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1st Thessalonians: Chapter 2

 

By: Steve Shirley

(2:1) "not in vain" Likely referring to Paul's 1st visit to Thessalonica. Let's look at this: (Acts 17:1-9). The church in Thessalonica apparently did grow after this visit.

(2:2) "had already suffered and been mistreated at Philippi" This happened right before they came to Thessalonica. Let's look at this in (Acts 16:11-40).

"amid much opposition" (referring to what happened previously in Thessalonica in (Acts 17:1-9)

(2:3) "our exhortation" (Gr: "paraklesis") literally meaning "a calling to one's side" ("para" - "beside" / "kaleo" - "to call") - Strong's

(2:4) "have been approved by God" ("approved" = Gr: "dokimazo") This Greek word is used 23 other times in the New Testament. Let's look at two other prominent uses (2 Tim 2:15)(James 1:12).

"not as pleasing men, but God" ALL Christians should strive to live this way! Let's look at some other verses which speak of this: (Acts 5:25-29)(Gal 1:10)(Col 3:23)(Jn 12:42-43)
Also see verse 6: "nor did we seek glory from men."

God "examines (tests) hearts" Let's turn to some other verses showing this: (1 Chr 29:17)(Prov 15:11)(Jer 17:10)(Rev 2:23). God also knows our hearts: (1 Sam 16:7)(1 Kin 8:39)(Lk 16:15)(Acts 1:24).

     In verses 5-12, Paul talks about his behavior at Thessalonica.

(2:5) What do do you think this verse means? "God is witness" means what?

 

(2:6) "as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority"

     What is an "apostle?" Who is called an apostle in the Bible? Why did an "apostle have "authority?"

 

(2:7) "as a nurse cherisheth her children" ("nurse" = Gr: "trophos") This is the only place in the New Testament this word is used. It means "a nourisher, and denotes a nursing mother" - Strong"s. Paul uses this analogy in other places too (2 Cor 12:14-15)(Gal 4:19). Moses also used this analogy (Num 11:12).

(2:8) "also our own lives (souls)" They were willing to give up their lives for others. Let's look at a few other parallel verses: (Jn 15:13)(Rom 5:7-8)(1 Jn 3:16).

(2:9) "labor and hardship (travail)"
"labor" = Gr: "kopos" - "toil resulting in weariness" - Strong's
"hardship / travail" = Gr. "mochthos" - "labor involving painful effort" - Strong's

     Paul also mentions this in (2 Th 3:7-9)(2 Cor 11:7-11).

     Paul, Silas, and Timothy worked "night and day so as to not be a burden to" the Thessalonians while preaching the Gospel to them. It appears they were relatively poor. It is possible this work was "tent-making" (see: Acts 18:1-3).

     As Paul mentions in other writings, they did have the right to be supported (2 Th 3:7-9) (1 Cor 9:3-14)(1 Tim 5:17-18).

Paul also had support from the Philippian church while at Thessalonica (Phil 4:15-17).

(2:10) Remember our verses from Chapter 1 about being an example to others as Christians: (Mt 16:24)(Jn 13:15)(1 Pet 2:21)(1 Jn 2:6)(1 Cor 4:16)(1 Cor 11:1)(Phil 3:17)(Phil 4:9).

(2:11) In verse 8, Paul compares himself to a mother. Here, he compares himself to a father.

"exhorted and comforted (encouraging)" ("exhorted" Gr: "parakaleo")("comforted" Gr: "paramutheomai") A form of this word, (Gr: "parakletos"), is used to describe the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:16,26)(Jn 15:26)(Jn 16:7).

(2:12) "worthy of God" - ("worthy" = Gr: "axios"). Paul uses this same Greek word in other places:

(Col 1:10) _____________________________
(Rom 16:2) _____________________________
(Phil 1:27) _____________________________
(Eph 4:1) _____________________________
(1 Tim 2:10) ____________________________

(2:13) "the word of God ..... is, the word of God" (Heb 4:12)(1 Pet 1:23-25)(Eph 6:17)(Lk 11:28)

"received" (Gr: "paralambano") means "to listen and apply the words that were spoken" "take to oneself" - Liberty Commentary

(2:14) The NLT says this verse like this: "And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God's churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews."
*** Remember, the Thessalonian church was comprised mainly of Gentiles (1 Th 1:9)(Acts 17:4).

