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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 1

 

 

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Verses 1-16

REMINISCENT

For the story of the founding of this church by Paul, examine Acts 17. We call the first section of the epistle the reminiscent part, because the apostle is referring to what had taken place in Thessalonica at that time.

It opens with the usual salutation 1 Thessalonians 1:1, in which Silas and Timothy are named with Paul, not as co-writers, but co-workers with him when in that city, and so known to the church.

The thanksgiving follows, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, in which is mentioned a triad of graces (1 Thessalonians 1:3) that had been produced in these young Christians, testifying assuredly to their election of God (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

Next comes a testimony to the church of the deepest interest (1 Thessalonians 1:5-10). Through receiving the Word of God in the Holy Ghost, they had become imitators of Paul and of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:6) to such an extent that all the saints throughout Greece were reaping a blessing from their lives (1 Thessalonians 1:7).

Travelers passing from them to other parts, were carrying the news of what God had done for them, so that Paul’s own witness was made unnecessary (1 Thessalonians 1:8). It was an evidence of his ministry among them as the result of which they had “turned to God from idols” (a “work of faith”); “to serve the living and true God” (a “labor of love”); and to wait for His Son from heaven” (“patience of hope”). The explanation of it all is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:5.

The testimony to the church leads to a testimony about himself (1 Thessalonians 2:1-16), not for his own praise, but the magnifying of the grace of God in him. In verse 5 of the previous chapter, he had shown that the wonderful result of the gospel among them was explained by the power of the Holy Ghost, with which it had been preached; and this power, in turn, was explained by the “manner of men we were among you for your sake.” Again, in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, he referred to the “manner of entering in we had unto you,” while in chapter 2, he expatiates upon it. In other words, “the manner of man” he had been was expressed: (1) by courage and devotion (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 with the story in Acts 16); (2) by faithfulness and impartiality. His preaching had not been of deceit (error), uncleanness, guile, flattery, covetousness, or vainglory. The gospel had been committed to him by God, as a sacred trust; and since to God he must give account of his stewardship, he ministered it not to please men but God, “which trieth our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6). (3) by kindness and affection. His gentleness was like that of a mother nursing her children (see RV). His affection was shown in the self- denying labor of tent-making in which he engaged to earn his living, that he might “not be chargeable” to them for his support (1 Thessalonians 2:7-9). (4) in holiness and consistency of life (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12). No wonder therefore that they received his message as the “Word of God” and not the word of men (1 Thessalonians 2:13); nor that it should have effectually wrought in them as it did “in the churches of God in Judea” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

QUESTIONS

1. Have you read Acts 16-17 in connection with this lesson?

2. Why is this lesson called “Reminiscent”?

3. Why are Silas and Timothy named?

4. What triad of graces was seen in these young Christians?

5. How do you explain 1:7?

6. What is the theme of chapter 2?

7. How was Paul’s Christian character exhibited among the Thessalonians?

8. What was the result?

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 1:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/1-thessalonians-1.html. 1897-1910.

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