1 Thessalonians 3

CHAPTER III.

St Paul informs them how, being hindered himself from visiting

them, he had sent Timothy to comfort them, of whom he gives a

high character, 1, 2.

Shows that trials and difficulties are unavoidable in the present

state, 3, 4.

Mentions the joy he had on hearing by Timothy of their

steadiness in the faith, for which he returns thanks to God;

and prays earnestly for their increase, 5-10.

Prays also that God may afford him an opportunity of seeing

them, 11.

And that they may abound in love to God and one another, and

be unblamable in holiness at the coming of Christ, 12, 13.

NOTES ON CHAP. III.

Verse 1. Wherefore, when we could no longer, &c.] The apostle

was anxious to hear of their state, and as he could obtain no

information without sending a messenger express, he therefore sent

Timothy from Athens; choosing rather to be left alone, than to

continue any longer in uncertainty relative to their state.

Verse 2. Timotheus, our brother] It appears that Timothy was

but a youth when converted to God; he had now however been some

years in the work of God; Paul therefore calls him his brother,

being one of the same Christian family, a son of God by adoption:

elsewhere he calls him his own son, 1Ti 1:2;

and his dearly beloved son, 2Ti 1:2;

because he was brought to the knowledge of the true God, and to

salvation by Christ, through the apostle's instrumentality.

See the preface to the First Epistle to Timothy.

Minister of God] Employed by God to preach the Gospel; this

was God's work, and he had appointed Timothy to do it, and to do

it at this time in conjunction with St. Paul; and therefore he

calls him his fellow labourer. There were no sinecures then;

preaching the Gospel was God's work; the primitive preachers were

his workmen, and laboured in this calling. It is the same still,

but who works?

Verse 3. That no man should be moved] That is, caused to

apostatize from Christianity.

We are appointed thereunto.] ειςτουτοκειμεθα. We are

exposed to this, we lie open to such, they are unavoidable in the

present state of things; as the Latins say, sic est sors nostra,

"this is our lot." God appoints nothing of this kind, but he

permits it: for he has made man a free agent.

Verse 4. That we should suffer tribulation] I prepared you

for it, because I knew that it was according to their nature for

wicked men to persecute the followers of God.

Verse 5. For this cause] Knowing that you would be persecuted,

and knowing that your apostasy was possible, I sent to know your

faith-whether you continued steadfast in the truth, lest you might

have been tempted by Satan to consult your present ease, and

abandon the Gospel, for which you suffered persecution.

Verse 6. When Timotheus came] We have already seen that he

and Silas stayed behind at Thessalonica, when Paul was obliged to

leave it; for the persecution seems to have been principally

directed against him. When Paul came to Athens, he sent

pressingly to him and Silas to come to him with all speed to that

city. We are not informed that they did come, but it is most

likely that they did, and that Paul sent Timothy back to

Thessalonica to comfort and build up these new converts. After

Paul had sent away Timothy, it is likely he went himself straight

to Corinth, and there Timothy soon after met him, with the good

news of the steadiness of the Thessalonian Church.

Your faith and charity] The good tidings which Timothy brought

from Thessalonica consisted of three particulars: 1. Their faith;

they continued steadfast in their belief of the Gospel. 2. Their

charity; they loved one another, and lived in unity and harmony.

3. They were affectionately attached to the apostle; they had good

remembrance of him, and desired earnestly to see him.

Verse 7. Therefore-we were comforted ] My afflictions and

persecutions seemed trifles when I heard of your perseverance in

the faith.

Verse 8. For now we live] Your steadfastness in the faith

gives me new life and comfort; I now feel that I live to some

purpose, as my labour in the Lord is not in vain.

Verse 9. What thanks can we render to God] The high

satisfaction and uncommon joy which the apostle felt are strongly

depicted in the language he uses. How near his heart did the

success of his ministry lie! It was not enough for him that he

preached so often, laboured so hard, suffered so much; what were

all these if souls were not converted? And what were all

conversions, if those who embraced the Gospel did not walk

steadily in the way to heaven, and persevere?

Verse 10. Night and day praying exceedingly] Supplicating God

at all times; mingling this with all my prayers; υπερεκπερισσου

δεομενοι, abounding and superabounding in my entreaties to God to

permit me to revisit you. How strong was his affection for this

Church!

Might perfect that which is lacking] That I might have the

opportunity of giving you the fullest instructions in the doctrine

of Christ, that ye might have every thing in the most ample

detail; so that the great outlines of truth which you already know

may be filled up, that ye may be perfectly fitted to every good

word and work.

Verse 11. Now God himself and our Father] That is: God who is

our Father, who has adopted us into the heavenly family, and

called us his sons and daughters.

Direct our way] As he was employed in God's work he dared not

consult his own inclinations, he looked for continual directions

from God, where, when, and how to do his Master's work.

Verse 12. Make you to increase and abound in love] They had

already love to each other, so as to unite them in one Christian

body; and he prays that they may have an increase and an abundance

of it; that they might feel the same love to each other which he

felt for them all.

Verse 13. To the end he may establish your hearts] Without

love to God and man, there can be no establishment in the religion

of Christ. It is love that produces both solidity and

continuance. And, as love is the fulfilling of the law, he who is

filled with love is unblamable in holiness: for he who has the

love of God in him is a partaker of the Divine nature, for God is

love.

At the coming of our Lord] God is coming to judge the world;

every hour that passes on in the general lapse of time is

advancing his approach; whatsoever he does is in reference to this

great event: and whatsoever we do should be in reference to the

same. But who in that great day shall give up his accounts with

joy? That person only whose heart is established in holiness

before God; i.e., so as to bear the eye and strict scrutiny of

his Judge. Reader, lay this to heart, for thou knowest not what a

moment may bring forth. When thy soul departs from thy body it

will be the coming of the Lord to thee.

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