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Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent, [1886], at

1 Thessalonians Chapter 2

1 Thessalonians 2:1

th1 2:1

Was not in vain (οὐ κενὴ γέγονεν)

More accurately, hath not proved vain. Κενὴ is empty. Ματαία, also rendered vain, is fruitless.

1 Thessalonians 2:2

th1 2:2

Having suffered before (προπαθόντες)

N.T.o. Although we had suffered.

Having been shamefully entreated (ὑβρισθέντες)

Comp. Matthew 22; Luk 18:32; Act 14:5. This may have been added because προπαθόντες alone might denote the experience of something good; but it is more probably intended as an expansion and illustration of that word. Paul's sensitiveness to personal indignity appears in the narrative in Acts 16, which gives the historical explanation of the two words. It appears frequently in 2nd Corinthians.

As ye know (καθὼς οἴδατε)

One of the many characteristic expressions of these Epistles which indicate community of experience and sentiment on the part of Paul and his readers. See Th1 1:5, Th1 1:8; Th1 2:1, Th1 2:5, Th1 2:10, Th1 2:11; Th1 3:3, Th1 3:4, Th1 3:12; Th1 4:1, Th1 4:2, Th1 4:6, Th1 4:11; Th1 5:1, Th1 5:11; Th2 2:16; Th2 3:1, Th2 3:2.


See Acts 16:19-40; Phi 1:1.

We waxed bold (ἐπαρρησιασάμεθα)

Only once elsewhere in Paul, Eph 6:20. Frequent in Acts. Always in N.T. in connection with speaking. Derived from πᾶν every, and ῥῆσις speaking. Hence παρρησία boldness, bold speaking out of every word. The noun is very often used adverbially, as παρρησίᾳ boldly or openly, Mar 8:32; see also Joh 18:20. In Acts always μετὰ παρρησίας with boldness, comp. Heb 4:16. Ἑν παρρησίᾳ in boldness, Joh 7:4; Joh 16:29; Eph 6:19; Phi 1:20. Both the verb and the noun are found in lxx. See Lev 26:13; Pro 10:10; Wisd. 5:1; 1 Macc. 4:18; Sir. 6:11.

In our God (ἐν τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν)

Const. with we waxed bold. Their boldness was not mere natural courage, but was inspired by God. There is a slight emphasis on our God, as contrasted with the idols from which they had turned (Th1 1:9). The phrase only here in N.T.

Gospel of God (εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Θεοῦ)

For the phrase see Mar 1:14; Rom 1:1; Rom 15:16; Co2 11:7; Th1 2:8, Th1 2:9; Pe1 4:17. It points to the monotheistic character of the gospel.

In much contention (ἐν πολλῷ ἀγῶνι)

Better conflict. Comp. Col 2:1; Phi 1:27; Ti1 6:12; Heb 12:1. Ἁγὼν originally of a contest in the arena; but it is used of any struggle, outward or inward.

1 Thessalonians 2:3

th1 2:3

Exhortation (παράκλησις)

See on Luk 6:24 and see on Co1 14:3. Exhortation or counsel is Paul's usual sense.

Of deceit (ἐκ πλάνης)

Better, of error. It may imply deceit as accompanying or causing error, but it does not occur in the sense of deceit. Our exhortation did not proceed from any false teaching which we had ourselves received. We were guided by "the spirit of truth"; See Jo1 4:6, and comp. Pe2 1:16.

Of uncleanness (ἐξ ἀκαθαρσίας)

Ἀκαθαρσία in Mat 23:27 of the corruption of the sepulchre. Elsewhere in N.T. of sensual impurity. See Rom 1:24; Co2 12:21; Eph 4:19. Here in the sense of impurity on the side of sordidness. In Eph 4:19, Paul speaks of working uncleanness (ἀκαθαρσίαν) in a spirit of selfish desire (πλεονεξία) which is the spirit of covetousness. In Eph 5:3, uncleanness and covetousness are closely associated. Paul means that his exhortation did not proceed from greed for gain or lust for power.

