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Chapter 2

2:1 For yourselves know [autoi gar oidate]. This explanatory [gar] takes up in verses 1-12 the allusion in 1:9 about the “report” concerning the entrance [eisodon], way in, [eis, hodon], unto you [tēn pros humās]. Note repeated article to sharpen the point. This proleptic accusative is common enough. It is expanded by the epexegetic use of the [hoti] clause that it hath not been found vain [hoti ou kenē gegonen]. Literally, that it has not become empty. Second perfect active (completed state) of [ginomai]. Every pastor watches wistfully to see what will be the outcome of his work. Bengel says: Non inanis, sed plena virtutis. Cf. 1:5. [Kenos] is hollow, empty, while [mataios] is fruitless, ineffective. In 1Co 15:14,17 Paul speaks of [kenon to kērugma] (empty the preaching) and [mataia hē pistis] (vain the faith). One easily leads to the other.

2:2 But having suffered before [alla propathontes]. Strong adversative [alla], antithesis to [kenē]. Appeal to his personal experiences in Thessalonica known to them (as ye know, [kathōs oidate]. Second aorist active participle of [propaschō], old compound verb, but here alone in the N.T. The force of [pro-] (before) is carried over to the next verb. The participle may be regarded as temporal (Ellicott) or concessive (Moffatt). And been shamefully entreated in Philippi [kai hubristhentes en Philippois]. First aorist passive participle of [hubrizō], old verb, to treat insolently. “More than the bodily suffering it was the personal indignity that had been offered to him as a Roman citizen” (Milligan), for which account see Ac 16:16-40, an interesting example of how Acts and the Epistles throw light on each other. Luke tells how Paul resented the treatment accorded to him as a Roman citizen and here Paul shows that the memory still rankled in his bosom. We waxed bold in our God [eparrēsiasametha en tōi theōi hēmōn]. Ingressive first aorist middle of [parrēsiazomai], old deponent verb from [parrēsia] (full story, [pan-, rēsia]. In his reply to Festus (Ac 26:26) Paul uses [parrēsiazomenos lalō], being bold I speak, while here he has we waxed bold to speak [eparrēsiasametha lalēsai]. The insult in Philippi did not close Paul’s mouth, but had precisely the opposite effect “in our God.” It was not wild fanaticism, but determined courage and confidence in God that spurred Paul to still greater boldness in Thessalonica, unto you [pros humās], be the consequences what they might, the gospel of God in much conflict, [to euaggelion tou theou en pollōi agōni]. This figure of the athletic games [agōn] may refer to outward conflict like Php 1:30 or inward anxiety (Col 2:1). He had both in Thessalonica.

2:3 Exhortation [paraklēsis]. Persuasive discourse, calling to one’s side, for admonition, encouragement, or comfort. Not of error [ouk ek planēs]. This word is same as [planaō], to lead astray (2Ti 3:13) like Latin errare. Passive idea of error here rather than deceit. That is seen in nor in guile [oude en dolōi] from [delō], to catch with bait. Paul is keenly sensitive against charges against the correctness of his message and the purity of his life. Nor of uncleanness [oude ex akatharsias]. “This disclaimer, startling as it may seem, was not unneeded amidst the impurities consecrated by the religions of the day” (Lightfoot). There was no necessary connection in the popular mind between religion and morals. The ecstatic initiations in some of the popular religions were grossly sensual.

2:4 But even as we have been approved by God [alla kathōs dedokimasmetha hupo tou theou]. Perfect passive indicative of [dokimazō], old verb to put to the test, but here the tense for completed state means tested and proved and so approved by God. Paul here claims the call of God for his ministry and the seal of God’s blessing on his work and also for that of Silas and Timothy. To be entrusted with the gospel [pisteuthēnai to euaggelion]. First aorist passive infinitive of [pisteuō], common verb for believing, from [pistis] (faith), but here to entrust rather than to trust. The accusative of the thing is retained in the passive according to regular Greek idiom as in 1Co 9:17; Ga 2:7; Ro 3:2; 1Ti 1:11; Tit 1:3, though the active had the dative of the person. So we speak [houtōs laloumen]. Simple, yet confident claim of loyalty to God’s call and message. Surely this should be the ambition of every preacher of the gospel of God. Not as pleasing men [ouch hōs anthrōpois areskontes]. Dative case with [areskō] as in Ga 1:10. Few temptations assail the preacher more strongly than this one to please men, even if God is not pleased, though with the dim hope that God will after all condone or overlook. Nothing but experience will convince some preachers how fickle is popular favour and how often it is at the cost of failure to please God. And yet the preacher wishes to win men to Christ. It is all as subtle as it is deceptive. God tests our hearts (the very verb [dokimazō] used in the beginning of this verse) and he is the only one whose approval matters in the end of the day (1Co 4:5).

