1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) The first part of this chapter draws attention to the Apostles’ part in the conversion of Thessalonica. From this point (roughly speaking) to the end of 1 Thessalonians 3, the action of the converts is the chief subject.

This verse differs from the original in several particulars of more or less importance. Literally translated, it would run thus: And for this cause we too thank God unceasingly, that, on receiving a word of hearing at our lips of God, ye welcomed, not a word of men, but (as it is in truth) a word of God, which also, etc.

For this cause—viz., because of the labours we went through to teach you, which we are thankful were not wasted. We too, as well as you. The two words rendered “received” are not the same; the first meaning merely an outward reception, the second the welcome given. The words “it” and “as” (as the italics show) do not stand in the Greek. St. Paul is not expressing so much his gratitude for the manner in which the word was greeted, as for the essential character of what was greeted.

The word of God which ye heard of us.—The same phrase as in Hebrews 4:2, which is there rendered, “the word preached.” “The word might have been, so far as you knew, a mere word spoken by us—ordinary men—but it was in reality a word of God, and so you found when you embraced it.”

You that believe.—It could have no effect without this condition. (See Hebrews 4:2.)

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16. For this cause — Or, on this account also; thank we God without ceasing — See on 1 Thessalonians 1:2; that is, we not only thank him that we have been enabled to conduct ourselves, and to discharge our duty, in the manner above described, but that, when ye received the word of God which ye heard, &c. — Greek, λογον ακοης του Θεου, literally, the word of hearing of God; the word which God hath appointed to be heard through our preaching. Accordingly, the same expression, λογον ακοης, (Hebrews 4:2,) is rendered by our translators, the word preached. But Dr. Chandler thinks the clause should be rendered, the word of report concerning God; supposing it to be an allusion to Isaiah 53:1, Who hath. believed, τη ακοη ημων, our report? Ye received it not as the word of men — As a mere human invention, or a doctrine framed by the wisdom of men; but as it is in truth, the word of God himself — Of which there is this further proof, that it worketh effectually in you that believe — Producing such a change in your hearts and lives as abundantly attests its divine original. Wherever the gospel is thus received — where there is a full conviction that it is nothing less than a message from Jehovah himself, a Being of infallible truth, unspotted holiness, unerring wisdom, and overflowing goodness — it is no wonder that it should produce the effect here ascribed to it. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches in Judea — Imitators of their courage and constancy in suffering for the truth, as being influenced by the same Spirit which animated and supported them, though you had not been eye-witnesses of their example: for ye suffered like things of your own countrymen — Ye have been calumniated, imprisoned, and spoiled of your goods; even as they suffered from the Jews — Their countrymen. The same fruit, the same afflictions, and the same experience, at all times, and in all places, are an excellent criterion of evangelical truth. Who both killed the Lord Jesus — Their own Messiah; and — Before him; their own prophets — Who foretold his appearance; and whom God, in many distant ages of their commonwealth, raised up unto them. The expression, their own prophets, is emphatical; and denotes that the Jews acknowledged the prophets whom they killed to be prophets really sent of God. So remarkable were the Jews for persecuting the prophets, that Stephen challenged the council to show so much as one whom their fathers had not persecuted, Acts 7:52. And have persecuted us — Apostles and preachers of the gospel; and they please not God — Though they pretend to be so well acquainted with him and his will, and boast so much of their interest in him; nay, they are not concerned to please him, notwithstanding their fair professions; and are contrary to all men — Are common enemies of all mankind; full of contempt and malignity against all other nations, and behaving toward them in the most perverse and unfriendly manner. The hatred which the Jews bore to all the heathen, without exception, was taken notice of by Tacitus and Juvenal, and even by Josephus. It was directly contrary to the law of Moses, which, in the strongest terms, recommended humanity to strangers; but arose probably from their not understanding rightly the intention of the precepts of their law, which were given to prevent them from having familiar intercourse with idolaters, lest they should be induced to imitate them in their practices. Forbidding us — The apostles and messengers of God; to speak to the Gentiles — That is, to preach the gospel to them, as we are expressly commanded of God to do; that they might be saved — In which respect especially they show themselves to be the enemies of mankind, opposing their present and everlasting salvation; to fill up, &c. — So that, instead of pleasing God, they fill up the measure of their sins always — As they have ever done: but the wrath — The vengeance of God; is come upon them — Is about to overtake them unawares, while they are seeking to destroy others. Or, God has begun to punish them, and will speedily complete their destruction. The word εφθασε, here rendered is come, being in the past time, properly signifies hath come. But, as Macknight observes, the past time is here put for the present, or rather for the future, as is plain from this, that the wrath of God had not yet fallen on the Jewish nation in the full sense here expressed. The apostle only speaks of their punishment as at hand, being taught either by Christ’s prediction, or by a peculiar revelation made to himself. The original expression, εις τελος, rendered here to the uttermost, was understood, by the ancient commentators, as signifying that the wrath of God was coming upon the Jews, not for a few years, but for a long duration, even for many generations: which has accordingly come to pass. To render the expression as our translators have done, to the uttermost, is certainly not quite proper. For, though the calamities brought on the Jews by the Romans were very great, they did not utterly destroy them. According to God’s promise, that he never would make a full end of the Jews, a remnant of them was left; and in the posterity of that remnant, now multiplied to a great number, the promises concerning the conversion and restoration of Israel will be fulfilled. It may not be improper to observe here, that in the dreadful calamities brought on the Jewish nation for killing their Messiah, and opposing his gospel, we have an example and proof of the manner in which all obstinate opposition to the gospel will end.2:13-16 We should receive the word of God with affections suitable to its holiness, wisdom, truth, and goodness. The words of men are frail and perishing, like themselves, and sometimes false, foolish, and fickle; but God's word is holy, wise, just, and faithful. Let us receive and regard it accordingly. The word wrought in them, to make them examples to others in faith and good works, and in patience under sufferings, and in trials for the sake of the gospel. Murder and persecution are hateful to God, and no zeal for any thing in religion can excuse it. Nothing tends more to any person or people's filling up the measure of their sins, than opposing the gospel, and hindering the salvation of souls. The pure gospel of Christ is abhorred by many, and the faithful preaching of it is hindered in many ways. But those who forbid the preaching it to sinners, to men dead in sin, do not by this please God. Those have cruel hearts, and are enemies to the glory of God, and to the salvation of his people, who deny them the Bible.For this cause also thank we God - In addition to the reasons for thankfulness already suggested, the apostle here refers to the fact that they received the truth, when it was preached, in such a way as to show that they fully believed it to be the word of God.

