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THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 5

Verse 5. For our gospel came not unto you. When first preached, Ac 17:1-3. Paul speaks of it as "our gospel," because it was the gospel preached by him, and Silas, and Timothy. Comp. 2 Th 2:14, 2 Ti 2:8. He did not mean to say that the gospel had been originated by him, but only that he had delivered the good news of salvation to them. He is here stating the evidence which had been given that they were a church "chosen by God." He refers, first, to the manner in which the gospel was received by them, 1 Th 1:5-7; and, secondly, to the spirit which they themselves manifested in sending it abroad, 1 Th 1:8-10.

In word only. Was not merely spoken; or was not merely heard. It produced a powerful effect on the heart and life. It was not a mere empty sound, that produced no other effect than to entertain or amuse. Comp. Eze 33:32.

But also in power. That is, in such power as to convert the soul. The apostle evidently refers not to any miracles that were wrought there, but to the effect of the gospel on those who heard it. It is possible that there were miracles wrought there, as there were in other places; but there is no mention of such a fact, and it is not necessary to suppose it, in order to see the full meaning of this language. There was great power manifested in the gospel in its leading them to break off from their sins, to abandon their idols, and to give their hearts to God. See this more fully explained See Barnes "1 Co 2:4".

 

And in the Holy Ghost. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 2:4".

It is there called the "demonstration of the Spirit."

And in much assurance. That is, with firm conviction, or full persuasion of its truth. It was not embraced as a doubtful thing, and it did not produce the effect on the mind which is caused by anything that is uncertain in its character. Many seem to embrace the gospel as if they only half believed it, or as if it were a matter of very doubtful truth and importance; but this was not the case with the Thessalonians. There was the firmest conviction of its truth, and they embraced it "heart and soul." Col 2:2; Heb 6:11. From all that is said in this verse, it is evident that the power of God was remarkably manifested in the conversion of the Thessalonians, and that they embraced the gospel with an uncommonly strong conviction of its truth and value. This fact will account for the subsequent zeal which the apostle so much commends in them—for it is usually true that the character of piety in a church, as it is in an individual, is determined by the views with which the gospel is first embraced, and the purposes which are formed at the beginning of the Christian life.

As ye know what manner of men, etc. Paul often appeals to those among whom he had laboured as competent witnesses with respect to his own conduct and character. See 1 Th 2:9,10; Ac 20:33-35.

He means here that he and his fellow-labourers had set them an example, or had shown what Christianity was by their manner of living, and that the Thessalonians had become convinced that the religion which they taught was real. The holy life of a preacher goes far to confirm the truth of the religion which he preaches, and is among the most efficacious means of inducing them to embrace the gospel.

{a} "came not unto you" Isa 55:11; Mr 16:20 {b} "power" 1 Co 2:4 {c} "in the Holy Ghost" 2 Co 6:6 {d} "as ye know" Heb 2:3

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