2:5 Using words of flattery [en logōi kolakeias]. Literally, in speech of flattery or fawning. Old word, only here in N.T., from [kolaks], a flatterer. An Epicurean, Philodemus, wrote a work [Peri Kolakeias] (Concerning Flattery). Milligan (Vocabulary, etc.) speaks of “the selfish conduct of too many of the rhetoricians of the day,” conduct extremely repugnant to Paul. The third time (verses 1, 2, 5) he appeals to their knowledge of his work in Thessalonica. Frame suggests “cajolery.” Nor a cloke of covetousness [oute prophasei pleonexias]. Pretext [prophasis] from [prophainō], to show forth, or perhaps from [pro-phēmi], to speak forth). This is the charge of self-interest rather than the mere desire to please people. Pretext of greediness is Frame’s translation. [Pleonexia] is merely “having more” from [pleonektēs], one eager for more, and [pleonekteō], to have more, then to over-reach, all old words, all with bad meaning as the result of the desire for more. In a preacher this sin is especially fatal. Paul feels so strongly his innocence of this charge that he calls God as witness as in 2Co 1:23; Ro 9:1; Php 1:8, a solemn oath for his own veracity.

2:6 Nor seeking glory of men [oute zētountes ex anthrōpōn doxan]. “Upon the repudiation of covetousness follows naturally the repudiation of worldly ambition” (Milligan). See Ac 20:19; 2Co 4:5; Eph 4:2. This third disclaimer is as strong as the other two. Paul and his associates had not tried to extract praise or glory out of [ex] men. Neither from you nor from others [oute aph’ humōn oute aph’ allōn]. He widens the negation to include those outside of the church circles and changes the preposition from [ex] (out of) to [apo] (from). When we might have been burdensome, as apostles of Christ [dunamenoi en barei einai hōs Christou apostoloi]. Westcott and Hort put this clause in verse 7. Probably a concessive participle, though being able to be in a position of weight (either in matter of finance or of dignity, or a burden on your funds or “men of weight” as Moffatt suggests). Milligan suggests that Paul “plays here on the double sense of the phrase” like the Latin proverb: Honos propter onus. So he adds, including Silas and Timothy, as Christ’s apostles, as missionaries clearly, whether in the technical sense or not (cf. Ac 14:4,14; 2Co 8:23; 11:13; Ro 16:7; Php 2:25; Re 2:2). They were entitled to pay as “Christ’s apostles” (cf. 1Co 9; 2Co 11:7ff.), though they had not asked for it.

2:7 But we were gentle in the midst of you [alla egenēthēmen nēpioi en mesōi humōn]. Note [egenēthēmen] (became), not [ēmetha] (were). This rendering follows [ēpioi] instead of [nēpioi] (Aleph B D C Vulg. Boh.) which is clearly correct, though Dibelius, Moffatt, Ellicott, Weiss prefer [ēpioi] as making better sense. Dibelius terms [nēpioi] unmoglich (impossible), but surely that is too strong. Paul is fond of the word [nēpioi] (babes). Lightfoot admits that he here works the metaphor to the limit in his passion, but does not mar it as Ellicott holds. As when a nurse cherishes her own children [hōs ean trophos thalpēi ta heautēs tekna]. This comparative clause with [hōs ean] (Mr 4:26; Ga 6:10 without [ean] or [an] and the subjunctive (Robertson, Grammar, p. 968) has a sudden change of the metaphor, as is common with Paul (1Ti 5:24; 2Co 3:13ff.) from babes to nurse [trophos], old word, here only in the N.T., from [trephō], to nourish, [trophē], nourishment. It is really the mother-nurse “who suckles and nurses her own children” (Lightfoot), a use found in Sophocles, and a picture of Paul’s tender affection for the Thessalonians. [Thalpō] is an old word to keep warm, to cherish with tender love, to foster. In N.T. only here and Eph 5:29.

