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Chapter 3

3:1 Finally [to loipon]. Accusative of general reference. Cf. [loipon] 1Th 4:1. Pray [proseuchesthe]. Present middle, keep on praying. Note [peri] as in 1Th 5:25. That the word of the Lord may run and be glorified [hina ho logos tou kuriou trechēi kai doxazētai]. Usual construction of [hina] after [proseuchomai], sub-final use, content and purpose combined. Note present subjunctive with both verbs rather than aorist, may keep on running and being glorified, two verbs joined together nowhere else in the N.T. Paul probably derived this metaphor from the stadium as in 1Co 9:24ff.; Ga 2:2; Ro 9:16; Php 2:16; 2Ti 4:7. Lightfoot translates “may have a triumphant career.” On the word of the Lord see on 1Th 1:8. Paul recognizes the close relation between himself and the readers. He needs their prayers and sympathy and he rejoices in their reception of the word of the Lord already, even as also it is with you [kathōs kai pros humas]. “As it does in your case” (Frame).

3:2 And that we may be delivered [kai hina rusthōmen]. A second and more personal petition (Milligan). First aorist passive subjunctive of [ruomai], old verb to rescue. Note change in tense from present to aorist (effective aorist). From unreasonable and evil men [apo tōn atopōn kai ponērōn anthrōpōn]. Ablative case with [apo]. Originally in the old Greek [atopos] [a] privative and [topos] is out of place, odd, unbecoming, perverse, outrageous, both of things and persons. [Ponēros] is from [poneō], to work [ponos], looking on labour as an annoyance, bad, evil. Paul had a plague of such men in Corinth as he had in Thessalonica. For all have not faith [ou gar pantōn hē pistis]. Copula [estin] not expressed. [Pantōn] is predicate possessive genitive, faith (article with abstract substantive) does not belong to all. Hence their evil conduct.

3:3 But the Lord is faithful [pistos de estin ho kurios]. But faithful is the Lord (correct rendition), with a play (paronomasia) on [pistis] by [pistos] as in Ro 3:3 we have a word-play on [apisteō] and [apistia]. The Lord can be counted on, however perverse men may be. From the evil one [apo tou ponērou]. Apparently a reminiscence of the Lord’s Prayer in Mt 6:13 [rusai hēmas apo tou ponērou]. But here as there it is not certain whether [tou ponērou] is neuter (evil) like to [ponēron] in Ro 12:9 or masculine (the evil one). But we have [ho ponēros] (the evil one) in 1Jo 5:18 and [tou ponērou] is clearly masculine in Eph 6:16. If masculine here, as is probable, is it “the Evil One” (Ellicott) or merely the evil man like those mentioned in verse 2? Perhaps Paul has in mind the representative of Satan, the man of sin, pictured in 2:1-12, by the phrase here without trying to be too definite.

3:4 And we have confidence [pepoithomen]. Second perfect indicative of [peithō], to persuade, intransitive in this tense, we are in a state of trust. In the Lord touching you [en kuriōi eph’ humas]. Note the two prepositions, [en] in the sphere of the Lord (1Th 4:1) as the ground of Paul’s confident trust, [eph’] [epi] with the accusative (towards you) where the dative could have been used (cf. 2Co 2:3). Ye both do and will do [[kai] poieite kai poiēsete]. Compliment and also appeal, present and future tenses of [poieō]. The things which we command [ha paraggellomen]. Note of apostolic authority here, not advice or urging, but command.

3:5 Direct [kateuthunai]. First aorist active optative of wish for the future as in 2:17; 1Th 5:23 from [kateuthunō], old verb, as in 1Th 3:11 (there way, here hearts) and Lu 1:79 of feet [podas]. Perfective use of [kata]. Bold figure for making smooth and direct road. The Lord here is the Lord Jesus. Into the love of God [eis tēn agapēn tou theou]. Either subjective or objective genitive makes sense and Lightfoot pleads for both, “not only as an objective attribute of deity, but as a ruling principle in our hearts,” holding that it is “seldom possible to separate the one from the other.” Most scholars take it here as subjective, the characteristic of God. Into the patience of Christ [eis tēn hupomnēn tou Christou]. There is the same ambiguity here, though the subjective idea, the patience shown by Christ, is the one usually accepted rather than “the patient waiting for Christ” (objective genitive).

