1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Faith . . . love . . . hope.—in this first of his writings, St. Paul has already fixed upon the three great abiding principles (1Corinthians 13:13) of the Christian life, and the forms in which they mainly exhibit themselves. The genitive in such phrases as “work of faith,” etc., is almost equivalent to a very emphatic adjective—“faithful activity,” i.e., a work characterised by faith and prompted by faith, such as faith alone could have enabled you to accomplish; so “labour of love” is similarly equivalent to “loving labour,” laborious toil undertaken for love’s sake, and done in the spirit of love; and “patience of hope” to “hopeful endurance of trials,” a steadfast endurance which is grounded upon and cheered by hope.

In our Lord.—More correctly, of The words in the Greek go with all three clauses: He is the object of the faith and love, as well as of the hope. This “hope of our Lord” includes, but is not limited to, the hope of His second Advent.

In the sight of God goes closely with “remembering,” and is equivalent to “in prayer.”

1 Thessalonians

FAITH, LOVE, HOPE, AND THEIR FRUITS

1 Thessalonians 1:3.

This Epistle, as I suppose we all know, is Paul’s first letter. He had been hunted out of Thessalonica by the mob, made the best of his way to Athens, stayed there for a very short time, then betook himself to Corinth, and at some point of his somewhat protracted residence there, this letter was written. So that we have in it his first attempt, so far as we know, to preach the Gospel by the pen. It is interesting to notice how, whatever changes and developments there may have been in him thereafter, all the substantial elements of his latest faith beam out in this earliest letter, and how even in regard to trifles we see the germs of much that came afterwards. This same triad, you remember, ‘faith, hope, charity,’ recurs in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, though with a very significant difference in the order, which I shall have to dwell upon presently.

The letter is interesting on another account. Remembering that it was only a very short time since these Thessalonians had turned from idols to serve the living God, there is something very beautiful in the overflowing generosity of commendation, which never goes beyond veracity, with which he salutes them. Their Christian character, like seeds sown in some favoured tropical land, had sprung up swiftly; yet not with the dangerous kind of swiftness which presages decay of the growth. It was only a few days since they had been grovelling before idols, but now he can speak of ‘your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope’ . . . and declare that the Gospel ‘sounded out’ from them--the word which he employs is that which is technically used for the blast of a trumpet--’so that we need not to speak anything.’ Rapid growth is possible for us all, and is not always superficial.

I desire now to consider that pair of triads--the three foundation-stones, and the three views of the fair building that is reared upon them.

I. The three foundation-stones.

That is a natural metaphor to use, but it is not quite correct, for these three--faith, love, hope--are not to be conceived of as lying side by side. Rather than three foundations we have three courses of the building here; the lowest one, faith; the next one, love; and the top one, hope. The order in 1 Corinthians is different, ‘faith, hope, charity,’ and the alteration in the sequence is suggested by the difference of purpose. The Apostle intended in 1 Corinthians to dwell at some length thereafter on ‘charity,’ or ‘love.’ So he puts it last to make the link of connection with what he is going to say. But here he is dealing with the order of production, the natural order in which these three evolve themselves. And his thought is that they are like the shoots that successive springs bring upon the bough of a tree, where each year has its own growth, and the summit of last year’s becomes the basis of next. Thus we have, first, faith; then, shooting from that, love; and then, sustained by both, hope. Now let us look at that order.

It is a well-worn commonplace, which you may think it not needful for me to dwell upon here, that in the Christian theory, both of salvation and of morals, the basis of everything is trust. And that is no arbitrary theological arrangement, but it is the only means by which the life that is the basis both of salvation and of righteousness can be implanted in men. There is no other way by which Jesus Christ can come into our hearts than by what the New Testament calls ‘trust,’ which we have turned into the hard, theological concept which too often glides over people’s minds without leaving any dint at all--’faith.’ Distrust is united with trust. There is no trust without, complementary to it, self-distrust. Just as the sprouting seed sends one little radicle downwards, and that becomes the root, and at the same time sends up another one, white till it reaches the light, and it becomes the stem, so the underside of faith is self-distrust, and you must empty yourselves before you can open your hearts to be filled by Jesus. That being so, this self-distrustful trust is the beginning of everything. That is the alpha of the whole alphabet, however glorious and manifold may be the words into which its letters are afterwards combined. Faith is the hand that grasps. It is the means of communication, it is the channel through which the grace which is the life, or, rather, I should say, the life which is the grace, comes to us. It is the open door by which the angel of God comes in with his gifts. It is like the petals of the flowers, opening when the sunshine kisses them, and, by opening, laying bare the depths of their calyxes to be illuminated and coloured, and made to grow by the sunshine which itself has opened them, and without the presence of which, within the cup, there would have been neither life nor beauty. So faith is the basis of everything; the first shoot from which all the others ascend. Brethren, have you that initial grace? I leave the question with you. If you have not that, you have nothing else.

Then again, out of faith rises love. No man can love God unless he believes that God loves him. I, for my part, am old-fashioned and narrow enough not to believe that there is any deep, soul-cleansing or soul-satisfying love of God which is not the answer to the love that died on the Cross. But you must believe that, and more than believe it; you must have trusted and cast yourselves on it, in the utter abandonment of self-distrust and Christ-confidence, before there will well up in your heart the answering love to God. First faith, then love. My love is the reverberation of the primeval voice, the echo of God’s. The angle at which the light falls on the mirror is the same as the angle at which it is reflected from it. And though my love at its highest is low, at its strongest is weak: yet, like the echo that is faint and far, feeble though it be, it is pitched on the same key, and is the prolongation of the same note as the mother-sound. So my love answers God’s love, and it will never answer it unless faith has brought me within the auditorium, the circle wherein the voice that proclaims ‘I love thee, my child,’ can be heard.

