He also collaborated with Paul on the first letter to the Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians Timothy was a resident of Lystra, a city in the province of Galatia Acts From his youth, he had been taught in the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother 2 Timothy ; Timothy was a trusted companion and associate of Paul, and he accompanied Paul on many of his missionary journeys.
Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians on a previous occasion 1 Thessalonians To the church of the Thessalonians : Paul himself founded the church in Thessalonica on his second missionary journey Acts He was only in the city a short time because he was forced out by enemies of the Gospel. But the church of the Thessalonians left behind was alive and active. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ : Paul brought his customary greeting to the Thessalonian Christians, hailing them in the grace and peace of God the Father. It is remarkable that even at this early date the Son is placed side by side with the Father as the fount of divine grace, without any need of comment.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,. It is probable that in the subsequent communications that they had had with him whether by letter, or by word of mouth that had said that they were not worthy of such praise.
Paul strongly maintains that his words had not been too strong. You are bound by the bonds of his love as long as you live to bless his name. It is meet and comely that you should do so.
It is not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute duty of the Christian life to praise God. Because your faith grows exceedingly : Paul thanked God because the Thessalonians had:. This faith and love , thriving in the midst of persecutions and tribulations , made Paul boast of the Thessalonians to other churches. This is so with faith. Do all you can, and then do a little more; and when you can do that, then do a little more than you can.
Always have something in hand that is greater then your present capacity. Grow up to it, and when you have grown up to it, grow more. It implies a strong contrast. Which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,.
The good result — showing them worthy of the kingdom of God — was manifest evidence that God was good in allowing them to suffer the persecutions and tribulations described in 2 Thessalonians First Thessalonians —12 and 2 Thessalonians —16 address work directly. While we are most concerned to hear how Paul wants the problem solved, it will be helpful to make some suggestions as to how the problem might have arisen in the first place.
One could see how such a move would be eased if they had the sort of eschatological fervor noted in the first view. The churches in Macedonia were known for their evangelistic zeal, yet it remains unclear whether the idle in Thessalonica were necessarily using their free time for evangelistic labors. It is difficult to choose between these different reconstructions. They all have something in the letters to support them, and it is not hard to see modern analogies in the modern church.
And questions of unhelpful dependence on the charity of others arise both in the local context e. We can, however, move forward even in the absence of complete certainty about what was going on to cause the problem of idleness in Thessalonica. Paul will have none of it.
Introduction to 1 & 2 Thessalonians
Responsible Christian living embraces work, even the hard work of a first-century manual laborer. It is equally clear that Paul is disturbed when people take advantage of the generosity of others in the church. If people can work, they should work. Finally, the idleness of Christians appears to have given the church a bad name in the pagan community. See, e. Westerholm and G. Agrell Lund: Ohlssons, , —23; John A. See, with various points of emphasis, D. Paul highlights that God expects every Christian who can work to do so 1 Thess. Being a manual laborer in a Greco-Roman city was a hard life by modern and ancient standards, and the thought that it might not be necessary must have been appealing.
The idea is plainly that love and respect are essential in Christian relationships, and that living off the charity of others unnecessarily is unloving and disrespectful to the charitable brother s or sister s concerned. It is important to remember that work does not always mean paid work.
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Many forms of work—cooking, cleaning, repairing, beautifying, raising children, coaching youth, and thousands of others—meet the needs of family or community but do not receive remuneration. Others—the arts come to mind—may be offered free of charge or at prices too low to support those who do them.
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Nonetheless, they are all work. Christians are not necessarily expected to earn money, but to work to support themselves, their families, and the church and community. Given the importance of work, Christians are to be the best workers they can be. Failure to work with excellence may bring the church into disrepute. Many Cynics in the Greco-Roman world abandoned their jobs, and this behavior was widely regarded as disgraceful. In 1 Thessalonians —12, Paul is evidently concerned that society is getting a wrong view of the church.
With respect to work, Christians should be model citizens. By placing the idlers under discipline, the church would effectively be distancing itself from their defective behavior. Mature Christians are to set an example for young Christians by modeling a good work ethos. Although Paul knew it was the right of the minister of the gospel to be financially supported 1 Tim. He saw the need to set new converts an example of what the Christian life looked like, and that meant joining them in manual labor.
Itinerant philosophers in the Greco-Roman world were often quick to burden their converts financially, but Paul did not care about having an easy life or projecting an image of superiority over his spiritual charges. Christian leadership is servant leadership, even in the arena of work.
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The positive view of hard work that Paul was promoting was countercultural. Christians in the first century referred to each other as brothers or sisters Acts ; ; ; Romans ; 1 Corinthians ; Ephesians ; 1 Timothy ; Revelation ; Some Christians today still use that sort of language. The rest of us would do well to recover it. Paul commands the faithful to withdraw from those who walk in ataktos. That is the crux of the problem here. Instead, he hopes to get the attention of those who are idle and disruptive—and to encourage them to start working and to stop meddling.
At that point, they can be restored to the community of faith—which then will be harmonious rather than troubled.
2 Thessalonians - Free Bible Commentary in easy English
Other scriptures that encourage this kind of redemptive withdrawal are Luke ; Romans ; Galatians ; 1 Ephesians ; Timothy ; and Titus These expressions of disapproval would put great pressure on the non-compliant to become compliant. Some Thessalonian Christians are Jewish, and Jewish disciples are expected to imitate their rabbis.
Thessalonians are Greek, and Greek students are expected to imitate their teachers. What Paul is asking is both common practice and common sense. The ultimate challenge, of course, is to imitate Christ. When Christ calls us to follow him Matthew ; Mark ; Luke ; John , he is calling us to adopt his values and to act as he would act—even to the point of bearing a cross Matthew ; ; Mark ; Luke As noted in the comments on verse 6a above, the words ataktos adverb and atakteo verb indicate idle and disruptive behavior. In Acts , Luke tells us that Paul was a tentmaker by trade.
In his first letter to the Corinthian church, he mentioned working with his own hands 1 Corinthians He paid his own way and reimbursed those who gave him food. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul established that elders engaged in teaching the word of God are worthy of support. The idea behind this law was that working animals deserve to eat. Paul adapted that to mean that working elders deserve to eat.
Related 1,2 Thessalonians (The Peoples Bible)
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