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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Thessalonians: Chapter 2)

2:1 {For yourselves know} (\autoi gar oidate\). This explanatory
\gar\ takes up in verses 1-12 the allusion in 1:9 about the
"report" concerning the entrance (\eisodon\, way in, \eis,
, {unto you} (\tēn pros humās\). Note repeated article to
sharpen the point. This proleptic accusative is common enough. It
is expanded by the epexegetic use of the \hoti\ clause {that it
hath not been found vain}
(\hoti ou kenē gegonen\). Literally,
{that it has not become empty}. Second perfect active (completed
of \ginomai\. Every pastor watches wistfully to see what
will be the outcome of his work. Bengel says: _Non inanis, sed
plena virtutis_. Cf. 1:5. \Kenos\ is hollow, empty, while
\mataios\ is fruitless, ineffective. In 1Co 15:14,17 Paul
speaks of \kenon to kērugma\ ({empty the preaching}) and \mataia
hē pistis\ ({vain the faith}). One easily leads to the other.

2:2 {But having suffered before} (\alla propathontes\). Strong
adversative \alla\, antithesis to \kenē\. Appeal to his personal
experiences in Thessalonica known to them ({as ye know}, \kathōs
. Second aorist active participle of \propaschō\, old
compound verb, but here alone in the N.T. The force of \pro-\
(before) is carried over to the next verb. The participle may be
regarded as temporal (Ellicott) or concessive (Moffatt). {And
been shamefully entreated in Philippi}
(\kai hubristhentes en
. First aorist passive participle of \hubrizō\, old
verb, to treat insolently. "More than the bodily suffering it was
the personal indignity that had been offered to him as a Roman
citizen" (Milligan), for which account see Ac 16:16-40, an
interesting example of how Acts and the Epistles throw light on
each other. Luke tells how Paul resented the treatment accorded
to him as a Roman citizen and here Paul shows that the memory
still rankled in his bosom. {We waxed bold in our God}
(\eparrēsiasametha en tōi theōi hēmōn\). Ingressive first aorist
middle of \parrēsiazomai\, old deponent verb from \parrēsia\
(full story, \pan-, rēsia\). In his reply to Festus (Ac 26:26)
Paul uses \parrēsiazomenos lalō\, {being bold I speak}, while
here he has {we waxed bold to speak} (\eparrēsiasametha
. The insult in Philippi did not close Paul's mouth, but
had precisely the opposite effect "in our God." It was not wild
fanaticism, but determined courage and confidence in God that
spurred Paul to still greater boldness in Thessalonica, {unto
(\pros humās\), be the consequences what they might, {the
gospel of God in much conflict}
, (\to euaggelion tou theou en
pollōi agōni\)
. This figure of the athletic games (\agōn\) may
refer to outward conflict like Php 1:30 or inward anxiety (Col
. He had both in Thessalonica.

2:3 {Exhortation} (\paraklēsis\). Persuasive discourse, calling
to one's side, for admonition, encouragement, or comfort. {Not of
(\ouk ek planēs\). This word is same as \planaō\, to lead
astray (2Ti 3:13) like Latin _errare_. Passive idea of {error}
here rather than deceit. That is seen in {nor in guile} (\oude en
from \delō\, to catch with bait. Paul is keenly sensitive
against charges against the correctness of his message and the
purity of his life. {Nor of uncleanness} (\oude ex akatharsias\).
"This disclaimer, startling as it may seem, was not unneeded
amidst the impurities consecrated by the religions of the day"
(Lightfoot). There was no necessary connection in the popular
mind between religion and morals. The ecstatic initiations in
some of the popular religions were grossly sensual.