Not as the word of men - Not of human origin, but as a divine revelation. You were not led to embrace it by human reasoning, or the mere arts of persuasion, or from personal respect for others, but by your conviction that it was a revelation from God. It is only when the gospel is embraced in this way that religion will show itself sufficient to abide the fiery trials to which Christians may be exposed. He who is convinced by mere human reasoning may have his faith shaken by opposite artful reasoning; he who is won by the mere arts of popular eloquence will have no faith which will be proof against similar arts in the cause of error; he who embraces religion from mere respect for a pastor, parent, or friend, or because others do, may abandon it when the popular current shall set in a different direction, or when his friends shall embrace different views; but he who embraces religion as the truth of God, and from the love of the truth, will have a faith, like that of the Thessalonians, which will abide every trial.

Which effectually worketh also in you that believe - The word rendered "which" here - ὅς hos - may be referred either to "truth" or to "God." The grammatical construction will admit of either, but it is not material which is adopted. Either of them expresses a sense undeniably true, and of great importance. The meaning is, that the truth was made efficacious in the minds of all who became true Christians. It induced them to abandon their sins, to devote themselves to God, to lead pure and holy lives, and enabled them to abide the trials and temptations of life; compare notes on Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 13:21. The particular illustration here is, that when they embraced the gospel it had such an efficacy on their hearts as to prepare them to meet all the terrors of bitter persecution without shrinking.

13. For this cause—Seeing ye have had such teachers (1Th 2:10-12) [Bengel], "we also (as well as 'all that believe' in Macedonia and Achaia) thank God without ceasing ('always' … 'in our prayers,' 1Th 1:2), that when ye received the word of God which ye heard from us (literally, 'God's word of hearing from us,' Ro 10:16, 17), ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, even as it is truly, the word of God." Alford omits the "as" of English Version. But the "as" is required by the clause, "even as it is truly." "Ye accepted it, not (as) the word of men (which it might have been supposed to be), but (as) the word of God, even as it really is." The Greek for the first "received," implies simply the hearing of it; the Greek of the second is "accepted," or "welcomed" it. The proper object of faith, it hence appears, is the word of God, at first oral, then for security against error, written (Joh 20:30, 31; Ro 15:4; Ga 4:30). Also, that faith is the work of divine grace, is implied by Paul's thanksgiving.

effectually worketh also in you that believe—"Also," besides your accepting it with your hearts, it evidences itself in your lives. It shows its energy in its practical effects on you; for instance, working in you patient endurance in trial (1Th 2:14; compare Ga 3:5; 5:6).

The apostle having given the reasons on his part and his fellow ministers’, why the gospel had such effect upon them, he next proceeds to show the reason on their part, for which he giveth God thanks. And that is, from their manner of receiving it; though this, as well as the former, are but subordinate reasons.

