FIRST THESSALONIANS CHAPTER TWO

OBSERVATIONS

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand in accordance with the framework in which it was written: a framework which is defined by the normative rules of language, context and logic - rules which do not impose undue, unintended meanings to the text , and which largely limit the observer to the content offered by Paul's epistle to the Thessalonians and his other writings. In order for any passage from elsewhere to be considered, it must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or a specific cross reference in the passage at hand by the author. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Note that information on manuscript evidence is from "THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT AND TRANSLATION COMMENTARY," by Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Carol Stream, IL.

****** EXCERPT FROM 1 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE ******

OR MOVE TO FIRST VERSE OF CHAPTER TWO

[(1 Thes 1:2-10) Commentary On 1 Thes 1:5-10]:

(1 Thes 1:2 NASB) "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

(1 Thes 1:3 NKJV) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

(1 Thes 1:4 NKJV) [having known], beloved brethren, your election by God.

(1 Thes 1:5 NKJV) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

(1 Thes 1:9 NASB) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

(1 Thes 1:10 NASB) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come."

So keeping in view the context of 1 Thes 1:2-4, especially relative to God's election in verse 4, Who [God] which [His election] resulted in verse 3 in the Thessalonian believers' "work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father;" Paul writes as follows in verses 5-10:

1 Thes 1:5-6 reports that the believers in Thessalonica became imitators of Paul, Silas and Timothy. Not only did Paul and his traveling companions preach a convincing message that the believers readily received by the grace and election of God, but they also lived lives consistent with that message, emulating the lives of their teachers, Paul, Silas and Timothy. And then the Thessalonian believers became imitators of the Lord Himself. Having received the word, i.e., teachings from God's Word through the three missionaries, they were subjected to much tribulation yet they reacted to it with joy through the working within them of God the Holy Spirit. For it was the Spirit within them Who prompted and enabled them to express godly faith and behavior, Who prompted their joyous reception which accompanied their positive acceptance of God's message and their endeavor to imitate Paul, Silas and Timothy and most importantly endeavoring to imitate the Lord Himself. This is corroborated by 2 Thes 1:3-5 where it is indicated that Paul thanked God for the Thessalonian believers' positive response to Paul's, Silas' and Timothy's teaching, for their faith and faithfulness, their perseverance and joy while under severe tribulation as they shared their faith throughout the region; and their love for one another. So one may conclude that the progress that these remarkable believers made was all by their enablement through the grace of God, albeit through the volition of the believers themselves. 

Then in 1 Thes 1:7 it indicates that as a result of what God by His grace was working within the believers of Thessalonica, Paul stipulated that the Thessalonian believers became examples to all the believers in the rest of Macedonia and Achaia, the neighboring province to the south and "everywhere" in the surrounding regions, even throughout the world through the dissemination of the New Testament Greek Bible.

Whereupon 1 Thes 1:8-10 further elaborates upon the Thessalonian's godly influence around the region as follows:

(v. 8): "For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything,"

[in the sense that the faithfulness of the believers in Thessalonica spoke for itself, not requiring anyone to commend and speak of them as examples to others. For the Thessalonian believers themselves sounded out the gospel to others. They were commendably outspoken in their witness; multiplying the voices presenting the gospel to others everywhere in the surrounding regions. And as they boldly presented to gospel they exemplified to all, that they had experienced salvation through their faithfulness to the gospel in their personal lives; all the while persevering through persecution]:

(v. 9a): "For they themselves [all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere else [in the region] report about us [Paul, Silas and Timothy] what kind of a reception we had with you,"

[in the sense that the believers in Macedonia and Achaia and everywhere else have reported about the great response / reception / acceptance of the teachings of Paul, Silas and Timothy]

(v. 9b) "and how [they] turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,"

[in the sense of how the believers in Thessalonica responded to the teaching which they received so remarkably, so that they evidently quickly turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God]

(v. 10) "and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come,"

[in the sense of the believers at Thessalonica waiting for God's Son, Jesus Christ, to come from heaven to the clouds above the earth, to rescue the Thessalonian believers [and all believers in Christ throughout the Church Age] catching them up to the clouds and bringing them all back to heaven with Himself - both dead and alive in Christ -  away from the wrath of God just before that wrath will come upon the earth to be directed toward all of unbelieving mankind, (ref. 1 Thes 4:13-18 )]

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 1 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE ******

I) [1 Thes 2:1-12]:

(1 Thes 2:1 NASB) "For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

(1 Thes 2:2 NASB) but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

(1 Thes 2:3 NASB) For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit:

(1 Thes 2:4 NKJV) But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God Who tests our hearts.

(1 Thes 2:5 NKJV) For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness - God is witness.

(1 Thes 2:6 NASB) nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might [lit. being able to] have asserted our authority;

(1 Thes 2:7 Per Manuscript Evidence) [but we were as infants among you. We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children,]

(1 Thes 2:8 NASB) having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

(1 Thes 2:9 NASB) For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

(1 Thes 2:10 NASB) You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

(1 Thes 2:11 NKJV) as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,

(1 Thes 2:12 NASB) so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."

A) INTRODUCTION

The first part of this chapter records Paul's comments about his visit to Thessalonica. His words suggest that people outside the church were charging him with unworthy motives and improper conduct.