2:4 {But even as we have been approved by God} (\alla kathōs
dedokimasmetha hupo tou theou\)
. Perfect passive indicative of
\dokimazō\, old verb to put to the test, but here the tense for
completed state means tested and proved and so approved by God.
Paul here claims the call of God for his ministry and the seal of
God's blessing on his work and also for that of Silas and
Timothy. {To be entrusted with the gospel} (\pisteuthēnai to
. First aorist passive infinitive of \pisteuō\,
common verb for believing, from \pistis\ (faith), but here to
entrust rather than to trust. The accusative of the thing is
retained in the passive according to regular Greek idiom as in
1Co 9:17; Ga 2:7; Ro 3:2; 1Ti 1:11; Tit 1:3, though the active
had the dative of the person. {So we speak} (\houtōs laloumen\).
Simple, yet confident claim of loyalty to God's call and message.
Surely this should be the ambition of every preacher of the
gospel of God. {Not as pleasing men} (\ouch hōs anthrōpois
. Dative case with \areskō\ as in Ga 1:10. Few
temptations assail the preacher more strongly than this one to
please men, even if God is not pleased, though with the dim hope
that God will after all condone or overlook. Nothing but
experience will convince some preachers how fickle is popular
favour and how often it is at the cost of failure to please God.
And yet the preacher wishes to win men to Christ. It is all as
subtle as it is deceptive. God tests our hearts (the very verb
\dokimazō\ used in the beginning of this verse)
and he is the
only one whose approval matters in the end of the day (1Co

2:5 {Using words of flattery} (\en logōi kolakeias\). Literally,
{in speech of flattery or fawning}. Old word, only here in N.T.,
from \kolaks\, a flatterer. An Epicurean, Philodemus, wrote a
work \Peri Kolakeias\ (Concerning Flattery). Milligan
(_Vocabulary_, etc.) speaks of "the selfish conduct of too many
of the rhetoricians of the day," conduct extremely repugnant to
Paul. The third time (verses 1,2,5) he appeals to their
knowledge of his work in Thessalonica. Frame suggests "cajolery."
{Nor a cloke of covetousness} (\oute prophasei pleonexias\).
Pretext (\prophasis\ from \prophainō\, to show forth, or perhaps
from \pro-phēmi\, to speak forth)
. This is the charge of
self-interest rather than the mere desire to please people.
Pretext of greediness is Frame's translation. \Pleonexia\ is
merely "having more" from \pleonektēs\, one eager for more, and
\pleonekteō\, to have more, then to over-reach, all old words,
all with bad meaning as the result of the desire for more. In a
preacher this sin is especially fatal. Paul feels so strongly his
innocence of this charge that he calls God as witness as in 2Co
1:23; Ro 9:1; Php 1:8, a solemn oath for his own veracity.

2:6 {Nor seeking glory of men} (\oute zētountes ex anthrōpōn
. "Upon the repudiation of covetousness follows naturally
the repudiation of worldly ambition" (Milligan). See Ac 20:19;
2Co 4:5; Eph 4:2. This third disclaimer is as strong as the
other two. Paul and his associates had not tried to extract
praise or glory out of (\ex\) men. {Neither from you nor from
(\oute aph' humōn oute aph' allōn\). He widens the
negation to include those outside of the church circles and
changes the preposition from \ex\ (out of) to \apo\ (from). {When
we might have been burdensome, as apostles of Christ}
en barei einai hōs Christou apostoloi\)
. Westcott and Hort put
this clause in verse 7. Probably a concessive participle,
{though being able to be in a position of weight} (either in
matter of finance or of dignity, or a burden on your funds or
"men of weight" as Moffatt suggests)
. Milligan suggests that Paul
"plays here on the double sense of the phrase" like the Latin
proverb: _Honos propter onus_. So he adds, including Silas and
Timothy, {as Christ's apostles}, as missionaries clearly, whether
in the technical sense or not (cf. Ac 14:4,14; 2Co 8:23; 11:13;
Ro 16:7; Php 2:25; Re 2:2)
. They were entitled to pay as
"Christ's apostles" (cf. 1Co 9; 2Co 11:7ff.), though they had
not asked for it.

