1 Thessalonians 1:8
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) For.—“For, in fact,” (supporting and exceeding the statement of 1Thessalonians 1:7 about Greece) “you form the centre from which the doctrine of Christ has rung (not rang) out like a trumpet through those countries; and even beyond, your faith is well known.” The clauses are not quite logically balanced.

Your faith does not mean “your creed,” but “the report of your extraordinary faith.”

To say anythingi.e., about our success at Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians

GOD’S TRUMPET

1 Thessalonians 1:8.

This is Paul’s first letter. It was written very shortly after his first preaching of the Gospel in the great commercial city of Thessalonica. But though the period since the formation of the Thessalonian Church was so brief, their conversion had already become a matter of common notoriety; and the consistency of their lives, and the marvellous change that had taken place upon them, made them conspicuous in the midst of the corrupt heathen community in which they dwelt. And so says Paul, in the text, by reason of their work of faith and labour of love and patience of hope, they had become ensamples to all that believe, and loud proclaimers and witnesses of the Gospel which had produced this change.

The Apostle employs a word never used anywhere else in the New Testament to describe the conspicuous and widespread nature of this testimony of theirs. He says, ‘The word of the Lord sounded out ‘ from them. That phrase is one most naturally employed to describe the blast of a trumpet. So clear and ringing, so loud, penetrating, melodious, rousing, and full was their proclamation, by the silent eloquence of their lives, of the Gospel which impelled and enabled them to lead such lives. A grand ideal of a community of believers! If our churches to-day were nearer its realisation there would be less unbelief, and more attraction of wandering prodigals to the Father’s house. Would that this saying were true of every body of professing believers! Would that from each there sounded out one clear accordant witness to Christ, in the purity and unworldliness of their Christlike lives!

I. This metaphor suggests the great purpose of the Church.

It is God’s trumpet, His means of making His voice heard through all the uproar of the world. As the captain upon the deck in the gale will use his speaking-trumpet, so God’s voice needs your voice. The Gospel needs to be passed through human lips in order that it may reach deaf ears. The purpose for which we have been apprehended of Christ is not merely our own personal salvation, whether we understand that in a narrow and more outward, or in a broader and more spiritual sense. No man is an end in himself, but every man, though he be partially and temporarily an end, is also a means. And just as, according to the other metaphor, the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, each particle of the dead dough, as soon as it is leavened and vitalised, becoming the medium for transmitting the strange, transforming, and living influence to the particle beyond, so all of us, if we are Christian people, have received that grace into our hearts, for our own sakes indeed, but also that through us might be manifested to the darkened eyes beyond, and through us might drop persuasively on the dull, cold ears that are further away from the Divine Voice, the great message of God’s mercy. The Church is God’s trumpet, and the purpose that He has in view in setting it in the world is to make all men know the fellowship of the mystery, and that through it there may ring out, as by some artificial means a poor human voice will be flung to a greater distance than it would otherwise reach, the gentle entreaties, and the glorious proclamation, and the solemn threatenings of the Word, the Incarnate as well as the written Word, of God.

Of course all this is true, not only about communities, but it is true of a community, just because it is true of each individual member of it. The Church is worse than as ‘sounding brass,’ it is as silent brass and an untinkling cymbal, unless the individuals that belong to it recognise God’s meaning in making them His children, and do their best to fulfil it. ‘Ye are my witnesses,’ saith the Lord. You are put into the witness-box; see that you speak out when you are there.

II. Another point that this figure may suggest is, the sort of sound that should come from the trumpet.

A trumpet note is, first of all, clear. There should be no hesitation in our witness; nothing uncertain in the sound that we give. There are plenty of so-called Christian people whose lives, if they bear any witness for the Master at all, are like the notes that some bungling learner will bring out of a musical instrument: hesitating, uncertain, so that you do not know exactly what note he wants to produce. How many of us, calling ourselves Christian people, testify on both sides; sometimes bearing witness for Christ; and alas! alas! oftener bearing witness against Him. Will the trumpet, the instrument of clear, ringing, unmistakable sounds, be the emblem of your Christian testimony? Would not some poor scrannel-pipe, ill-blown, be nearer the mark? The note should be clear.