Having explained so fully why he and his colleagues were thankful (1:2-10), Paul now takes up one of the main purposes for writing the Epistle - a lengthy vindication of the missionaries' character and ministry (chs. 2-3). The Greek word "gar" rendered "for" in the sense of "because" in 2:1 forms a bridge between the chapters. Note that chapter and verse markings were added later and are not inspired. So it is evident that 1 Thes 2:1-16 is an expansion of what Paul was addressing in 1 Thes chapter 1 - probably 1:5-10 especially, since 2:1-12 looks into Paul's coming to Thessalonica and his conduct there (cf. 1:5, 9a) and 2:13-16 turns our attention to the Thessalonians' response (cf. 1:6-8, 9b, 10).

In chapter 1 Paul's coming and the peoples' response show a knowledge of election (1:4). But in chapter 2 the same themes establish Paul's defense against insinuations about his alleged ulterior motives that he was evidently constantly being accused of.

The identity of Paul's Thessalonian opponents is not stipulated or implied. Note that Timothy apparently brought back news (3:6) that some uncertainty had arisen within it as to whether Paul's concern for it was genuine. This is not to say that his relations with the readers of the Epistle were no longer cordial (cf. 3:6), but symptoms of estrangement had appeared that could have led to an open rift unless treated immediately.

B) [1 Thes 2:1-2]:

Note the previous context at the end of chapter one dovetails into chapter two:

(1 Thes 1:5 NKJV) "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

(1 Thes 1:9 NASB) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

(1 Thes 1:10 NASB) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come.

(1 Thes 2:1 NASB) "For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

(1 Thes 2:2 NASB) but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition."

1) [(1 Thes 2:1-2) Commentary]:

(1 Thes 2:1 NASB) "For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

(1 Thes 2:2 NASB) but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition."

Note the previous context at the end of chapter one dovetails into chapter two:

(1 Thes 1:5 NKJV) "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

(1 Thes 1:9 NASB) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

(1 Thes 1:10 NASB) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come.

(1 Thes 2:1 NASB) For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

(1 Thes 2:2 NASB) but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition."

So with 1 Thes 1:5-10 in view which context continues into chapter 2, Paul stated in 1 Thes 2:1-2, that his, Silas and Timothy's visit to Thessalonica "was not in vain." The missionaries' visit, he wrote, came after Paul and Silas had already suffered and been mistreated, insulted, beaten, imprisoned and severely flogged in Philippi. They had been put in prison with their feet in stocks for preaching the gospel, (Acts 16:22-24); and possibly they were otherwise cruelly mistreated because they had rescued a slave girl in the name of Jesus Christ from demonic possession, (Acts 16:16-21). They had also been insulted by being arrested unjustly, stripped of their clothes, and treated like dangerous fugitives. Their Roman citizenship had been violated, and for this Paul demanded restitution (Acts 16:37). The phrase rendered "as you know" evidently implies that the missionaries had evidently spoken of this to them. Whereupon Paul, Silas and Timothy, speaking in the boldness of God, preached the gospel of God amid much opposition there in Thessalonica as well. This mission had cost them dearly, but God gave them uncommon boldness to stand up in the synagogue at Thessalonica and preach the same message that had brought them persecution in Philippi. Note that 1 Thes 1:5-10 quoted above indicated that there were remarkable godly changes in the Thessalonian believers' lives which testified to the value and success of the missionaries' visit. The missionaries' boldness amid strong opposition was the sign of God at work in His servants and was proof of their genuineness.

C) [(1 Thes 2:3-9)]:

(1 Thes 2:1 NASB) "For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

(1 Thes 2:2 NASB) but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition."

(1 Thes 2:3 NASB) For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit:

(1 Thes 2:4 NKJV) But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God Who tests our hearts.

(1 Thes 2:5 NKJV) For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness - God is witness.

(1 Thes 2:6 NASB) nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might [lit. being able to] have asserted our authority;

(1 Thes 2:7 Per Manuscript Evidence) [but we were as infants among you. We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children,]

(1 Thes 2:8 NASB) having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

(1 Thes 2:9 NASB) For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God."

1) [(1 Thes 2:7) Manuscript Evidence For 1 Thes 2:7]:

(1 Thes 2:7 Per Manuscript Evidence) [but we were as infants among you. We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children,

WH, NU, P65, Sinaiticus*, B, C*, D*, F, G, I Psi*, it, cop(bo) have "we were infants in your midst"

TR, Sinaiticus(c), A, C(2), D(2), Psi(c), 0278, 33, 1739, Maj have "we were gentle in your midst"

There is a one-letter difference between the two readings rendered "infants" and "gentle." Concerning transcriptional errors, it is difficult to know which reading produced the other. The first word rendered "infants" could have been created by dittography considering similar combinations of letters in the preceding word; or the second word rendered "gentle" could have been created by haplography - also influenced by the preceding word. The variant reading seems to be the most natural in context - especially in connection with the following metaphor: "we were  gentle in your midst, like a nursing mother caring for her children.

However, there are several arguments against this. First, several manuscripts (Sinaiticus, C, D, Psi) originally had the first reading, but were later corrected. This strongly suggests that scribes and correctors had a problem with the meaning of the wording rendered "infants" and then made an emendation. Second, the WH, NU reading has early and diverse attestation, including P65 (third century). Third, Westcott and Hort (1882, 128) argue that the adjective rendered "gentle" is not compatible with the expression rendered "in your midst." The appropriate word should be a noun, not an adjective.