Now, we do not need to ask ourselves whether Paul is here speaking of love to God or love to man. He is speaking of both, because the New Testament deals with the latter as being a part of the former, and sure to accompany it. But there is one lesson that I wish to draw. If it be true that love in us is thus the result of faith in the love of God, let us learn how we grow in love. You cannot say, ‘Now I will make an effort to love.’ The circulation of the blood, the pulsations of the heart, are not within the power of the will. But you can say, ‘Now I will make an effort to trust.’ For faith is in the power of the will, and when the Master said, ‘Ye will not come unto me,’ He taught us that unbelief is not a mere intellectual deficiency or perversity, but that it is the result, in the majority of cases--I might almost say in all-of an alienated will. Therefore, if you wish to love, do not try to work yourself into a hysteria of affection, but take into your hearts and minds the Christian facts, and mainly the fact of the Cross, which will set free the frozen and imprisoned fountains of your affections, and cause them to flow out abundantly in sweet water. First faith, then love; and get at love through faith. That is a piece of practical wisdom that it will do us all good to keep in mind.

Then the third of the three, the topmost shoot, is hope. Hope is faith directed to the future. So it is clear enough that, unless I have that trust of which I have been speaking, I have none of the hope which the Apostle regards as flowing from it. But love has to do with hope quite as much, though in a different way, as faith has to do with it. For in the direct proportion in which we are taking into our hearts Christ and His truth, and letting our hearts go out in love towards Him and communion with Him, will the glories beyond brighten and consolidate and magnify themselves in our eyes. The hope of the Christian man is but the inference from his present faith, and the joy and sweetness of his present love. For surely when we rise to the heights which are possible to us all, and on which I suppose most Christian people have been sometimes, though for far too brief seasons; when we rise to the heights of communion with God, anything seems more possible to us than that death, or anything that lies in the future, should have power over a tie so sweet, so strong, so independent of externals, and so all-sufficing in its sweetness. Thus we shall be sure that God is our portion for ever, in the precise degree in which, by faith and love, we feel that ‘He is the strength of our hearts,’ to-day and now. So, then, we have the three foundation-stones.

And now a word or two, in the second place, about

II. The fair building which rises on them.

I have already half apologised for using the metaphor of a foundation and a building. I must repeat the confession that the symbol is an inadequate one. For the Apostle does not conceive of the work and labour and patience which are respectively allocated to these three graces as being superimposed upon them, as it were, by effort, so much as he thinks of them as growing out of them by their inherent nature. The work is ‘the work of faith,’ that which characterises faith, that which issues from it, that which is its garment, visible to the world, and the token of its reality and its presence. Faith works. It is the foundation of all true work; even in the lowest sense of the word we might almost say that. But in the Christian scheme it is eminently the underlying requisite for all work which God does not consider as busy idleness. I might here make a general remark, which, however, I need not dwell upon, that we have here the broad thought which Christian people in all generations need to have drummed into their heads over and over again, and that is that inward experiences and emotions, and states of mind and heart, however good and precious, are so mainly as being the necessary foundations of conduct. What is the good of praying and feeling comfortable within, and having ‘a blessed assurance,’ a ‘happy experience,’ ‘sweet communion,’ and so on? What is the good of it all, if these things do not make us ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world’? What is the good of the sails of a windmill going whirling round, if the machinery has been thrown out of gear, and the great stones which it ought to actuate are not revolving? What is the good of the screw of a steamer revolving, when she pitches, clean above the waves? It does nothing then to drive the vessel onwards, but will only damage the machinery. And Christian emotions and experiences which do not drive conduct are of as little use, often as perilous, and as injurious. If you want to keep your ‘faith, love, hope,’ sound and beneficial, set them to work. And do not be too sure that you have them, if they do not crave for work, whether you set them to it or not.

‘Your work of faith.’ There is the whole of the thorny subject of the relation of faith and works packed into a nutshell. It is exactly what James said and it is exactly what a better than James said. When the Jews came to Him with their externalism, and thought that God was to be pleased by a whole rabble of separate good actions, and so said, ‘What shall we do that we might work the works of God?’ Jesus said, ‘Never mind about works . This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent,’ and out of that will come all the rest. That is the mother-tincture; everything will flow from that. So Paul says, ‘Your work of faith.’

Does your faith work? Perhaps I should ask other people rather than you. Do men see that your faith works; that its output is different from the output of men who are not possessors of a ‘like precious faith’? Ask yourselves the question, and God help you to answer it.

Love labours. Labour is more than work, for it includes the notion of toil, fatigue, difficulty, persistence, antagonism. Ah! the work of faith will never be done unless it is the toil of love. You remember how Milton talks about the immortal garland that is to be run for, ‘not without dust and sweat.’ The Christian life is not a leisurely promenade. The limit of our duty is not ease of work. There must be toil. And love is the only principle that will carry us through the fatigues, and the difficulties, and the oppositions which rise against us from ourselves and from without. Love delights to have a hard task set it by the beloved, and the harder the task the more poignant the satisfaction. Loss is gain when it brings us nearer the beloved. And whether our love be love to God, or its consequence, love to man, it is the only foundation on which toil for either God or man will ever permanently be rested. Do not believe in philanthropy which has not a bottom of faith, and do not believe in work for Christ which does not involve in toil. And be sure that you will do neither, unless you have both these things: the faith and the love.

And then comes the last. Faith works, love toils, hope is patient. Is that all that ‘hope’ is? Not if you take the word in the narrow meaning which it has in modern English; but that was not what Paul meant. He meant something a great deal more than passive endurance, great as that is. It is something to be able to say, in the pelting of a pitiless storm, ‘Pour on! I will endure.’ But it is a great deal more to be able, in spite of all, not to bate one jot of heart or hope, but ‘still bear up and steer right onward’; and that is involved in the true meaning of the word inadequately rendered ‘patience’ in the New Testament. For it is no passive virtue only, but it is a virtue which, in the face of the storm, holds its course; brave persistence, active perseverance, as well as meek endurance and submission.