2:8 Even so, being affectionately desirous of you [houtōs omeiromenoi humōn]. Clearly the correct text rather than [himeiromenoi] from [himeirō], old verb to long for. But the verb [homeiromai] (Westcott and Hort om., smooth breathing) occurs nowhere else except MSS. in Job 3:21; Ps 62:2 (Symmachus) and the Lycaonian sepulchral inscription (4th cent. A.D.) about the sorrowing parents [homeiromenoi peri paidos], greatly desiring their son (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). Moulton suggests that it comes from a root [smer], remember, and that [o-] is a derelict preposition [o] like [o-duromai, o-kellō, ō-keanos]. Wohlenberg (Zahn, Kommentar) calls the word “a term of endearment,” “derived from the language of the nursery” (Milligan). We were well pleased [ēudokoumen]. Imperfect active of [eudokeō], common verb in later Greek and in N.T. (see on Mt 3:17), picturing Paul’s idea of their attitude while in Thessalonica. Paul often has it with the infinitive as here. To impart [metadounai]. Second aorist active infinitive of [metadidōmi], old verb to share with (see on Lu 3:11). Possible zeugma with souls [psuchas], though Lightfoot renders “lives.” Paul and his associates held nothing back. Because ye were become very dear to us [dioti agapētoi hēmin egenēthēte]. Note [dioti] (double cause, [dia, hoti], for that), use of [ginomai] again for become, and dative [hēmin] with verbal [agapētoi], beloved and so dear. A beautiful picture of the growth of Paul’s affection for them as should be true with every pastor.

2:9 Travail [mochthon]. Old word for difficult labour, harder than [kopos] (toil). In the N.T. only here, 2Th 3:8; 2Co 11:27. Note accusative case here though genitive with [mnēmoneuō] in 1:3. Night and day [nuktos kai hēmeras]. Genitive case, both by day and by night, perhaps beginning before dawn and working after dark. So in 3:10. That we might not burden any of you [pros to mē epibarēsai tina humōn]. Use of [pros] with the articular infinitive to express purpose (only four times by Paul). The verb [epibareō] is late, but in the papyri and inscriptions for laying a burden [baros] on [epi-] one. In N.T. only here and 2Th 3:8; 2Co 2:5. Paul boasted of his financial independence where he was misunderstood as in Thessalonica and Corinth (2Co 9-12), though he vindicated his right to remuneration. We preached [ekēruxamen]. We heralded (from [kērux], herald) to you, common verb for preach.

2:10 How holily and righteously and unblameably [hōs hosiōs kai dikaiōs kai amemptōs]. Paul calls the Thessalonians and God as witnesses [martures] to his life toward you the believers [humin tois pisteuousin] dative of personal interest. He employs three common adverbs that show how holily toward God and how righteously toward men so that they did not blame him and his associates in either respect. So there is a reason for each adverb. All this argues that Paul spent a considerable time in Thessalonica, more than the three sabbaths mentioned by Luke. The pastor ought to live so that his life will bear close inspection.

2:11 As a father with his own children [hōs patēr tekna heautou]. Change from the figure of the mother-nurse in verse 7. There is ellipse of a principal verb with the participles [parakalountes, paramuthoumenoi, marturoumenoi]. Lightfoot suggests [enouthetoumen] (we admonished) or [egenēthēmen] (we became). The three participles give three phases of the minister’s preaching (exhorting, encouraging or consoling, witnessing or testifying). They are all old verbs, but only the first [parakaleō] is common in the N.T.

2:12 To the end that [eis to]. Final use of [eis] and the articular infinitive, common idiom in the papyri and Paul uses [eis] to and the infinitive fifty times (see again in 3:2), some final, some sub-final, some result (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 989-91). Walk worthily of God [peripatein axiōs tou theou]. Present infinitive (linear action), and genitive case with adverb [axiōs] as in Col 1:10 (cf. Php 1:27; Eph 4:1), like a preposition. Calleth [kalountos]. Present active participle, keeps on calling. Some MSS. have [kalesantos], called. Kingdom [basileian] here is the future consummation because of glory [doxan] as in 2Th 1:5; 1Co 6:9; 15:50; Ga 5:21; 2Ti 4:1, 18), but Paul uses it for the present kingdom of grace also as in 1Co 4:20; Ro 14:17; Col 1:13.

