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1 Thessalonians 2:20

For you are our glory and joy.  (1 Thessalonians 2:20 - ESV) Short and sweet verse at the end of chapter 2. Paul wants the new Christians in Thessalonica to know that ... in the end ... the thing that will lift him up the most and bring him the most joy

1 Thessalonians 2:19

For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  (1 Thessalonians 2:19 -- ESV) Three things mentioned here... "hope" ... "joy" ... "crown of boasting" ...  Hope - What does Paul have his sights set on?  Joy - What is it that brings Paul joy?  Crown of Boasting - That Olympic Wreath of Glory that is placed on his head?  It is these people. It is his children in the faith. They are Paul's Hope and Joy and Crown of Glory when Jesus returns. 

1 Thessalonians 2:18

because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.  (1 Thessalonians 2:18 -- ESV) This is a continuation of the previous verse. Paul recognizes that there is a power that is working against his return to the Thessalonians. That power is the person of Satan. I imagine that Satan is desperately fighting to stop the spread of the gospel message.  What Satan had purposed for evil, God has purposed for good. Satan's hindering of Paul's return to the Thessalonians has resulted in the first letter to the Thessalonians, which has lasted through the years and has benefited the Church, not just in Thessalonica, but across the globe. 

1 Thessalonians 2:17

But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, (1 Thessalonians 2:17 - ESV) "... we were torn away from you ..." If you go back to Acts 17:1-10, you can read about the quick departure from Thessalonica. But Paul wants them to know that the separation is only physical, he is still with them in heart and has a strong desire to return to them. His desire is to see them "face to face"...  What is interesting though, is that this is the first letter of Paul's. Paul has discovered a new way of ministry. Paul has had to adjust his preferred ministry, but we have all benefited from this new process of teaching to those that he cannot see face-to-face. This benefit has stretched through the centuries and has served to fulfill God's purposes of spreading the gospel to every nation on earth. 

1 Thessalonians 2:16

by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! (1 Thessalonians 2:16 - ESV) Continued clarification as to how the Jews of Jerusalem perscuted the church, killed Jesus, displeased God, and ultimately were opposing all of mankind: They hindered the Gospel. Hindering the speaking of the Gospel is opposition to all of mankind.  This verse ends on a challenging statement. Paul mentions that they are filling up the measure of their sins. and that wrath has come. There are many views on this, and commentators do not agree on the meaning, but there is a consensus that in some way it echoes Old Testament statements like the ones referring to the sin of the Amorites not being complete... ( Genesis 15:16 ) The wrath that has come upon them is most likely referring to the fact that those who do not believe will experience the fullness of God's wrath. 

1 Thessalonians 2:15

who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind (1 Thessalonians 2:15 - ESV) A continued indictment against the Jews of Jerusalem and the way they persecuted the Church. It did not start with a persecution of the church, it started with the crucifixion of Jesus. Paul then says that this is "displeasing to God" and is ultimately "opposing all mankind."

1 Thessalonians 2:14

For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, (1 Thessalonians 2:14 - ESV) Paul is again pointing out the way they have imitated someone else, who was imitating Christ. First he mentioned this in chapter one , when he pointed out that they were imitating Paul, Silas, and Timothy ... who were imitating Jesus. Now he says that they were imitating the churches in Judea, who were imitating Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 2:13

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 - ESV) There are two things that they do when they hear the word... but the fact that they heard the word implies a couple of things already. First it implies that it is being spoken. The Gospel is being shared verbally. Second it implies that they were listening.  Now that they have heard the "Heard Word of God," there are two things that happen. Number One: It is received. This word (received) goes beyond simple hearing. It is the word that is often used in Greek literature for a student taking in what their teacher is teaching. They were listening, hearing, and it was being taken in! There was mental computation happening. Thought processes were being incorporated. World views adjusted. Sights shifted.  Number Two: It is accepted.

1 Thessalonians 2:11–12

For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11–12 - ESV) Paul is not done with his efforts at transparency with the Thessalonians. He has moved on to another example, this time, instead of likening himself to a mother who is gentle, he has likened himself to a father who now puts them under pressure for action.  There are three things he says he has done:  Exhorted: Called up. Called to action. Called alongside.  Encouraged: A step further. Called to action with an "I'm in this with you" attitude displayed.  Charged to Walk: Very much a "Go get-em" feel.  And lest you forget the role of God in all of this, he mentions that it isn't Paul and it isn't random that they are being exhorted, encouraged, and charged... It is a calling of God. 

1 Thessalonians 2:10

You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:10 - ESV) This is not a bragging or boasting session coming from Paul. It is an open and honest offer at true transparency. Paul has invited them to examine his life under a microscope, so to speak, to see if he is living what he is proclaiming. Paul is never a "do what I say, not what I do" sort of preacher. Instead, he is a "let me show you how it is done" sort of living example. 