In guile (ἐν δόλῳ)

While uncleanness expresses impure purpose or motive, guile has reference to improper means; plausible but insincere methods of winning converts; suppression of the truth; "huckstering the word of God" (see on Co2 2:17); adulterating it for purposes of gain or popularity.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

th1 2:4

We were allowed (δεδοκιμάσμεθα)

More correctly, approved. See on Pe1 1:7. We came and spoke to you as tested men.

Pleasing (ἀρέσκοντες)

As being those who seek to please. Comp. Gal 1:10, and ἀνθρωπάρεσκοι man-pleasers, Eph 6:6; Col 3:22. Comp. lxx, Psa 52:5 : "God hath scattered the bones of men-pleasers." The fourth Psalm of Solomon is entitled: Against the men-pleasers (ἀνθρωπαρέσκοις).

Who proveth (δοκιμάζοντι)

Word-play with δεδοκιμάσμεθα we were approved.

1 Thessalonians 2:5

th1 2:5

Used we flattering words (ἐν λόγῳ κολακίας ἐγενηθήμεν)

Better, were we found using flattering discourse. Very literally and baldly it is, we came to pass in discourse of flattery. It means more than the mere fact that they were not flatterers: rather, they did not prove to be such in the course of their work. Similar periphrases with ἐν are found, Luk 22:44; Act 22:17; Co2 3:7; Phi 2:7; with εἰς, Mat 21:42; Mar 12:10; Luk 20:17; Act 4:11; Th1 3:5. Κολακία flattery, N.T.o. olxx. Rare in Class. Λόγῳ is explained by some as report or rumor. Common report did not charge us with being flatterers. This meaning is admissible, but the other is simpler. Paul says that they had not descended to flattery in order to make the gospel acceptable. They had not flattered men's self-complacency so as to blind them to their need of the radical work which the gospel demands.

Cloke of covetousness (προφάσει πλεονεξίας)

For πρόφασις see on Joh 15:22. Properly pretext: πρό before, φάσις a word or saying. Others, less probably, from προφαίνειν to cause to shine forth or before. Paul means that he had not used his apostolic office to disguise or conceal avaricious designs.

God is witness (θεὸς μάρτυς)

Comp. Rom 1:9; Co2 1:23; Phi 1:8; Th1 2:10. God or the Lord is witness is a common O.T. formula: see Gen 31:44, Gen 31:50; Sa1 12:5, Sa1 12:6; Sa1 20:23, Sa1 20:42; Wisd. 1:6. For testimony to his conduct, he appeals to the Thessalonians (as ye know): for testimony to his motives, he appeals to God. Comp. Th1 2:10, where there is the double appeal.

1 Thessalonians 2:6

th1 2:6

Of men (ἐξ ἀνθρώπων)

To extract glory from men.

When we might have been burdensome (δυνάμενοι ἐν βάρει εἶναι)

Lit. being able to be in weight. The phrase ἐν βάρει in weight is unique in N.T., and does not occur in lxx. The better rendering here is to be in authority. Paul means that his position as an apostle would have warranted him in asserting authority or standing on his dignity, which he did not do. Βάρος weight, in the sense of influence, is found in late Greek. Paul's Epistles were called weighty (βαρεῖαι), Co2 10:10 : others explain as referring to the apostolic right to exact pecuniary support.

1 Thessalonians 2:7

th1 2:7

Gentle (ἤπιοι)

This reading is adopted by Tischendorf, Weiss, and the Rev. T. Westcott and Hort read νήπιοι babes. This gives a stronger and bolder image, and one which falls in better with the course of thought, in which Paul is asserting his innocence of guile and flattery, and not of harshness.

Among you (ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν)

Better, and more literally, in the midst of you, which implies more intimate intercourse than among you. Comp. Luk 22:27.

Nurse (τροφός)

N.T.o. In Class. sometimes of a mother, and so probably here. See Gal 4:19.

Cherisheth (θάλπῃ)

Po. Here and Eph 5:29. The verb originally means to warm. See lxx, Deu 22:6.

Her own children

Note the inversion of metaphor. Paul is first the babe, then the nurse or mother. For similar instances see Th1 5:2, Th1 5:4; Co2 3:13-16; Rom 7:1 ff. See Introduction to 2 Corinthians, Vol. 3, p. 19.