The note should be penetrating. There is no instrument, I suppose, that carries further than the ringing clarion that is often heard on the field of battle, above all the strife; and this little church at Thessalonica, a mere handful of people, just converted, in the very centre of a strong, compact, organised, self-confident, supercilious heathenism, insisted upon being heard, and got itself made audible, simply by the purity and the consistency of the lives of its members. So that Paul, a few weeks, or at most a few months, after the formation of the church, could say, ‘From you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia,’ your own province and the one next door to it, ‘but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad.’ No man knows how far his influence will go. No man can tell how far his example may penetrate. Thessalonica was a great commercial city. So is Manchester. Hosts of people of all sorts came into it as they come here. There were many different circles which would be intersected by the lives of this Christian church, and wherever its units went they carried along with them the conviction that they had turned from idols to serve the living God, and to wait for His Son from heaven.

And so, dear brethren, if our witness is to be worth anything it must have this penetrating quality. There is a difference in sounds as there is a difference in instruments. Some of them carry further than others. A clear voice will fling words to a distance that a thick, mumbling one never can attain. One note will travel much further than another. Do you see to it that your notes are of the penetrating sort.

And then, again, the note should be a musical one. There is nothing to be done for God by harshness; nothing to be done by discords and gangling; nothing to be done by scolding and rebuke. The ordered sequence of melodious sound will travel a great deal further than unmusical, plain speech. You can hear a song at a distance at which a saying would be inaudible. Which thing is an allegory, and this is its lesson,--Music goes further than discord; and the witness that a Christian man bears will travel in direct proportion as it is harmonious, and gracious and gentle and beautiful.

And then, again, the note should be rousing. You do not play on a trumpet when you want to send people to sleep; dulcimers and the like are the things for that purpose. The trumpet means strung-up intensity, means a call to arms, or to rejoicing; means at any rate, vigour, and is intended to rouse. Let your witness have, for its utmost signification, ‘Awake! thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead; and Christ shall give thee light.’

III. Then, still further, take another thought that may be suggested from this metaphor, the silence of the loudest note.

If you look at the context, you will see that all the ways in which the word of the Lord is represented as sounding out from the Thessalonian Church were deeds, not words. The context supplies a number of them. Such as the following are specified in it: their work; their toil, which is more than work; their patience; their assurance; their reception of the word, in much affliction with joy in the Holy Ghost; their faith to Godward; their turning to God from idols, to serve and to wait.

That is all. So far as the context goes there might not have been a man amongst them who ever opened his mouth for Jesus Christ. We know not, of course, how far they were a congregation of silent witnesses, but this we know, that what Paul meant when he said, ‘The whole world is ringing with the voice of the word of God sounding from you,’ was not their going up and down the world shouting about their Christianity, but their quiet living like Jesus Christ. That is a louder voice than any other.

Ah! dear friends! it is with God’s Church as it is with God’s heavens; the ‘stars in Christ’s right hand’ sparkle in the same fashion as the stars that He has set in the firmament. Of them we read: ‘There is neither voice nor language, their speech is not heard’; and yet, as man stands with bared head and hushed heart beneath the violet abysses of the heavens, ‘their line’ {or chord, the metaphor being that of a stringed instrument} ‘is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.’ Silent as they shine, they declare the glory of God, and proclaim His handiwork. And so you may speak of Him without speaking, and though you have no gift of tongues the night may be filled with music, and your lives be eloquent of Christ.

I do not mean to say that Christian men and women are at liberty to lock their lips from verbal proclamation of the Saviour they have found, but I do mean to say that if there was less talk and more living, the witness of God’s Church would be louder and not lower; ‘and men would take knowledge of us, that we had been with Jesus’; and of Jesus, that He had made us like Himself.

IV. And so, lastly, let me draw one other thought from this metaphor, which I hope you will not think fanciful playing with a figure; and that is the breath that makes the music.

If the Church is the trumpet, who blows it? God! It is by His Divine Spirit dwelling within us, and breathing through us, that the harsh discords of our natural lives become changed into melody of praise and the music of witness for Him. Keep near Christ, live in communion with God, let Him breathe through you, and when His Spirit passes through your spirits their silence will become harmonious speech; and from you ‘will sound out the word of the Lord.’

