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Chapter 1

1:1 Paul, etc. [Paulos, etc.]. This address or superscription is identical with that in 1Th 1:1 save that our [hēmōn] is added after Father [patri].

1:2 From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ [apo theou patros kai Kuriou Iēsou Christou]. These words are not genuine in 1Th 1:1, but are here and they appear in all the other Pauline Epistles. Note absence of article both after [en] and [apo], though both God and Lord Jesus Christ are definite. In both cases Jesus Christ is put on a par with God, though not identical. See on 1Th 1:1 for discussion of words, but note difference between [en], in the sphere of, by the power of, and [apo], from, as the fountain head and source of grace and peace.

1:3 We are bound [opheilomen]. Paul feels a sense of obligation to keep on giving thanks to God [eucharistein tōi theōi], present infinitive with dative case) because of God’s continued blessings on the Thessalonians. He uses the same idiom again in 2:13 and nowhere else in his thanksgivings. It is not necessity [dei] that Paul here notes, but a sense of personal obligation as in 1Jo 2:6 (Milligan). Even as it is meet [kathōs axion estin]. [Opheilomen] points to the divine, [axion] to the human side of the obligation (Lightfoot), perhaps to cheer the fainthearted in a possible letter to him in reply to Paul’s First Thessalonian epistle (Milligan). This adjective [axios] is from [agō], to drag down the scales, and so weighty, worthy, worthwhile, old word and appropriate here. For that your faith groweth exceedingly [hoti huperauxanei hē pistis humōn]. Causal use of [hoti] referring to the obligation stated in [opheilomen]. The verb [huperauxanō] is one of Paul’s frequent compounds in [huper] [huper-bainō], 1Th 4:6; [huper-ek-teinō], 2Co 10:14; [huper-en-tugchanō], Ro 8:26; [huper-nikaō], Ro 8:37; [huper-pleonazō], 1Ti 1:14) and occurs only here in N.T. and rare elsewhere (Galen, Dio Cass.). Figure of the tree of faith growing above [huper] measure. Cf. parable of Jesus about faith-like a grain of mustard seed (Mt 13:31f.). Aboundeth [pleonazei]. Same verb in 1Th 3:12, here a fulfilment of the prayer made there. Milligan finds diffusive growth of love in this word because of “each one” [henos hekastou]. Frame finds in this fulfilment of the prayer of 1Th 3:12 one proof that II Thessalonians is later than I Thessalonians.

1:4 So that [hōste]. Another example of [hōste] and the infinitive [enkauchāsthai] for result as in 1Th 1:7 which see. We ourselves [autous hēmas]. Accusative of general reference with the infinitive, but not merely [hēmās] (or [heautous], perhaps in contrast with [en humin] (in you), as much as to say, “so that we ourselves, contrary to your expectations, are boasting” (Frame). [Enkauchaomai] occurs here alone in N.T., but is found in the LXX and in Aesop’s Fables, proof enough of its vernacular use. Paul was not above praising one church to other churches, to provoke them to good works. Here he is boasting of Thessalonica in Macedonia to the Corinthians as he did later to the Corinthians about the collection (2Co 8:1-15) after having first boasted to the Macedonians about the Corinthians (2Co 9:1-5). There were other churches in Achaia besides Corinth (2Co 1:1). For [huper]. Over, about, like [peri] (1Th 1:2). In all your persecutions [en pasin tois diōgmois humōn]. Their patience and faith had already attracted Paul’s attention (1Th 1:3) and their tribulations [thlipsesin] (1Th 1:6). Here Paul adds the more specific term [diōgmos], old word from [diōkō], to chase, to pursue, a word used by Paul of his treatment in Corinth (2Co 12:10). Which ye endure [hais anechesthe]. B here reads [enechesthe], to be entangled in, to be held in as in Ga 5:1, but [anechesthe] is probably correct and the [hais] is probably attracted to locative case of [thlipsesin] from the ablative [hōn] after [anechesthe], from which ye hold yourselves back (cf. Col 3:13).

1:5 A manifest token of the righteous judgment of God [endeigma tēs dikaias kriseōs tou theou]. Old word from [endeiknumi], to point out, result reached [-ma], a thing proved. It is either in the accusative of general reference in apposition with the preceding clause as in Ro 8:3; 12:1, or in the nominative absolute when [ho estin], if supplied, would explain it as in Php 1:28. This righteous judgment is future and final (verses 6-10). To the end that you may be counted worthy [eis to kataxiōthēnai humas]. Another example of [eis to] for purpose with first aorist passive infinitive from [kataxioō], old verb, with accusative of general reference [humas] and followed by the genitive [tēs basileias] (kingdom of God). See 1Th 2:12 for kingdom of God. For which ye also suffer [huper hēs kai paschete]. Ye also as well as we and the present tense means that it is still going on.