1 Thessalonians 2:8

th1 2:8

Being affectionately desirous (ὁμειρόμενοι)

N.T.o. Once in lxx, Job 3:21. The figure of the nursing mother is continued. She is not satisfied with nursing the child, but interests herself affectionately in all that concerns it.

We were willing (ηὐδοκοῦμεν)

Better, we were pleased. Imperfect tense: we continued to entertain and manifest our affectionate solicitude. The verb occasionally in later Greek, and often in lxx. In N.T. it is used of God's decrees, as Luk 12:32; Co1 1:21; Gal 1:15; Col 1:19; and of the free determination and plans of men, as Rom 15:26; Co2 5:8; Th1 3:1.

Souls (ψυχάς)

Better lives. See on Rom 11:3; see on Co1 15:45; see on Mar 12:30.

1 Thessalonians 2:9

th1 2:9

Labor - travail (κόπον - μόχθον)

The two words are associated in Co2 11:27; Th2 3:8. Μόχθος travail, Po. Frequent in lxx. Κόπος emphasizes fatigue, μόχθος hardship.

Because we would not be chargeable (πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἐπιβαρῆσαι)

Incorrect. Rend. that we might not burden. Put you to expense for our support. Comp. Th2 3:8.

1 Thessalonians 2:10

th1 2:10

Holily - justly - unblameably (ὁσίως - δικαίως - ἀμέμπτως)

For δικαίως holily, see on Luk 1:75; for δικαίως justly or righteously, see on Rom 1:17; see on Rom 5:7. Ἁμέμπτως unblameably, only in these Epistles. See Th1 3:13; Th1 5:23. For the distinction between ὅσιος and δίκαιος see Plato, Gorg. 507.

1 Thessalonians 2:11

th1 2:11

Comforted (παραμυθούμενοι)

The A.V. renders the three participles in this verse as finite verbs, we exhorted, etc. Rev. retains the participial construction. Better than comforted, persuading. Persuasion is the form which the exhortation assumed. Παράκλησις exhortation, and παραμύθιου persuasion, are associated in Phi 2:1. The verb παραμυθέομαι, to persuade occurs only four times in N.T. See on Phi 2:1. Neither verb nor noun in lxx.

Charged (μαρτυρόμενοι)

Rev. testifying; but the A.V. is more correct. Rend. charging. The verb means to conjure, or appeal to by something sacred. So Eph 4:17. Comp. Act 20:26; Gal 5:3, and διαμαρτύρομαι I charge, Ti1 5:21; Ti2 2:14; Ti2 4:1. Comp. Thucyd. vi. 80.

1 Thessalonians 2:12

th1 2:12

Walk (περιπατεῖν)

By Paul exclusively in the metaphorical sense of behaving or conducting one's self. Similarly in Hebrews. In the Synoptic Gospels, with one exception (Mar 7:5), of the physical act. Both senses in the Fourth Gospel, but only the metaphorical sense in John's Epistles. Once in the metaphorical sense in Acts, Act 21:21. In lxx almost exclusively literal; but see 2 Kings 20:23; Pro 8:20; Ecc 11:9. The phrase ἀξίως περιπατεῖν to walk worthily, in Eph 4:1; Col 1:10.

Worthy of God (ἀξίως θεοῦ)

Better worthily. For ἀξίως comp. lxx, Wisd. 7:15; 16:1; Sir. 14:11. The formula ἀξίως θεοῦ is found among the Pergamum papyri. A priest of Dionysus is described as having performed his sacred duties ἀξίως θεοῦ. A priestess of Athene as having served ἀξίως τῆς θεοῦ καὶ τῆς πατρίδος worthily of the goddess and of her fatherland. A chief herdsman as having conducted the divine mysteries. ἀξίως τοῦ καθηγεμόνος Διονύσου worthily of his chief, Dionysus. The dates of these papyri are from 141 b.c. to the beginning of the first century a.d.

