Address and Salutation: Introduction: Thanksgiving
for Their Growth in Faith and Love, and for Their Patience in
Persecutions, Which Are a Token for Good
Everlasting to Them, and for Perdition to Their Adversaries at Christ's
Coming: Prayer for Their
1. in God our Father—still more
endearing than the address, 1Th 1:1 "in
God THE Father."
2. from God our Father—So some oldest
manuscripts read. Others omit "our."
3. We are bound—Greek, "We owe it
as a debt" (2Th 2:13).
They had prayed for the Thessalonians (1Th 3:12) that they might "increase and abound in
love"; their prayer having been heard, it is a small but a bounden
return for them to make, to thank God for it. Thus, Paul and his fellow
missionaries practice what they preach (1Th 5:18). In 1Th 1:3, their thanksgiving was for the
Thessalonians' faith, love, and patience"; here, for their exceeding
growth in faith, and for their charity abounding. "We
are bound" expresses the duty of thanksgiving from its subjective side
as an inward conviction. "As it is meet," from the objective:
side as something answering to the state of circumstances [Alford]. Observe the exact correspondence of the
3:12, "The Lord make you to
abound in love") and the answer, "The love of every one of you all
toward each other aboundeth" (compare 1Th 4:10).
4. glory in you—make our boast of you,
literally, "in your case." "Ourselves" implies that not merely did they
hear others speaking of the Thessalonians' faith, but they, the
missionaries themselves, boasted of it. Compare 1Th 1:8, wherein the apostle said, their faith
was so well known in various places, that he and his fellow
missionaries had no need to speak of it; but here he says, so abounding
is their love, combined with faith and patience, that he and his fellow
missionaries themselves, make it a matter of glorying in the
various churches elsewhere (he was now at Corinth in Achaia, and
boasted there of the faith of the Macedonian churches, 2Co
10:15-17; 8:1, at the same
time giving the glory to the Lord), not only looking forward to
glorying thereat at Christ's coming (1Th 2:19), but doing so even now.
patience—in 1Th 1:3, "patience of hope." Here
hope is tacitly implied as the ground of their patience; 2Th 1:5, 7 state the object of their hope,
namely, the kingdom for which they suffer.
The Jews were the instigators of the populace and of the magistrates
against Christians (Ac 17:6, 8).
which ye endure—Greek, "are
5. Which—Your enduring these
tribulations is a "token of the righteous judgment of God," manifested
in your being enabled to endure them, and in your adversaries thereby
filling up the measure of their guilt. The judgment is even now begun,
but its consummation will be at the Lord's coming. David (Ps 73:1-14) and Jeremiah (Jer 12:1-4) were perplexed at the wicked
prospering and the godly suffering. But Paul, by the light of the New
Testament, makes this fact a matter of consolation. It is a
proof (so the Greek) of the future judgment, which will
set to rights the anomalies of the present state, by rewarding the now
suffering saint, and by punishing the persecutor. And even now "the
Judge of all the earth does right" (Ge 18:25); for the godly are in themselves sinful
and need chastisement to amend them. What they suffer unjustly at the
hands of cruel men they suffer justly at the hands of God; and they
have their evil things here that they may escape condemnation with the
world and have their good things hereafter (Lu 16:25; 1Co
that ye may be counted
worthy—expressing the purpose of God's "righteous judgment"
as regards you.
for which—Greek, "in
behalf of which ye are also suffering" (compare Ac 5:41;
9:16; Php 1:29). "Worthy"
implies that, though men are justified by faith, they shall be judged
"according to their works" (Re 20:12;
compare 1Th 2:12; 1Pe 1:6, 7; Re 20:4). The "also" implies the connection
between the suffering for the kingdom and being counted
worthy of it. Compare Ro 8:17, 18.
6. seeing it is a righteous thing—This
justifies the assertion above of there being a "righteous
judgment" (2Th 1:5),
namely, "seeing that it is (literally, 'if at least,' 'if at
all events it is') a righteous thing with (that is, in the
estimation of) God" (which, as we all feel, it certainly is). Our own
innate feeling of what is just, in this confirms what is revealed.
recompense—requite in kind,
namely, tribulation to them that trouble you (affliction
to those that afflict you); and to you who are troubled, rest
7. rest—governed by "to recompense"
1:6). The Greek is
literally, "relaxation"; loosening of the tension which had
preceded; relaxing of the strings of endurance now so tightly
drawn. The Greek word for "rest," Mt 11:28, is distinct, namely, cessation
from labor. Also, Heb 4:9, "A
keeping of sabbath."
with us—namely, Paul, Silas, and
Timothy, the writers, who are troubled like yourselves.
when—at the time when … ; not
sooner, not later.
with his mighty angels—rather as the
Greek, "with the angels of His might," or "power," that is, the
angels who are the ministers by whom He makes His might to be
recognized (Mt 13:41, 52). It is not their might, but His
might, which is the prominent thought.
8. In flaming fire—Greek, "In
flame of fire"; or, as other oldest manuscripts read, "in fire of
flame." This flame of fire accompanied His manifestation in
the bush (Ex
3:2); also His giving of the
law at Sinai (Ex 19:18).
