|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-6 The apostle had no wordly design in his preaching. Suffering in a good cause should sharpen holy resolution. The gospel of Christ at first met with much opposition; and it was preached with contention, with striving in preaching, and against opposition. And as the matter of the apostle's exhortation was true and pure, the manner of his speaking was without guile. The gospel of Christ is designed for mortifying corrupt affections, and that men may be brought under the power of faith. This is the great motive to sincerity, to consider that God not only sees all we do, but knows our thoughts afar off, and searches the heart. And it is from this God who trieth our hearts, that we must receive our reward. The evidences of the apostle's sincerity were, that he avoided flattery and covetousness. He avoided ambition and vain-glory.
Verse 6. - Nor of (or, from) men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome. These words admit of two meanings. The apostle may refer to his refusal to seek maintenance from the Thessalonians, and in this sense become a burden to them. But such a meaning does not suit the context; and besides: this refusal of maintenance is afterwards alluded to by the apostle. The reference here is not to maintenance, but to glory: we did not seek glory from you, when we might have been burdensome, when we might have done so. Hence the word is to be taken in the sense of honor, importance; when we might have claimed honor. As - in virtue of our character as - the apostles of Christ. Paul does not speak of himself alone, but he includes Silas and Timothy, and therefore the word "apostles" is to be taken, not in its restricted, but in its wider meaning.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nor of men sought we glory,.... Honour, esteem, and popular applause; for though there is an honour that is due to the faithful ministers of the word, who are highly to be esteemed for their works' sake, and as ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God; and especially there was an honour and glory that belonged to the apostles of Christ as such, who were set in the highest office and place in the church; yet they did not seek after it as the Pharisees and false teachers did, who received honour one of another, and sought not that which comes from God only: but so did not the apostles; they took no steps this way to procure glory and esteem among men, but all the reverse; they preached doctrines which were not of men, nor according to men, nor agreeable to them; and these they delivered in a disagreeable way, not with enticing words of men's wisdom, they did not seek to please men, but spoke and did everything that rendered them mean and despicable in their eyes; so that they looked upon them as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things: nor was this any disappointment to them, for to gain the favour of men was not their end and view; they did not seek for glory neither of the men of the world,
neither of you; the church at Thessalonica, and the inhabitants of that place:
nor yet of others; of other men, and churches elsewhere:
when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ: or "have used authority", which was given them, though not for destruction, but for edification; put on a magisterial air, and made use of the apostolic rod; appeared with some severity and rigour, and so have commanded awe, respect, and reverence: or "have been in honour"; insisted upon being treated in an honourable way, as the apostles of Christ, his ambassadors, who were sent and came in his name, and represented his person; and therefore to be received as he himself; though the phrase may rather have regard to an honourable maintenance, as in 2 Corinthians 11:9 which as the apostles of Christ they might have required as their due, but they chose rather to relinquish their right, and labour with their own hands, that they might not be chargeable: and so "glory" in the former clause may mean the same, even great and glorious things for themselves, a maintenance answerable to their high character and office, which they did not seek; but were content with a poor pittance, and such as they could get with their own hand labour; in which sense the phrase, "double honour", seems to be used in 1 Timothy 5:17 as appears by the reason given in the next verse.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. Literally, "Nor of men (have we been found, 1Th 2:5) seeking glory." The "of" here represents a different Greek word from "of" in the clause "of you … of others." Alford makes the former (Greek, "ex") express the abstract ground of the glory; the latter (apo) the concrete object from which it was to come. The former means "originating from"; the latter means "on the part of." Many teach heretical novelties, though not for fain, yet for "glory." Paul and his associates were free even from this motive [Grotius], (Joh 5:44).
we might have been burdensome—that is, by claiming maintenance (1Th 2:9; 2Co 11:9; 12:16; 2Th 3:8). As, however, "glory" precedes, as well as "covetousness," the reference cannot be restricted to the latter, though I think it is not excluded. Translate, "when we might have borne heavily upon you," by pressing you with the weight of self-glorifying authority, and with the burden of our sustenance. Thus the antithesis is appropriate in the words following, "But we were gentle (the opposite of pressing weightily) among you" (1Th 2:7). On weight being connected with authority, compare Note, see on 2Co 10:10, "His letters are weighty" (1Co 4:21). Alford's translation, which excludes reference to his right of claiming maintenance ("when we might have stood on our dignity"), seems to me disproved by 1Th 2:9, which uses the same Greek word unequivocally for "chargeable." Twice he received supplies from Philippi while at Thessalonica (Php 4:16).
as the apostles—that is, as being apostles.
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