2:13 And for this cause we also [kai dia touto kai hēmeis]. Note [kai] twice. We as well as you are grateful for the way the gospel was received in Thessalonica. Without ceasing [adialeiptōs]. Late adverb for which see on 1:2 and for [eucharistoumen] see on 1:2. The word of the message [logon akoēs]. Literally, the word of hearing, as in Sir. 42:1 and Heb 4:2 [ho logos tēs akoēs], the word marked by hearing (genitive case), the word which you heard. Here with [tou theou] (of God) added as a second descriptive genitive which Paul expands and justifies. Ye received it so [paralabontes] and accepted or welcomed it [edexasthe] so, not as the word of men [ou logou anthrōpōn], but as the word of God [alla logon theou], as it is in truth [kathōs alēthōs estin]. This last clause is literally, as it truly is. Paul had not a doubt that he was proclaiming God’s message. Should any preacher preach his doubts if he has any? God’s message can be found and Paul found it. Worketh in you [energeitai en humin]. Perhaps middle voice of [energeō] [en, ergon], work) late verb, not in ancient Greek or LXX, but in papyri and late writers (Polybius, etc.) and in N.T. only by Paul and James. If it is passive, as Milligan thinks, it means “is set in operation,” as Polybius has it. The idea then is that the word of God is set in operation in you that believe.

2:14 Imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea [mimētai tōn ekklēsiōn tou theou tōn ousōn en tēi Ioudaiāi]. On [mimētai] see on 1:5. “This passage, implying an affectionate admiration of the Jewish churches on the part of St. Paul, and thus entirely bearing out the impression produced by the narrative in the Acts, is entirely subversive of the theory maintained by some and based on a misconception of Ga 2, and by the fiction of the Pseudo-Clementines, of the feud existing between St. Paul and the Twelve” (Lightfoot). In Christ Jesus [en Christōi Iēsou]. It takes this to make a Christian church of God. Note order here Christ Jesus as compared with Jesus Christ in 1:1, 3. Ye also—even as they [kai humeis—kai autoi]. Note [kai] twice (correlative use of [kai]. Countrymen [sumphuletōn]. Fellow-countrymen or tribesmen. Late word that refers primarily to Gentiles who no doubt joined the Jews in Thessalonica who instigated the attacks on Paul and Silas so that it “was taken up by the native population, without whose co-operation it would have been powerless” (Lightfoot). Own [idiōn] here has apparently a weakened force. Note [hupo] here with the ablative both with [sumphuletōn] and [Ioudaiōn] after the intransitive [epathete] (suffered). The persecution of the Christians by the Jews in Judea was known everywhere.

2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets [tōn kai ton Kurion apokteinantōn Iēsoun kai tous prophētas]. First aorist active participle of [apokteinō]. Vivid justification of his praise of the churches in Judea. The Jews killed the prophets before the Lord Jesus who reminded them of their guilt (Mt 23:29). Paul, as Peter (Ac 2:23), lays the guilt of the death of Christ on the Jews. And drove us out [kai hēmās ekdiōxantōn]. An old verb to drive out or banish, to chase out as if a wild beast. Only here in N.T. It is Paul’s vivid description of the scene told in Ac 17:5ff. when the rabbis and the hoodlums from the agora chased him out of Thessalonica by the help of the politarchs. Please not God [Theōi mē areskontōn]. The rabbis and Jews thought that they were pleasing God by so doing as Paul did when he ravaged the young church in Jerusalem. But Paul knows better now. And are contrary to all men [kai pasin anthrōpois enantiōn]. Dative case with the adjective [enantiōn] (old and common word, face to face, opposite). It seems like a bitter word about Paul’s countrymen whom he really loved (Ro 9:1-5; 10:1-6), but Paul knew only too well the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile as he shows in Eph 2 and which only the Cross of Christ can break down. Tacitus (Hist. V. 5) says that the Jews are adversus omnes alios hostile odium.