In a tropical country, when the sun goes behind a cloud, all the insect life that was cheerily chirping is hushed. In the Christian life, when the Son of Righteousness is obscured by the clouds born of our own carelessness and sin, all the music in our spirit ceases, and no more can we witness for Him. A scentless substance lying in a drawer, with a bit of musk, will become perfumed by contact, and will bring the fragrance wherever it is carried. Live near God, and let Him speak to you and in you; and then He will speak through you. And if He be the breath of your spiritual lives, and the soul of your souls, then, and only then, will your lives be music, the music witness, and the witness conviction. And only then will there be fulfilled what I pray there may be more and more fulfilled in us as a Christian community, this great word of our text, ‘from you sounded out,’ clear, rousing, penetrating, melodious, ‘the word of the Lord,’ so that we, with our poor preaching, need not to speak anything. 1:6-10 When careless, ignorant, and immoral persons are turned from their carnal pursuits and connexions, to believe in and obey the Lord Jesus, to live soberly, righteously, and godly, the matter speaks for itself. The believers under the Old Testament waited for the coming of the Messiah, and believers now wait for his second coming. He is yet to come. And God had raised him from the dead, which is a full assurance unto all men that he will come to judgment. He came to purchase salvation, and will, when he comes again, bring salvation with him, full and final deliverance from that wrath which is yet to come. Let all, without delay, flee from the wrath to come, and seek refuge in Christ and his salvation.For from you sounded out the word of the Lord - The truths of religion were thus spread abroad. The word rendered "sounded out" - ἐξήχηται exēchētai - refers to the sounding of a trumpet (Bloomfield), and the idea is, that the gospel was proclaimed like the sonorous voice of a trumpet echoing from place to place; compare Isaiah 58:1; Revelation 1:10. Their influence had an effect in diffusing the gospel in other places, as if the sound of a trumpet echoed and reechoed among the hills and along the vales of the classic land of Greece. This seems to have been done:

(1) involuntarily; that is, the necessary result of their conversion, even without any direct purpose of the kind of their own, would be to produce this effect. Their central and advantageous commercial position; the fact that many of them were in the habit of visiting other places; and the fact that they were visited by strangers from abroad, would naturally contribute to this result. But.

(2) this does not appear to be all that is intended. The apostle commends them in such a way as to make it certain that they were voluntary in the spread of the gospel; that they made decided efforts to take advantage of their position to send the knowledge of the truth abroad. If so, this is an interesting instance of one of the first efforts made by a church to diffuse the gospel, and to send it to those who were destitute of it. There is no improbability in the supposition that they sent out members of their church - messengers of salvation - to other parts of Macedonia and Greece that they might communicate the same gospel to others. See Doddridge.

But also in every place - Thessalonica was connected not only with Macedonia and Greece proper, in its commercial relations, but also with the ports of Asia Minor, and not improbably with still more remote regions. The meaning is, that in all the places with which they trafficked the effect of their faith was seen and spoken of.

Faith to God-ward - Fidelity toward God. They showed that they had a true belief in God and in the truth which he had revealed.

So that we need not to speak anything - That is, wherever we go, we need say nothing of the fact that you have been turned to the Lord, or of the character of your piety. These things are sufficiently made known by those who come from you, by those who visit you, and by your zeal in spreading the true religion.

8. from you sounded … the word of the Lord—not that they actually became missionaries: but they, by the report which spread abroad of their "faith" (compare Ro 1:8), and by Christian merchants of Thessalonica who travelled in various directions, bearing "the word of the Lord" with them, were virtually missionaries, recommending the Gospel to all within reach of their influence by word and by example (1Th 1:7). In "sounded," the image is that of a trumpet filling with its clear-sounding echo all the surrounding places.

to God-ward—no longer directed to idols.

so that we need not to speak any thing—to them in praise of your faith; "for (1Th 1:9) they themselves" (the people in Macedonia, Achaia, and in every place) know it already.

