1 Thessalonians 1:5
For our gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) “If God had not set His heart upon you, we never could have been as successful among you as we were.”

Our gospel came not unto you.—Or rather, the glad tidings which we brought did not prove among you, in its action upon you.

In word only.—Comp. 1Corinthians 2:4; 1Corinthians 4:20. “It did not consist merely of so much eloquent instruction, but also we found we were speaking with a conscious power—indeed with all the force of the Holy Ghost—and with an overmastering conviction that we were right and should prevail.” That by the “power,” “assurance,” etc., are meant the preachers’ own, and not the people’s, is proved by the next clause, “as ye know.”

In the Holy Ghost.—The Greek here omits the definite article. In such cases attention is not so much called to the Blessed Person Himself, as to the exalted, inspired enthusiasm with which He fills us. The union of the divine and human spirit is so close (see 1Corinthians 6:17) that it is often hard in the New Testament to distinguish which is meant.

As ye know sums up with an appeal to their memory: “In fact, you recollect what God made us like among you.”

For your sake gives not their own purpose, but God’s, carrying on the thought of the “election.”

1 Thessalonians 1:5. For our gospel — The gospel which we preach, and which has been solemnly committed to our charge; came not unto you in word only — You not only heard, understood, and assented to it as a revelation from God, and received thereby information concerning those spiritual and divine things of which you were before ignorant; but it came also in power — Awakening your minds to a deep sense of the infinite importance, as well as certainty, of the discoveries it makes you, especially concerning the future and eternal state awaiting you, and your present fallen, sinful, and depraved condition; convincing your consciences of the number and greatness of your sins and follies, and your want of a Saviour from that state of ignorance and guilt, depravity, weakness, and misery, in which you saw yourselves to be involved; thus humbling you before a holy and just God, and bringing you to the footstool of his mercy in true repentance and godly sorrow, productive of fruits worthy of repentance. And in the Holy Ghost — Bearing an outward testimony by various miraculous operations to the truth and importance of the gospel which we preach; and by his enlightening, quickening, and renewing influences on your souls, causing it to produce the fore-mentioned effects; and above all, inspiring you with living faith in Christ, and in the promises of God through him, and thereby revealing him to and in you the hope of glory; Galatians 1:16; Colossians 1:27; and at the same time creating you anew in Christ Jesus, and strengthening you with might in the inner man, (Ephesians 3:16,) that you might be able, as well as willing, to withstand all the subtlety, power, and malice of your spiritual enemies, and to do and suffer the whole will of God. And in much assurance — Greek, εν πληροφορια πολλη, literally, in full assurance and much of it; not only begetting in you a full persuasion of the certain truth and infinite importance of the doctrines, precepts, promises, threatenings, and every part of the gospel declared to you, but of your personal interest in the privileges and blessings of it, and therefore of your present justification and acceptance with God, of your adoption into his family, regeneration by his grace, and title to his glory; and causing you to rejoice in expectation thereof, and that with a lively and joyful expectation, even with joy unspeakable and full of glory. So that both the full assurance of faith, and the full assurance of hope, accompanied with perfect love casting out fear, (all which graces are expressly mentioned by the apostles in their epistles, see Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 4:17 :) are implied in the much assurance here spoken of. And these effects, if not the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, always more or less attend the faithful preaching of the true and genuine gospel of Christ; neither are some extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost always wholly withheld, where the gospel is preached with power, and preachers and hearers are alive to God. As ye know what mariner of men we were among you — How we conducted ourselves, and with what zeal and diligence we exerted ourselves in order to your salvation; for your sakes — Seeking your advantage, not our own.1:1-5 As all good comes from God, so no good can be hoped for by sinners, but from God in Christ. And the best good may be expected from God, as our Father, for the sake of Christ. We should pray, not only for ourselves, but for others also; remembering them without ceasing. Wherever there is a true faith, it will work; it will affect both the heart and life. Faith works by love; it shows itself in love to God, and love to our neighbour. And wherever there is a well-grounded hope of eternal life, this will appear by the exercise of patience; and it is a sign of sincerity, when in all we do, we seek to approve ourselves to God. By this we may know our election, if we not only speak of the things of God with out lips, but feel their power in our hearts, mortifying our lusts, weaning us from the world, and raising us up to heavenly things. Unless the Spirit of God comes with the word of God, it will be to us a dead letter. Thus they entertained it by the power of the Holy Ghost. They were fully convinced of the truth of it, so as not to be shaken in mind by objections and doubts; and they were willing to leave all for Christ, and to venture their souls and everlasting condition upon the truth of the gospel revelation.For our gospel came not unto you - When first preached; Acts 17:1-3. Paul speaks of it as "our gospel," because it was the gospel preached by him and Silas and Timothy; comp 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:8. He did not mean to say that the gospel had been originated by him, but only that he had delivered the good news of salvation to them. He is here stating the evidence which had been given that they were a church "chosen by God." He refers, first, to the manner in which the gospel was received by them 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7, and, secondly, to the spirit which they themselves manifested in sending it abroad; yet.1 Thessalonians 1:8.