Also it shall accompany His revelation at His advent (Da 7:9, 10), symbolizing His own bright glory and
His consuming vengeance against His foes (Heb
10:27; 12:29; 2Pe 3:7, 10).
them, as their portion, "vengeance."
know not God—the Gentiles primarily
(Ps 79:6; Ga 4:8; 1Th 4:5); not of course those
involuntarily not knowing God, but those wilfully not
knowing Him, as Pharaoh, who might have known God if he would, but who
boasted "I know not the Lord" (Ex 5:2); and as the heathen persecutors who
might have known God by the preaching of those whom they persecuted.
Secondarily, all who "profess to know God but in works deny Him" (Tit 1:16).
obey not the gospel—primarily the
unbelieving Jews (Ro 10:3, 16); secondarily, all who obey not the
Christ—omitted by some of the oldest
manuscripts, and retained by others.
9. Who—Greek, "persons who,"
destruction from the presence of the
Lord—driven far from His presence [Alford]. The sentence emanating from Him in
person, sitting as Judge [Bengel], and
driving them far from Him (Mt 25:41; Re 6:16;
12:14; compare 1Pe 3:12;
Isa 2:10, 19). "The presence
of the Lord" is the source whence the sentence goes forth; "the glory
of His power" is the instrument whereby the sentence is carried into
execution [Edmunds]. But Alford better interprets the latter clause (see
1:10), driven "from the
manifestation of His power in the glorification of His saints."
Cast out from the presence of the Lord is the idea at the root
of eternal death, the law of evil left to its unrestricted working,
without one counteracting influence of the presence of God, who is the
source of all light and holiness (Isa 66:24; Mr 9:44).
10. "When He shall have come."
glorified in his saints—as the element
and mirror IN which His glory shall
shine brightly (Joh 17:10).
admired in all them that
believe—Greek, "them that believed." Once they
believed, now they see: they had taken His word on trust.
Now His word is made good and they need faith no longer. With
wonder all celestial intelligences (Eph 3:10) shall see and admire the
Redeemer on account of the excellencies which He has wrought in
because, &c.—Supply for the sense,
among whom (namely, those who shall be found to have believed)
you, too, shall be; "because our testimony unto (so the
Greek for 'among') you was believed" (and was not rejected as by
those "who obey not the Gospel," 2Th 1:8). The early preaching of the Gospel was
not abstract discussions, but a testimony to facts and truths
experimentally known (Lu 24:48; Ac 1:8). Faith is defined by Bishop Pearson as "an assent unto truths,
credible upon the testimony of God, delivered unto us by the apostles
and prophets" (originally delivering their testimony orally, but now in
their writings). "Glorified in His saints" reminds us that
holiness is glory in the bud; glory is
11. Wherefore—Greek, "With a view
to which," namely, His glorification in you as His saints.
also—We not only anticipate the coming
glorification of our Lord in His saints, but we also pray
concerning (so the Greek) YOU.
our God—whom we serve.
count you worthy—The prominent
position of the "You" in the Greek makes it the emphatic word of
the sentence. May you be found among the saints whom God shall
count worthy of their calling (Eph 4:1)! There is no dignity in us independent
of God's calling of us (2Ti 1:9).
The calling here is not merely the first actual call, but the
whole of God's electing act, originating in His "purpose of grace given
us in Christ before the world began," and having its consummation in
the good pleasure of, &c.—on the
part of God [Bengel].
faith—on your part. Alford refers the former clause, "good pleasure of
his goodness," also to man, arguing that the Greek for
"goodness" is never applied to God, and translates, "All [that is,
every possible] right purpose of goodness." Wahl, "All sweetness of goodness," that is,
impart in full to you all the refreshing delights of goodness. I think
that, as in the previous and parallel clause, "calling" refers to God's purpose; and as the Greek for
"good pleasure" mostly is used of God, we ought to translate,
"fulfil (His) every gracious purpose of goodness (on your
part)," that is, fully perfect in you all goodness according to
His gracious purpose. Thus, "the grace of our God," 2Th 1:12, corresponds to God's "good
pleasure" here, which confirms the English Version, just as "the
grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" is parallel to "work of
faith," as Christ especially is the object of faith. "The work
of faith"; Greek, (no article; supply from the previous clause
all) work of faith"; faith manifested by work,
which is its perfected development (Jas 1:4; compare Note, see on 1Th 1:3). Working reality of faith.
with power—Greek, "in power,"
that is, "powerfully fulfil in you" (Col 1:11).
12. the name of our Lord Jesus—Our Lord
Jesus in His manifested personality as the God-man.
in you, and ye in him—reciprocal
glorification; compare Isa 28:5,
"The Lord of hosts shall be … a crown of glory and …
a diadem of beauty unto … His people," with Isa 62:3, "Thou (Zion) shalt be a crown of
glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem," &c. (Joh 21:10; Ga 1:24; 1Pe 4:14). The believer's graces redound to
Christ's glory, and His glory, as their Head, reflects glory on them as
the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus
Christ—There is but one Greek article to both,
implying the inseparable unity of God and the Lord Jesus.