But none of these arguments overcome the obstacle that the WH NU reading seems to create a very contorted metaphor. "we were infants in your midst, like a nursing mother caring for her children." Yet it can be explained... Such mixing of metaphors is consistent with Pauline style. ... in this very same chapter Paul likens himself to a father (2:11) and then an orphan (2:17 "aporphanisthentes") = "made orphans by separation"). Indeed, this word, a hapax legomenon [one time occurrence in Scripture] in the NT, suggests that Paul was thinking of himself (metaphorically) as being a child who had been separated from his loved ones. His brief time with the Thessalonians, cut short by persecution and subsequent forced departure, caused him (and his coworkers) to acutely sense their separation. Thus, he used an emotive image in which he pictured himself as a child who had been orphaned from his parents. In like manner, in 2:7-8 he pictured himself as an infant in their midst to show that he was guileless, innocent, and unpretentious (see 2:3-6). In other words, he had no intention to take advantage of them. As such, the image of a child works...

The majority of editors of UBS(3) and NA(26) decided to adopt the word rendered "infants" because it has the earliest support (P65 providing the earliest witness) and because it is the more difficult reading. Consequently, the Nestle text was changed to read "we were infants in your midst." But two of the editors, Metzger and Wikgren, did not agree with the choice. However, they suggested that if this reading must be in the text, the punctuation must be changed Perhaps a change in punctuation could justify the following kind of translation of 2:7-8:

"As apostles of Christ, we could have made demands on you, but we were infants in your midst. We were as a nursing mother who cares for her children - being so affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to impart to you not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because you became dear to us."

[Note that earliest manuscripts have: "but we were as infants among you," which applies to the end of 1 Thes 2:6.

And "We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her children;" which applies to the beginning of 1 Thes 2:8 below]:

In this way, the two metaphors of 2:7 are separated. The statements in 2:7a sumarizes the message of apostolic purity in 2:2-6, and the statement in 2:7b is appropriately connected with 2:8.

Three recently published English translations (NLT, TNIV and NET) have followed the reading of the best text. Taking the lead were the translators of the NLT, which nicely separates the metaphors; "we were like children among you. We were like a mother feeding and caring for her own children." The NRSV deviates from the standard text at this point, under the influence of Metzger .... who disagreed with the majority vote for the NU text... Several translations provide a marginal note citing the reading "infants" out of deference to its presence in all the earliest MSS.

Hence the best rendering of 1 Thes 2:6-8 is as follows:

(1 Thes 2:6 NASB) nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might [lit. being able to] have asserted our authority;

(1 Thes 2:7 Per Manuscript Evidence) [but we were as infants among you. We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children,]

(1 Thes 2:8 NASB) having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

2) [(1 Thes 2:10 & 12) Manuscript Evidence]:

Most manuscripts in 2:10 speak of the Thessalonians as "the ones believing" - the present tense denoting their ongoing faith in Christ. But the earliest extant manuscript for this verse, namely p65(vid), and most Old Latin manuscripts designate them as "the ones having believed" - the aorist tense denoting the point of conversion under Paul's ministry. In 2:12 good textual evidence (B, D, F, G, 33, 1739) affirms theongoing nature of Gods call to the believers, for God is identified as "the one calling you into his own kingdom." But this was changed in some manuscripts (Sinaiticus, A) and ancient versions (it, syr, cop) to an aorist participle, which identifies God as "the one having called you." This reading empasizes God's initial call to salvation, whereas the present tense focuses on God's continual calling.

3) [(1 Thes 2:3-9) Commentary On 1 Thes 2:3-9]:

(1 Thes 2:1 NASB) "For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain,

(1 Thes 2:2 NASB) but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

(1 Thes 2:3 NASB) For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit:

(1 Thes 2:4 NKJV) But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God Who tests our hearts.

(1 Thes 2:5 NKJV) For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness - God is witness.

(1 Thes 2:6 NASB) nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might [lit. being able to] have asserted our authority;

(1 Thes 2:7 Per Manuscript Evidence) [but we were as infants among you. We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children,]

(1 Thes 2:8 NASB) having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

(1 Thes 2:9 NASB) For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God."

So with the context of 1 Thes 1:5-10 in view which is carried forth into the next chapter, (note that chapters and verse numbers were added into the original text for convenience sake):

In 1 Thes 2:1-2, Paul stated that his, Silas and Timothy's visit to Thessalonica "was not in vain." The missionaries' visit, he wrote, came after Paul and Silas had already suffered and been mistreated, insulted, beaten, imprisoned and severely flogged in Philippi. They had been put in prison with their feet in stocks for preaching the gospel, (Acts 16:22-24); and possibly they were otherwise cruelly mistreated because they had rescued a slave girl in the name of Jesus Christ. They had also been insulted by being arrested unjustly, stripped of their clothes, and treated like dangerous fugitives. Their Roman citizenship had been violated, and for this Paul demanded restitution (Acts 16:37). The phrase rendered "as you know" evidently implies that the missionaries had evidently spoken of this to them. Whereupon Paul, Silas and Timothy, speaking in the boldness of God, preached the gospel of God amid much opposition there in Thessalonica as well. This mission had cost them dearly, but God gave them uncommon boldness to stand up in the synagogue at Thessalonica and preach the same message that had brought them persecution in Philippi.