Kingdom and glory

The only instance of this collocation. God's kingdom is here conceived as present - the economy of divine grace to which the readers are called as Christians. Glory is the future consummation of that kingdom. For βασιλεία kingdom, see on Luk 6:20. Δόξα glory is not used in N.T. in its primary, classical sense of opinion or notion. It signifies reputation, Joh 12:43; Rom 2:7, Rom 2:10 : brightness or splendor, Act 22:11; Rom 9:4; Co1 15:40. Glory of God expresses the sum total of the divine perfections. The idea is prominent in redemptive revelation: see Isa 60:1; Rom 5:2; Rom 6:4. It expresses the form in which God reveals himself in the economy of salvation: see Rom 9:23; Eph 1:12; Ti1 1:11. It is the means by which the redemptive work is carried on: see Pe2 1:3; Rom 6:4; Eph 3:16; Col 1:11. It is the goal of Christian hope: see Rom 5:2; Rom 8:18, Rom 8:21; Tit 2:13.

1 Thessalonians 2:13

th1 2:13

Also - we

Also may point to an expression of thanksgiving in a letter from the Thessalonians to Paul. You say "we give thanks to God." We also give thanks. Comp. Th1 1:2.

When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us (παραλαβόντες λόγον ἀκοῆς παρ' ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ)

Rend. when ye received the word of the message (which came) from us, even the word of God. The words the word of the message from us form one conception, governed by παραλαβόντες having received or when ye received; therefore from us is not to be taken as depending on having received, as Rev. when ye received from us the word, etc. Of God (supply the word) is added in order to correct any possible false impression made by from us. Ἁκοή in N.T. means the sense of hearing, as Mat 13:14; Co1 12:17; Pe2 2:8 : or the organ of hearing = ear, as Mar 7:35; Luk 7:1 : or a thing heard, a report, rumor, as Joh 12:38; Rom 10:16. The phrase λόγος ἀκοῆς or τῆς ἀκοῆς the word of hearing, or word of the message, signifies the word which is heard. Comp. Heb 4:2. See on the fame, Luk 4:37.

Effectually worketh (ἐνεργεῖται)

Referring to the word, not to God. Comp. Phi 2:13. In the middle voice as here, used only by Paul and James, and only of things. See Eph 3:20; Col 1:29; Jam 5:16, and footnote on Col 1:29. The noun ἐνέργεια, Po. It means power in exercise, and is used only of superhuman power.

1 Thessalonians 2:14

th1 2:14

In Christ Jesus

Seems to be added to distinguish the Christian churches in Judaea from the synagogues of the Jews, which would claim to be churches of God. Comp. Gal 1:22, and see on Th1 1:1. In Christ Jesus, in Christ, in Jesus, in the Lord, in him, are common Pauline formulas to denote the most intimate communion with the living Christ. These phrases are not found in the Synoptic Gospels. Ἑν ἐμοί in me (Christ) is frequent in the Fourth Gospel. The conception is that of a sphere or environment in which a Christian or a church lives, as a bird in the air, or the roots of a tree in the soil.

Countrymen (συμφυλετῶν)

N.T.o. olxx. Not in pre-Christian Greek writers. Lit. belonging to the same tribe or clan. The reference is to the Gentile persecutors who were instigated by the Jews.

1 Thessalonians 2:15

th1 2:15

Persecuted (ἐκδιωξάντων)

Rev. more literally and correctly, drave out. The word only here, though it occurs as an alternative reading, Luk 11:49. Probably with special reference to his own expulsion from Thessalonica. Act 17:5-10.

Contrary to all men

Tacitus (Hist. v. 5) describes the Jews as stubborn in their faith, prompt in kindly offices to each other, but bitterly hostile toward everybody else: Juvenal (Sat. xiv. 102 f.) says that they observe and respect whatever Moses has taught in his mystical volume; not to show the way except to one who practices the same rites, and to show the well only to the circumcised.

1 Thessalonians 2:16

th1 2:16

To speak - that they might be saved (λαλῆσαι ἵνα σωθῶσιν)

Not, to speak to the Gentiles in order that they might be saved, but to tell the Gentiles that they might be saved. Comp. Co1 10:33.

To fill up (ἀναπληρῶσαι)

The verb means the making up of what is lacking to perfect fulness; the filling of a partial void. Comp. Phi 2:30. Once in lxx of filling up of sins, Gen 15:16. Always blind and stubborn, the Jews filled up the measure of their sins by their treatment of Christ and his apostles.

Alway (πάντοτε)

Emphatically placed at the end of the sentence. At all times - before Christ, in Christ's time, now - the Jews by their resistance to the divine word fill up their sins.