1 Thessalonians 2:9

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. (1 Thessalonians 2:9 - ESV) Paul has expressed his feelings about the Thessalonian Christians and opened himself up to them, going back to the purpose of opening up about his sharing his life with them... He mentions it here as additional evidence that those who have ministered to them are not like the other traveling philosophers and speakers of Paul's day. And he is using their memories of how he ministered to show this to them. While they were proclaiming the gospel, they did not burden the people with the support of these traveling evangelists. They were bi-vocational... they worked to support themselves... not that it ought to always be this way, but in this fragile time of the first proclamations of the gospel, it turned to be very important. 

1 Thessalonians 2:8

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:8 - ESV) Paul now points out that he has not stopped short at sharing with them the good news: the Gospel. He, along with Timothy and Silas, have shared themselves. This can be a challenge for those in ministry, but we ought to look to the forefathers of our faith. Ministry is not to be done at an emotional distance. It ought to be done with a nearness of heart that feels like a sharing of one's own self. Paul also shares the reason for this: they are very dear to him. 

1 Thessalonians 2:7

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7 - ESV) As Paul continues his attempt to distinguish himself from the traveling speakers of his day, he turns also to his behavior with the Thessalonians. He compares the way he was among them as the way a nursing mother is with her children... her own children. They are not nameless crowds that he is building numbers and gathering a following with: No!  They are like his very own children, and he is gentle toward them. 

1 Thessalonians 2:6

Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. (1 Thessalonians 2:6 - ESV) Paul continues to distinguish himself from the traveling speakers of his day. His goal was not glory from people. He is not seeking the praise, popularity, or approval of people. He clarifies though, that he could have, as an apostle, made some demands for support... but he hasn't done even that. 

1 Thessalonians 2:5

For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. (1 Thessalonians 2:5 -- ESV) As a demonstration that Paul, Silas, and Timothy were not people-pleasers (See Verse 13), but God Pleasers... Paul points out two evaluative elements. One: Their words weren't words of flattery and Two: There was not a pretext for Greed. In other words, they were not using their words to manipulate the Thessalonians to get what they wanted or to increase themselves in any way.  This is an important element that is often overlooked with many eloquent speakers of the word today... (Who really aren't speakers of the Word of God.)

1 Thessalonians 2:4

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 -- ESV) The phrase, "approved by God" means tested or evaluated by God. That thought is emphasized twice in this verse, you can see it again near the end, "... to please God who tests our hearts." Through God's testing process, Paul and Silas (and Timothy) have been entrusted with this message of good news. This has motivated them to not be people-pleasers, but God-pleasers with their message. If you pastor, or the preacher of the word that you follow, adjusts his message in order to please a crowd, this is not someone you ought to be listening to. 

1 Thessalonians 2:3

For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, (1 Thessalonians 2:3 -- ESV) Paul is not shy at all that there is an "appeal" in the Gospel presentation. Paul is appealing to them. He is calling them to a response. The Gospel presentation is not simply to have a pleasant conversation or a feel-good conversation... it is a call that appeals to the very soul of the person hearing this good news.  Paul clarifies this appeal's roots with three negatives: Not from Error. There is no error or falsehood in this message.  Not from Impurity. This word usually refers to sexual impurity, but it can mean any impurity. So, not just a lack of error in the details, but also in the motivations and meanings of this gospel message.  Not from Deception. And no attempt to deceive anyone. Jesus himself, when presenting the call to follow him, would say, "consider the cost..." or "count the cost..." Nobody is trying to trick you into followi

1 Thessalonians 2:2

But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. (1 Thessalonians 2:2 -- ESV) Paul is going to defend the arrival of the Gospel message in Thessalonika, but he is going to do this by pointing to his own arrival. Don't confuse this for prideful boasting, his goal is to make sure that they know that he is different from other traveling philosophers that the Thessalonicans would have been very familiar with. He starts this differentiation by pointing out the suffering that they experienced in Philippi (Acts 16:22-24).  He also points out that the declaration of the gospel, though in the middle of conflict, was still done with boldness. If nothing else, this tells you that popularity is not Paul's main concern. 

1 Thessalonians 2:1

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. (1 Thessalonians 2:1 -- ESV) The Christians of Thessalonika know that when Paul and Silas came to their city, that coming was not an empty, pointless, purposeless arrival. There was a result from their coming to that city. In the next few verses, we will see those results, but maybe not in the way that one would think. 

