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There is nothing tame about these brief pages, nothing vague or indefinite ; </ on the contrary, they breath a spirit of strong faith and overflowing life, and
above all, an ardour of hope destined before long to be extinguished. They give a first sketch of Paul's doctrine, corresponding with that primitive period when it possessed all its vigour without having as yet attained its fulness. ... This early type of Paulinism is still closely allied in its general conceptions to the preaching of the other apostles, but bearing within it already the new and bold ideas to which it subsequently gave birth. It is admirably calculated to serve as a transition and means of organic connection between the apostolic preaching with which Paul set out and the independent conception of the gospel to which he afterwards attained.-Sabatier.
12-313 Personal: thanksgiving for their Christian life : its
connection with himself and his ministry, 213-16
his anxiety for them : the mission and report of Timotheus. 310-13
his prayer for them.
brotherly love and sober diligence.
the living-need of watchfulness. 512-15
religious duties. 523-24
a prayer for them.
11 PAUL and Silvanus and Timotheus
to the Community of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ :
grace to you and peace. 2 We always give thanks to God for you all when we make mention of 3 you in our prayers, as we remember without ceasing your active faith
and labouring love and patient hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before 4 our God and Father. For, brothers beloved by God, we know that you 5 were chosen ; because our gospel came to you not in word only, but in
power as well, in the holy Spirit with much assurance (as you know the 6 kind of men we showed ourselves among you for your sake), and you
became imitators of us and of the Lord, and accepted the word amid 7 great distress with the joy of the holy Spirit, so that you became a 8 pattern to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded out from you—not only in Macedonia and
Achaia but in every place, your faith to God has gone abroad. We do 9 not need to speak of it at all. The people themselves acknowledge with
regard to us what kind of entrance we had to you, and how you turned 10 to God from idols, to serve a living and a real God, and to wait for his
Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our rescuer from
the wrath to come. 21 Brothers, you know yourselves that our entrance to you has not proved 2 in vain. Although we had already suffered and been ill-treated (as you
know) at Philippi, yet confident in our God we spoke the gospel of God 3 to you amid great conflict. For our appeal does not proceed from fraud, 4 or from impurity, nor does it work by guile ; nay, as God has held us
fit to be intrusted with the gospel, so we speak, to please not men but 5 God, who tests our hearts. For never were we found using either words
of flattery (you know that) or—God is witness—a pretext for covetous6 ness, or seeking human credit, either from you or from others; we could 7 have claimed authority as apostles of Christ, but we behaved among you 8 gently, as a nursing mother cherishes her children. Yearning thus over
you, we were ready and willing to impart to you not merely the gospel 9 of God but also our very souls, since you had won our love. You remember our labour and toil, brothers ; night and day we worked so as
not to be a burden to any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of 10 God. You are witnesses, and God is witness, how holy and upright and 11 blameless was our behaviour to you believers, how (as you know) we
treated each one of you as a father treats his children, comforting and 12 encouraging you, and charging you to walk in a manner worthy of the
God who calls you to his own reign and majesty. 13 And for this we also give thanks to God without ceasing, namely, that
in receiving from us the word of the divine message, you accepted it not as men's word but as what it really is, God's word --which also is active 14 in you believers. For, brothers, you became imitators of the Communities
of God which are in Judaea in Christ Jesus, since you suffered also at the
hands of your fellow-countrymen in the very same way as they did at . 15 the hands of the Jews—who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets,
and harassed ourselves, who please not God, and are against all mnen, 16 who forbid us to speak to the Gentiles for their salvation; and all, that
they may fill up their sins evermore. [The Wrath has come upon them
at last.) 17 But when we were bereft of you, brothers, for a short while—distant
in person, not in affection—we endeavoured more and more eagerly to see 18 you with great longing. (We did desire to come to you, I Paul once 19 and again, yet Satan hindered us.) For who is our hope or joy or wreath 20 to exult in—who if not you-before our Lord Jesus at his arrival ? Yes, 3 1 indeed, you are our credit and joy.
Therefore, unable to bear it 2 any longer, we preferred to be left behind at Athens by ourselves; send
ing Timotheus, our brother and God's minister in the gospel of Christ, to 3 establish and encourage you for the furtherance of your faith, that no one
should be shaken by these distresses. For you know yourselves that we 4 are destined to this, indeed we told you beforehand, when we were with 5 you, “We are to suffer distress." And so it befel, as you know. For my part then, unable to bear it any longer, I sent in order to learn your faith,
in case after all the tempter had tempted you, and our labour proved in vain. 6 But when Timotheus reached us a moment ago from you, bringing us
the good news of your faith and love, and of how you always have a kindly 7 remembrance of us, longing to see us as we long to see you, then amid
all our trouble and distress we were cheered about you, brothers, by 8 your faith. This is life to us now, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 Yes! how can we render thanks to God for you, for all the joy we have 10 on your account before our God? Night and day we pray especially 11 to see you and to supply the deficiencies of your faith. May our
God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you ! 12 And may the Lord make you increase and excel in love to one another 13 and to all men (as we also do to you), to establish your hearts blameless
in holiness before our God and Father at the arrival of our Lord Jesus
with all his saints ! 41 Well, then, brothers, our prayer and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus
is to excel more and more in walking, as you received word from us how
you ought to walk, so as to please God-and as, indeed, you are walking. 2, 3 You know the charges we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For it is God's
4 will that you be holy, that you abstain from fornication, that each of 5 you learn to possess his own wife in chastity and honour, not in the 6 appetite of lust like the Gentiles who know not God, to prevent any man
overreaching and taking advantage of his brother in this affair; since, as we told you before and testified to you, God is the avenger in all these 7 matters. For God did not call us to be impure ; his is a holy calling. 8 Therefore he who contemns this, contemns not man so much as God who 9 gives you his holy Spirit. But in regard to brotherly love you have no
need of anyone to write to you. You are yourselves taught by God to 10 love one another; indeed, you act thus to all the brothers in all
Macedonia. Still we exhort you, brothers, to excel more and more in 11 that ; also to make it your ambition to live quietly, to mind your own 12 affairs, and—as we charged you—to work with your hands, so as to
behave yourselves with propriety to those outside and be dependent on no one.