3:6 Now we command you [paraggellomen de humin]. Paul puts into practice the confidence expressed on their obedience to his commands in verse 4. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ [en onomati tou kuriou Iēsou Christou]. Name [onoma] here for authority of Jesus Christ with which compare through the Lord Jesus [dia tou kuriou Iēsou] in 1Th 4:2. For a full discussion of the phrase see the monograph of W. Heitmuller, Im Namen Jesu. Paul wishes his readers to realize the responsibility on them for their obedience to his command. That ye withdraw yourselves [stellesthai humas]. Present middle (direct) infinitive of [stellō], old verb to place, arrange, make compact or shorten as sails, to move oneself from or to withdraw oneself from (with [apo] and the ablative). In 2Co 8:20 the middle voice [stellomenoi] means taking care. From every brother that walketh disorderly [apo pantos adelphou ataktōs peripatountos]. He calls him “brother” still. The adverb [ataktōs] is common in Plato and is here and verse 11 alone in the N.T., though the adjective [ataktos], equally common in Plato we had in 1Th 5:14 which see. Military term, out of ranks. And not after the tradition [kai mē kata tēn paradosin]. See on 2:15 for [paradosin]. Which they received of us [hēn parelabosan par hēmōn]. Westcott and Hort put this form of the verb (second aorist indicative third person plural of [paralambanō], the [-osan] form instead of [-on], with slight support from the papyri, but in the LXX and the Boeotian dialect, Robertson, Grammar, pp. 335f.) in the margin with [parelabete] (ye received) in the text. There are five different readings of the verb here, the others being [parelabon, parelabe, elabosan].

3:7 How ye ought to imitate us [pōs dei mimeisthai hēmas]. Literally, how it is necessary to imitate us. The infinitive [mimeisthai] is the old verb [mimeomai] from [mimos] (actor, mimic), but in N.T. only here (and verse 9), Heb 13:7; 3Jo 1:11. It is a daring thing to say, but Paul knew that he had to set the new Christians in the midst of Jews and Gentiles a model for their imitation (Php 3:17). For we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you [hoti ouk ētaktēsamen en humin]. First aorist active indicative of old verb [atakteō], to be out of ranks of soldiers. Specific denial on Paul’s part in contrast to verse 6, 17.

3:8 For nought [dōrean]. Adverbial accusative, as a gift, gift-wise [dōrea], gift, from [didōmi]. Same claim made to the Corinthians (2Co 11:7), old word, in LXX, and papyri. He lodged with Jason, but did not receive his meals gratis, for he paid for them. Apparently he received no invitations to meals. Paul had to make his financial independence clear to avoid false charges which were made in spite of all his efforts. To eat bread is merely a Hebraism for eat (verse 10). See 1Th 2:9 for labour and travail, and night and day [nuktos kai hēmeras], genitive of time, by night and by day). See 1Th 2:9 for rest of the verse in precisely the same words.

3:9 Not because we have not the right [ouch hoti ouk echomen exousian]. Paul is sensitive on his right to receive adequate support (1Th 2:6; 1 Co 9:4 where he uses the same word [exousian] in the long defence of this right, 1Co 9:1-27). So he here puts in this limitation to avoid misapprehension. He did allow churches to help him where he would not be misunderstood (2Co 11:7-11; Php 4:45f.). Paul uses [ouch hoti] elsewhere to avoid misunderstanding (2Co 1:24; 3:5; Php 4:17). But to make ourselves an ensample unto you [all’ hina heautous tupon dōmen humin]. Literally, but that we might give ourselves a type to you. Purpose with [hina] and second aorist active subjunctive of [didōmi]. On [tupon] see on 1Th 1:7.

3:10 This [touto]. What he proceeds to give. If any will not work, neither let him eat [hoti ei tis ou thelei ergazesthai mēde esthietō]. Recitative [hoti] here not to be translated, like our modern quotation marks. Apparently a Jewish proverb based on Ge 3:19. Wetstein quotes several parallels. Moffatt gives this from Carlyle’s Chartism: “He that will not work according to his faculty, let him perish according to his necessity.” Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 314) sees Paul borrowing a piece of workshop morality. It was needed, as is plain. This is a condition of the first class (note negative [ou] with the negative imperative in the conclusion.