2:7 {But we were gentle in the midst of you} (\alla egenēthēmen
nēpioi en mesōi humōn\)
. Note \egenēthēmen\ (became), not
\ēmetha\ (were). This rendering follows \ēpioi\ instead of
\nēpioi\ (Aleph B D C Vulg. Boh.) which is clearly correct,
though Dibelius, Moffatt, Ellicott, Weiss prefer \ēpioi\ as
making better sense. Dibelius terms \nēpioi\ _unmoglich_
(impossible), but surely that is too strong. Paul is fond of the
word \nēpioi\ (babes). Lightfoot admits that he here works the
metaphor to the limit in his passion, but does not mar it as
Ellicott holds. {As when a nurse cherishes her own children}
(\hōs ean trophos thalpēi ta heautēs tekna\). This comparative
clause with \hōs ean\ (Mr 4:26; Ga 6:10 without \ean\ or \an\)
and the subjunctive (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 968) has a sudden
change of the metaphor, as is common with Paul (1Ti 5:24; 2Co
from {babes} to {nurse} (\trophos\), old word, here
only in the N.T., from \trephō\, to nourish, \trophē\,
nourishment. It is really the mother-nurse "who suckles and
nurses her own children" (Lightfoot), a use found in Sophocles,
and a picture of Paul's tender affection for the Thessalonians.
\Thalpō\ is an old word to keep warm, to cherish with tender
love, to foster. In N.T. only here and Eph 5:29.

2:8 {Even so, being affectionately desirous of you} (\houtōs
omeiromenoi humōn\)
. Clearly the correct text rather than
\himeiromenoi\ from \himeirō\, old verb to long for. But the verb
\homeiromai\ (Westcott and Hort _om_., smooth breathing) occurs
nowhere else except MSS. in Job 3:21; Ps 62:2 (Symmachus) and
the Lycaonian sepulchral inscription (4th cent. A.D.) about the
sorrowing parents \homeiromenoi peri paidos\, {greatly desiring
their son}
(Moulton and Milligan, _Vocabulary_). Moulton suggests
that it comes from a root \smer\, remember, and that \o-\ is a
derelict preposition \o\ like \o-duromai, o-kellō, ō-keanos\.
Wohlenberg (Zahn, _Kommentar_) calls the word "a term of
endearment," "derived from the language of the nursery"
(Milligan). {We were well pleased} (\ēudokoumen\). Imperfect
active of \eudokeō\, common verb in later Greek and in N.T. (see
on Mt 3:17)
, picturing Paul's idea of their attitude while in
Thessalonica. Paul often has it with the infinitive as here. {To
(\metadounai\). Second aorist active infinitive of
\metadidōmi\, old verb to share with (see on Lu 3:11). Possible
zeugma with {souls} (\psuchas\), though Lightfoot renders
"lives." Paul and his associates held nothing back. {Because ye
were become very dear to us}
(\dioti agapētoi hēmin egenēthēte\).
Note \dioti\ (double cause, \dia, hoti\, for that), use of
\ginomai\ again for become, and dative \hēmin\ with verbal
\agapētoi\, beloved and so dear. A beautiful picture of the
growth of Paul's affection for them as should be true with every

2:9 {Travail} (\mochthon\). Old word for difficult labour, harder
than \kopos\ (toil). In the N.T. only here, 2Th 3:8; 2Co 11:27.
Note accusative case here though genitive with \mnēmoneuō\ in
1:3. {Night and day} (\nuktos kai hēmeras\). Genitive case,
both by day and by night, perhaps beginning before dawn and
working after dark. So in 3:10. {That we might not burden any
of you}
(\pros to mē epibarēsai tina humōn\). Use of \pros\ with
the articular infinitive to express purpose (only four times by
. The verb \epibareō\ is late, but in the papyri and
inscriptions for laying a burden (\baros\) on (\epi-\) one. In
N.T. only here and 2Th 3:8; 2Co 2:5. Paul boasted of his
financial independence where he was misunderstood as in
Thessalonica and Corinth (2Co 9-12), though he vindicated his
right to remuneration. {We preached} (\ekēruxamen\). {We
(from \kērux\, herald) to you, common verb for preach.