(2:15) "the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us..."

     This is one of the more controversial verses in the Bible. The question, "Who killed Jesus?" has been argued for centuries. Put that term in a search engine, and you will find "millions" of results!

     Those who say it was the Jews are often accused of anti-Semitism, and what is called "Jewish deicide" (defined by Wikipedia as, "a belief held by some Christians that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for the death of Jesus").

     Clearly, in the verse above, Paul places the blame on the Jews. When we look in the Gospels, we also see the guilt of the Jews (Acts 2:22-23,36)(Mt 23:37)(Mt 27:20-25)(Lk 23:13-25)(Jn 18:31,35)(Jn 19:14-16)(Mt 5:12)(Acts 7:51-53). However, when we look more deeply, we see the Jewish "leaders" being primarily responsible (Acts 4:8-12)(Mt 23:3-4)(Mt 26:59-68)(Mt 27:20)(Mk 14:1)(Jn 11:47-53)(Mt 21:33-46). In reality though, neither the Jews nor Jewish leaders "personally" crucified Jesus, but rather, the Romans did this (Mt 27:26-35)(Lk 23:23-25)(Jn 19:10,23).

***Note: It should be noted that ultimately all of mankind is responsible for the death of Jesus on the cross since we are ALL sinners, and His life needed to be sacrificed to pay for our sins.

     Paul, in saying this, is sometimes accused of being "anti-Semitic." However, he clearly was not! Paul loved the Jews, and was even willing to be "accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Rom 9:3). He also says in (Rom 10:1), "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them (the Jews) is for their salvation."

     Are there examples today of Christians being accused of hating a certain group of people because they are teaching what God says in the Bible on a certain subject? Is this justified?

 

(2:16) "forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved"

     I would like to use this quote taken from the notes of my "Life Application Bible" on (1 Th 2:15-16) here.

"Why were so many Jews opposed to Christianity?
First, although the Jewish religion was declared "legal" by the Roman government, it still had a tenuous relationship with the government. At this time, Christianity was viewed as a sect of Judaism. The Jews were afraid that reprisals leveled against the Christians might be stretched to include them.
Second, the Jewish leaders thought Jesus was a false prophet and they didn't want His teachings to spread.
Third, they feared that if many Jews were drawn away, their own political position might be weakened.
Fourth, they were proud of their special status as "God's chosen people" and they resented the fact that Gentiles were full members within the church."

"But wrath has come upon them to the utmost."
No one knows for sure exactly what this is speaking of, although there are plenty of guesses.

(2:17) "having been taken from you for a short while" This likely goes back to (Acts 17:5-10).

(2:18) "Satan hindered us" The Greek word "egkopto" is used for "hindered" here. It means "to cut into. (It) was used of "impeding" persons by breaking up the road, or by placing an obstacle sharply in the path" (Strong's). This same Greek word is also used in (Rom 15:22)(Gal 5:7).
    What are some ways that Satan hinders us?

 

Let's look at a few other things Satan can do:

(Rev 12:9) ____________________
(Rev 12:10) ____________________
(Rev 12:13) ____________________
(2 Cor 4:4) ____________________
(2 Cor 11:3) ____________________

     Therefore, we must always do this: (Eph 6:10-12).

(2:19) "crown of rejoicing" Four other crowns like this are mentioned in the New Testament:

(1 Cor 9:25) ____________________
(2 Tim 4:8) ____________________
(James 1:12)(Rev 2:10) ____________________
(1 Pet 5:4) ____________________

"at His coming" The Greek word for "coming" is "parousia," which literally means "being near."
Most likely, this is referring to the Second Coming of Jesus. "When" His Second Coming will be is a matter of debate.

     "Parousia" is also used in 1st Thessalonians in (1 Th 3:13)(1 Th 4:15)(1 Th 5:23).