3:11 For we hear [akouomen gar]. Fresh news from Thessalonica evidently. For the present tense compare 1Co 11:18. The accusative and the participle is a regular idiom for indirect discourse with this verb (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1040-2). Three picturesque present participles, the first a general description, [peripatountas ataktōs], the other two specifying with a vivid word-play, that work not at all, but are busy-bodies [mēden ergazomenous alla periergazomenous]. Literally, doing nothing but doing around. Ellicott suggests, doing no business but being busy bodies. “The first persecution at Thessalonica had been fostered by a number of fanatical loungers (Ac 17:5)” (Moffatt). These theological dead-beats were too pious to work, but perfectly willing to eat at the hands of their neighbours while they piddled and frittered away the time in idleness.

3:12 We command and exhort [paraggellomen kai parakaloumen]. Paul asserts his authority as an apostle and pleads as a man and minister. That with quietness they work, and eat their own bread [hina meta hēsuchias ergazomenoi ton heautōn arton esthiōsin]. Substance of the command and exhortation by [hina] and the present subjunctive [esthiōsin]. Literally, that working with quietness they keep on eating their own bread. The precise opposite of their conduct in verse 11.

3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing [humeis de, adelphoi, mē enkakēsēte kalopoiountes]. Emphatic position of [humeis] in contrast to these piddlers. [] and the aorist subjunctive is a prohibition against beginning an act (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 851-4). It is a late verb and means to behave badly in, to be cowardly, to lose courage, to flag, to faint, [en, kakos] and outside of Lu 18:1 in the N.T. is only in Paul’s Epistles (2Th 3:13; 2Co 4:1, 16; Ga 6:9; Eph 3:13). It occurs in Polybius. The late verb [kalopoieō], to do the fair [kalos] or honourable thing occurs nowhere else in the N.T., but is in the LXX and a late papyrus. Paul uses [to kalon poiein] in 2Co 13:7; Ga 6:9; Ro 7:21 with the same idea. He has [agathopoieō], to do good, in 1Ti 6:18.

3:14 And if any one obeyeth not our word by this epistle [ei de tis ouch hupakouei tōi logōi hēmōn dia tēs epistolēs]. Paul sums up the issue bluntly with this ultimatum. Condition of the first class, with negative [ou], assuming it to be true. Note that man [touton sēmeiousthe]. Late verb [sēmeioō], from [sēmeion], sign, mark, token. Put a tag on that man. Here only in N.T. “The verb is regularly used for the signature to a receipt or formal notice in the papyri and the ostraca of the Imperial period” (Moulton & Milligan’s Vocabulary). How this is to be done (by letter or in public meeting) Paul does not say. That ye have no company with him [mē sunanamignusthai autōi]. The MSS. are divided between the present middle infinitive as above in a command like Ro 12:15; Php 3:16 or the present middle imperative [sunanamignusthe] [-ai] and [-e] often being pronounced alike in the Koinē). The infinitive can also be explained as an indirect command. This double compound verb is late, in LXX and Plutarch, in N.T. only here and 1Co 5:9, 11. [Autōi] is in associative instrumental case. To the end that he may be ashamed [hina entrapēi]. Purpose clause with [hina]. Second aorist passive subjunctive of [entrepō], to turn on, middle to turn on oneself or to put to shame, passive to be made ashamed. The idea is to have one’s thoughts turned in on oneself.

3:15 Not as an enemy [mē hōs echthron]. This is always the problem in such ostracism as discipline, however necessary it is at times. Few things in our churches are more difficult of wise execution than the discipline of erring members. The word [echthros] is an adjective, hateful, from [echthos], hate. It can be passive, hated, as in Ro 11:28, but is usually active hostile, enemy, foe.

3:16 The Lord of peace himself [autos ho kurios tēs eirēnēs]. See 1Th 5:23 for the God of peace himself. Give you peace [doiē humin tēn eirēnēn]. Second aorist active optative (Koinē) of [didōmi], not [dōēi] (subjunctive). So also Ro 15:5; 2Ti 1:16,18. The Lord Jesus whose characteristic is peace, can alone give real peace to the heart and to the world. (Joh 14:27).

3:17 Of me Paul with mine own hand [tēi emēi cheiri Paulou]. Instrumental case [cheiri]. Note genitive [Paulou] in apposition with possessive idea in the possessive pronoun [emēi]. Paul had dictated the letter, but now wrote the salutation in his hand. The token in every epistle [sēmeion en pasēi epistolēi]. Mark (verse 14) and proof of the genuineness of each epistle, Paul’s signature. Already there were spurious forgeries (2Th 2:2). Thus each church was enabled to know that Paul wrote the letter. If only the autograph copy could be found!

3:18 Salutation just like that in 1Th 5:28 with the addition of [pantōn] (all).

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