World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

9 You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. 11As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, 12urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.


Select a resource above

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, 528528     “Entre les Thessaloniciens;” — “Among the Thessalonians.” for in other churches he exercised, equally with others, the liberty allowed him. 529529     “La liberte que Dieu donne;” — “The liberty that God gives.” 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 530530     “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.” 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) 531531     See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 2, p. 347. 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, 532532     “Les Thessaloniciens;” — “The Thessalonians.” 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, 533533     “Tout le corps de ceste Eglise-la;” — “The whole body of the Church there.” 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, 534534     “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.” 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 535535     “La paresse et nonchalance de la chair;” — “Indolence and negligence of the flesh.” 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 παραμυθουμένοι, 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, 536536     “Fortifiez ou soulagez en leur rafrechissant le goust des biens celestes;” — “Strengthened or comforted in the way of refreshing their taste with heavenly blessings.” 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.

13 Wherefore we give thanks. Having spoken of his ministry, he returns again to address the Thessalonians, that he may always commend that mutual harmony of which he has previously made mention. 537537     Calvin refers here to the harmony which happily subsisted between the preaching of Paul and the faith of the Thessalonians.—Ed. He says, therefore, that he gives thanks to God, because they had embraced the word of God which they heard from his mouth, as the word of God, as it truly was. Now, by these expressions he means, that it has been received by them reverently, and with the obedience with which it ought. For so soon as this persuasion has gained a footing, it is impossible but that a feeling of obligation to obey takes possession of our minds. 538538     “Il ne se pent faire que nous ne venions quant et quant a auoir vne saincte affection d’obeir;” — “It cannot but be that we come at the same time to have a holy disposition to obey.” For who would not shudder at the thought of resisting God? Who would not regard contempt of God with detestation? The circumstance, therefore, that the word of God is regarded by many with such contempt, that it is scarcely held in any estimation — that many are not at all actuated by fear, arises from this, that they do not consider that they have to do with God.

Hence we learn from this passage what credit ought to be given to the gospel — such as does not depend on the authority of men, but, resting on the sure and ascertained truth of God, raises itself above the world; and, in fine, is as far above mere opinion, as heaven is above earth: 539539     “Aussi lois d’vne opinion, ou d’vn cuider;” — “As far above opinion, or imagination.” and, secondly, such as produces of itself reverence, fear, and obedience, inasmuch as men, touched with a feeling of Divine majesty, will never allow themselves to sport with it. Teachers 540540     “Les Docteurs, c’est a dire ceux qui ont la charge d’enseigner;” — “Teachers, that is to say, those that have the task of instructing.” are, in their turn, admonished to beware of bringing forward anything but the pure word of God, for if this was not allowable for Paul, it will not be so for any one in the present day. He proves, however, from the effect produced, that it was the word of God that he had delivered, inasmuch as it had produced that fruit of heavenly doctrine which the Prophets celebrate, (Isaiah 55:11,13; Jeremiah 23:29) in renewing their life, 541541     “En renouelant et reformant la vie des Thessaloniciens;” — “In renewing and reforming the life of the Thessalonians.” for the doctrine of men could accomplish no such thing. The relative pronoun may be taken as referring either to God or to his word, but whichever way you choose, the meaning will come all to one, for as the Thessalonians felt in themselves a Divine energy, which proceeded from faith, they might rest assured that what they had heard was not a mere sound of the human voice vanishing into air, but the living and efficacious doctrine of God.

As to the expression, the word of the preaching of God, it means simply, as I have rendered it, the word of God preached by man. For Paul meant to state expressly that they had not looked upon the doctrine as contemptible, although it had proceeded from the mouth of a mortal man, inasmuch as they recognized God as the author of it. He accordingly praises the Thessalonians, because they did not rest in mere regard for the minister. but lifted up their eyes to God, that they might receive his word. Accordingly, I have not hesitated to insert the particle ut, (that,) which served to make the meaning more clear. There is a mistake on the part of Erasmus in rendering it, “the word of the hearing of God,” as if Paul meant that God had been manifested. He afterwards changed it thus, “the word by which you learned God,” for he did not advert to the Hebrew idiom. 542542     “Car il n’a pas prins garde que c’estoit yci vne façon de parler prinse de la langue Hebraique;” — “For he did not take notice that it was a manner of expression taken from the Hebrew language.”




Advertisements