2:10 {How holily and righteously and unblameably} (\hōs hosiōs
kai dikaiōs kai amemptōs\)
. Paul calls the Thessalonians and God
as witnesses (\martures\) to his life toward you the believers
(\humin tois pisteuousin\) dative of personal interest. He
employs three common adverbs that show how holily toward God and
how righteously toward men so that they did not blame him and his
associates in either respect. So there is a reason for each
adverb. All this argues that Paul spent a considerable time in
Thessalonica, more than the three sabbaths mentioned by Luke. The
pastor ought to live so that his life will bear close inspection.

2:11 {As a father with his own children} (\hōs patēr tekna
. Change from the figure of the mother-nurse in verse
7. There is ellipse of a principal verb with the participles
\parakalountes, paramuthoumenoi, marturoumenoi\. Lightfoot
suggests \enouthetoumen\ (we admonished) or \egenēthēmen\ (we
. The three participles give three phases of the
minister's preaching (exhorting, encouraging or consoling,
witnessing or testifying)
. They are all old verbs, but only the
first (\parakaleō\) is common in the N.T.

2:12 {To the end that} (\eis to\). Final use of \eis\ and the
articular infinitive, common idiom in the papyri and Paul uses
\eis\ to and the infinitive fifty times (see again in 3:2),
some final, some sub-final, some result (Robertson, _Grammar_,
pp. 989-91)
. {Walk worthily of God} (\peripatein axiōs tou
. Present infinitive (linear action), and genitive case
with adverb \axiōs\ as in Col 1:10 (cf. Php 1:27; Eph 4:1),
like a preposition. {Calleth} (\kalountos\). Present active
participle, keeps on calling. Some MSS. have \kalesantos\,
called. {Kingdom} (\basileian\) here is the future consummation
because of glory (\doxan\) as in 2Th 1:5; 1Co 6:9; 15:50; Ga
5:21; 2Ti 4:1,18), but Paul uses it for the present kingdom of
grace also as in 1Co 4:20; Ro 14:17; Col 1:13.

2:13 {And for this cause we also} (\kai dia touto kai hēmeis\).
Note \kai\ twice. We as well as you are grateful for the way the
gospel was received in Thessalonica. {Without ceasing}
(\adialeiptōs\). Late adverb for which see on 1:2 and for
\eucharistoumen\ see on ¯1:2. {The word of the message} (\logon
. Literally, {the word of} hearing, as in Sir. 42:1 and
Heb 4:2 \ho logos tēs akoēs\, the word marked by hearing
(genitive case), the word which you heard. Here with \tou theou\
(of God) added as a second descriptive genitive which Paul
expands and justifies. {Ye received it so} (\paralabontes\) and
{accepted or welcomed it} (\edexasthe\) so, {not as the word of
(\ou logou anthrōpōn\), {but as the word of God} (\alla
logon theou\)
, {as it is in truth} (\kathōs alēthōs estin\). This
last clause is literally, {as it truly is}. Paul had not a doubt
that he was proclaiming God's message. Should any preacher preach
his doubts if he has any? God's message can be found and Paul
found it. {Worketh in you} (\energeitai en humin\). Perhaps
middle voice of \energeō\ (\en, ergon\, work) late verb, not in
ancient Greek or LXX, but in papyri and late writers (Polybius,
and in N.T. only by Paul and James. If it is passive, as
Milligan thinks, it means "is set in operation," as Polybius has
it. The idea then is that the word of God is set in operation in
you that believe.