In word only - Was not merely spoken; or was not merely heard. It produced a powerful effect on the heart and life. It was not a mere empty sound that produced no other effect than to entertain or amuse; compare Ezekiel 33:32.

But also in power - That is, in such power as to convert the soul. The apostle evidently refers not to any miracles that were performed there, but to the effect of the gospel on those who heard it. It is possible that there were miracles performed there, as there were in other places, but there is no mention of such a fact, and it is not necessary to suppose it, in order to see the full meaning of this language. There was great power manifested in the gospel in its leading them to break off from their sins, to abandon their idols, and to give their hearts to God; see this more fully explained in the notes on 1 Corinthians 2:4.

And in the Holy Ghost - Compare the notes on 1 Corinthians 2:4. It is there called the "demonstration of the Spirit."

And in much assurance - That is, with firm conviction, or full persuasion of its truth. It was not embraced as a doubtful thing, and it did not produce the effect on the mind which is caused by anything that is uncertain in its character. Many seem to embrace the gospel as if they only half believed it, or as if it were a matter of very doubtful truth and importance; but this was not the case with the Thessalonians. There was the firmest conviction of its truth, and they embraced it "heart and soul;" compare Colossians 2:2; Hebrews 6:11. From all that is said in this verse, it is evident that the power of God was remarkably manifested in the conversion of the Thessalonians, and that they embraced the gospel with an uncommonly strong conviction of its truth and value. This fact will account for the subsequent zeal which the apostle so much commends in them - for it is usually true that the character of piety in a church, as it is in an individual, is determined by the views with which the gospel is first embraced, and the purposes which are formed at the beginning of the Christian life.

As ye know what manner of men, ... - Paul often appeals to those among whom he had labored as competent witnesses with respect to his own conduct and character; see 1 Thessalonians 2:9-10; Acts 20:33-35. He means here that he and his fellow-laborers had set them an example, or had shown what Christianity was by their manner of living, and that the Thessalonians had become convinced that the religion which they taught was real. The holy life of a preacher goes far to confirm the truth of the religion which he preaches, and is among the most efficacious means of inducing them to embrace the gospel.

5. our gospel—namely, the Gospel which we preached.

came—Greek, "was made," namely, by God, its Author and Sender. God's having made our preaching among you to be attended with such "power," is the proof that you are "elect of God" (1Th 1:4).

in power—in the efficacy of the Holy Spirit clothing us with power (see end of verse; Ac 1:8; 4:33; 6:5, 8) in preaching the Gospel, and making it in you the power of God unto salvation (Ro 1:16). As "power" produces faith; so "the Holy Ghost," love; and "much assurance" (Col 2:2, full persuasion), hope (Heb 6:11), resting on faith (Heb 10:22). So faith, love, and hope (1Th 1:3).

as ye know—answering to the "knowing," that is, as WE know (1Th 1:4) your character as the elect of God, so YE know ours as preachers.

for your sake—The purpose herein indicated is not so much that of the apostles, as that of God. "You know what God enabled us to be … how mighty in preaching the word … for your sakes … thereby proving that He had chosen (1Th 1:4) you for His own" [Alford]. I think, from 1Th 2:10-12, that, in "what manner of men we were among you," besides the power in preaching, there is included also Paul's and his fellow missionaries' whole conduct which confirmed their preaching; and in this sense, the "for your sake" will mean "in order to win you." This, though not the sole, yet would be a strong, motive to holy circumspection, namely, so as to win those without (Col 4:5; compare 1Co 9:19-23).

The former part of the verse asserts the reasons on which the apostle built the knowledge of their election, which is the manner of the gospel’s coming to them.