Note that 1 Thes 1:6-10 and 2 Thes 1:3-5 indicate that there were remarkable, godly changes in the Thessalonian believers' lives after receiving the word from missionaries Paul, Silas and Timothy which testified to the value and success of the missionaries' visit. The missionaries' boldness amid strong opposition was the sign of God at work in His servants and was proof of their genuineness.

So in 1 Thes 2:3-9 Paul writes:

(1 Thes 2:3 NASB) "For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit:"

Paul's actions in presenting the details of the gospel of salvation and exhorting the Thessalonians to believe in Christ alone for eternal life did not come from error in the sense that it was wholly consistent without contradictions the many times he presented it to numerous people as the risen Jesus Christ had presented it to him in the Arabian desert . Nor was his message impure in the sense that it had a hint of evil motivation, nor was it untrue in any way; nor was it deceitful in the sense that it had a hint of being misleading or untrue.

(1 Thes 2:4 NKJV) "But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God Who tests our hearts."

Paul then writes that he and Silas and Timothy have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel in the sense of their testimony which was backed up by many successful examples in their missionary work, often supernaturally superintended by God resulting in a growing Christian community - the Church, the body of Christ. Whereupon Paul adds that they spoke out not to please men but to please God Who tests their hearts in the sense of testing their faithfulness to Him with the result that they never waivered in their gospel message - that message being absolutely, even supernaturally consistent and true as testified to in Paul's epistles. The Greek word "dedokimasmetha" is correctly rendered "Who tests" in the sense of "shown by testing to be genuine." Paul and his fellow missionaries were veterans; they had been tried and tested for years. God would not have blessed their work as evidenced by the number of believers added to the numbers in the body of Christ and the many miracles connected to their efforts if their motivation had not been right. Paul saw himself as a steward entrusted by God to carry His message of salvation to lost men and women. Paul did not choose his work; God selected him for the high calling of proclaiming the gospel. This responsibility was most significant to Paul, who viewed himself as under God's constant scrutiny. So he would not dare serve with the wrong motives.

(1 Thes 2:5 NKJV) "For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness - God is witness."

Paul's preaching to the Thessalonians did not contain "flattering words" in the sense of attempting to sway them toward his ministry by emotionally appealing words that had no substance or truth to them. Nor did he use "a cloak for covetousness" in the sense of attempting to gain something for himself out of his own efforts - such as wealth and / or prestige like others do. Paul then testified to them that "God is witness" on this matter in the sense of invoking how forthright his efforts were because they were done before Almighty God. Despite the fact that as a result of what God by His grace was working within the believers of Thessalonica, they quickly became examples to all the believers in the rest of Macedonia and Achaia, the neighboring province to the south and "everywhere" in the surrounding regions, the Thessalonian believers could not fully know the truth of what he was saying on the basis of their own personal experience which is limited yet highly impressive for the time he had known them; yet they had progressed remarkably in the faith, (1 Thes 1:7-10 ), Paul appealed to God as the witness of his motives as well.

Note that 1 Thes 1:6-10 and 2 Thes 1:3-5 indicate that these remarkable, godly changes in the Thessalonian believers' lives after receiving the word from missionaries Paul, Silas and Timothy which testified to the value and success of the missionaries' visit. The missionaries' boldness amid strong opposition in Philippi and in Thessalonica was the sign of God at work in His servants and was proof of their genuineness.

(1 Thes 2:6-7a NASB) nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might [lit. being able to] have asserted our authority; but we were as infants among you.".

The missionaries were not seeking the praise of any man but the praise of God. Traveling philosophers and orators were common in the Roman Empire. They itinerated from place to place, entertaining and seeking a personal following for fame and fortune. Paul and his companions had nothing in common with such men! Rather than seeking something for themselves they delighted in giving to others freely.

(1 Thes 2:7 Per Manuscript Evidence) "but we were as infants among you. We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children,"

In 1 Thes 2:7-9, Paul shifted the emphasis somewhat from the missionaries' Paul, Silas and Timothy's activities to the hearers' - the Thessalonians' responses. Paul, Silas, and Timothy rightfully could have expected their converts to support them financially and could have called on them to do so (cf. 1 Tim. 5:18). Certainly they had a right to expect esteem. But they chose to minister rather than to be ministered to for the sake of the Thessalonian converts. Paul and his companions cared for their converts as a nursing mother gently cares for her little children. This instructive illustration provides a good example for all who are responsible for the care of new believers. If a nursing mother does not feed herself, she cannot feed her baby. If she eats certain foods, her baby will get sick. Similarly the spiritual diet of a parent Christian is vitally important to the health of a newer Christian. The gentleness and unselfishness of Paul as a spiritual parent shines through in this illustration.

(1 Thes 2:7b-8 NASB) "We were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children, having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us."

Paul stated that they were as a nursing mother who cherishes her own children, having so fond an affection for the believers at Thessalonica. Rather than being greedy, (v. 5), the missionaries were delighted to share with the Thessalonians. They not only gave the message of eternal life, the gospel of God, but also "gave of their own lives" as well. They gave whatever they had in order to help the beloved Thessalonians. The love of Paul and his companions is evident, for genuine love finds expression in giving to people - not only to their spiritual needs, which are primary, but also to their physical needs. They asked for no financial giving although that was within their purview.