13 In regard to those who sleep, we would not have you ignorant, 14 brothers, that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. If
we believe that Jesus died and rose, so also will God bring with him 15 through Jesus those who have fallen asleep. For by a word of the Lord
we tell you this : “We, the living, who survive until the arrival of the 16 Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. The Lord himself,
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of
God, shall descend from heaven, and first the dead ” in Christ “shall 17 rise : then we," the living, “who survive, shall be caught up in the
clouds along with them to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall 18 be ever with the Lord.” So comfort one another with these words. 51 But in regard to the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no
2 need of being written to; you know perfectly well that the day of the 3 Lord comes like a thief in the night. When they are speaking of
"peace” and “safety," then sudden upon them destruction comes, as birth4 pangs on a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for the Day to overtake you like thieves.1
You are all sons of light and sons of the day.
We belong not to the night nor to the darkness : 6 Well, then, let us not sleep like the rest, but be wakeful and sober.
For sleepers sleep at night,
And drunkards are drunk at night : 8 But as for us who belong to the day, let us be sober,
Putting on faith and love as our coat of mail;
And, for a helmet, the hope of salvation; 9 since God appointed us not to wrath but to possess salvation through our 10 Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us that whether we wake or sleep we 11 should live along with him. Therefore exhort one another, and let each
build up the other--as indeed you do. 12 Now, brothers, we pray you to respect those who labour among you 13 and preside over you in the Lord and admonish you; for the sake of
their work esteem them with especial love. Be at peace among your14 selves. Also we appeal to you, brothers, to admonish the irregular,
encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be long-suffering to all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil: always aim at what is good for 16, 17 one another and for all men. Always rejoice, pray without ceas
18 ing, in everything give thanks : such is God's will in Christ Jesus for 19, 20, 21 you. Quench not the Spirit, despise not prophecies : test everything,
22 retain the good, abstain from every kind of evil. 23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you perfectly, and may
your spirit, soul, and body be kept entire, blameless at the arrival of our 24 Lord Jesus Christ! He who calls you is faithful : he will do it. 25, 26 Brothers, pray for us. Salute all the brothers with a saints' kiss.
I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
1 Reading ahistas. Ha
This letter purports to have been written shortly (215) after 1 Thessalonians, partly to give further encouragement to the Christians of that city under their depressing trials, but especially to steady them against a feverish outburst of excitement. Symptoms of unrest were visible generally throughout the Empire at the time. But the particular and immediate cause at Thessalonika was furnished by the idea of the second Advent, the near approach of which had been proclaimed by several teachers as a revelation from God. They had also appealed to some written words of Paul himself.1 Against this delusion and its moral consequences the epistle is written. It supplements the first epistle, while at the same time it faces a novel development of the situation. Paul had thought his friends did not require special instruction on eschatology (1 Th 52). He now finds they do, and proceeds to give the requisite explanation and information on the fundamental principles of the
last things. This is done, as the subject necessitated, in characteristically 1 Jewish form. The spirit is Christian and Pauline, but the writer has for the time being become to the Jews a Jew.
The reasons which have made many scholars unsure of its authenticity and disposed to look for a later date, vary in weight. Some are obviously minor. The style of 2 Thessalonians is, on the whole, genuinely Pauline (cp. besides Bornemann's copious discussion in Meyer, ad. loc., and Zahn, Einl. i. pp. 181-183; Jowett, Epp. of Paul,i. pp. 70–76), and no stress can be safely put on the linguistic arguments. The emphasis on Paul's authority (“ die betreffenden Wendungen haben ein mehr offizielles Gepräge," Spitta) is not unnatural in the circumstances, and cannot be regarded with suspicion as exaggerated. The different motives for his labour (1 Th 29, 2 Th 37) are not contradictory but correlative. In fact the really crucial points which determine the question of the later date lie exclusively in the eschatological features of the writing. An estimate of these is decisive, and the other evidence must be used chiefly to corroborate the conclusion reached upon surer grounds.
i. The idea of the Antichrist has been frequently taken as implying the Montanist conceptions of the second century; the commoner interpretation, however, finds in it a reference to the legendary return of Nero after his death. This gives a good sense, but it is not a necessary inference from the text. Nero's reappearance is merely one of several
i Perhaps in 1 Thessalonians (51-11 216), but not necessarily. Before the date of that epistle Paul may well have written others, and even some (two) to Thessalonika itself (as Professor Rendel Harris, Exp.5 viii. 161 f., 401 f., has recently suggested), which are no longer extant. At any rate, the reference to the admitted practice of forgery (22 317) is no valid argument against the Pauline authorship (cp. Joseph. Antiq. xvi. 10. 4); nor is there sufficient reason for supposing that the rumour was unfounded and Paul's fear mistaken. The difficulty of 22 is not eased by Dr. Field's ingenious conjecture, ws din nuwe, “as pretending to be ours” (cum irrisione quadam plerumque ponitur ás dá, Ast), Otium Norvicense, part III. (1899), p. 202.