Our gospel because preached by him and others to them; or intrusted with them egenhyh eiv umav.

Came not unto you in word only, but also in power; confirmed by miracles, and had powerful operation upon your hearts. The power of God went along with our ministry, which did not with the false teachers, 1 Corinthians 4:19; and the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power, 1 Corinthians 4:20.

And in the Holy Ghost; either in gifts of the Holy Ghost which ye received, or that power which ye felt from the gospel upon your hearts was through the Holy Ghost: that they might not think it was their ministry, or the word alone, that had this power upon them.

And in much assurance; ye giving full assent to the truth of the gospel, without doubting on your part; or preached to you with much confidence and assurance on our part. The former sense is best. And there is an allusion in the word to a ship riding upon the sea with a full gale, and not turned out of its course by a contrary wind. Your faith triumphed over the waves of all objections, disputes, or hesitations of mind. For doubtings of mind do much hinder the power of the word upon the heart. And this assurance they had from the Holy Ghost.

As ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake; we did not carry ourselves among you like ordinary men, but by our laboriousness and zeal in preaching, our patient suffering for the gospel we preached, by our holy conversation, by our denial of ourselves in labouring with our hands amongst you, and by our great tenderness and affection to you, you might perceive that we were men sent of God, and our ministry was from heaven, and that we sought not yours, but you; whereby you had an advantage to entertain the gospel preached by us with greater assurance. And in all these things we had respect to your salvation. And for the truth of all this, he appeals to their own knowledge, and that mighty presence and assistance of God in their ministry among them; as they could not but perceive it, so it was all for their sake.

And ye became followers of us; as you received our gospel in the power of it into your hearts, so you showed it forth in your conversation, becoming followers or imitators of us in our patient and cheerful sufferings, and our holy and self-denying carriage. The doctrine of the gospel which we taught you, we practised it before your eyes, and you followed us therein; though before you walked according to the course of the world, and were followers of the religion and manners of the heathen. The examples of ministers ought to be teaching as well as their doctrine.

And of the Lord; we have followed the example of Christ, and ye followed us. So that as you believed on Christ as your Saviour, so you followed his commands and examples as your Lord and Master; as he exhorts the Corinthians: Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ, 1 Corinthians 11:1.

Having received the word in much affliction: though affliction and persecution attended the word, yet you received, it; and this receiving was not only into your heads by knowledge of it, and into your hearts by all effectual believing it, but into your practice by a walking according to it. For receiving the word, in the Scripture phrase, comprehends all this in it.

With joy of the Holy Ghost; though afflictions attended you, they did not deject your spirits, but you had joy in your hearts by the Holy Ghost; who usually doth give forth his joy most to the saints when under suffering, which is one instance of the gospel’s coming to them not in word only, but in the Holy Ghost, as was said before. The glad tidings of the gospel did more comfort them, than all their sufferings did cast them down. For our Gospel came not unto you,.... The apostle calls the Gospel "our Gospel", not because he and his fellow ministers were the authors of it; for in this respect it is solely of God, being the produce of his wisdom and grace, and by the revelation of Jesus Christ, hence he calls it the Gospel of God in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 nor because they were the subject of it, for they preached not themselves, but a crucified Christ, and him only, though it was a stumblingblock to some, and foolishness to others; but because it was committed to their trust, and they were the preachers of it, and agreed in the ministration of it; and it is opposed to, and is distinct from, that which was preached by the false teachers; and here intends not barely the Gospel itself, but chiefly their preaching of it: and this came unto them being sent of God, for wherever the Gospel comes, it comes with a mission and commission from God; and being brought unto them by the apostles, who were bringers and publishers of the good tidings of good things, it came unthought of, unsought and unasked for by them; and that not only externally, which to have is a great blessing, but internally, , "into you"; it came not barely into their ears vocally, and into their heads notionally; but into their hearts, and worked effectually there; it was mixed with faith, and was profitable; it became the ingrafted word, and dwelt richly in them: for it came to them not

in word only; it did come in word, it could not come without words, there is no interpreting of Scripture, no preaching of the Gospel, nor hearing of it without words, without articulate sounds; but not only with these, nor with wisdom of words, with enticing words of man's wisdom, with words which man's wisdom teacheth; as also not in the mere notion and letter of the Gospel, which when it comes in that manner is a dead letter, and the savour of death unto death:

