|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:11-13 Prayer is religious worship, and all religious worship is due unto God only. Prayer is to be offered to God as our Father. Prayer is not only to be offered in the name of Christ, but offered up to Christ himself, as our Lord and our Saviour. Let us acknowledge God in all our ways, and he will direct our paths. Mutual love is required of all Christians. And love is of God, and is fulfilling the gospel as well as the law. We need the Spirit's influences in order to our growth in grace; and the way to obtain them, is prayer. Holiness is required of all who would go to heaven; and we must act so that we do not contradict the profession we make of holiness. The Lord Jesus will certainly come in his glory; his saints will come with him. Then the excellence as well as the necessity of holiness will appear; and without this no hearts shall be established at that day, nor shall any avoid condemnation.
Verse 12. - And the Lord. By some referred to the First Person of the blessed Trinity, God our Father (Alford); by others to the Holy Ghost, as the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are afterwards both mentioned in the prayer; but it is to be referred, according to the prevailing usage in Paul's Epistle, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Make you; literally, you may the Lord make, putting the emphasis on" you." To increase and abound in love one toward another; toward your fellow-Christians. And toward all men; toward the human race in general. "This is the character of Divine love to comprehend all; whereas human love hath respect to one man and not to another" (Theophylact). Even as we do toward you; that is, as we abound in love toward you.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Lord make you to increase,.... That is, the Lord the Spirit; so that the object of prayer, addressed by the apostle, is Father, Son, and Spirit, as in Revelation 1:4. The Alexandrian copy reads "God". The Spirit is God, equally with the Father and the Son, and so a fit object of prayer with them, which otherwise he would not be. The request is, that he would cause these saints to increase in number, as the first churches greatly did: and in the gifts of the Spirit, which he divides to men severally as he will; and in his graces, as in faith, in hope, in holiness, in humility, in knowledge, in spiritual joy and strength, an increase in all which is from him:
and abound in love one towards another; for though they were taught of God to love one another, and did do so, and the apostle had had good tidings of their love; yet it was not perfect, there was room for a further exercise of it, by serving each other by it, in things spiritual and temporal; and he had his request, for it did abound in everyone of them towards each other, 2 Thessalonians 1:3
and towards all men; the men of the world, who were without, were not members of the church, nor professors of the Christian religion, but enemies to that, and to Christ, and to them; and yet they were to love them as men, and pray for them, and do them all the good that lay in their power:
even as we do towards you; for the love of the apostle, and those with him, abounded more and more towards these saints, and was so far from being weakened, that it was increased by their absence from them; and they were more abundantly desirous of seeing them, and were even quite impatient until they sent to them, and heard of them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. The "you" in the Greek is emphatically put first; "But" (so the Greek for "and") what concerns "YOU," whether we come or not, "may the Lord make you to increase and abound in love," &c. The Greek for "increase" has a more positive force; that for "abound" a more comparative force, "make you full (supplying 'that which is lacking,' 1Th 3:10) and even abound." "The Lord" may here be the Holy Spirit; so the Three Persons of the Trinity will be appealed to (compare 1Th 3:13), as in 2Th 3:5. So the Holy Ghost is called "the Lord" (2Co 3:17). "Love" is the fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22), and His office is "to stablish in holiness" (1Th 3:13; 1Pe 1:2).
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