How could they be examples to persons so remote, amongst whom they had no converse? The apostle here resolves it. It was by way of report. Things that are eminent, and done in eminent places, such as Thessalonica was, easily spread abroad, either by merchants, travellers, or correspondence by letters. And this report is compared to a sound that is heard afar off, that made an echo, as the word implies. And that which sounded out from you was the word of the Lord. The word is said to sound by the voice of the preacher, 1 Corinthians 14:8,9 Ga 6:6, and by the practice of the hearers. The mighty power and efficacy of it was made known abroad, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place; not strictly every where, but here and there, up and down in the world. As it is said of the apostles’ ministry, Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world, Romans 10:18; the report of the gospel went farther than the preachers of it, and their receiving the gospel sounded abroad far and near. And not only the word, but

your faith to God-ward is spread abroad, ezelhluyen. Your faith being so eminent, it was spoken of far and near. That ye believed so soon at our first entrance, as 1 Thessalonians 1:9; and though we had been shamefully treated at Philippi a little before our coming to you, and persecution followed us and the gospel we preached to you, yet ye believed, and your faith was eminent in the fruits and operations of it also, as was mentioned before, and is afterwards in the Epistle. And it was faith God-ward; it rested not upon men, no, nor only the Man Christ Jesus, whom we preached to you, but upon God himself though through Christ ye became worshippers of the true God, and believed on him with an exemplary faith.

So that we need not to speak any thing, either of the manner of our preaching the gospel, or of your manner of receiving it. Where men’s deeds speak and commend men, words may be silent. And the apostle might have thought it needful to have divulged these things abroad for the advantage of the gospel, and the examples of others, if he had not been prevented by the report already spread abroad. The good examples of the people may ease their ministers of some labour in spreading the gospel. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord,.... By which is meant the Gospel, and is so called because it is from the Lord, as the author of it: and it is of the Lord, as the subject of it; and it is by the Lord, as the minister or dispenser of it; and it is owing to the efficacy of his grace that it is useful and successful, and ought to be attended to, received, and obeyed, not as the word of man, but as the word of the Lord. This is said to have "sounded out", alluding to the blowing of a trumpet, to which the Gospel is sometimes compared, as to the silver trumpet under the law, for the gathering of the people of Israel; or to the trumpet blown in the years of jubilee, which proclaimed liberty, release of debts, and restoration of inheritances, as the Gospel in a spiritual sense does; or to the trumpet used in war to prepare for the battle, and therefore should not give an uncertain sound; or as used musically, the Gospel being a joyful sound; and this sounding of it may denote the clear publication and open declaration, and large spread of it far and near: though, when it is said to sound forth from the Thessalonians, it is not to be understood as if the Gospel first began to be preached among them, and from thence went to other places; it was preached at Philippi before it came to them, and at many other places before it was there; the word of the Lord, according to the prophecy of Isaiah 2:2 came from Jerusalem; Christ and his apostles first preached there, and from thence their words and sound went to the ends of the earth; but not so much the preaching of the Gospel, as the fame and report of its being preached in this place, is here meant: and so the Latin translation of the Syriac version renders it, "for from you went the report of the word of our Lord"; the fame of its being preached and received at Thessalonica, in the manner it was, spread itself,

not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place; not only at Philippi, Berea, Athens, and Corinth, and other cities and towns in those countries, but also in other parts of the world; and what greatly contributed to it were the uproar that was made at Thessalonica, and continued at Berea upon the first preaching of the Gospel in those parts by the unbelieving Jews; as also the large numbers both of Greeks and Jews, and of devout women of considerable families, that were converted: to which may be added, that Thessalonica was the metropolis of Macedonia, and a city of great trade, and much frequented from all parts both by sea and land; and by this means it came to pass, that not only the fame of the preaching of the word among them went abroad everywhere; but, as the apostle adds,

your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; meaning the grace of faith bestowed on them, by which they received the Gospel in the love of it, assented to it, and professed it, and which has God for its object, and is very valuable, since such public notice is taken of it; and which shows that it was not kept to themselves, and lay hid in their own breasts; but they declared it both by words and by deeds, by making a profession of it, and by walking agreeably to it:

so that we had no need to speak anything; the Syriac version adds, "concerning you"; concerning the preaching of the Gospel among them, their faith in it and profession of it, all being so well known in the several places where they came; for it seems it was usual with the apostles, when they came to any place, to speak of their success in others, and of the faith, and hope, and joy of other Christians, for the encouragement of, and as ensamples to those to whom they minister; but with relation to the Thessalonians this was unnecessary.