(1 Thes 2:9 NASB) "For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God."

Paul ministered to his converts by by laboring and suffering hardship on their behalf. He worked night and day evidently so that he would not burden them with his financial needs (cf. 2 Thes. 3:6-9). Perhaps he made tents, rising early and staying up late, as he did in other cities (Acts 18:3). Probably he preached the gospel and taught as much as he could, both in the daytime and at night.

a) Compare 2 Thes 3:6-9]:

(2 Thes 3:8 NASB) "nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you;

(2 Thes 3:7 NASB) For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,

(2 Thes 3:9 NASB) not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example."

4) [(1 Thes 2:10-12) Commentary On 1 Thes 2:10-12]:

(1 Thes 2:10 NASB) "You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;

(1 Thes 2:11 NKJV) as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,

(1 Thes 2:12 NASB) so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."

In 1 Thes 2:10, Paul speaks on behalf of himself, Silas and Timothy relative to their conduct toward the believers at Thessalonica, as one of being above reproach, enjoining the believers of Thessalonica and God as witnesses to their being devout, upright and blameless toward the believers.

Whereupon, in 1 Thes 2:11-12, Paul describes himself, Silas and Timothy as having exhorted, comforted and charged every one of the Thessalonian believers as a father does his own children, so that they would walk in a manner worthy of the God Who calls them into His own Kingdom and Glory. Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers that it is God Who has called them into His one Kingdom and Glory as a reminder of their being expected to lead a godly life.

II) [1 Thes 2:13-20]:

(1 Thes 2:13 NASB) "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the  word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

(1 Thes 2:14 NASB) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

(1 Thes 2:17 NASB) But we, brethren, having been taken away from you [lit., orphaned] for a short while [lit. occasion of an hour in the sense of for a short while] - in person lit. face], not in spirit [lit. heart] - were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.

(1 Thes 2:18 NASB) For we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - yet Satan hindered us.

(1 Thes 2:19 NKJV) For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?

(1 Thes 2:20 NKJV) For you are our glory and joy."

A) [(1 Thes 2:15) Manuscript Evidence For 1 Thes 2:15]:

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

WH, NU, Sinaiticus, A, B, D*, F, G, I, 0278, 33, 1739, it, cop, Origen have "the prophets"

TR, D(1), Psi, Maj, syr, Marcion have "their own prophets"

The fuller context helps us understand the significance of the textual variant. Paul was speaking of the Thessalonians being persecuted by the Jews, "who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets." According to Tertullian (Marc. 5.15.1), Marcion altered the reading, "the prophets" to "their own prophets" - probably in an attempt to make the Jews even more culpable: "they [the Jews] killed the Lord Jesus and their very own prophets." Marcion's interpolation had its effect on the textual tradition, as is evidenced by the same interpolation being in several later witnesses and by finding its way into TR (and so into KJV and NKJV).

B) [(1 Thes 2:16) Manuscript Evidence For 1 Thes 2:16]:

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) "hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost."

The aorist verb rendered "has come upon" found in Sinaiticus, A, D(2), F, G, 33, 1739, Maj appears as a perfect tense rendered "has overtaken" in B, D(*,C), Psi, 0278. Either way, the verb denotes a sudden, unexpected coming; in this context, it suggests that the Jews who killed Jesus were already the recipients of God's wrath. This is made explicit in the Western text (D, F, G), where the Greek phrase rendered "of God" is added after the Greek phrase "the wrath," a typical Pauline expression (Ro 1:18; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6).

C) [(1 Thes 2:19) Manuscript Evidence For 1 Thes 2:19]:

(1 Thes 2:19 NKJV) "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"

Instead of the Greek phrase rendered, "crown of boasting" found in most manuscripts, Codex Alexandrinus (A) reads "crown of exultation." Tertullian (Res. 24) attests to the same reading.

D) [(1 Thes 2:13-16) Commentary On 1 Thes 2:13-16]:

(1 Thes 2:13 NASB) "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the  word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

(1 Thes 2:14 NASB) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost."

1) [(1 Thes 1:2-4) Compare Commentary On 1 Thes 1:2-4]:

(1 Thes 1:2 NASB) "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

(1 Thes 1:3 NKJV) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

(1 Thes 1:4 NKJV) [having known], beloved brethren, your election by God."

In 1 Thes chapter 1, Paul gave a reason for His continually rejoicing over the believers in Thessalonica as follows:

Paul  writing for himself, Silas and Timothy states in 1 Thes 1:2, "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you [the believers in the church at Thessalonica] in our prayers:" indicating that it is God Whom they thanked for the spiritual progress of the believers of the church in Thessalonica - and of all believers. For a believer's spiritual progress is attributed to God through His grace to each believer as they themselves participate at the direction of the Spirit of God within them in accordance with the knowledge each believer has received via studying God's Word.