2:14 {Imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea}
(\mimētai tōn ekklēsiōn tou theou tōn ousōn en tēi Ioudaiāi\). On
\mimētai\ see on ¯1:5. "This passage, implying an affectionate
admiration of the Jewish churches on the part of St. Paul, and
thus entirely bearing out the impression produced by the
narrative in the Acts, is entirely subversive of the theory
maintained by some and based on a misconception of Ga 2, and by
the fiction of the Pseudo-Clementines, of the feud existing
between St. Paul and the Twelve" (Lightfoot). {In Christ Jesus}
(\en Christōi Iēsou\). It takes this to make a _Christian_ church
of God. Note order here {Christ Jesus} as compared with {Jesus
in 1:1,3. {Ye also--even as they} (\kai humeis--kai
. Note \kai\ twice (correlative use of \kai\).
{Countrymen} (\sumphuletōn\). Fellow-countrymen or tribesmen.
Late word that refers primarily to Gentiles who no doubt joined
the Jews in Thessalonica who instigated the attacks on Paul and
Silas so that it "was taken up by the native population, without
whose co-operation it would have been powerless" (Lightfoot).
{Own} (\idiōn\) here has apparently a weakened force. Note \hupo\
here with the ablative both with \sumphuletōn\ and \Ioudaiōn\
after the intransitive \epathete\ (suffered). The persecution of
the Christians by the Jews in Judea was known everywhere.

2:15 {Who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets} (\tōn kai
ton Kurion apokteinantōn Iēsoun kai tous prophētas\)
. First
aorist active participle of \apokteinō\. Vivid justification of
his praise of the churches in Judea. The Jews killed the prophets
before the Lord Jesus who reminded them of their guilt (Mt
. Paul, as Peter (Ac 2:23), lays the guilt of the death
of Christ on the Jews. {And drove us out} (\kai hēmās
. An old verb to drive out or banish, to chase out
as if a wild beast. Only here in N.T. It is Paul's vivid
description of the scene told in Ac 17:5ff. when the rabbis and
the hoodlums from the agora chased him out of Thessalonica by the
help of the politarchs. {Please not God} (\Theōi mē areskontōn\).
The rabbis and Jews thought that they were pleasing God by so
doing as Paul did when he ravaged the young church in Jerusalem.
But Paul knows better now. {And are contrary to all men} (\kai
pasin anthrōpois enantiōn\)
. Dative case with the adjective
\enantiōn\ (old and common word, face to face, opposite). It
seems like a bitter word about Paul's countrymen whom he really
loved (Ro 9:1-5; 10:1-6), but Paul knew only too well the
middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile as he shows in
Eph 2 and which only the Cross of Christ can break down.
Tacitus (_Hist_. V. 5) says that the Jews are _adversus omnes
alios hostile odium_.

2:16 {Forbidding us} (\kōluontōn hēmās\). Explanatory participle
of the idea in \enantiōn\. They show their hostility to Paul at
every turn. Right here in Corinth, where Paul is when he writes,
they had already shown venomous hostility toward Paul as Luke
makes plain (Ac 18:6ff.). They not simply oppose his work among
the Jews, but also to the Gentiles (\ethnesi\, nations outside of
the Abrahamic covenant as they understood it)
. {That they may be
(\hina sōthōsin\). Final use of \hina\ with first aorist
passive subjunctive of \sōzō\ old verb to save. It was the only
hope of the Gentiles, Christ alone and not the mystery-religions
offered any real hope. {To fill up their sins alway} (\eis to
anaplērōsai autōn tas hamartias pantote\)
. Another example of
\eis to\ and the infinitive as in verse 12. It may either be
God's conceived plan to allow the Jews to go on and fill up
(\anaplērōsai\, note \ana\, fill up full, old verb) or it may be
the natural result from the continual (\pantote\) sins of the
Jews. {Is come} (\ephthasen\). First aorist (timeless aorist)
active indicative of \phthanō\ which no longer means to come
before as in 1Th 4:15 where alone in the N.T. it retains the
old idea of coming before. Some MSS. have the perfect active
\ephthaken\, prophetic perfect of realization already. Frame
translates it: "But the wrath has come upon them at last." This
is the most likely meaning of \eis telos\. Paul vividly foresees
and foretells the final outcome of this attitude of hate on the
part of the Jews. _Tristis exitus_, Bengel calls it. Paul speaks
out of a sad experience.