1:6 If so be that it is a righteous thing with God [eiper dikaion para theōi]. Condition of first class, determined as fulfilled, assumed as true, but with [eiper] (if on the whole, provided that) as in Ro 8:9, 17, and with no copula expressed. A righteous thing “with God” means by the side of God [para theōi] and so from God’s standpoint. This is as near to the idea of absolute right as it is possible to attain. Note the phrase in verse 5. To recompense affliction to them that afflict you [antapodounai tois thlibousin hēmās thlipsin]. Second aorist active infinitive of double compound [ant-apodidōmi], old verb, either in good sense as in 1Th 3:9 or in bad sense as here. Paul is certain of this principle, though he puts it conditionally.

1:7 Rest with us [anesin meth’ hēmōn]. Let up, release. Old word from [aniēmi], from troubles here (2Co 2:13; 7:5; 8:13), and hereafter as in this verse. Vivid word. They shared suffering with Paul (verse 5) and so they will share [meth’] the rest. At the revelation of the Lord Jesus [en tēi apokalupsei tou Kuriou Iēsou]. Here the [Parousia] (1Th 2:19; 3:13; 5:23) is pictured as a Revelation (Un-veiling, [apo-kalupsis] of the Messiah as in 1Co 1:7, 1Pe 1:7, 13 (cf. Lu 17:30). At this Unveiling of the Messiah there will come the recompense (verse 6) to the persecutors and the rest from the persecutions. This Revelation will be from heaven [ap’ ouranou] as to place and with the angels of his power [met’ aggelōn dunameōs autou] as the retinue and in flaming fire [en puri phlogos], in a fire of flame, fire characterized by flame). In Ac 7:30 the text is flame of fire where [puros] is genitive (like Isa 66:15) rather than [phlogos] as here (Ex 3:2).

1:8 Rendering [didontos]. Genitive of present active participle of [didōmi], to give, agreeing with [Iēsou]. Vengeance [ekdikēsin]. Late word from [ekdikeō], to vindicate, in Polybius and LXX. To them that know not God [tois mē eidosin theon]. Dative plural of perfect active participle [eidōs]. Apparently chiefly Gentiles in mind (1Th 4:3; Ga 4:8; Ro 1:28; Eph 2:12), though Jews are also guilty of wilful ignorance of God (Ro 2:14). And to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus [kai tois mē hupakouousin tōi euaggeliōi tou kuriou hēmōn Iēsou]. Repetition of the article looks like another class and so Jews (Ro 10:16). Both Jews as instigators and Gentiles as officials [politarchs] were involved in the persecution in Thessalonica (Ac 17:5-9; 2Th 1:6). Note the use of “gospel” here as in Mr 1:15 “believe in the gospel.”

1:9 Who [hoitines]. Qualitative use, such as. Vanishing in papyri though surviving in Paul (1Co 3:17; Ro 1:25; Ga 4:26; Php 4:3). Shall suffer punishment [dikēn tisousin]. Future active of old verb [tinō], to pay penalty [dikēn], right, justice), here only in N.T., but [apotinō] once also to repay Phm 1:19. In the papyri [dikē] is used for a case or process in law. This is the regular phrase in classic writers for paying the penalty. Eternal destruction [olethron aiōnion]. Accusative case in apposition with [dikēn] (penalty). This phrase does not appear elsewhere in the N.T., but is in IV Macc. 10:15 [ton aiōnion tou turannou olethron] the eternal destruction of the tyrant (Antiochus Epiphanes). Destruction (cf. 1Th 5:3) does not mean here annihilation, but, as Paul proceeds to show, separation from the face of the Lord [apo prosōpou tou kuriou] and from the glory of his might [kai apo tēs doxēs tēs ischuos autou], an eternity of woe such as befell Antiochus Epiphanes. [Aiōnios] in itself only means age-long and papyri and inscriptions give it in the weakened sense of a Caesar’s life (Milligan), but Paul means by age-long the coming age in contrast with this age, as eternal as the New Testament knows how to make it. See on Mt 25:46 for use of [aiōnios] both with [zōēn], life, and [kolasin], punishment.