‘Hope’ helps us both to bear and to do. They tell us nowadays that it is selfish for a Christian man to animate himself, either for endurance or for activity, by the contemplation of those great glories that lie yonder. If that is selfishness, God grant we may all become a great deal more selfish than we are! No man labours in the Christian life, or submits to Christian difficulty, for the sake of going to heaven. At least, if he does, he has got on the wrong tack altogether. But if the motive for both endurance and activity be faith and love, then hope has a perfect right to come in as a subsidiary motive, and to give strength to the faith and rapture to the love. We cannot afford to throw away that hope, as so many of us do--not perhaps, intellectually, though I am afraid there is a very considerable dimming of the clearness, and a narrowing of the place in our thoughts, of the hope of a future blessedness, in the average Christian of this day--but practically we are all apt to lose sight of the recompense of the reward. And if we do, the faith and love, and the work and toil, and the patience will suffer. Faith will relax its grasp, love will cool down its fervour; and there will come a film over Hope’s blue eye, and she will not see the land that is very far off. So, dear brethren, remember the sequence, ‘faith, love, hope,’ and remember the issues, ‘work, toil, patience.’

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.Remembering without ceasing - Remembering your faith and love whenever we pray. This is not to be understood literally, but it is language such as we use respecting anything that interests us much. It is constantly in our mind. Such an interest the apostle had in the churches which he had established.

Your work of faith - That is, your showing or evincing faith. The reference is probably to acts of duty, holiness, and benevolence, which proved that they exercised faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Works of faith are those to which faith prompts, and which show that there is faith in the heart. This does not mean, therefore, a work of their own producing faith, but a work which showed that they had faith.

And labour of love - Labour produced by love, or showing that you are actuated by love. Such would be all their kindness toward the poor, the oppressed, and the afflicted; and all their acts which showed that they loved the souls of people.

And patience of hope - Patience in your trials, showing that you have such a hope of future blessedness as to sustain you in your afflictions. It was the hope of heaven through the Lord Jesus that gave them patience; see the notes on Romans 8:24. "The phrases here are Hebraisims, meaning active faith, and laborious love, and patient hope, and might have been so translated." Doddridge.

In our Lord Jesus Christ - That is, your hope is founded only on him. The only hope that we have of heaven is through the Redeemer.

In the sight of God and our Father - Before God, even our Father. It is a hope which we have through the merits of the Redeemer, and which we are permitted to cherish before God; that is, in his very presence. When we think of God; when we reflect that we must soon stand before him, we are permitted to cherish this hope. It is a hope which will be found to be genuine even in the presence of a holy and heart-searching God. This does not mean that it had been merely professed before God, but that it was a hope which they might dare to entertain even in the presence of God, and which would bear the scrutiny of his eye.

3. work of faith—the working reality of your faith; its alacrity in receiving the truth, and in evincing itself by its fruits. Not an otiose assent; but a realizing, working faith; not "in word only," but in one continuous chain of "work" (singular, not plural, works), 1Th 1:5-10; Jas 2:22. So "the work of faith" in 2Th 1:11 implies its perfect development (compare Jas 1:4). The other governing substantives similarly mark respectively the characteristic manifestation of the grace which follows each in the genitive. Faith, love, and hope, are the three great Christian graces (1Th 5:8; 1Co 13:13).

labour of love—The Greek implies toil, or troublesome labor, which we are stimulated by love to bear (1Th 2:9; Re 2:2). For instances of self-denying labors of love, see Ac 20:35; Ro 16:12. Not here ministerial labors. Those who shun trouble for others, love little (compare Heb 6:10).

patience—Translate, "endurance of hope"; the persevering endurance of trials which flows from "hope." Ro 15:4 shows that "patience" also nourishes "hope."

hope in our Lord Jesus—literally, "hope of our Lord Jesus," namely, of His coming (1Th 1:10): a hope that looked forward beyond all present things for the manifestation of Christ.

in the sight of God and our Father—Your "faith, hope, and love" were not merely such as would pass for genuine before men, but "in the sight of God," the Searcher of hearts [Gomarus]. Things are really what they are before God. Bengel takes this clause with "remembering." Whenever we pray, we remember before God your faith, hope, and love. But its separation from "remembering" in the order, and its connection with "your … faith," &c., make me to prefer the former view.

and, &c.—The Greek implies, "in the sight of Him who is [at once] God and our Father."

Remembering without ceasing; the occasion of his constant thanksgivings was his constant remembering of that grace of God that did so abound and work powerfully in them, not as if he had always an actual remembrance of it, but he did not forget it, the habitual sense of it was continually in his mind, and was often actually in his thoughts, especially in his approaches to God; and that is all which is meant in the original word, adialeiptws. While the apostle was with them he saw this in them, but being now absent he remembered it; and with such a practical remembrance as stirred up his heart to thanksgiving. That is a good memory where is treasured up matter of prayer and thanksgiving.

Your work of faith; or the work of the faith of you, that is, their faith and the work of it; whereby he intimates their faith was true and real; a faith unfeigned, 2 Timothy 1:5; the faith of God’s elect, Titus 1:1; and so distinguished from a dead faith, Jam 2:26. They received the work in much affection, with joy of the Holy Ghost; they turned from idols to the service of the true God; they waited for the coming of Christ, &c.; here was the work of faith.

And labour of love; a labour to weariness, as the word imports; laborious love. True faith hath its work, but love hath its labour; and when faith worketh by love it will work laboriously. Whereby the apostle declares the reality of their love, as well as their faith; it was unfeigned love, yea, fervent love, the labour of it went forth towards that true God whom they now worshipped, that Jesus Christ on whom they now believed, and to the saints that were now their fellow brethren, 1 Thessalonians 4:10; and particularly to the apostle himself, as in other ways, so particularly in the pains and labour that some of them took to conduct and travel along with him from Thessalonica to Athens, Acts 17:15.