Then in 1 Thes 1:3-4, Paul completes his thought with, (v. 2):"We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; (vv. 3-4):  remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, [having known], beloved brethren, your election by God." So Paul, Silas and Timothy evidently are in constant remembrance of the believers in Thessalonica with respect to their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, [having known], beloved brethren, [their] election by God." Notice that it is by God's election before Creation that the Thessalonian believers' progress in their work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father came to pass in the first place; albeit they participated in their spiritual growth through the direction of the Holy Spirit in them via their understanding of the doctrines of the faith through their faithfulness in studying God's Word via the grace perception of the words of God through the grace of God the Holy Spirit, their Teacher.

D cont.) [(1 Thes 2:13-16) Commentary On 1 Thes 2:13-16 (cont.)]:

(1 Thes 2:13 NASB) "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the  word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

(1 Thes 2:14 NASB) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost."For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the  word of God which you heard from us,

In 1 Thes 2:13, Paul provided a second reason for continually rejoicing in and thanking God for the progress of the believers' in Thessalonica: not only were they evidencing their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father - for which Paul thanked God, (1 Thes 1:2-4); but in 1 Thes 2:13, Paul was also rejoicing and constantly thanking God for the way the Thessalonian believers received the Word of God which they heard preached to them by Paul, Silas and Timothy. Paul wrote in 1 Thes 2:13b: They "accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe." This verse also implies Paul's consciousness of his own divinely imparted authority (cf. 1 Cor 14:37). Elsewhere, Paul implied that his preaching was not the outgrowth of man's reasoning, but was deeply rooted in a message given to him directly by God himself (1 Thes 1:5-8; 4:15) and what had been delivered to him through others (ref., 1 Cor 11:23, 15:1, 3); which he passed on to others as originating from God, not from man. Note that a number of Paul's writings actually became a major part of the Greek bible which completed the so-called New Testament and new revelation of this age. Paul's continual rejoicing and thanking God for the godliness that the believers in Thessalonica so quickly and readily exemplified was attributed to the grace of God working in those believers, (ref. 1 Thes 1:2-4; 2:13 and later in 2 Thes 1:3). Although the believers' response was highly commendable, it was God to Whom Paul and the believers owed thanksgiving; "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that [they] may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which [they] also suffer.

Paul credited the changes in the Thessalonians to this spoken Word of God which he and his missionary group preached to them. Not only had it effected changes in them in the past, but also it was continuing to change them since they continued to believe it and spread the message throughout their and other regions.

And from 1 Thes 2:13, which reads as follows:

(1 Thes 2:13 NASB) "For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the  word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe;"

Paul stated the reason for his conclusion that the Thessalonian believers were changed by their faith in and faithful response to God's Word that they heard preached to them in 1 Thes 2:14-16 which reads as follows:

(1 Thes 2:14 NASB) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost."

Paul explained further the remarkable spiritual progress portrayed in 1 Thes 2:13 was corroborated as authentic in 1 Thes 2:14-16 with the message that the brothers in Christ in Thessalonica became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that were in Judea. For the Thessalonian believes also endured the same sufferings at the hands of Jews as well as fellow pagan Gentiles, their own countrymen; even as the Judean Christians endured suffering at the hands of fellow Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove [lit., persecuted] Paul and fellow missionaries out of Judea. So the Thessalonian believers were not alone in their suffering. Those that persecuted them had killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted Paul and his missionary people where ever they went including the churches that were established in Judea.

So Paul concluded in 1 Thes 2:15b-16 that "They [the Jews who were persecuting the Thessalonian Christians] are not pleasing to God, and hostile to all men who hinder believers from speaking to the Gentiles - and from speaking to all men for that matter - so that all men may have an opportunity to choose to believe in Christ and be saved; with the result that those who oppose the gospel may fill up the measure of their sins against God in the sense of maximizing the wrath of God upon those that oppose Him to the utmost. So the extreme measure of God's wrath will be brought against those who attempt to hinder God's work of evangelizing Gentliles and all of mankind."

2) [(1 Thes 2:15-16) Expositors' Commentary On 1 Thes 2:15-16]:

(1 Thes 2:14 NASB) "For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost."

"15, 16 Mention of "the Jews" (v. 14) furnishes Paul an occasion to digress slightly and deliver a violent criticism of this persecuting element among them... [Although] He is renowned for his desire to see the salvation of these his blood relatives (Rom 9:1-3; 10:1), regardless of how much he had suffered personally at their hands (2 Cor 11:24, 26)... The writer had been chased out of Damascus (Acts 9:23-25) and Jerusalem (Acts 9:29, 30) by his own people not very long after his conversion. His message was rejected and his party driven out of Pisidian Antioch by them (Acts 13:45, 46, 50). At Iconium the Jews poisoned people's minds against Paul and Barnabas and ultimately forced them out (Acts 14:2, 5, 6). They made a special journey to Lystra to instigate an uprising that produced Paul's stoning and being left for dead (Acts 14:19). Jewish opposition continued to hound the missionary band into the second journey, specifically at Thessalonica, again producing Paul's exit (Acts 17:5, 10). Even now as Paul pens these words from Corinth, a united attack has been mounted against him by the city's Jewish residents (Acts 18:6, 12, 13). Couple with this the present plight of the Thessalonian Christians (1 Thess 3:3), ultimately traceable to Jewish opponents, and it is no wonder that Paul uses the occasion to recount their consistent opposition to the Lord Jesus.