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 1:8. Proof of the praise in 1 Thessalonians 1:7. See on the verse, Storr, Opusc. III. p. 317 ff.; Rückert, locorum Paulinorum 1 Thessalonians 1:8 et 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3, explanatio, Jen. 1844.

Baumgarten-Crusius arbitrarily assumes in 1 Thessalonians 1:8 ff. an address, not only to the Thessalonians, but also to the Philippians, in short, to “the first converts in Macedonia.” For ὑμῶν (1 Thessalonians 1:8) can have no further extension than ὑμᾶς (1 Thessalonians 1:7).

ἀφʼ ὑμῶν] does not import vestra opera, so that a missionary activity was attributed to the Thessalonians (Rückert), also not per vos, ope consilioque vestro, so that the sense would be: that the gospel might be preached by me in other parts of Macedonia and Achaia, has been effected by your advice and co-operation, inasmuch as, when in imminent danger, my life and that of Silvanus was rescued by you (Schott, Flatt). For in the first case ὑφʼ ὑμῶν would be required, and in the second case διʼ ὑμῶν, not to mention that the entire occasion of the last interpretation is invented and artificially introduced. Rather ἀφʼ ὑμῶν is purely local (Schott and Bloomfield erroneously unite the local import with the instrumental), and denotes: out from you, forth from you, comp. 1 Corinthians 14:36. Yet this cannot be referred, with Koppe and Krause, to Paul: from you, that is, when I left Thessalonica, I found in the other cities of Macedonia and Achaia a favourable opportunity for preaching the gospel. For (1) this would have been otherwise grammatically expressed, perhaps by ἀφʼ ὑμῶν γὰρ ἀπελθόντι θύρα μοι ἀνέῳγε μεγάλη εἰς τὸ κηρύσσειν τὸν λόγον τοῦ κυρίου; add to this (2), which is the chief point, that the logical relation of 1 Thessalonians 1:8 to 1 Thessalonians 1:7 (γάρ) does not permit our seeking in 1 Thessalonians 1:8 a reference to the conduct of the apostle, but indicates that a further praise of the Thessalonians is contained in it.

ἐξήχηται] Comp. Sir 40:13; Joel 3:14; an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in N. T. is sounded out, like the tone of some far-sounding instrument, i.e. without a figure: was made known with power.

ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου] is not the word from the Lord, or the report of what the Lord has done to you (so, as it seems, Theodore Mopsuest. [in N. T. commentariorum, quae reperiri potuerunt. Colleg., Fritzsche, Turici 1847, p. 145]: Λόγον κυρίου ἐνταῦθα οὐ τὴν πίστιν λέγει, οὐ γὰρ ἡ πίστις ἀπʼ αὐτῶν ἔλαβε τὴν ἀρχήν, ἀλλʼ ἀντὶ τοῦ πάντες ἔγνωσαν ὅσα ὑπὲρ τῆς πίστεως ἐπάθετε, καὶ πάντες ὑμῶν τὸ βέβαιον θαυμάζουσι τῆς πίστεως, ὥστε καὶ προτροπὴν ἑτέροις γενέσθαι τὰ ὑμέτερα), but the word of the Lord which He caused to be preached (subjective genitive), i.e. the gospel (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Colossians 3:16); thus similar to the more usual expression of Paul: ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ. But the meaning is not: The report of the gospel, that it was embraced by you, went forth from you, and made a favourable impression upon others (de Wette); but the knowledge of the gospel itself spread from you, so that the power and the eclat which was displayed at the conversion of the Thessalonians directed attention to the gospel, and gained friends for it.