Is come (ἔφθασεν)

The verb not frequent in N.T. and used mostly by Paul. See on Co2 10:14, and comp. Rom 9:31; Phi 3:16.

To the uttermost (εἰς τέλος)

This is not the meaning of the phrase in N.T. It is to the end: see Mat 10:22; Mat 24:13; Luk 18:5; Joh 13:1. The wrath of God had not come upon them to the uttermost. The meaning is that the divine wrath had reached the point where it passed into judgment.

1 Thessalonians 2:17

th1 2:17

Being taken from you (ἀπορφανισθέντες)

N.T.o. olxx. Rev. better, being bereaved of you. From ὀρφανός bereft. See Mar 12:40, Joh 14:18; Jam 1:27. The word suggests the intimate personal fellowship of the writer with his readers. The separation was like that between parents and children. Comp. Th1 2:7, Th1 2:8.

For a short time (πρὸς καιρὸν ὥρας)

N.T.o. Lit. for the season of an hour. Comp. Lat. horae momentum. Stronger than the usual phrase πρὸς ὥραν for an hour: see Co2 7:8; Gal 2:5; Plm 1:15. Comp. πρὸς καιρὸν for a season, Luk 8:13; Co1 7:5.

The more abundantly (περισσοτέρως)

Rev. the more exceedingly. Paul uses this adverb very freely, and outside of his letters it appears only Heb 2:1; Heb 13:19. He is much given to the use of comparatives, and sometimes heaps them together: see Rom 8:37; Co2 7:13; Co2 4:17; Eph 3:20; Phi 1:23.

1 Thessalonians 2:18

th1 2:18

We would (ἠθελήσαμεν)

Implying more than a mere inclination or desire. It was our will to come. See on Mat 1:19.

I Paul

Not implying any less desire on the part of his associates, but emphasizing his own. See on the use of the epistolary plural, Th1 1:2.

Satan (Σατανᾶς)

From the Aramaic Satana, adversary. In the canonical lxx the name appears only three times, Kg1 11:14, Kg1 11:23, Kg1 11:25, and in each case is applied to a man. In lxx διάβολος is used, almost without exception, as the translation of the Hebrew Satan. Of 22 instances of διάβολος only 9 are outside of the book of Job. From the more general conception of an adversary, there is, in the O.T., a gradual development toward that of an evil personality. For instance, in Sa2 24:1, the numbering of the people is ascribed to the anger of the Lord. The later historian, in Ch1 21:1, ascribes the act to Satan. See also Job, Wisd. 2:24; Zac 3:1. The specialising of the conception was due, in part, to the contact of the Jews with the religions of Babylon and Persia. In N.T. Satan appears as the personal spirit of evil - the same who is called the devil, the wicked one, the prince of the power of the air, the prince of this world, the serpent, the God of this world, the tempter. He tempts to evil, opposes God's work, inspires evil dispositions, torments God's people. The word Satan occurs only once in the Fourth Gospel, not in the Epistles, but often in Revelation. Mark never uses διάβολος, Matthew never Satan. Paul seldom διάβολος, often Satan. Satan alone in Pastorals. Luke uses both. It is clear that Paul here as elsewhere employs the word in a personal sense; but any attempt to base the doctrine of a personal devil on this and similar passages is unsafe.

Hindered (ἐνέκοψεν)

See on Pe1 3:7.

1 Thessalonians 2:19

th1 2:19


Used of the object of hope, as Col 1:5; Ti1 1:1; Heb 6:18.

Joy - crown (χαρὰ - στέφανος)

Comp. Phi 4:1. The phrase crown of rejoicing or boasting, in Pro 16:31; Eze 16:12; Eze 23:42. Comp. Isa 62:3, στέφανος κάλλους crown of beauty, and Soph. Aj. 465, στέφ εὐκλείας crown of renown. The Thessalonians were "a chaplet of victory of which Paul might justly make his boast in the day of the Lord" (Ellicott). For στέφανος see on Rev 4:4.

Coming (παρουσίᾳ)

See on Mat 24:8, and see on ἐπιφάνεια appearing, Ti1 6:14 and see on Th2 2:8.

Next: 1 Thessalonians Chapter 3