The acme of the Jews' opposition is their part in the death of the Lord Jesus. Hence, Paul places this crime first among their offences (v. 15). By persuasion of the Jewish leaders, the Roman authorities crucified Jesus John 19:16; 1 Cor 2:8). Though joint responsibility was shared by Gentiles and Jews (Acts 4:27), at this point Paul lays guilt for the crime on Israel. The aggravated nature of the injustice is implied by the way Paul separates ton kyrion ("the Lord") from the human name "Jesus" (ton kyrion apokteinanton Iesoun, "the Lord killing [i.e.,] Jesus"). It was none less than the exalted Lord of glory against whom this heinous crime was committed.
In the wording above, "the prophets" (v. 15) are grouped with "the Lord Jesus" as murder victims of the Jews. This is a possible interpretation in that many, though not all, the OT prophets died in this way. Also, it is an oft-sounded note in biblical writings (1 Kings 19:10; Matt 23:31, 35, 37; Luke 13:34; Acts 7:52; Rom 11:3). More important in this connection is Jesus' parable of the vineyard in which killing some of the servants [prophets] is preliminary to killing the son (Matt 21:35-39; Mark 12:5-8). On the other hand, a very probable case can be made for connecting "the prophets" with "us" in this verse and translating "drove out the prophets and us." If the parable of the vineyard furnishes a valid background, connecting "the prophets" here in v. 15 with "the Lord Jesus" is unsatisfactory in that a chronological order is not observed and not all the servants in the parable are slain. Of greater import in the parable is the idea of the persecution of the servants [prophets]. In fact, Luke's account (Luke 20:9-16) does not even mention killing the servants. It is anticlimactic to name OT prophets in series after the Lord Jesus, but to list them alongside Paul's missionary band furnishes excellent reason for the past action of "drove... out" (aorist participle, ekdioxanton), since it is doubtful that Paul in this generalized description is thinking only of the single instance of their being forced out of Thessalonica. Furthermore, it helps vindicate the missionaries by placing them alongside the honored OT prophets.

Paul concludes v. 15 by listing two more characteristics of the Jewish antagonists. "They displease God and are hostile to all men." The former is clearly an understatement, since they were militantly opposed to God. Their zeal for God was not guided by knowledge (Rom 10:2). So by opposing God's Messiah so strenuously, they became God's adversaries. This could not help but produce hostility to all men - a hostility arising not from a supposed racial superiority, but one manifested in stubborn resistance to admitting Jesus' messiahship.

This is proved by their "effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved" (v. 16). The Jews were quite resistant to having Jesus' messiahship and saving work proclaimed among themselves (Acts 4:18-21; 5:27, 28, 40), but Paul's Gentile mission provoked even more indignation, because it implied God's forsaking of Israel (cf. Acts 13:46, 48-50; 17:4, 5; cf. also Rom 11:11, 25) [for this period. The saving purpose of Gentile preaching was what the Jews sought to eliminate. "They always heap up their sins to the limit" [in the sense that they always fill up the measure of their sins, (NASB)] is the outcome of killing the Lord Jesus and all their subsequent adverse actions...The figure of "heap up" or "fill to the full" (anaplerosai) points to a well-defined limit of sin appointed by divine decree. When this point is reached, divine chastisement becomes inevitable. After generations of repeated apostasies and rebellion, Israel had arrived. The climax had come especially with rejection of the Messiah himself, and their already-fixed judgment was biding its time till its direct consequences were released.

"The wrath of God" is none other than the eschatological wrath for which the whole world is destined just before Messiah's kingdom (cf. 1:10)... A more general definition, such as the present outpouring of wrath (Rom 1:18), cannot satisfy the wrath's definiteness (he orge, "the wrath") in a letter so eschatologically oriented as this... In bringing Paul's excursus regarding the Jews to its logical climax, the meaning required is the future day of wrath. It is, to be sure, God's wrath, though "of God" (supplied in NIV) is not in the Greek.

If the wrath is yet future, why does Paul speak of it as happening in the past (ephthasen, "has come")? The best explanation of the aorist tense of the verb comes from comparing the only other NT combinations of phano epi ("come upon") - Matt 12:28; Luke 11:20 - where Jesus speaks of the kingdom's arrival in comparable terminology. The unique force of this verb connotes "arrival upon the threshold of fulfillment and accessible experience, not the entrance into that experience." Just as the kingdom reached the covenant people at Christ's first coming without their enjoying "the experience ensuing upon the initial contact;" so the wrath that will precede that kingdom has come before the Jews' full experience of it. All prerequisites for unleashing this future torrent have been met. God has set conditions in readiness through the first coming and the rejection of Messiah by this people. A time of trouble awaits Israel just as it does the rest of the world, and the breaking forth of this time is portrayed as an "imminent condemnation" by ephthasen ep( ("come upon")... As soon as human conditions in the progress of God's program warrant, the Jews with the rest of the non-Christian world will be plunged into this awful future turmoil. "At last" should probably be replaced by the footnote alternative "fully," the latter meaning that the issue is now settled. The determination cannot be reversed, the obstinate blindness of the Jewish people furnishing obvious proof of this (cf. John 13:1 for this sense of eis telos ["the full extent"] to describe Christ's irrevocable love).