And patience of hope: the apostle had mentioned before their faith and love, and now their hope; which are called the three cardinal or theological graces, all mentioned together by him, 1 Corinthians 13:13; and by which we have all our communion with God on earth. And as their faith had its work, and love its labour, so their hope had its patience as the fruit and product of it. There is a patience with respect to an expected good, and with respect to an incumbent evil; and both produced by hope. The former is more properly called makroyumia, or length of mind, consisting in waiting for and expectation of some desired good; the latter is utomonh, consisting in patient suffering, or abiding under some present evil. Their former patience is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, they waited for his Son from heaven. The latter in the second chapter, 1 Thessalonians 2:14, Ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen: as they (i.e. the churches of Judea) have of the Jews. This latter is here specially meant in the text; and for which he gives God thanks, 2 Thessalonians 1:4. And hope produceth the former patience, as it looks upon the expected good as that which will come at last; and the latter patience, as it looks upon the suffered evil as that which will not always continue. And when with respect to both these the mind of man is kept sedate and quiet, this is the

patience of hope.

In our Lord Jesus Christ; or, of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the efficient and author of this hope, and of their faith and its work, and love and its labour: or,

in our Lord Jesus Christ, as here rendered; and so he is the object of this hope, 1 Corinthians 15:19 1 Timothy 1:1. And by this the Christian’s hope is distinguished from all other. All hope worketh patience. The husbandman’s hope to receive the former and latter rain, maketh him wait for it with patience, Jam 5:7; the hope of the merchant, for the return of his adventure; the hope of the heir, for his inheritance; but the Christian’s hope worketh patience as fixed upon Christ: other hope resteth upon the things of this lower visible world, but this is as an anchor sure and stedfast, entering within the veil, where Christ is entered as a forerunner, &c., Hebrews 6:19,20. Faith and love both have Christ for their object; but considered as present; but the patience of hope in Christ respecteth something future, some revelation of him, and salvation by him, which is yet to come. If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it, Romans 8:25.

In the sight of God and our Father: these words are not in the Syriac or Arabic version. And they respect either the apostle’s thanksgiving and prayer for them, and his remembering the grace of God in them when he solemnly approached God’s presence; for in all duties of worship we come before God, and present ourselves in his sight, and their graces he before mentioned, he remembered them to God, and presented them to his view: or they respect the omniscience of God, that their work of faith, labour of love, &c. were all in God’s sight, and he was a delighted spectator of them: or, lastly, they may respect the sincerity of their hearts in all the actings of their faith, love, and hope; they did all this in the sight of God. As the apostle asserts his sincerity in his ministry by this: We speak as in the sight of God, 2 Corinthians 2:17. And thus the apostle mentions their graces, not as the heathen orators, who made great encomiums of virtue to the praise of men, but to the honour and praise of God.

Remembering without ceasing,.... The phrase "without ceasing", is, by the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, joined to the last clause of the preceding verse; and the remembrance the apostle speaks of is either a distinct thing from the mention made of them in prayer, and suggests that they bore them on their minds at other times also; or it is the same with it; or rather a reason of their mentioning of them then, because they remembered them, and the following things of theirs:

as your work of faith; by which is meant not the principle of faith, for as such that is God's work, the product of his grace, and the effect of his almighty power; but the operative virtue and exercise of it under the influence of the grace of God: the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it, "the work of your faith"; and so some copies, and the Syriac version, "the works of your faith". The Targumist in Habakkuk 1:12 represents God as holy , "in works of faith": faith is a working grace, it has a deal of work to do, it has its hands always full, and is employed about many things; it is the grace by which a soul goes to God, as its covenant God, lays hold on him as such, pleads his promises with him, asks favours of him, and is very importunate, and will have no denial; and by which it goes to Christ as at first conversion, afterwards for fresh supplies of grace, out of that fulness of grace that is in him; it receives him and all from him, and through him pardon, righteousness, adoption of children, and an eternal inheritance; and it is that grace which carries back all the glory to God and Christ, and to free grace; it glorifies God, exalts Christ, humbles the creature, and magnifies the grace of God, it has much work to do this way; and it works by love, by acts of love to God, to Christ, and to the saints; and it puts the soul upon a cheerful obedience to every ordinance and command, and hence obedience is styled the obedience of faith; and indeed all good works that are properly so are done in faith, and faith without works is dead; it is greatly engaged against the world and the devil; it is that grace by which Satan is opposed and overcome, and by which the believer gets the victory over the world; so that he is not discouraged by its frowns, and cast down by the trials and afflictions he meets with in it, nor drawn aside by its snares and allurements; something of this kind the apostle had observed and remembered in these believers: he adds,

and labour of love; love is a laborious grace when in lively exercise; love to God and Christ will constrain a believer to engage in, and go through, great hardships, difficulties, toil, and labour, for their sakes; and love to the saints will exert itself, by serving them in things temporal and spiritual, ministering cheerfully and largely to their outward wants, for which reason the same epithet is given to love in Hebrews 6:10 as here; regarding and assisting them in their spiritual concerns; praying for them and with them; building them up in their most holy faith; communicating their experiences, and speaking comfortable words unto them; reproving them for sin in love, and with tenderness; restoring them when fallen in a spirit of meekness; and stirring them up to love and good works: love has much toil and labour, not only in performing the several duties of religion, both towards God and man; but in bearing all things, the burdens of fellow Christians; the infirmities of weak believers, forbearing them in love, forgiving their offences, and covering their sins:

and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, or "of our Lord Jesus Christ". These persons had a good hope through grace given unto them, and which was founded in Christ Jesus, in his person, blood, and righteousness, and so was as an anchor sure and steadfast; and it had him for its object, it was an hope of interest in him, of being for ever with him, of his, second coming and glorious appearance, and of eternal life and happiness through him; and this was attended with patience, with a patient bearing of reproaches, afflictions, and persecutions, for the sake of Christ, and a patient waiting for his coming, his kingdom and glory; and this as well as the others were remembered by the apostle, and his fellow ministers, with great pleasure: and that

in the sight of God and our Father; or before God and our Father; which may be read in connection either with the above graces, which were exercised, not only before men, but before God, and in his sight, who sees not as man seeth, and who cannot be deceived and imposed upon; and so shows that these graces were true and genuine, faith was unfeigned, love was without dissimulation, and hope without hypocrisy: or with the word remembering, as it is in the Syriac version, which reads, "remembering before God and our Father"; that is, as often as we appear before God, and lift up our hands and our hearts unto him in prayer, we bear you upon our minds before God; and particularly remember your operative faith, laborious love, and patient hope of Christ.