1 Thessalonians 1:10

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10 - ESV) Continuing the thought from the previous collection of verses... the ones that are "waiting for his Son from heaven" are the Thessalonians. This is the Jesus that the Father raised from the Dead. This is the Jesus who will deliver us from the wrath to come (eternal punishment in hell). 

1 Thessalonians 1:9

For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, (1 Thessalonians 1:9 - ESV) "They" ... the residents of Achaia and Macedonia that Paul has encountered are reporting to Paul, as he meets them, the way the Thessalonians received Paul and then responded to the message of the Gospel. Though turning from Idols is only mentioned here... This would have been a big deal for anyone from this time period. The real emphasis, as we will see, is the turn toward the living and true God. 

1 Thessalonians 1:8

For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. (1 Thessalonians 1:8 - ESV) As mentioned in the previous verse, the members of the Thessalonian church have become examples for this entire area. Their Faith in God is being demonstrated in such a way that Paul doesn't need to say anything to begin the work. I don't believe that Paul doesn't literally need to say anything at all, the gospel still needs to be demonstrated in Word, but their example has started the conversations that need to happen. 

1 Thessalonians 1:7

so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:7 - ESV) The members of this Thessalonians Church have now become examples to the entire surrounding area. Thessalonika was located on a main crossroads and offered access to other communities in every direction. This church has not been silent in their living testimonial of what God was doing. They have made Paul's job easier (as we will see in the next few verses) to be able to have an example besides himself to point to. 

1 Thessalonians 1:6

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, (1 Thessalonians 1:6 -- ESV) Paul is an imitator of our Lord Jesus Christ and he has set himself up to be an example for the Thessalonians to follow. True Christian Leadership is never going to be a "Do as I say, not as I do!" mentality. It will instead be a "Here is how you do it." display.

1 Thessalonians 1:5

because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5 - ESV) I believe that Paul is delving deeper into this gratitude that he has for the Thessalonian Church. He is now referring to the time when he was there with them and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was presented to them. The Gospel, he says, came not only in Word, but in three other things: (1) Power, (2) Holy Spirit, and (3) Full Conviction.  There is an interesting direction that Paul begins to take in this verse, that some would consider to be self-promoting or self-congratulating, but when done in the context of gratitude to God, it is a display of humility. We will see this played out a little more clearly in Chapter 2 of 1 Thessalonians. 

1 Thessalonians 1:4

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, (1 Thessalonians 1:4 - ESV) Once again, Paul directs his praise all toward God. These Thessalonians that are displaying Faith, Love, and Hope through their Work, Labor, and Steadfastness... They are Loved by God.  Now, ask the question, "Are they loved by God because of their displays of Faith, Hope, and Love? Or are they displaying these things because they are loved by God?" I believe that the answer is obvious for two reasons. Consider first that Paul is thankful TO God for the Faith, Hope, and Love of the Thessalonians. He is not thanking the Thessalonian people for these things, he is thanking God! And if there is any question, consider also that final statement in this verse: that God has CHOSEN them!  What a great reality this is. 

1 Thessalonians 1:3

remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3 - ESV) Now Paul is getting into the specifics on why he is thankful to God for these Thessalonians. Notice the "triad" of things he is thankful for...  1. Faith -- Displayed in Work.  2. Love -- Displayed in Labor 3. Hope -- Displayed in Steadfastness.  This is not the first (or last) time that Paul mentions these three together: Faith, Hope, and Love. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, he ends by pointing these three out, the order is different here, but the same three are mentioned. For the Corinthians, Paul may have ended on Love because that is what they were most needing to hear about, and it truly is the greatest of these. For the Thessalonians, Paul may have ended on Hope, because that is the place where they were in most need of encouragement.  Faith was displayed in work. This is actions and behaviors. Things that the Thessalon

1 Thessalonians 1:2

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, (1 Thessalonians 1:2 - ESV) "We" is Paul, Silas (Silvanus), and Timothy; and this trio is thanking God, in unison, for this Church at Thessalonika.  When are they doing this? -- Always. Constantly mentioning them in their prayers. Paul, Silas, and Timothy's thankfulness is to God for the Thessalonians. This demonstrates that the things that they will be thankful for and have been thankful for, are attributed to God's grace displayed in the lives of the Thessalonians. 

1 Thessalonians 1:1

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. (1 Thessalonians 1:1 - ESV) Paul and Silas (Silvanus) had left Philippi and entered Thessalonika. After being there and ministering, he had been basically forced to leave the city. Paul is now in Corinth and thinking of the church that was planted in Thessalonika, missing them, worrying about them, praying for them, and writing a letter to them.  He begins his letter to that church in the way he most often does. He includes who he is with, now joined by Timothy, and greets them in the name of the Father and the Son, hoping that God's Grace and Peace are on them.