World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we decided to be left alone in Athens;
1Th 3:1-13. Proof of His Desire after Them in His Having Sent Timothy: His Joy at the Tidings Brought Back Concerning Their Faith and Charity: Prayers for Them.
1. Wherefore—because of our earnest love to you (1Th 2:17-20).
forbear—"endure" the suspense. The Greek is literally applied to a watertight vessel. When we could no longer contain ourselves in our yearning desire for you.
left at Athens alone—See my Introduction. This implies that he sent Timothy from Athens, whither the latter had followed him. However, the "we" favors Alford's view that the determination to send Timothy was formed during the hasty consultation of Paul, Silas, and Timothy, previous to his departure from Berea, and that then he with them "resolved" to be "left alone" at Athens, when he should arrive there: Timothy and Silas not accompanying him, but remaining at Berea. Thus the "I," 1Th 3:5, will express that the act of sending Timothy, when he arrived at Athens, was Paul's, while the determination that Paul should be left alone at Athens, was that of the brethren as well as himself, at Berea, whence he uses, 1Th 3:1, "we." The non-mention of Silas at Athens implies that he did not follow Paul to Athens as was at first intended; but Timothy did. Thus the history, Ac 17:14, 15, accords with the Epistle. The word "left behind" (Greek) implies that Timothy had been with him at Athens. It was an act of self-denial for their sakes that Paul deprived himself of the presence of Timothy at Athens, which would have been so cheering to him in the midst of philosophic cavillers; but from love to the Thessalonians, he is well content to be left all "alone" in the great city.