{2} Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

(2) He commends them for three special gifts: effectual faith, continual love, and patient hope. And he does this to the end that they might be ashamed, being endued with such excellent gifts, not to continue in God's election.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 1:3. As the apostle has first stated the personal object of his thanksgiving, so now follows a further statement of its material object. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 is therefore a parallel clause to μνείανἡμῶν (1 Thessalonians 1:2), in which μνημονεύοντες corresponds to μνείαν ποιούμενοι, ὑμῶν τοῦ ἔργουΧριστοῦ to ὑμῶν after μνείαν, and lastly, ἔμπροσθενἡμῶν to ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν ἡμῶν. Schott, Koch, and Auberlen (in Lange’s Bibelwerk, Th. X., Bielef. 1864) incorrectly understand 1 Thessalonians 1:3 as causal; the statement of the cause follows in 1 Thessalonians 1:4.

ἀδιαλείπτως] unceasingly does not belong to the preceding μνείαν ποιούμενοι (Luther, Bullinger, Balduin, Er. Schmid, Harduin, Benson, Moldenhauer, Koch, Bloomfield, Alford, Ewald, Hofmann, Auberlen), for, as an addition inserted afterwards, it would drag, but to μνημονεύοντες (Calvin and others), so that it begins the new clause with emphasis.

μνημονεύειν is not intransitive: to be mindful of (Er. Schmid: memoria repetentes; Fromond: memores non tam in orationibus sed ubique; Auberlen), but transitive, referring to the making mention of them in prayer.

ὑμῶν] is, by Oecumenius, Erasmus (undecidedly), Vatablus, Calvin, Zwingli, Musculus, Hemming, Bullinger, Hunnius, Balduin, regarded as the object of μνημονεύοντες standing alone, whilst ἕνεκα is to be supplied before the genitives τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστ. κ.τ.λ. But this union is artificial, and the supposed ellipsis without grammatical justification. It would be better to regard τοῦ ἔργου κ.τ.λ. as a development of ὑμῶν in apposition; but neither is this in itself nor in relation to 1 Thessalonians 1:2 to be commended. Accordingly, ὑμῶν is to be joined to the following substantives, so that its force extends to all the three following points. What Paul approvingly mentions in his prayers are the three Christian cardinal virtues, faith, love, and hope, in which his readers were distinguished, see 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Colossians 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 13:13. But Paul does not praise them simply in and for themselves, but a peculiar quality of each—each according to a special potency. First their πίστις, and that their ἔργον τῆς πίστεως. Πίστις is faith subjectively. That τὸ ἔργον τῆς πίστεως is not to be understood periphrastically for τῆς πίστεως[32] (Koppe), nor does it correspond with the pleonastic use of the Hebrew דָּבָר, is evident, as (1) such a use of the Greek ἔργον is not demonstrable (see Winer’s Grammar, p. 541 [E. T. 768]); and (2) ἜΡΓΟΝ Τῆς ΠΊΣΤΕΩς must be similarly understood as the two following double expressions, but in them the additions ΚΌΠΟΥ and ὙΠΟΜΟΝῆς are by no means devoid of import. Also Kypke’s explanation, according to which ἜΡΓΟΝ ΠΊΣΤΕΩς denotes veritas fidei, is to be rejected, as this meaning proceeds from the contrast of ἔργον and λόγος, of which there is no trace in the passage. Not less erroneous is it, with Calvin, Wolf, and others, to take ἔργον τῆς πίστεως absolutely as faith wrought, i.e. wrought by the Holy Ghost or by God. An addition for this purpose would be requisite; besides, in the parallel expressions (1 Thessalonians 1:3) it is the self-activity of the readers that is spoken of. In a spiritless manner Flatt and others render ἔργον as an adjective: your active faith. Similarly, but with a more correct appreciation of the substantive, Estius, Grotius, Schott, Koch, Bloomfield, and others: operis, quod ex fide proficiscitur; according to which, however, the words would naturally be replaced by ΠΊΣΤΙς ἘΝΕΡΓΟΥΜΈΝΗ (Galatians 5:6). So also de Wette: your moral working proceeding from faith. Hardly correct, as—(1) ΤῸ ἜΡΓΟΝ can only denote work, not working. (2) The moral working proceeding from faith, according to Paul, is love, so that there would here be a tautology with what follows. Clericus refers τὸ ἔργον τῆς πίστεως to the acceptance of the gospel (Opus … erat, ethnicismo abdicato mutatoque prorsus vivendi instituto, christianam religionem profiteri atque ad ejusdem normam vitam in posterum instituere; quae non poterant fieri nisi a credentibus, Jesum vere a Deo missum atque ab eo mandata accepisse apostolos, ideoque veram esse universam evangelii doctrinam); so also Macknight, according to whom the acceptance of the gospel is called an ἜΡΓΟΝ on account of the victory over the prejudices in which the Thessalonians were nourished, and on account of the dangers to which they were exposed by their acceptance of Christianity. But this reason is remote from the context. Chrysostom (ΤΊ ἘΣΤΙ ΤΟῦ ἜΡΓΟΥ Τῆς ΠΊΣΤΕΩς; ὍΤΙ ΟὐΔῈΝ ὙΜῶΝ ΠΑΡΈΚΛΙΝΕ ΤῊΝ ἜΝΣΤΑΣΙΝ· ΤΟῦΤΟ ΓᾺΡ ἜΡΓΟΝ ΠΊΣΤΕΩς. ΕἸ ΠΙΣΤΕΎΕΙς, ΠΆΝΤΑ ΠΆΣΧΕ· ΕἸ ΔῈ ΜῊ ΠΆΣΧΕΙς, Οὐ ΠΙΣΤΕΎΕΙς), Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Calovius, Bisping, and others understand the words of the verification of faith by stedfastness under persecution. This meaning underlying the words appears to come nearest to the correct sense. ὑμῶν τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστεως denotes your work of faith; but as ἜΡΓΟΥ has the emphasis (not ΠΊΣΤΕΩς, as Hofmann thinks), it is accordingly best explained: the work which is peculiar to your faith—by which it is characterized, inasmuch as your faith is something begun with energy, and held fast with resoluteness, in spite of all obstacles and oppositions. This meaning strikingly suits the circumstances of the Epistle.