1. They heard it; some will not do that; and therefore the apostle here calls it a word of hearing, a Hebraism, as Romans 10:17: Faith cometh by hearing.

2. They received it: the word importeth a receiving with affection, as Joseph the virgin Mary to his wife, Matthew 1:20.

3. They received it not as the word of men, which we receive sometimes doubting, sometimes disputing it; or believing it only with a human faith, upon grounds of reason, as the dictates of philosophy, or on the reports of men, and without the impression of the authority of God upon our minds; or when we receive the word of God because of the eloquence or learning of the preacher, and the affection we bear to him, or admiration of his person; or, as the papists, we believe it because the church believeth it.

But as it is in truth, the word of God; with a divine faith, ready subjection of our souls to it, and with reverent attention, as a word that is from heaven; which the apostle positively asserts in way of parenthesis.

As it is in truth, or truly, they believed, so he dispersed the word to them, and so they received it. And for this cause he gave thanks to God. Having mentioned before the subordinate reasons of the efficacy of the word, he now mentions the principal, which is God himself. That any receive the word as the word of God, it is not from the preachers so much as from God. And it is a great cause of thanksgiving to God, when ministers find a people receive the word with a Divine faith, which is not done without Divine grace: then they see the fruit of their ministry, for which they ought to give thanks. Which effectually worketh also in you that believe: the powerful working of God is usually expressed by this word, Ephesians 1:19 Philippians 2:13; and the working of Satan also, Ephesians 2:2. Men possessed with the devil are called energumeni. And where the word is believed and received as the word of God, there it hath this energy, or worketh effectually, so as to promote love, repentance, self-denial, mortification, comfort, and peace, &c. The apostle had mentioned before their work of faith, labour of love, patience of hope, 1 Thessalonians 1:3; and all from hence, their receiving the word as the word of God, and so retaining it. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing,.... As for their election of God, 1 Thessalonians 1:4 so for their effectual calling by his grace, to his kingdom and glory, just now mentioned, as well as for their reception of the word of God as such, hereafter expressed; since their having it and receiving it, and the effectual operation of it in them, were owing to the goodness and grace of God, and therefore required a constant sense of the favour, and thankfulness, without ceasing, for it. The apostle having at large considered the manner of his and his fellow ministers' entrance among them without guile, flattery, covetousness, or any sinister view, and with all simplicity, integrity, labour, diligence, affection, and tenderness, returns to observe the reception their ministry met with, and the influence and effect it had upon them:

because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us; or "the word of hearing of God", as the Vulgate Latin version from the Greek text literally renders it; that is, the Gospel which was preached by the apostles, and was heard and received by these Thessalonians: and it is called the word of God, because God is the author of it; it comes from him, and is ministered by his authority, and is a part of that written word which is given by his inspiration; and because his grace in choosing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, adopting, regenerating, and giving eternal life to men, and the declaration of his will concerning saving them by his Son Jesus Christ, are the subject matter of it; and because he owns and blesses it, for the conversion and comfort of his people: and it may be called the word of hearing of God, because coming from him, and containing his will, and preached by his order, and succeeded by his power, hearing comes by it; it is divinely breathed by him; he speaks in it by his ministers, and he is heard of in it by his people; as he was by these believers, who heard his word both externally and internally; and received it into their understandings, so as to know it spiritually and experimentally; into their minds, not merely notionally, and so as to assent to the truth of it, and give credit to it, but so as to believe in Christ revealed in it; and into their affections, in the love of it, and with joy in the Holy Ghost; they received it gladly, and with meekness and readiness, so that it became the ingrafted word, and brought forth fruit in them: the manner in which they received it follows,

ye received it not as the word of men: which is often fallacious and deceitful, at least dubious and uncertain, and not to be depended on; nor did they receive it as the words of wise men are received, and because it was clothed with the wisdom, eloquence, and oratory of men, for it was destitute of these; nor upon the credit and authority of men, no, not of the apostles themselves:

but as it is in truth the word of God: it appearing to be agreeably to the perfections of his nature, and to the Scriptures of truth, and it bearing his impress and divine authority, they received it with much assurance and certainty, as infallible truth; and which was inviolably to be adhered to, without any alteration, without adding to it or taking from it; and to be had and retained in the greatest esteem and reverence, and never to be departed from: and that they received it in this manner, appears from its operation in them,

which effectually worketh also in you that believe: the Vulgate Latin version reads, "who worketh"; referring it to God, as indeed it may be referred to him, as well as to his word; but the sense is much the same, for God works by and with his word, and his word only effectually works when it comes in power; or is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe; and when it does come with a divine commission and power, it effectually works to the quickening of dead sinners, the enlightening of dark minds, the unstopping of deaf ears, the softening of hard hearts, producing faith which works by love, encouraging hope, delivering from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the law, and comforting and establishing the hearts of the saints under all afflictions, trials, and persecutions.