The words οὐ μόνον have given much trouble to interpreters. According to their position they evidently belong to ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ, and form a contrast to ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ. But it does not agree with this view that a new subject and predicate are found in the contrast introduced with ἀλλά, because the emphasis lies (as the position of οὐ μόνονἀλλά appears to demand) only on the two local statements, so that only ἀφʼ ὑμῶντόπῳ should have been written, and ὥστε μὴ κ.τ.λ. should have been directly connected with them. This double subject and predicate could only be permissible provided the phrases: ἐξήχηται ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου, and: ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τ. Θεὸν ἐξελήλυθεν were equivalent, as de Wette (also Olshausen and Koch) assumes (“the fame of your acceptance of the gospel sounded forth not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place the fame of your faith in God is spread abroad”); but, as is remarked above, de Wette does not correctly translate the first member of the sentence. Zanchius, Piscator, Vorstius, Beza, Grotius, Koppe, Storr, Flatt, Schrader, Schott, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others have felt themselves obliged to assume a trajection, uniting οὐ μόνον not with ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ, but with ἐξήχηται, and thus explain it as if the words stood: ἀφʼ ὑμῶν γὰρ οὐ μόνον ἐξήχηται κ.τ.λ. But this trajection is a grammatical impossibility. Bloomfield has understood the words as a mingling of two different forms of expression. According to him, it is to be analyzed: “For from you sounded the word of the Lord over all Macedonia and Achaia; and not only has your faith in God been well known there, but the report of it has been disseminated everywhere else.” But that which is united by Paul is thus forcibly severed, and arbitrarily moulded into an entirely new form. Lastly, Rückert has attempted another expedient. According to him, the apostle, after having written the greater part of the sentence, was led by the desire of making a forcible climax so to alter the originally intended form of the thought that the conclusion no longer corresponded with the announcement. Thus, then, the sense would be. Vestra opera factum est, ut domini sermo propagaretur non solum in Macedonia et Achaja, sed etiam—immo amplius quid, ipsa vestra fides ita per famam sparsa est, ut nullus jam sit locus, quem ejus nulla dum notitia attigerit. But against this is—(1) that ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν, on account of its position after ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, cannot have the principal accent; on the contrary, to preserve the meaning maintained by Rückert, it ought to have been written ἀλλʼ αὐτὴ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ ἐξελήλυθεν; (2) that the wide extension of the report of the πίστις of the readers is not appropriate to form a climax to their supposed missionary activity expressed in the first clause of the sentence. However, to give οὐ μόνονἀλλά its proper force, and thereby to avoid the objection of the double subject and predicate, there is a very simple expedient (now adopted by Hofmann and Auberlen), namely, another punctuation; to put a colon after κυρίου, and to take together all that follows. According to this, 1 Thessalonians 1:8 is divided into two parts, of which the first part (ἀφʼ ὑμῶνκυρίου), in which ἀφʼ ὑμῶν and ἐξήχηται have the emphasis, contains the reason of 1 Thessalonians 1:7, and of which the second part (οὐ μόνονλαλεῖν τι) takes up the preceding ἐξήχηται, and works it out according to its locality.

From the fact that οὐ μόνονἀλλά serves to contrast the local designations, it follows that ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ is not to be limited (with Koppe, Storr, Flatt, Schott, and others) to Macedonia and Achaia (ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ τῆς Μακεδονίας καὶ τῆς Ἀχαΐας), but must denote every place outside of Macedonia and Achaia, entirely apart from the consideration whether Paul and his companions had already come in contact with those places or not (against Hofmann), thus the whole known world (Chrysostom: τὴν οἰκουμένην; Oecumenius: ἅπαντα τὸν κόσμον); by which it is to be conceded that Paul here, as in Romans 1:8, Colossians 1:6; Colossians 1:23, expresses himself in a popular hyperbolical manner.

ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν ἡ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν] your faith, that is, your believing or becoming believers in God (πίστις thus subjective); the unusual preposition πρός instead of εἰς is also found in Philemon 1:5. That here God, and not Christ, is named as the object of faith does not alter the case, because God is the Father of Christ and the Author of the salvation contained in Him. But the unusual form ἡ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν is designedly chosen, in order to bring prominently forward the monotheistic faith to which the Thessalonians had turned, in contrast to their former idolatry.