ΚΑῚ ΤΟῦ ΚΌΠΟΥ Τῆς ἈΓΆΠΗς] the second point of the apostle’s thanksgiving. Ἀγάπη is not love to God, or to God and our neighbour (Nicol. Lyr.), also not to Christ, as if τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . Χ. belonged to ἄγαπης (Cornelius a Lapide), still less love to the apostle and his companions (Natal. Alexander: labores charitatis vestrae, quibus nos ex Judaeorum seditione et insidiis eripuistis, quum apud vos evangelium praedicaremus; Estius, Benson), but love to fellow-Christians (comp. Colossians 1:4). Κόπος τῆς ἀγάπης denotes the active labour of love, which shuns no toil or sacrifice, in order to minister to the wants of our neighbours: not a forbearing love which bears with the faults and weaknesses of others (Theodoret); nor is the genitive the genitive of origin, the work which proceeds from love (so Clericus, Schott, de Wette, Koch, Bloomfield, and most critics); but the genitive of possession, the work which is peculiar to love, by which it is characterized. According to de Wette, ΚΌΠΟς Τῆς ἈΓΆΠΗς might refer also to the labour of rulers and teachers (1 Thessalonians 5:12). Contrary to the context, as 1 Thessalonians 1:3 contains only the further exposition of 1 Thessalonians 1:2; but according to 1 Thessalonians 1:2, the apostle’s thanksgiving extends to all the members of the church (περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν), not merely to individuals among them.

The third point of the apostle’s thanksgiving is the ἘΛΠΊς of his readers, and this also not in and for itself, but in its property of ὙΠΟΜΟΝΉ. ὙΠΟΜΟΝΉ is not the patient waiting which precedes fulfilment (Vatablus), but the constancy which suffers not itself to be overcome by obstacles and oppositions (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact). The genitive here also is not the genitive of origin (Clericus, Schott, de Wette, Koch, Bloomfield), but of possession: your endurance of hope; that endurance which belongs to your hope, by which hope is characterized. ἐλπίς is here as usual subjective: hoping (otherwise, Colossians 1:5).

τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰ. Χ.] does not refer to all the three above-mentioned virtues, “in order to show that they are one and all derived from Christ, and instilled into man by the Holy Spirit” (Olshausen), or are directed to Christ as their object (Cornelius a Lapide, Hofmann), but is the object only of ἐλπίδος. The hope refers to Christ, that is, to His advent, because the judgment and retribution will then take place, and the divine kingdom completed in all its glory will commence.

ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν] belongs not to εἰδότες (1 Thessalonians 1:4), which Musculus thinks possible, and as little to τοῦ κυρίου ἡμ. . Χ.; for—(1) the article τοῦ before ἔμπροσθεν must then have been omitted, and (2) an entire abnormal representation of Christ would occur; also not to τῆς ὑπομονῆς τῆς ἐλπίδος, or to all the three ideas, to indicate thereby these three virtues as existing before the eyes and according to the judgment of God, and thus as true and genuine (Theodoret, Oecumenius, Aretius, Fromond, Cornelius a Lapide, Baumgarten-Crusius, Auberlen), for in this case the repetition of the article would be expected, and besides, ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ and similar expressions have, in the above sense, always an adjective or corresponding clause; but it belongs—which only is grammatically correct—to μνημονεύοντες, so that μνημονεύοντες ἔμπροσθεν κ.τ.λ. corresponds to μνείαν ποιεῖσθαι ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν (1 Thessalonians 1:2).

τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν] may mean Him, who is our God and our Father; or Him, who is God, and likewise our Father.

[32] So in essentials Hofmann, who considers τῆς πίστεως as an epexegetical genitive, and converts the double expression into the unimportant saying: “Their doing or conduct consists in this, that they believed.”

1 Thessalonians 1:3. ἀδιαλ. Neither distance nor fresh interests make any difference to his affection; his life is bound up with their welfare; his source of happiness is their Christian well-being (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20, 1 Thessalonians 3:7-10). The adverb (a late Greek formation, cf. Expos., 1908, 59) goes equally well with the preceding or with the following words; better with the former, on the whole, as the participles then open the successive clauses in 2, 3 and 4.—ὑμῶν is prefixed for emphasis to the three substantives which it covers, while the closing ἔμπροσθενἡμῶν (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:19) gathers up the thought of μνημον.—Faith in one sense is a work, but Paul here (as in Galatians 5:6) means faith that does work (opus opponitur sermoni inani, Bengel), by producing a change of life and a cheerful courage under trials. It would be no pleasure to recall a merely formal or voluble belief, any more than a display of Christian love (cf. Colossians 1:4) which amounted simply to emotions or fitful expressions of goodwill, much less a hope which could not persist in face of delay and discouraging hardships.

3. remembering without ceasing … in the sight of God and our Father] Standing ever in the presence of God, the witness of all his thoughts, St Paul bears with him unceasingly the remembrance of what he had beheld in the Christian life and spirit of his Thessalonian brethren. The adjunct comes in with solemn emphasis at the end of the verse. Comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:9 : “What fitting thanks can we render for all the joy with which we rejoice over you before our God?” and the frequency with which the writer appeals to “God” as “witness” of his feelings and his behaviour (ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:10); similarly in Romans 1:9, “God is my witness … how unceasingly I make mention of you, always in my prayers beseeching,” &c.; and in the thanksgiving of Php 1:8, “God is my witness, how I long after you all!” We are reminded of Elijah’s protestation, “As the Lord liveth, before Whom I stand!” (1 Kings 17:1, &c.)