Notes

15 Additional support for associating τοὺς προφήτας (tous prophetas, "the prophets") with τὸν κύριον Ἰησοῦν (ton kurion Iesoun, "the Lord Jesus") may be cited. The position of the initial καί (kai, "and") just before ton kurion accords better with a correlative force: "both the Lord Jesus and the prophets." Also Christ's association (in Acts 7:52) with the prophets in suffering adds to the case. The chief deficiency with making this connection, however, is that one cannot justify placing "the Lord Jesus" prior to "the prophets." This order is neither logical nor chronological. Coupled with the aorist tense of ἐκδιωξάντων (ekdioxanton, "chasing out"; NIV, "drove... out") which most likely would have been present tense if the missionaries alone were in view, the case for associating OT prophets with NT Christian disciples in this verse is more convincing (cf. Matt 5:12).

16 God's displeasure with the Jews was already evident in the teachings of Christ (Matt 21:43; 23:38; 24:15-28; 27:25; Mark 11:14, 20; Luke 21:5-24; 23:27-31). That ἡ ὀργή (he orge, "the wrath") was already being carried out as a foreshadowing of punishments to come has been one explanation for the definiteness of wrath in 2:16... Orge is also used of God's present anger with the Jews nationally in Rom 9:22... It is impossible to deny a present manifestation of God's wrath against both Jews and Gentiles, but predominantly in the NT and in 1 Thes particularly, God's wrath refers narrowly to a specific future period of limited duration. Such a meaning is required in 2:16.

Explanations for the aorist ἔφθασεν (ephthasen, "has come") have been multiplied. Some have taken it as constative and historical, pointing back either to OT times ... or to the crucifixion ... or to some event or events in the more recent past such as Jewish misfortunes under Caligula, Claudius, or even Titus. But the Epistle was written long before A.D. 70 ... Because of the eschatological force of ὀργή (orge "wrath"), however, all these are untenable. Others have taken the aorist to be prophetic ... The prophetic aorist as a Greek parallel to the Hebrew prophetic perfect is an established usage, but it is expected more in a grammatical framework characterized by other Semitisms (cf. Luke 1:51-53). The best explanation is a constative aorist, pointing to a past arrival but an arrival only in a potential or positional sense. Such a potential presence of the wrath accords with the Epistle's emphasis on an imminent breaking forth of end time events, one of which is the well-known trouble of Israel before Messiah's return..."

E) [(1 Thes 2:14-20) Commentary on 1 Thes 2:17-20]:

(1 Thes 2:14 NASB) "For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,

(1 Thes 2:15 NASB) who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out [lit., persecuted us]. They are not pleasing to God, but [lit., and] hostile to all men,

(1 Thes 2:16 NASB) hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

(1 Thes 2:17 NASB) But we, brethren, having been taken away from you [lit., orphaned] for a short while [lit. occasion of an hour in the sense of for a short while] - in person [lit. face], not in spirit [lit. heart] - were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.

(1 Thes 2:18 NASB) For we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - yet Satan hindered us.

(1 Thes 2:19 NKJV) For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?

(1 Thes 2:20 NKJV) For you are our glory and joy."

In 1 Thes 2:14-16, Paul indicated that the brothers in Christ in Thessalonica became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that were in Judea, for the Thessalonian believers also endured the same sufferings at the hands of Jews as well as at the hands of fellow pagan Gentiles, their own countrymen. So even as the Judean Christians endured suffering at the hands of fellow Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove [lit., persecuted] Paul and fellow missionaries out of Judea; the Thessalonian believers were not alone in their suffering. Those Jews that persecuted them had killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted Paul and his missionary people where ever they went including the churches that were established in Judea. And Paul concluded in 1 Thes 2:15b-16 that "They [the Jews who were persecuting the Thessalonian Christians] are not pleasing to God, and hostile to all men who hinder believers from speaking to the Gentiles - and from speaking to all men for that matter - so that all men may have an opportunity to choose to believe in Christ and be saved; with the result that those who oppose the gospel may fill up the measure of their sins against God in the sense of maximizing the wrath of God upon those that oppose Him to the utmost. So the extreme measure of God's wrath will be brought against those who attempt to hinder God's work of evangelizing Gentliles and all of mankind.

Whereupon in 1 Thes 2:17, Paul began to explain that he and his fellow missionaries, Silas and Timothy were physically taken away from them [lit., orphaned in the sense that Paul considered them his children and that they were orphaned by his having to be taken away from them due to circumstances beyond his control] for a short while. But he remarked that they were not taken away from him in spirit in the sense of having taken away his self-sacrificial agape love in the Spirit from them. Although they were out of sight, they were not out of mind. For Paul, Silas and Timothy were all the more eager with great desire to see their faces once more because of their sudden separation, especially considering Paul's inability to return even after Silas and Timothy had done so. Paul would explain the circumstances of their sudden separation in the next chapter which follows shortly.

For in 1 Thes 2:18, Paul wrote, "we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - yet Satan hindered us." Note that Paul had decided to return more than onc - as well as Silas and Timothy, ("we"). He continued to write in 1 Thes 2:19-20; "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? ["parousia," lit. appearance - the Rapture, cf. 1 Thes 4:13-18 ]. For you are our glory and joy." In effect he asked what would be the greatest blessing he could possibly receive at the judgment seat of Christ: The believers of Thessalonica were!