2:17 {Being bereaved of you} (\aporphanisthentes aph' humōn\).
First aorist passive participle of the rare compound verb
(\aporphanizō\, in Aeschylus, but nowhere else in N.T.).
Literally, {being orphaned from you} (\aph' humōn\, ablative
. Paul changes the figure again (\trophos\ or mother nurse
in verse 7, \nēpios\ or babe in verse 7, \patēr\ or father in
verse 11)
to {orphan} (\orphanos\). He refers to the period of
separation from them, {for a short season} (\pros kairon hōras\)
for a season of an hour. This idiom only here in N.T., but \pros
kairon\ in Lu 8:13 and \pros hōran\ in 2Co 7:8. But it has
seemed long to Paul. Precisely how long he had been gone we do
not know, some months at any rate. {In presence, not in heart}
(\prosōpōi ou kardiāi\). Locative case. \Prosōpon\, old word
(\pros, ops\, in front of the eye, face) for face, look, person.
Literally, {in face or person}. His heart was with them, though
they no longer saw his face. Heart, originally \kardia\, is the
inner man, the seat of the affections and purposes, not always in
contrast with intellect (\nous\). "Out of sight, not out of mind"
(Rutherford). {Endeavoured the more exceedingly} (\perissoterōs
. Ingressive aorist active indicative of
\spoudazō\, old word to hasten (from \spoudē, speudō\). {We
became zealous}
. Comparative adverb \perissoterōs\ from
\perisson\, more abundantly than before being orphaned from you.
{Your face} (\to prosōpon humōn\). Cf. his {face} above. {With
great desire}
(\en pollēi epithumiāi\). {In much longing}
(\epithumia\ from \epi\ and \thumos\, \epithumeō\, to run after,
to yearn after, whether good or bad)

2:18 {Because} (\dioti\). As in 2:8. {We would fain have come
to you}
(\ēthelēsamen elthein pros humas\). First aorist active
indicative of \thelō\. Literally, {we desired to come to you. I
(\egō men Paulos\). Clear example of literary plural
\ēthelesamen\ with singular pronoun \egō\. Paul uses his own name
elsewhere also as in 2Co 10:1; Ga 5:2; Col 1:23; Eph 3:1; Phm
1:19. {Once and again} (\kai hapax kai dis\). {Both once and
as in Php 4:16. Old idiom in Plato. {And Satan hindered
(\kai enekopsen hēmas ho Satanas\). Adversative use of \kai=\
but or and yet. First aorist active indicative of \enkoptō\, late
word to cut in, to hinder. Milligan quotes papyrus example of
third century, B.C. Verb used to cut in a road, to make a road
impassable. So Paul charges Satan with cutting in on his path.
Used by Paul in Ac 24:4; Ga 5:7 and passive \enekoptomēn\ in
Ro 15:22; 1Pe 3:7. This hindrance may have been illness,
opposition of the Jews in Corinth, what not.

2:19 {Crown of glorying} (\stephanos kauchēseōs\). When a king or
conqueror came on a visit he was given a chaplet of glorying.
Paul is answering the insinuation that he did not really wish to
come. {At his coming} (\en tēi autou parousiāi\). This word
\parousia\ is untechnical (just _presence_ from \pareimi\) in
2Th 2:9; 1Co 16:17; 2Co 7:6f.; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12. But here
(also 1Th 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Th 2:1,8; 1Co 15:23) we have the
technical sense of the second coming of Christ. Deissmann (_Light
from the Ancient East_, pp. 372ff.)
notes that the word in the
papyri is almost technical for the arrival of a king or ruler who
expects to receive his "crown of coming." The Thessalonians, Paul
says, will be his crown, glory, joy when Jesus comes.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Thessalonians: Chapter 2)