He says before our God and Father (R.V.): for it is in the character of Father that St Paul approaches God in prayer (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; and the Lord’s prayer: “After this manner pray ye, Our Father”); and “in God” as “Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:1) the Thessalonians became a “church,” and had received the blessings for which the Apostle now gives thanks.

remembering … your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ] “Remembering,” i.e. “how active and fruitful your faith has shown itself to be, how devoted and unwearied your love, and what fortitude your hope in the Lord Jesus has inspired.” Faith, Love, and Hope are the essence of practical Christianity. Fides, amor, spes—summa Christianismi (Bengel); comp. 1 Corinthians 13:13. Work, Labour, Patience are their threefold expression; comp. the “works and labour and patience” of the Ephesian Church, in Revelation 2:2-3.

There was a remarkable vigour, a moral courage and activity in the life of this Church, over which the Apostle rejoiced even more than he did in the eloquence and knowledge of the Church of Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:5). Warmth of heart and practical energy were the distinguishing features of Thessalonian Christianity (see Introduction, chap. IV.):

“Whose faith and work were bells of full accord.”

The work of faith includes the two expressions that follow. It embraces the whole practical issue of a Christian life, denoting that which faith effects, its outcome and result in the doings of life; expressed from the Divine side in “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22), and “fruit of the light” (Ephesians 5:9, R. V.). This expression the Apostle uses once more, in 2 Thessalonians 1:11. This first appearance of the word “faith” in St Paul’s Epistles, conjoined with “work,” shows how far he was removed from antinomianism, from approving either a merely theoretical, or sentimental faith. In his later Epistles, especially in Galatians and Romans, we find “faith” contrasted with works,”—i.e. Pharisaic “works of law,” supposed to be meritorious and to earn salvation by right and as matter of debt on God’s part (see Romans 4:1-4; Romans 9:32; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:10-14). No such notions had as yet troubled the simple-minded Thessalonians. But in the later as in the earliest Epistles faith is always with St Paul an operative principle of life, a working power. He quite agreed with St James (ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:17) that “faith, if it have not works, is dead.” Hence in Galatians 5:6 he writes of “faith working through love.”

The Thessalonians’ work of faith was manifest especially in the two forms of toil of love and endurance of hope. Similarly in 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, faith is joined with love (the “charity” of 1 Corinthians 13) on the one side, and with patience on the other. These are the two chief branches of Christian work—loving service to the brethren and our fellow-men (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:13), and fearless testimony for Christ before the world, with endurance of the loss and suffering this may entail (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4)—“the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). So we see the Christian life in its simplest elements: “a faith that had its out ward effect on your lives; a love that spent itself in the service of others; a hope that was no transient feeling, but was content to wait for the things unseen, when it should be revealed” (Jowett).

We must distinguish “work” from “labour” (or toil). The former points to the thing done, as matter of achievement: the latter to the pains spent in doing it, as matter of exertion. Under this latter word the Apostle refers to his own manual labour (ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), also to his labours as a minister of Christ (ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 10:15 &c.; see besides 1 Corinthians 3:8, “Each shall receive his reward according to his own toil”). Work may be easy and delightful: labour is toilsome; no selfish man will endure it for another’s good. Hence labour is the test of love. How will a mother toil and weary herself for her child! So St Paul, to whom with his many infirmities his work must often have been a heavy task.

“True love is humble, thereby it is known;

Girded for service, seeking not its own.”

Patience of hope” is not al the Apostle means. The Greek word implies active endurance—perseverantia and tolerantia, as well as patientia or sustinentia (Vulgate); the constancy of Mind Milton, that both “bears up, and steers right onward.” It is not the resignation of the passive sufferer, so much as the fortitude of the stout-hearted soldier, which carries him in the hope of victory through the long day’s march and conflict. In Romans 2:7 the first and last of these expressions meet, and this word is rendered “patient continuance in good work” (see Trench’s N. T. Synonyms, on patientia). Christian hope inspired this courage: “hope is the balm and life-blood of the soul.” So Jesus Himself “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). And the Thessalonians were “imitators of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 1:6), following the patience of Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:5). Being the embodiment of Hope, Patience takes its place in 2 Thessalonians 1:4; and elsewhere.

This was the climax of Thessalonian virtue, tried from the first by fierce persecution (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 3:2-6). For their “endurance” the Apostle gloried in this Church, and Christ was glorified in them (2 Thessalonians 1:4-12); such conspicuous courage gave powerful testimony to the Gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8). Observe that here Hope inspires Patience: in Romans 5:4, “Patience worketh hope.” Both are true.

Their hope was in our Lord Jesus Christ. This adjunct might, grammatically, be applied to the three foregoing phrases—to faith, love, and hope alike; but less suitably, as we think. Faith and love are subsequently conceived in a wider sense: God is the Object of faith in 1 Thessalonians 1:8, and love embraces brotherly love in ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:13, &c.; whereas “our Lord Jesus Christ,” in His final coming, is frequently, and with concentrated emphasis, represented as the Object of the Thessalonians’ hope (see 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8. The Second Advent and the Last Judgement had been leading themes of St Paul’s preaching at Thessalonica, and had taken powerful hold of his hearers’ minds (see Introd. pp. 18–21). In this expectation lay the peculiar strength, and at the same time the danger and temptation of their faith, as we shall afterwards see. “If Joy is the key-note of the Epistle to the Philippians, Hope is that of the present Epistle” (Ellicott).

in the sight of God, &c.] Connected most suitably with “remembering” (see note above); though the clause might grammatically be attached to the “faith, hope, and love” just preceding, and would so give a good sense.