but in power; not merely preached in a powerful way, or attended with miraculous operations, though doubtless both were true; for the apostle was a powerful preacher, and his ministry was confirmed by signs and wonders and mighty deeds; but from neither of these could he conclude the election of these people: but the preaching of the Gospel was accompanied with the powerful efficacy of the grace of God, working by it upon them; so that it became the power of God unto salvation to them; it came to them in the demonstration of the Spirit of God, and of power, quickening them who were dead in trespasses, and sin, enlightening their dark understandings, unstopping their deaf ears, softening their hard hearts, and delivering them from the slavery of sin and Satan; from whence it clearly appeared that they were the chosen of God, and precious:

and in the Holy Ghost; the Gospel was not only preached under the influence, and by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and attended with his extraordinary gifts for the confirmation of it, which it might be, and be no proof of the election of these persons to eternal life; but it came by the power of the Holy Spirit to their souls, working and implanting his graces in them, as faith, hope, and love, and every other; and he himself was received along with it, as a spirit of illumination and conviction, of regeneration, conversion, and sanctification, and of faith and adoption; all which gave full evidence of their election:

and in much assurance; not on the preacher's side, as if the Gospel was preached by him with great assurance, boldness, and confidence; or with great strength of evidence, giving clear and full proof of what was delivered sufficient to ascertain it, and persuade anyone to the belief of it; or with "much fulness", as some render the words, that is, of the Gospel of Christ, and of the gifts of the Spirit, and to a multitude of persons; all which might be, and yet be no proof of the choice of these persons in Christ to eternal salvation; but the Gospel preached to them was blessed to produce in them much assurance, or a large assurance, if not a full one, of the grace of faith in Christ, and of hope of eternal life by him, and of understanding of the doctrines of the Gospel, and of interest in the blessings of grace held forth in them; and this being a fruit, was an evidence of electing grace:

as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. The apostle appeals to themselves for the truth of what he had said; who must have observed, and could not but remember, with what meanness they appeared, with what fear and trembling, with what plainness and simplicity, without the enticing words of man's wisdom; what a contemptible figure they made, how they wrought with their own hands, and endured reproach and persecution for their sakes, that they might obtain salvation by Christ with eternal glory; and had nothing to recommend them to them, to win upon them, and engage their attention, and strike their affection; or persuade them to receive their persons, and believe their doctrines; wherefore the effects their ministry had upon them were not owing to the charms of words, the force of language, and power of oratory; or to any external thing in them, or done by them; but must be ascribed to the Spirit of God, and to the power and efficacy of his grace.

{3} For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in {b} much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

(3) Another reason why they ought in no way start back but continue to the end, because they cannot doubt this doctrine which has been so many ways confirmed to them, even from heaven, as they themselves well knew.

(b) Paul shows by two things that there followed very great fruit from his preaching, that is, by these gifts of the Holy Spirit, and that certain assurance which was thoroughly settled in their minds, as appeared by their willingly bearing the cross.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 1:5. Bengel, Schott, Hofmann, and others unite 1 Thessalonians 1:5 by a simple comma to the preceding, understanding ὅτι in the sense of “that,” or “namely that,” and thus the further analysis or explication of ἐκλογή, i.e. the statement wherein ἐκλογή consists. But evidently 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 are not a statement wherein ἐκλογή consists, but of the historical facts from which it may be inferred. Accordingly, ὅτι (if one will not understand it with most interpreters as quia, which has little to recommend it) is to be separated from 1 Thessalonians 1:4 by a colon, and to be taken in the sense of for, introducing the reason on which the apostle grounds his own conviction of the ἐκλογή of his readers. This reason is twofold—(1) The power and confidence by which the gospel was preached by him and his companions in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 1:5); and (2) The eagerness and joy with which it was embraced by the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:6 ff.). Both are proofs of grace, attestations of the ἐκλογή of the Thessalonians on the part of God.

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἡμῶν] our gospel, i.e. our evangelical preaching.