ἐξελήλυθεν] has gone forth, has spread forth, namely, as a report. Comp. on ἐξέρχεσθαι in this sense, Matthew 9:26; Luke 8:17, etc. Probably the report had spread particularly by means of Christian merchants (Zanchius, Grotius, Joach. Lange, Baumgarten, de Wette), and the apostle might easily have learned it in the great commercial city of Corinth, where there was a constant influx of strangers. Possibly also Aquila and Priscilla, who had lately come from Rome (Acts 18:2), brought with them such a report (Wieseler, p. 42). At all events, neither a longer existence of the Thessalonian church follows from this passage (Schrader, Baur), nor that Paul had in the interval been in far distant places (Wurm). As, moreover, ἐξελήλυθεν is construed not with εἰς, but with ἐν, so not only the arrival of the report in those regions is represented, but its permanence after its arrival (see Winer, p. 385 [E. T. 514]; Bernhardy, Synt. p. 208).

ὥστε μὴ χρείαν ἔχειν ἡμᾶς λαλεῖν τι] so that we have no need to say anything of it (sc. of your πίστις; erroneously Michaelis, “of the gospel;” erroneously also Koch, “something considerable”), because we have been already instructed concerning it by its report; although this is contained in ἐξελήλυθεν, yet it is impressively brought forward and explained in what follows.1 Thessalonians 1:8. ἡ πίστιςἐξελ. (Romans 10:18), by anacoluthon, reiterates for emphasis ἀφʼ ὑμῶνκυρίου (ὁ λόγος τ. Κ. depending for its effectiveness on the definite testimony of Christians). Paul is dictating loosely but graphically. The touch of hyperbole is pardonable and characteristic (cf. Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Colossians 1:6); but the geographical and commercial position of Thessalonica see Introd., p. 5) must have offered ample facilities for the rapid dissemination of news and the promulgation of the faith, north and south, throughout European Greece (Encycl. Bibl., i. 32). The local Christians had taken full advantage of their natural opportunities. Through their imitation of the apostles (see Introd., p. 7) and of Christ (here as in 1 Peter 2:19-21, in his sufferings), they had become a pattern for others. The ἐν τῇ is omitted before Ἀχαίᾳ here because Μ. and Α. are grouped together, over against π. τ.—ὥστεγάρ, the reputation of the apostles rested upon solid evidence.8. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord] Better, hath sounded out, or resounded. The Greek word suggests a clear ringing note, “as of a trumpet” (Chrysostom); and the tense (perfect) implies no transient sound, but a continuing effect: see note on beloved, 1 Thessalonians 1:4.

“The word of the Lord” is the standing O. T. designation for God’s revealed will,—all that, as the Lord, He says to men. But “the Lord” is now Christ in His Divine authority and glory; and this title of Christ is notably frequent in our two Epistles. Only in them is this expression applied by St Paul to the Gospel (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:1). Afterwards he calls it “the word of God” or “of Christ”—“not men’s word, but as it is in truth, God’s word” (ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:13). The fullest declaration of the authorship and purport of this “word” is from the lips of St Peter, in Acts 10:36 : “The word which God sent,—in good tidings of peace through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all.”

1 Thessalonians 1:8 gives proof of the earnestness with which the Thessalonians had embraced the Gospel, as set forth in 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7. For they had so received it as to echo it far and wide. The violent persecution directed against them, failing to shake their faith, had served to advertise it.

“Truth, like a torch, the more ’tis shaken shines.”

not only in Macedonia and Achaia] Now the two provinces are united, in contrast with the rest of the world.

but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad] Lit., hath gone out: the Apostle keeps up the metaphor with which he began the sentence. Psalm 19:4, quoted also in Romans 10:18, seems to be running in his mind: “Their sound went forth into all the earth” (LXX). For the tense, see note on “hath sounded out.”

The conversion of the Thessalonians, taking place under such remarkable circumstances, had made a great sensation, the news spreading even beyond the limits of Greece. [For a view of the importance of Thessalonica and its commanding geographical position, see Introd. Ch. 1.] Aquila had lately come to Corinth from Rome (Acts 18:2), and may have brought word that the news was current there. The charge of treason against Cæsar recorded in Acts 17:6-7, would almost certainly be reported in Rome. “In every place” is a natural hyperbolé, used like our everywhere, everybody and the French tout le monde, of that which is widely and generally current. The Thessalonian believers in Christ were

“bravely furnished all abroad to fling

The wingèd shafts of truth.”

