1 Thessalonians 2:9-12

9. For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

9. Memoria enim tenetis, fratres, laborem nostrum et sudorem: nam die ac nocte opus facientes, ne gravaremus quenquam vestrum, praedicavimus apud vos Evangelium Dei.

10. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and unblameably, we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

10. Vos testes estis et Deus, ut sancte, et iuste, et sine querela vobis, qui creditis, fuerimus.

11. As ye know how we exhorted and comforted, and charged every one of you, (as a father doth his children,)

11. Quemadmodum nostis, ut unumquemque vestrum, quasi pater suos liberos,

12. That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

12. Exhortati simus, et monuerimus et obtestati simus, ut ambularetis digne Deo, qui vocavit vos in suum regnum et gloriam.


9. For ye remember. These things tend to confirm what he had stated previously--that to spare them he did not spare himself. He must assuredly have burned with a wonderful and more than human zeal, inasmuch as, along with the labor of teaching, he labors with his hand as an operative, with the view of earning a livelihood, and in this respect, also, refrained from exercising his right. For it is the law of Christ, as he also teaches elsewhere, (1 Corinthians 9:14) that every church furnish its ministers with food and other necessaries. Paul, therefore, in laying no burden upon the Thessalonians, does something more than could, from the requirements of his office, have been required from him. In addition to this, he does not merely refrain from incurring public expense, but avoids burdening any one individually. Farther, there can be no doubt, that he was influenced by some good and special consideration in thus refraining from exercising his right, 1 for in other churches he exercised, equally with others, the liberty allowed him. 2 He received nothing from the Corinthians, lest he should give the false apostles a handle for glorying as to this matter. In the mean time, he did not hesitate to ask 3 from other churches, what was needed by him, for he writes that, while he bestowed labor upon the Corinthians, free of charge, he robbed the Churches that he did not serve. (2 Corinthians 11:8) 4 Hence, although the reason is not expressed here, we may, nevertheless, conjecture that the ground on which Paul was unwilling that his necessities should be ministered to, was--lest such a thing should put any hindrance in the way of the gospel. For this, also, ought to be matter of concern to good pastors--that they may not merely run with alacrity in their ministry, but may, so far as is in their power, remove all hindrances in the way of their course.

10. Ye are witnesses. He again calls God and them to witness, with the view of affirming his integrity, and cites, on the one hand, God as a witness of his conscience, and them, 5 on the other hand, as witnesses of what they had known by experience. How holily, says he, and justly, that is, with how sincere a fear of God, and with what fidelity and blamelessness towards men; and thirdly, unreproachably, by which he means that he had given no occasion of complaint or obloquy. For the servants of Christ cannot avoid calumnies, and unfavorable reports; for being hated by the world, they must of necessity be evil--spoken of among the wicked. Hence he restricts this to believers, who judge uprightly and sincerely, and do not revile malignantly and groundlessly.

11. Every one as a father. He insists more especially on those things which belong to his office. He has compared himself to a nurse : he now compares himself to a father. What he means is this--that he was concerned in regard to them, just as a father is wont to be as to his sons, and that he had exercised a truly paternal care in instructing and admonishing them. And, unquestionably, no one will ever be a good pastor, unless he shews himself to be a father to the Church that is committed to him. Nor does he merely declare himself to be such to the entire body, 6 but even to the individual members. For it is not enough that a pastor in the pulpit teach all in common, if he does not add also particular instruction, according as necessity requires, or occasion offers. Hence Paul himself, in Acts 20:26, declares himself to be free from the blood of all men, because he did not cease to admonish all publicly, and also individually in private in their own houses. For instruction given in common is sometimes of little service, and some cannot be corrected or cured without particular medicine.

12. Exhorted. He shews with what earnestness he devoted himself to their welfare, for he relates that in preaching to them respecting piety towards God and the duties of the Christian life, it had not been merely in a perfunctory way, 7 but he says that he had made use of exhortations and adjurations. It is a lively preaching of the gospel, when persons are not merely told what is right, but are pricked (Acts 2:37) by exhortations, and are called to the judgment--seat of God, that they may not fall asleep in their vices, for this is what is properly meant by adjuring. But if pious men, whose promptitude Paul so highly commends, stood in absolute need of being stimulated by stirring exhortations, nay, adjurations, what must be done with us, in whom sluggishness 8 of the flesh does more reign? In the mean time, as to the wicked, whose obstinacy is incurable, it is necessary to denounce upon them the horrible vengeance of God, not so much from hope of success, as in order that they may be rendered inexcusable.

Some render the participle paramuqoume>noi, comforted. If we adopt this rendering, he means that he made use of consolations in dealing with the afflicted, who need to be sustained by the grace of God, and refreshed by tasting of heavenly blessings, 9 that they may not lose heart or become impatient. The other meaning, however, is more suitable to the context, that he admonished; for the three verbs, it is manifest, refer to the same thing.

That ye might walk. He presents in a few words the sum and substance of his exhortations, that, in magnifying the mercy of God, he admonished them not to fail as to their calling. His commendation of the grace of God is contained in the expression, who hath called us into his kingdom. For as our salvation is founded upon God's gracious adoption, every blessing that Christ has brought us is comprehended in this one term. It now remains that we answer God's call, that is, that we shew ourselves to be such children to him as he is a Father to us. For he who lives otherwise than as becomes a child of God, deserves to be cut off from God's household.

1 "Entre les Thessaloniciens;"--"Among the Thessalonians."

2 "La liberte que Dieu donne;"--"The liberty that God gives."

3 "Il n'a point fait de conscience de prendre lors des autres Eglises;"--"He made no scruple to take at that time from other Churches."

4 See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 2. p. 347.

5 "Les Thessaloniciens;"--"The Thessalonians."

6 "Tout le corps de ceste Eglise--la;"--"The whole body of the Church there."

7 "Il n'y a point este par acquit, comme on dit;"--"It had not been in the mere performance of a task, as they say."

8 "La paresse et nonchalance de la chair;"--"Indolence and negligence of the flesh."

9 "Fortifiez ou soulagez en leur rafrechissant le goust des biens celestes;"--"Strengthened or comforted in the way of refreshing their taste with heavenly blessings."