οὐκ ἐγενήθη πρὸς ὑμᾶς] was not carried into effect among you, i.e. when it was brought to you. The passive form ἐγενήθη, alien to the Attic, and originally Doric, but common in the κοινή (see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 108 ff.; Kühner, I. 193; Winer’s Grammar, p. 80 [E. T. 102]), characterizes the being carried into effect as something effected by divine grace, and the additions with ἐν following indicate the form and manner in which the apostolic preaching was carried into effect. From this it follows how erroneous it is with Koppe, Pelt, and others to refer ἐν λόγῳπολλῇ to the qualities of the Thessalonians which resulted from the preaching of the apostle. According to Koppe, the meaning is “quantam enim mea apud vos doctrina in animos vestros vim habuerit, non ore tantum sed facto declaravistis.” That the concluding words of 1 Thessalonians 1:5, καθὼς οἴδατεὑμᾶς, which apparently treats of the manner of the apostle’s entrance, contains only a recapitulatory statement of ἐν λόγῳπολλῇ, appealing to the testimony of the Thessalonians, is a sufficient condemnation of this strange and artificial explanation.

ἐν λόγῳ μόνον] in word only, i.e. not that it was a bare announcement, a bare communication in human words, which so easily fade away. Grotius: Non stetit intra verba. But the apostle says οὐ μόνον, because human speech was the necessary instrument of communication.

ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν δυνάμει κ.τ.λ.] By δύναμις is not to be understood miracles by which the power of the preached gospel was attested (Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Erasmus, Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Natalis Alexander, Turretine, etc.); for if so, the plural would have been necessary. Nor is the gospel denoted as a miraculous power (Benson), which meaning in itself is possible. Nor is the efficacy of the preached word among the Thessalonians indicated (Bullinger: Per virtutem intellexit efficaciam et vim agentem in cordibus fidelium). But it forms simply the contrast to λόγος, and denotes the impressive power accompanying the entrance of Paul and his followers.

ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ] Theodoret, Musculus, Cornelius a Lapide, Fromond, B. a Piconius, Natalis Alexander, Benson, Macknight interpret this of the communication of the Holy Spirit to the readers. But the communication of the Holy Spirit is beyond the power of the apostles, as being only possible on the part of God. Besides, ἐν πνεύματι can only contain a statement of the manner in which Paul and his assistants preached the gospel. Accordingly, the meaning is: our preaching of the gospel was carried on among you in the Holy Ghost, that is, in a manner which could only be ascribed to the operation of the Holy Ghost. ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ serves, therefore, not only for the further amplification, but also for the intensification of the idea ἐν δυνάμει. It is therefore incompetent to consider ἐν δυνάμει καὶ ἐν πνεύμ. ἁγίῳ as a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν instead of ἐν δυνάμει πνεύμ. ἁγίου (Calvin, Piscator, Turretine, Bloomfield, and others).

πληροφορία] (comp. Colossians 2:2; Romans 4:21; Romans 14:5) denotes neither the fulness of spiritual gifts which were imparted to the Thessalonians (Lombard, Cornelius a Lapide, Turretine), nor the completeness of the apostolic instruction (Thomasius), nor the completeness with which Paul performed his duty (Estius), nor the proofs combined with his instructions, giving complete certainty (Fromond, Michaelis), nor generally “certitudo, qua Thessalonicenses certi de veritate evangelii ac salute sua redditi fuerant” (Musculus, Benson, Macknight); but the fulness and certainty of conviction, i.e. the inward confidence of faith with which Paul and his assistants appeared preaching at Thessalonica.

καθὼς οἴδατε κ.τ.λ.] a strengthening of ὅτιπολλῇ by an appeal to the knowledge of his readers (Oecum.: καὶ τί, φησι, μακρηγορῶ; αὐτοὶ ὑμεῖς μάρτυρές ἐστε, οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς). Pelt, entirely perverting the meaning, thinks that the apostle in these concluding words would hold forth his example for the emulation of his readers. This view could only claim indulgence if Koppe’s connection, which, however, Pelt rejects, were correct. Koppe begins a new sentence with καθώς, considering καθὼς οἴδατε as the protasis and καὶ ὑμεῖς as the apodosis, and gives the sense: qualem me vidistis, quum apud vos essem … tales etiam vos nunc estis. But this connection is impossible—(1) Because οἴδατε cannot mean me vidistis, but has a purely present signification—ye know. (2) Because if there were such an emphatic contrast of persons (qualem me … tales etiam vos), then, instead of the simple ἐγενήθημεν, ἡμεῖς ἐγενήθημεν would necessarily be put. (3) Because ἐγενήθητε does not mean nunc estis, but facti estis. (4) Instead of the asyndeton καθὼς οἴδατε, we would expect a connection with the preceding by some particle added to καθώς. (5) And lastly, the apodosis would not be introduced by καὶ ὑμεῖς, but by οὕτως ὑμεῖς (comp. 2 Corinthians 1:5; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 10:7). Pelt’s assertion is also erroneous, that instead of καθὼς οἴδατε οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν, the more correct Greek phrase would have been οἵους οἴδατε ἡμᾶς γεγονότας. For the greatest emphasis is put on οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν, but this emphasis would have been lost by the substitution of the above construction.

οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν] recapitulates the preceding τὸ εὐαγγ.… πολλῇ, but with this difference, that what was before said of the act of preaching is here predicated of the preachers. οἷοι ἐγενήθημεν does not denote the privations which Paul imposed upon himself when he preached the gospel, as Pelagius, Estius, Macknight, Pelt, and others think, making an arbitrary comparison of 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9; also not κινδύνους, οὓς ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ὑπέστησαν, τὸ σωτήριον αὐτοῖς προσφέροντες κήρυγμα (Theodoret), nor both together (Natal. Alexander). It also does not mean quales fuerimus (so de Wette, Hofmann, and others), but can only denote the being made for some purpose. It thus contains the indication that the emphatic element in the preaching of the gospel at Thessalonica was a work of divine appointment—of divine grace. Accordingly, διʼ ὑμᾶς, for your sake, that is, in order to gain you for the kingdom of Christ, is to be understood not of the purpose of the apostle and his assistants, but of the purpose of God.1 Thessalonians 1:5. ὅτι = “inasmuch as”.—τὸ εὐαγγ. ἡμῶν, the gospel of which the apostles, and by which their hearers, were convinced. As the καθὼς clause indicates, πληροφ. must here denote personal conviction and unfaltering confidence on the part of the preachers. The omission of the ἐν before πληρ. throws that word and πνεύματι together into a single conception, complementary to δυνάμει, which here has no specific reference to miracles, but to the apostles’ courage (1 Thessalonians 2:2), honesty and sincerity (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5), devotion (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8), earnestness (9), and consistency (10). The effect of the Spirit on the preachers is followed up (in 1 Thessalonians 1:6) by its effect on the hearers; and this dual aspect recurs in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 (we and you). ἐν (om. Blass) ὑμῖν = “among you”.5. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power] The R. V. reads, how that our gospel, &c.; better perhaps, in that; the difference is slight: in any case the conversion of the Thessalonians, described in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6, was not that wherein their election consisted, but wherein it was evidenced. Paul and Silas were conscious in declaring their message of a power beyond all words attending it, which made them sure at the time that it would not be in vain. It was evident to them that God “had much people in this city.”

our gospel is God’s good news about Jesus Christ, proclaimed by His servants. See Romans 1:1-5. Hence it is both God’s gospel (ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:2, &c.), and “our” gospel.

and in the Holy Ghost] The peculiar “power” in which St Paul and his helpers spoke at Thessalonica was not their own: their message came in the Holy Spirit, accompanied by the supernatural energy of the Spirit of God and of Christ. To this, as the N. T. teaches, the efficacy of the Gospel is always due. “He,” said Jesus, “the Spirit of truth, shall testify of Me; and ye also do testify” (John 15:26-27). Power is an idea constantly associated with the Holy Spirit, according to the words of Christ in Acts 1:8, “Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;” so in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “My message was not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” &c.,—

“that mighty Breath

From heaven’s eternal shores.”

in the Holy Spirit, and, much fulness (R. V. margin), or abundant fulfilment. The preposition “in” is not repeated in the Greek, so that the third adjunct is closely identified with the second (Holy Spirit).

The same Greek word is used in the phrase “full-assurance of the understanding” in Colossians 2:2; “of hope,” “of faith” (Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22). But the “fulness” of this passage is ascribed to the “gospel” as it “came to” its Thessalonian hearers. It had its full effect upon them. Comp. 2 Timothy 4:17, where the corresponding verb is used,—“that through me the message might be fulfilled” (R. V.)—fully proclaimed. This “fulfilment” has been shown in 1 Thessalonians 1:3; comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

The power is in the gospel preached, the fulfilment in the hearers, and the Holy Spirit above and within them inspires both.

as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake] The R.V., more accurately, even as ye know … we shewed ourselves toward you. The Apostle appeals to the knowledge of his readers to confirm what he has just said respecting the powerful effect of the Gospel upon them. This result in the experience of the Thessalonians accorded with the spirit and behaviour of the apostles towards them. “It was a mutual influence: so we preached, and so ye believed,” 1 Corinthians 15:11 (Jowett). In ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 (see the remarks Introductory to ch. ii.) the Apostle draws a vivid portrait of himself and his colleagues as they were at Thessalonica.

