Thessalonica to Athens. were to re-turn with a command for Silas and Timotheus (Timothy) to come immediately to him. However, when the apostle went to Corinth. both Silas and Timotheus joined him, coming from Macedonia (Act 18:5). This indicates that only Timotheus really went to Athens, the reason for which is not stated.

Verse 2

1Th 3:2. The notes on the preceding verse will explain why our present one mentions Timotheus only as being sent from Athens back to Thessalonica (in Macedonia), there to be rejoined by Silas when he came back from Athens; then trgether they left and went to Paul who was in Corinth. Paul calls Timotheus a minister, which is from DIAKONOS. Thayer's general definition of the word is, "one who executes the commands of another, especially of a master: a servant, attendant, minister." It is the word for "deacon" in every place in the King James Version. The word "minister" is never used in the New Testament as applying to preachers as a special class. Fellowlaborer means one who labors with another for a cause in which they both are interested; in the present case it was the Gospel of Christ. To establish denotes that they were to be further strengthened by being comforted through the message sent to them by Paul.

Verse 3

1Th 3:3. Moved is from a Greek word that means "to agitate, disturb, trouble," and Paul did not want the brethren to be disturbed by their afflictions or persecutions. Are appointed means to be destined to a thing, and it denotes that opposition is bound to come against those who are true servants of God. The reason is that such a life is a rebuke against the people of the sinful world, and they show their resentment by persecuting the doers of the righteous life. (See 2Ti 3:12.)

Verse 4

1Th 3:4. "To be forewarned is to be forearmed" is as true on this subject as on any other. Paul wished that the brethren in Thessalonica would not be surprised by persecutions, lest they might thereby be "overtaken in a fault" (Gal 6:1). To prevent such a result, he told them to be prepared for the trials awaiting them.

Verse 5

1Th 3:5. In spite of the precaution mentioned in the preceding verse, Paul wished to reassure himself of their steadfastness, and hence he sent Timotheus to them (verse 2) to strengthen them in the faith.

Verse 6

1Th 3:6. Paul was not disappointed by sending Timotheus to inquire into the state of the Thessalonians, for he brought back a good report of their faith and charity. The first word has special reference to their service to God. The second is from one of the words that are elsewhere translated "love," and it is the form of love that is manifested in service to the brethren. Deering greatly to see us, as we also to see you. This sentence shows the close feeling that existed between Paul and the brethren whom he had led into the service of Christ. When men and women are sincere disciples of Christ, they will prize each other's company above all others.

Verse 7

1Th 3:7. Paul's afflictions were not removed by the service of the Thessalonians, but their example of steadfastness made it easier for him to bear them.

Verse 8

1Th 3:8. We live is a figurative or comparative term, not that Paul's physical life actually depended on the faithfulness of the brethren. Robinson defines the original in this place, "to live and prosper, to be happy, blessed." It is somewhat like the familiar ex• pression of one whose circumstances have been changed from unfavorable to favorable; he will remark, "now this is more like living."

Verse 9

1Th 3:9. What thanks can we render means Paul thought he could not be thankful enough for the joyful feelings their faithfulness had brought him. For your sakes means Paul was rejoicing because of the benefit that would result for the Tessalonians for them to be true to God, before whom or in whose sight all conduct is known.

Verse 10

1Th 3:10. Having been so favorably impressed concerning the Thessalonians, it was natural that Paul would desire further association with them. He offered daily prayers that he might have that privilege. There was nothing wrong about their faith, but they were still but babes in Christ, and Paul wished to impart more inspired information to them, to strengthen and build them up, and in so doing to perfect (make more complete) their faith.

Verse 11

1Th 3:11. There are just two persons named in this verse, but each of them has more than one name. God is the supreme ruler of the universe, and he is Father to all who will become His children by obedience. Lord means ruler, Jesus means saviour, and Christ means anointed. Paul invoked the help of these two great Beings in making a way for him to revisit the Thessalonians.

Verse 12

1Th 3:12. All good things can be made better; that is what is meant by spiritual growth. The good brethren at Thessalonia loved each other, and had an interest in the welfare of all men. The apostle exhorts them to increase in all such qualities.

Verse 13

1Th 3:13. Stablish is from the same word as "establish" in verse 2, and the meaning is to strengthen or confirm. Unblameable in holiness signifies a life of righteousness that avoids the evils of the world to such an extent, that they cannot be truly blamed with committing them.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 3". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/1-thessalonians-3.html. 1952.