2:16 Forbidding us [kōluontōn hēmās]. Explanatory participle of the idea in [enantiōn]. They show their hostility to Paul at every turn. Right here in Corinth, where Paul is when he writes, they had already shown venomous hostility toward Paul as Luke makes plain (Ac 18:6ff.). They not simply oppose his work among the Jews, but also to the Gentiles [ethnesi], nations outside of the Abrahamic covenant as they understood it). That they may be saved [hina sōthōsin]. Final use of [hina] with first aorist passive subjunctive of [sōzō] old verb to save. It was the only hope of the Gentiles, Christ alone and not the mystery-religions offered any real hope. To fill up their sins alway [eis to anaplērōsai autōn tas hamartias pantote]. Another example of [eis to] and the infinitive as in verse 12. It may either be God’s conceived plan to allow the Jews to go on and fill up [anaplērōsai], note [ana], fill up full, old verb) or it may be the natural result from the continual [pantote] sins of the Jews. Is come [ephthasen]. First aorist (timeless aorist) active indicative of [phthanō] which no longer means to come before as in 1Th 4:15 where alone in the N.T. it retains the old idea of coming before. Some MSS. have the perfect active [ephthaken], prophetic perfect of realization already. Frame translates it: “But the wrath has come upon them at last.” This is the most likely meaning of [eis telos]. Paul vividly foresees and foretells the final outcome of this attitude of hate on the part of the Jews. Tristis exitus, Bengel calls it. Paul speaks out of a sad experience.

2:17 Being bereaved of you [aporphanisthentes aph’ humōn]. First aorist passive participle of the rare compound verb [aporphanizō], in Aeschylus, but nowhere else in N.T.). Literally, being orphaned from you [aph’ humōn], ablative case). Paul changes the figure again [trophos] or mother nurse in verse 7, [nēpios] or babe in verse 7, [patēr] or father in verse 11) to orphan [orphanos]. He refers to the period of separation from them, for a short season [pros kairon hōras] for a season of an hour. This idiom only here in N.T., but [pros kairon] in Lu 8:13 and [pros hōran] in 2Co 7:8. But it has seemed long to Paul. Precisely how long he had been gone we do not know, some months at any rate. In presence, not in heart [prosōpōi ou kardiāi]. Locative case. [Prosōpon], old word [pros, ops], in front of the eye, face) for face, look, person. Literally, in face or person. His heart was with them, though they no longer saw his face. Heart, originally [kardia], is the inner man, the seat of the affections and purposes, not always in contrast with intellect [nous]. “Out of sight, not out of mind” (Rutherford). Endeavoured the more exceedingly [perissoterōs espoudasamen]. Ingressive aorist active indicative of [spoudazō], old word to hasten (from [spoudē, speudō]. We became zealous. Comparative adverb [perissoterōs] from [perisson], more abundantly than before being orphaned from you. Your face [to prosōpon humōn]. Cf. his face above. With great desire [en pollēi epithumiāi]. In much longing [epithumia] from [epi] and [thumos], [epithumeō], to run after, to yearn after, whether good or bad).

2:18 Because [dioti]. As in 2:8. We would fain have come to you [ēthelēsamen elthein pros humas]. First aorist active indicative of [thelō]. Literally, we desired to come to you. I Paul [egō men Paulos]. Clear example of literary plural [ēthelesamen] with singular pronoun [egō]. Paul uses his own name elsewhere also as in 2Co 10:1; Ga 5:2; Col 1:23; Eph 3:1; Phm 1:19. Once and again [kai hapax kai dis]. Both once and twice as in Php 4:16. Old idiom in Plato. And Satan hindered us [kai enekopsen hēmas ho Satanas]. Adversative use of [kai = ] but or and yet. First aorist active indicative of [enkoptō], late word to cut in, to hinder. Milligan quotes papyrus example of third century, B.C. Verb used to cut in a road, to make a road impassable. So Paul charges Satan with cutting in on his path. Used by Paul in Ac 24:4; Ga 5:7 and passive [enekoptomēn] in Ro 15:22; 1Pe 3:7. This hindrance may have been illness, opposition of the Jews in Corinth, what not.

2:19 Crown of glorying [stephanos kauchēseōs]. When a king or conqueror came on a visit he was given a chaplet of glorying. Paul is answering the insinuation that he did not really wish to come. At his coming [en tēi autou parousiāi]. This word [parousia] is untechnical (just presence from [pareimi] in 2Th 2:9; 1Co 16:17; 2Co 7:6f.; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12. But here (also 1Th 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Th 2:1, 8; 1Co 15:23) we have the technical sense of the second coming of Christ. Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, pp. 372ff.) notes that the word in the papyri is almost technical for the arrival of a king or ruler who expects to receive his “crown of coming.” The Thessalonians, Paul says, will be his crown, glory, joy when Jesus comes.

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