The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

My Notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2013

1 Th 2:1 For you yourselves know, brothers, our visit to you wasn’t in vain The conjunctive “for” links this passage up with the previous one (1 Th 1:1-10), especially 1 Th 1:9-10 where St Paul explicitly mentions the welcome he received from the Thessalonians. That their visit wasn’t in vain has already been clearly seen in the fact that the Thessalonians were chosen (1 Th 1:4); became imitators of the evangelists, and received the word in affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Th 1:6). They themselves became examples to be imitated by others (1 Th 1:7-8). The result of St Paul’s visit can, however, be summed up as turning to God from idols, sto serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Th 1:9-10).

1 Th 2:2 But having suffered before and been shamefully treated…we grew bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in much conflict An amazing statement! “We grew bold in the face of suffering.” In Philippi, St Paul had healed a slave/servant girl of a demonic spirit which was the source of her ability to make oracular pronouncements. The demonic inspired ability had been a source of revenue to her master who, as a result, started a persecution of Paul and his companions. They were dragged by a mob to the civil authorities, were stripped and beaten with rods by those lawful authorities, then chained and imprisoned (see Acts 16:16-40). Paul was victimized by the paganism but in spite of this opposition he freed the Thessalonians from it. Such is the power of the grace of God.

1 Th 2:3 For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor deception. “Error” and “uncleanness” are preceded in the Greek text with the preposition ek, while “deception” is preceded by the preposition en; thus meaning: Our exhortation does not have its source in error, nor does it have its source in uncleanness so as to deceive you.”

1 Th 2:4 But even as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, who tests our hearts. The Greek translated as “But even as” forms a contrast with the previous verse. The evangelists speak, not on the basis of error or uncleanness, nor to deceive, but because God has approved them and entrusted them with the gospel. The passive Greek verb dokimazo (approved) is, in Greek writing, a standard contrast to the verbal infinitive pisteuo. They were entrusted with the Good News, not because of anything in themselves, of themselves, but because God has approved them. Their ministry is the result of God’s grace.

tests our hearts. The word test is dokimazo, the same word used for approved earlier in the verse. “Search” or “examine” would be a better translation. In this latter instance, dokimazo is a present participle. God not only approves of them, but continues to keep his eye on them, search and examine their hearts to see if they are remaining faithful to their mission.
1 Th 2:5 For neither were we at any time found using words of flattery, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness (God is witness),
1 Th 2:6
nor seeking glory from men (neither from you nor from others), when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ.
In the previous verse (4) St Paul insisted that they were not seeking to please men. Here he build upon that denial. The fact that he or his companions had not sought to flatter the Thessalonians is proof of this. Paul condemns flattery of others as cheap self-seeking in Gal 4:17. A true preacher of the Gospel tells men what they need to hear (see 2 Tim 4:1-2), not what they want to hear (See 2 Tim 4:3). Likewise, he was not seeking riches (covetousness). In the ancient world flattery was often employed by preachers, gurus, and prophets of falsehood for their own financial gain. Paul condemns covetousness in Romans 1:29; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5.

God is witness… Paul has repeatedly appealed to the Thessalonians knowledge of his conduct, now he appeals to God as witness, reminding us of what was said in verse 4.

when we might have claimed authority as apostles of Christ Further proof that St Paul and his companions were not covetous. As ministers of the Gospel they had a right to live by the Gospel but didn’t do so (see 1 Cor 9:8-14).
1 Th2:7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children. A contrast with the preceding verses is introduced with the word but. Mothers don’t demand payment from the children they nurse

1 Th 2:8 Even so, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you, not the Good News of God only, but also our own souls, because you had become very dear to us. The preaching of the Gospel isn’t just a job, it’s an act of love; a family affair, a giving of ones self completely, like a nursing mother. Thus:

One Response to “My Notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8”

  1. […] My Notes on Today’s 1st Reading (1 Thessalonians 2:1-8). […]

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