To continue my study on 1st Thessalonians, here are some thoughts and highlights in Chapter 2, verse 13 through Chapter 3, verse 5.
First though, here is the actual Bible text (NASB)
Chapter 2, verse 13 “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost. 17 But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. 18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.”
Chapter 3, verse 1“Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.” (NASB)
Verse by verse comments:
Verse 13 –
– For this reason – for what reason? You are walking in a manner worthy of God
– You accepted the Word Of God as the Word Of God not as the word of man. What are examples of the word of man? Humanist Manifesto, Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, Karl Marx’s writings, writings of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, current American thought and culture – litmus tests of abortion, now gay marriage, global warming, Hollywood setting trend for thought and practice of the nation, telling lies in politics.
– Word Of God reminds me of Hebrews 4:12, which says that God’s Word is sharper than any 2 edged sword.
Verse 14 –
– Imitators (like children imitating their parents)
– Endured suffering
Verse 15 –
– Your own countrymen (Greeks and fellow Thessalonians)
– Churches in Judea (Jewish brethren and the persecution they endured at the hands of Paul and others)
– Countrymen who were hostile and killed Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out (not in a car)
Verse 16 –
Verse 17 –
– We were taken away from you. Basically Jason posted bond- an assurance that there would be no further ‘trouble’ like what happened when Paul was there, plus that Paul would not return.
Verse 18 –
– Satan hindered us – See Matt 4:10, Romans 1:13 and Romans 15:22
Verse 19 –
– Hope and joy, glory and joy – the Thessalonian church would be Paul’s crown because they would prove his genuine work for Christ.
Chapter 3: 1 – 5 – Paul traveled to Athens while Timothy traveled to Thessalonica to establish and encourage (3:2). The Thessalonian church experienced a key ingredient to the spread of the Gospel. ‘Truth takes root in soil that resists it.’
Verse 5 –
– The tempter – when the tempter can’t prevent the Good News, he changes tactics and tries to make the church ineffective through pressure, accusation and innuendo. This could vary from light, blasé and indirect opposition to open and sharp hostility.
And so, those are some of the highlights in this passage of scripture. Stay tuned for more in another post as I take a further look at chapter 3…