1:10 When he shall come [hotan elthēi]. Second aorist active subjunctive with [hotan], future and indefinite temporal clause (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 971ff.) coincident with [en tēi apokalupsei] in verse 7. To be glorified [endoxasthēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive (purpose) of [endoxazō], late verb, in N.T. only here and verse 12, in LXX and papyri. In his saints [en tois hagiois autou]. The sphere in which Christ will find his glory at the Revelation. And to be marvelled at [kai thaumasthēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive (purpose), common verb [thaumazō]. That believed [tois pisteusasin]. Why aorist active participle instead of present active [pisteuousin] (that believe)? Frame thinks that Paul thus reassures those who believed his message when there (1Th 1:6ff.; 2:13f.). The parenthetical clause, though difficult, falls in with this idea: Because our testimony unto you was believed [hoti episteuthē to marturion hēmōn eph’ humas]. Moffatt calls it an anti-climax. On that day [en tēi hēmerāi ekeinēi]. The day of Christ’s coming (2Ti 1:12, 18; 4:8).

1:11 To which end [eis ho]. So Col 1:29. Probably purpose with reference to the contents of verses 5-10. We have had the Thanksgiving (verses 3-10) in a long, complicated, but rich period or sentence. Now he makes a brief Prayer (verses 11-12) that God will fulfil all their hopes and endeavours. Paul and his colleagues can still pray for them though no longer with them (Moffatt). That [hina]. Common after [proseuchomai] (Col 4:3; Eph 1:17; Php 1:9) when the content of the prayer blends with the purpose (purport and purpose). Count you worthy [humas axiōsēi]. Causative verb (aorist active subjunctive) like [kataxioō] in verse 5 with genitive. Of your calling [tēs klēseōs]. [Klēsis] can apply to the beginning as in 1Co 1:26; Ro 11:29, but it can also apply to the final issue as in Php 3:14; Heb 3:1. Both ideas may be here. It is God’s calling of the Thessalonians. And fulfil every desire of goodness [kai plērōsēi pasan eudokian agathōsunēs]. “Whom he counts worthy he first makes worthy” (Lillie). Yes, in purpose, but the wonder and the glory of it all is that God begins to count us worthy in Christ before the process is completed in Christ (Ro 8:29f.). But God will see it through and so Paul prays to God. [Eudokia] (cf. Lu 2:14) is more than mere desire, rather good pleasure, God’s purpose of goodness, not in ancient Greek, only in LXX and N.T. [Agathōsunē] like a dozen other words in [-sunē] occurs only in late Greek. This word occurs only in LXX, N.T., writings based on them. It is made from [agathos], good, akin to [agamai], to admire. May the Thessalonians find delight in goodness, a worthy and pertinent prayer. Work of faith [ergon pisteōs]. The same phrase in 1Th 1:3. Paul prays for rich fruition of what he had seen in the beginning. Work marked by faith, springs from faith, sustained by faith. With power [en dunamei]. In power. Connect with [plērōsēi] (fulfil), God’s power (Ro 1:29; Col 1:4) in Christ (1Co 1:24) through the Holy Spirit (1Th 1:5).

1:12 That [hopōs]. Rare with Paul compared with [hina] (1Co 1:29; 2Co 8:14). Perhaps here for variety (dependent on [hina] clause in verse 11). The name [to onoma]. The Old Testament (LXX) uses [onoma] embodying the revealed character of Jehovah. So here the Name of our Lord Jesus means the Messiahship and Lordship of Jesus. The common Greek idiom of [onoma] for title or dignity as in the papyri (Milligan) is not quite this idiom. The papyri also give examples of [onoma] for person as in O.T. and Ac 1:15 (Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 196ff.). In you, and ye in him [en humin, kai humeis en autōi]. This reciprocal glorying is Pauline, but it is also like Christ’s figure of the vine and the branches in Joh 15:1-11. According to the grace [kata tēn charin]. Not merely standard, but also aim (Robertson, Grammar, p. 609). Of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ [tou theou hēmōn kai kuriou Iēsou Christou]. Here strict syntax requires, since there is only one article with [theou] and [kuriou] that one person be meant, Jesus Christ, as is certainly true in Tit 2:13; 2Pe 1:1 (Robertson, Grammar, p.786). This otherwise conclusive syntactical argument, admitted by Schmiedel, is weakened a bit by the fact that [Kurios] is often employed as a proper name without the article, a thing not true of [sōtēr] in Tit 2:13; 2Pe 1:1. So in Eph 5:5 [en tēi basileiāi tou Christou kai theou] the natural meaning is in the Kingdom of Christ and God regarded as one, but here again [theos], like [Kurios], often occurs as a proper name without the article. So it has to be admitted that here Paul may mean “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ,” though he may also mean “according to the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

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