1 Thessalonians 1:3. Ὑμῶν, your) This depends on τῆς πίστεως, of faith, etc.—ἔργουκόπουὑπομονῆς, work—labour—patience) These have the force of epithets, joined to ‘faith’, ‘love,’ ‘hope.’ Work is opposed to mere empty words [ἐν λόγῳ μόνον, in word only, 1 Thessalonians 1:5], and in the singular signifies something lasting and efficacious, which faith has in itself, exercising itself in the very fact of believing, not proceeding merely from love.—[1] κόπου, labour) in spiritual and external acts of kindness. Those who evade all exertion that gives them trouble, in consideration of their own interest and quiet, love little. [Some one may say, Who will procure for me leisure to undertake this labour? Nay, but beware of losing time in the indulgence of sloth, in protracting social entertainments longer than is proper, and in vain conversation; and you will find abundance of time for performing the labour of love.—V. g.]—τοῦ Κυρίου, of our Lord) Construe this with patience [but Engl. Vers. hope in our Lord Jesus, etc.], as at 2 Thessalonians 3:5 [ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, the patience of Christ]: as I might say, the heavenly devotion of sighs [meaning, The heavenly devotion expressed by sighs: so the patience of our Lord, i.e. Patient] Perseverance for the name of Christ.—ἔμπροσθεν, in the sight) This is construed with μνημονεύοντες, remembering.

[1] πίστεωςἀγάπηςἐλπίδος, of faith—of love—of hope) ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4.—V. g.

Verse 3. - Remembering without ceasing. Some attach the words, "without ceasing," or "unceasingly," to the previous clause; "making mention of you unceasingly in our prayers" (so Alford). Your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope. These expressions are not to be weakened, as if they were a mere Hebraism for active faith, laborious love, and patient hope. We have here the three cardinal virtues - faith, love, and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). Elsewhere these graces are combined. Thus again in this Epistle: "Putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (1 Thessalonians 5:8); and in the Epistle to the Colossians: "Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven" (Colossians 1:4, 5). By the "work of faith" is not meant faith itself as the work of God (John 6:29), but that faith which is energetic, which is active and living, productive of good works. By the "labor, or toil, of love" is not meant that love which is devoted to God, but that love which manifests itself in acts of kindness toward our fellow-Christians and toward the human race. And by the "patience of hope" is meant that constancy which remains unconquered by trials and persecutions. There is a climax here; faith manifests itself by its works - its active exertion; love by its toils - its works of self-denial; and hope by its patience - its endurance amid trials and discouragements. "Remembering, the apostle would say, your faith, hope, and love: a faith that had its outward effect on your lives; a love that spent itself in the service of others; and a hope that was no mere transient feeling, but was content to wait for the things unseen, when Christ should be revealed" (Jowett). In our Lord Jesus Christ. These words do not refer to all three virtues (Hohnann), but only to the last, specifying its object, namely, that it is hope in the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is hope s highest expectation, because at the advent the kingdom of Christ will come in its glory. In the sight of (or rather, before) God and our Father. These words are to be conjoined with "remembering:" "remembering unceasingly before God and our Father your work of faith," etc. According to the English idiom, the conjunction "and" is dropped - "God our Father." 1 Thessalonians 1:3Without ceasing (ἀδιαλείπτως)

Po. In lxx see 1 Macc. 7:11; 2 Macc. 3:26; 9:4; 8:12; 15:7; 3 Macc. 6:33. Should be construed with making mention, not with remembering, as A.V. and Rev. The salutations of Paul reproduce ordinary conventional forms of greeting. Thus the familiar Greek greeting χαίρειν be joyful, hail, welcome, appears in χάρις grace. This was perceived by Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428 a.d.), who, in his commentary on Ephesians, says that in the preface to that letter Paul does very much as we do when we say "So and so to So and so, greeting" (ὁ δεῖνα τῷ δεῖνι χαίρειν). Deissmann gives some interesting parallels from ancient papyri. For instance, a letter dated 172 b.c., from an Egyptian lady to her brother or husband: "Isias to her brother Hephaestion, greeting (χαίρειν). If you are well, and other things happen as you would wish, it would be in accordance with my constant prayer to the gods. I myself am well, and the boy; and all at home make constant remembrance of you. Comp. Romans 1:9; Ephesians 1:16; Plm 1:4. Again: "Ammonios to his sister Tachnumi, abundant greeting (τὰ πλεῖστα χαίρειν). Before all things, I pray that you may be in health; and each day I make the act of worship for you." In these specimens the conventional salutations in correspondence include the general greeting (χαίρειν) and the statement that prayer is made for the correspondent's welfare; and the words constant and daily are attached to the act of prayer. It is further to be noticed that many passages of Paul's Epistles give evidence of having been shaped by expressions in letters received by him from the parties he is addressing. In his answer he gives them back their own words, as is common in correspondence. Thus, making mention of you and remembering your work, etc., together with the statement that Timothy reports that you have a good remembrance of us (1 Thessalonians 3:6), all together suggest that Paul had before him, when writing to the Thessalonians, a letter which Timothy had brought from them. Other instances will be noted as they occur.

Work - labor - patience (ἔπργου - κόπου - ὑπομονῆς)

Ἔργον work, may mean either the act, the simple transaction, or the process of dealing with anything, or the result of the dealing, - as a book or a picture is called a work. Κόπος labor, from κόπτειν to strike or hew; hence, laborious, painful exertion. Ὑπομονὴ patience, patient endurance and faithful persistence in toil and suffering. See on 2 Peter 1:6; see on James 5:7. The genitives, of faith, love, hope, mark the generating principles of the work and labor and patience, which set their stamp upon each; thus, work which springs from faith, and is characteristic of faith. The phrase patience of hope is found only here; but see Romans 5:4; Romans 8:25; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 8:7; Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:12. ὑπομονὴ in lxx, see 1 Chronicles 29:15; Job 14:19; Psalm 9:18; Psalm 38:7; Jeremiah 1 Jeremiah 4:8. We have here the great triad of Christian graces, corresponding to 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. Hope is prominent throughout the two Epistles. The triad appears, 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Galatians 5:5, Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 8:13; Ephesians 4:2-5; Colossians 1:4, Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 10:22-24; 1 Peter 1:21-22. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 15:10, 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 11:27; Revelation 2:2.

In our Lord, etc. (τοῦ κυρίου)

Lit. of our Lord. For a similar use of the genitive, see John 5:42; 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:15; Acts 9:31; Romans 1:5;Romans 3:18, Romans 3:22, Romans 3:26, etc. Connect with hope only.

Before our God and Father

Const. with remembering, and comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 3:9.

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