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3. Timothy's Encouraging Report

Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 5For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. 6But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: 7Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: 8For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 9For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 11Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

10 Praying beyond measure. He returns to an expression of his desire. For it is never allowable for us to congratulate men, while they live in this world, in such unqualified terms as not always to desire something better for them. For they are as yet in the way: they may fall back, or go astray, or even go back. Hence Paul is desirous to have opportunity given him of supplying what is wanting in the faith of the Thessalonians, or, which is the same thing, completing in all its parts their faith, which was as yet imperfect. Yet this is the faith which he had previously extolled marvelously. But from this we infer, that those who far surpass others are still far distant from the goal. Hence, whatever progress we may have made, let us always keep in view our deficiencies, (ὑστερήματα,) 559559     “Τστερήματα πίστεως. —Afterings of faith, as it may be significantly enough rendered, let but the novelty of the expression be pardoned.” —Howe’s Works, (London, 1822,) volume 3 page 70.—Ed that we may not be reluctant to aim at something farther.

From this also it appears how necessary it is for us to give careful attention to doctrine, for teachers 560560     “Les Docteurs et ceux qui ont charge d’enseigner en l’Eglise;” — “Teachers and those that have the task of instructing in the Church.” were not appointed merely with the view of leading men, in the course of a single day or month, to the faith of Christ, but for the purpose of perfecting the faith which has been begun. But as to Paul’s claiming for himself what he elsewhere declares belongs peculiarly to the Holy Spirit, (1 Corinthians 14:14) this must be restricted to the ministry. Now, as the ministry of a man is inferior to the efficacy of the Spirit, and to use the common expression, is subordinate to it, nothing is detracted from it. When he says that he prayed night and day beyond all ordinary measure, 561561     “Night and day praying exceedingly—Supplicating God at all times; mingling this with all my prayers; ὑπὲρ ἐχπερισσοῦ δεόμενοι, abounding and superabounding in my entreaties to God, to permit me to revisit you.” —Dr. A. Clarke.Ed we may gather from these words how assiduous he was in praying to God, and with what ardor and earnestness he discharged that duty.


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