They so lived and laboured on your account—out of love to their Thessalonian hearers (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:8), to those whom they felt sure God in His love had chosen for Himself (1 Thessalonians 1:4) and was calling by their means “to His own kingdom and glory” (ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:12). Comp. 2 Timothy 2:10, “I endure all things because of the elect.”

“In the background,” behind “the purpose of the Apostle and his colleagues,” there was “the purpose of God,” Who for the Thessalonians’ sake gave this power to His servants (Alford).1 Thessalonians 1:5. Ὅτι, because) This because extends its power beyond this verse.—εἰς ὑμᾶς) so far as you are concerned [in your case].—ἐν, in) These words refer both to the teachers, as appears by comparing the end of this verse, and to the Thessalonians, by comparing the following verse.—ἐν δυνάμει, in power) for example, in reference to (having the effect of producing) faith.—ἐν Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ) in the Holy Ghost, and His saving operation, for example, having the effect of producing love; also in His miraculous operation.—ἐν πληροφορίᾳ, borne along in full course (pleno latu) [in full assurance]) for example, in reference to (producing) hope, 1 Thessalonians 1:3.—οἴδατε, ye know) Εἰδότες, knowing, in 1 Thessalonians 1:4, corresponds to οἴδατε here. Both [Paul, Sylvanus, and Timothy, on one hand, and the Thessalonians on the other] knew.—οἷοι, what sort of persons) imparting to you the word with joy.—διʼ ὑμᾶς, for your sakes) that we might gain you.Verse 5. - For; or rather, how that (R.V.); or, because; assigning the reasons for Paul's confidence in their election; and these reasons were two: first, the powerful entrance which the gospel had among them; and secondly, the joyful reception which was given to it by the Thessalonians. Our gospel; that is, the gospel which was preached by us. Came not unto you in word only. The gospel came in word, for this was a necessary pre-requisite, but "not in word only," that is, it was not a bare publication or communication in human words. But in power. Some restrict the epithets which here follow to the teachers, as denoting the mode in which they preached the gospel; but it is better to refer them both to the teachers and the taught. By "power" is not meant miracles, but, in contrast to "word," the power with which Paul and his companions preached, and the impression which the gospel made on the hearers. And in the Holy Ghost. Here also the reference is, not to miraculous gifts, but to the influences of the Spirit accompanying the preaching of the gospel; such was the efficacy of Paul's preaching that it proved itself to be accompanied by the operation of the Holy Ghost in the conversion of his hearers. There is here an ascent: the gospel came in power, and, what is more, it came in the Holy Ghost. And in much assurance. By "assurance" here is meant the confidence with which Paul and his fellow-workers preached the gospel to the Thessalonians, and the fullness of conviction with which the Thessalonians received it. As ye know. An appeal to their knowledge that what he now states is true. What manner of men we were among you. Alluding to the blamelessness of their behavior when in Thessalonica. For your sake; namely, that we sought not our own profit or advantage, but your spiritual good. For (ὅτι)

Incorrect. Rend. how that. It is explanatory of your election. For similar usage see 1 Corinthians 1:26.

Our gospel

The gospel as preached by Paul and his colleagues. Comp. Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25; Galatians 1:11; Galatians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4. My gospel is sometimes used in connection with an emphasis upon some particular feature of the gospel, as in Romans 2:16, where Paul is speaking of the judgment of the world by Christ; or in Romans 16:25, where he is referring to the extension of the messianic kingdom to the Gentiles.

In word (ἐν λόγῳ)

The gospel did not appeal to them as mere eloquent and learned discourse.

In power (ἐν δύναμει)

Power of spiritual persuasion and conviction: not power as displayed in miracles, at least not principally, although miraculous demonstrations may be included. Paul rarely alluded to his power of working miracles.

Assurance (πληροφορίᾳ)

Assured persuasion of the preacher that the message was divine. The word not in pre-Christian Greek writers, nor in lxx. Only in one other passage in Paul, Colossians 2:2. See Hebrews 6:11; Hebrews 10:22.

We were (ἐγενήθημεν)

More correctly, we shewed or proved ourselves.

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