With “in every place” the sentence of 1 Thessalonians 1:8 is complete; but as the writer extends his statement, it alters its shape in his mind, and the assertion with which he set out (the word … hath sounded forth) is now repeated in another way: your faith that is unto (is directed to) God, hath gone out. This mobility is characteristic of St Paul’s style (see Introd. Ch. VI.). The same thing appears in a double aspect: the fame of the gospel spread by the Thessalonians and the fame of their faith in it travelled together.

“Faith toward God” is a rare and distinct expression. It indicates the new direction, or attitude of the heart and life, which the next verse vividly depicts. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:4 and Philemon 1:5 : “toward the Lord Jesus.”

so that we need not to speak any thing] Lit., have no need,—a phrase used three times in this Epistle (ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:1), and nowhere else by St Paul.

Read this in close connection with the next verse. It is as much as to say, “No need for us to tell the story. We hear of it from all sides; everywhere people are talking about your conversion and your brave testimony for Christ.”1 Thessalonians 1:8. Γὰρ, for) The intensive particle.—ἐξήχηται) was given (spread) abroad with a clear sound.—τοῦ Κυρίου, of the Lord) Christ.—ὥστε, so that) It is lawful to speak where the subject is the conversion of souls. Paul takes this for granted; and he himself would have taken also the subject of his remarks from the conversion of the Thessalonians, had not others known the fact already before, and spoken about it.—λαλεῖν τι, to speak anything) concerning your faith, 1 Thessalonians 1:9.Verse 8. - For; or, because the proof of tiffs praise conferred on the Thessalonians. From you sounded out. Resounded like the sound of a trumpet. Comp. Romans 10:18, "Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world." The word of the Lord. This does not intimate that the Thessalonians by their missionary activity disseminated the gospel, but that from them locally the-gospel had spread. Not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad. There is a slight difficulty in the construction. The sentence is complete without the addition, "your faith to God-ward is spread abroad," and, therefore, we must consider these words as equivalent to "from you sounded out the word of the Lord." When the apostle says that "the faith of the Thessalonians is spread abroad in every place," the meaning is that the report of their joyful reception of the gospel had excited universal attention. There is here a certain use of the figure hyperbole. The words, "in every place," are not to be taken in their full literal sense, but are merely a strong expression for the wide diffusion of the faith of the Thessalonians. Paul uses similar hyperboles in other places, as when he speaks of the faith of the Romans being spoken of throughout the whole world (Romans 1:5), and of the gospel having come into all the world (Colossians 1:6). This wide diffusion of the Faith of the Thessalonians, notwithstanding the recent date of their conversion, may be accounted for when we consider that Thessalonica and Corinth were two great commercial cities, from and to which there was a constant coming and going, so that reports might easily be transmitted by merchants and strangers. It has also been suggested that Aquila and Priscilla, who had lately come from Rome (Acts 18:2), must in their journey have passed through Thessalonica, and would bring with them to Corinth such a report of the faith of the Thessalonians (Wieseler). So that we need not to speak anything; that is, of your faith, as this is already so well known and applauded. Hath sounded forth (ἐξήχηται)

N.T.o. lxx Joel 3:14; Sir. 40:13, of thunder; 3 Macc. 3:2, of a report. It means a loud, unmistakable proclamation.

The word of the Lord (ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου)

The phrase in Paul only in these Epistles. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Comparatively frequent in Acts. Paul has λόγος Θεοῦ or τοῦ Θεοῦ word of God, eight times, and λόγος τοῦ χριστοῦ word of the Christ, once, Colossians 3:16. The meaning here is the gospel, regarded either as the message proceeding from the Lord, or concerning him. It is the εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ the gospel of God: see 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:8, 1 Thessalonians 2:9; Romans 1:1; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7. As Professor Sanday remarks on Romans 1:1, "it is probably a mistake in these cases to restrict the force of the genitive to one particular aspect: all aspects are included in which the gospel is in any way related to God and Christ."

In every place

A rhetorical exaggeration, signifying the whole known world. It is explained by the extensive commercial relations of Thessalonica. Comp. Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:23, 2 Corinthians 2:14.

Is spread abroad (ἐξελήλυθεν)

Lit. and better, has gone forth.

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