Skip to main content

1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

You can read the text here.

We continue with Paul's narrative about the nature of his ministry and visit to Thessalonica. It was a ministry filled with courage. That's what enabled Paul to continue on with his preaching of the gospel. Preaching that was fruitful as evidenced by the Thessalonian faithful. His ministry met with opposition while he was at Thessalonica, and probably did after he left.[1]

He wasn't a charlatan like some peddlers of philosophy of his day. What gave Paul courage to preach was not a desire for gain or glory but the status of the one whom he served as messenger. It was God whom Paul sought to please. Paul's status as appointed messenger of the divine king gave him rights to money, but Paul disavowed this right because he wanted to distance himself from the likes of those to whom he was being compared after he left.

Paul's motives were simple and innocent like a baby[2] and he was full of motherly concern and love. This drove Paul not only to share the gospel of King Jesus but also to do so sacrificially, making himself vulnerable to further their best interests. Paul (and possibly his coworkers) worked while they were in Thessalonica so that they would not need to receive money from the Thessalonians. And further, like a good father,[3] Paul taught the Thessalonians good philosophy,[4] a life appropriate for citizenship in the kingdom of God.

Paul mentions a second time how grateful he is for the way the Thessalonians responded to his message. They recognized his God given authority and treated his words as if they had come from God himself, which, of course, they had since Paul was his authorized representative.

Of course the Thessalonians weren't alone in following Jesus as their king, and it had repercussions. The churches in Judea were experiencing persecution at the hands of some of their own countrymen[5] just like the Thessalonians had. It was part of a pattern in Judea. These opponents of the Jesus followers had opposed Jesus and other Christian leaders[6] before persecuting Paul among others. Their day of judgment was upon them, presumably as it would be on those who were hindering the Thessalonians.[7] The implication, presumably, was that the Thessalonians had nothing to fear but just needed to rely on their king to defend them.[8]

-------------------------------
[1] I agree with Fee that there was continued opposition to Paul and slander levied against him after he left Thessalonica.

[2] Fee has made a definitive case for infant over gentle in 7a.

[3] The choice of father over parent or mother isn't necessarily patriarchal in my opinion. A father should fulfill this role in his family, just as a mother should too.

[4] Against Fee a bit here. Paul isn't casting himself as a philosopher as Malherbe notes, but Paul's aims were still the aims of a typical philosopher and the utilization of philosophical language throughout this section is more than just a vehicle for the message.

[5] As noted in all three commentaries, the comma at the end of verse 14 is incorrect, devastatingly so.

[6] Again I think Fee makes a strong case for understanding prophets as Christian prophets based on the grammar of the sentence.

[7] Malherbe believes the opposition was ostracization, which seems plausible.

[8] See Gaventa for a helpful discussion of anti-Semetism and how this passage can be taught in today's church.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Commentary Series Overview

When I write commentary reviews, one of my main goals is to assess how well the commentator hit the intended audience of the commentary and utilized the format of the commentary. This often necessitates cluttering up the post discussing issues of format. To eliminate that, I thought that I would make some general remarks about the format and audience of each of the series that appear in my reviews. Terms like liberal, conservative, etc. are not used pejoratively but simply as descriptors. Many of you are familiar with Jeremy Pierce's commentary series overview. If you don't see a particular series covered here, check out his post to see if it's reviewed there. I am making no attempt at covering every series, just the series that I use. Additionally, new series (such as the NCCS) have been started in the five years since he wrote his very helpful guide, so I thought that it might not be completely out of order to have another person tackle commentary series overviews. This…

Paul's Argument in Galatians 3:15-29

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! Fo…

Doctor Who: Rose Tyler - Traitor?

The end of season four was very, very controversial. When I first saw it, I felt cheated. I was angry. The more I think about it, the more I think I see what Russell Davies was doing. He is too good of a writer and the show is too carefully crafted for him to screw up Rose's character and the end of a four season storyline. So while the ending isn't strictly part of our series, it is tangentially related, and I've agonized over that scene in Bad Wolf Bay so much that I have to write about it. :)

To briefly set things up, near the end of the final episode of season four, there is a meta-crisis, that results in a part human. part Time Lord Doctor being generated. He has all of the Doctor's memories, and thinks and acts like the Doctor. However, importantly, he only has one heart and cannot regenerate. He only has one life to live. The meta-crisis Doctor brought full resolution to the battle fought against the Daleks, and in the process, wiped them out. Thus, the real Doc…