{11} For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

(11) Having approved his ministry, he commends again (to that end and purpose that I spoke of) the cheerfulness of the Thessalonians which was due to his diligence in preaching, and their brave patience.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 2:13. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 passes from the earnest and self-sacrificing publication of the gospel to the earnest and self-sacrificing reception of the gospel. Erroneously Baumgarten-Crusius: Paul, having taught in what manner he has been among the Thessalonians, shows in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 what he has given to them, namely, a divine thing.

Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο] And even in this account. Καί, being placed first, connects the more closely what follows with what precedes. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

διὰ τοῦτο] not: “quoniam tam felici successu apud vos evangelium praedicavimus” (Pelt, Bloomfield); for (1) from 1 Thessalonians 2:1 and onwards the subject spoken of is not the success or effect, but only the character of the apostle’s preaching; (2) the intolerable tautology would arise, as we have preached to you the gospel with such happy success, so we thank God for the happy success of our ministry; (3) lastly, if Paul wished to indicate a reference of 1 Thessalonians 2:13 to the whole preceding description, he would perhaps have written διὰ ταῦτα, though certainly διὰ τοῦτο might be justified, as 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 may be taken together as one idea. According to Schott, διὰ τοῦτο refers back to εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν: “Quum haec opera in animis vestris ad vitam divina invitatione dignam impellendis minime frustra fuerit collocata, quam vos ejusmodi vitam exhibueritis, ego vicissim cum sociis deo gratias ago assiduas, ὅτι ff.” But still a tautology remains, which Schott himself appears to have felt, since he takes καὶ ἡμεῖς in sharp contrast to ὑμᾶς, 1 Thessalonians 2:12; besides, the ground of this explanation gives way, inasmuch as εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν can only denote the object, but in no way the result of the exhortations. Also de Wette refers διὰ τοῦτο to εἰς τὸ περιπατεῖν, but explains it thus: Therefore, because it was so important an object for us (so already Flatt, but who unites what is incapable of being united) to exhort you to a worthy walk. But there is in the preceding no mention of the importance of the object of the apostle’s exhortations. Accordingly there remains for διὰ τοῦτο only two connections of thought possible, namely, either to refer to the earnestness and zeal described in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, with which the exhortations of the apostle were enforced. Then the thought would be: because we have so much applied ourselves to exhort you to walk worthy (Flatt), so we thank God for the blessed result of our endeavours. Or διὰ τοῦτο may be referred to the concluding words of 1 Thessalonians 2:12 : τοῦ καλοῦντος ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ βασιλείαν καὶ δόξαν, so that the meaning is: Because God calls you to such a glorious goal, so we thank God continually that you have understood this call of God which has come to you, and that you have obeyed it. Evidently this last reference, which is found in Zanchius, Balduin, and Olshausen, is to be preferred as the nearest and simplest. So recently also Alford and Auberlen.

καὶ ἡμεῖς] to be taken together, we also. For not only Paul and his companions, but every true Christian who hears[37] of the conduct of the Thessalonians, must be induced to thankfulness to God. Comp. Ephesians 1:15. Hardly correctly, Zanchius, whom Balduin follows, places καί in contrast to the Thessalonians: non solum vos propter hanc vocationem debetis agere gratias, sed etiam nos. Erroneously also de Wette; καί belongs to the whole clause: therefore also, which would require διὰ καὶ τοῦτο.

εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ Θεῷ] For although the spontaneous conduct of the readers is here spoken of, yet thanks is due to God, who has ordained this spontaneous conduct.

ὅτι παραλαβόντες λόγον κ.τ.λ.] The object of εὐχαριστοῦμεν, because that when ye received, etc.

παραλαμβάνειν] which Baumgarten-Crusius erroneously considers as equivalent to δέχεσθαι, indicates the objective reception—the obtaining (comp. Colossians 2:6; Galatians 1:9); δέχεσθαι, on the other hand, is the subjective reception—the acceptance (comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 8:17).

ἀκοή] is used in a passive sense, that which is heard, i.e. the preaching, the message (comp. Romans 10:16; Galatians 3:2; John 12:38). Arbitrarily Pelt; it is that to which one at once shows obedience. παρʼ ἡμῶν is to be closely connected with ἀκοῆς (Estius, Aretius, Beza, Calixtus, Koppe, Pelt, Schott, Olshausen, Alford, Hofmann, and others), and to the whole idea λόγον ἀκοῆς παρʼ ἡμῶν is added the more definite characteristic τοῦ Θεοῦ. Thus: the word of God which ye have heard of us, the word of God preached by us. We must not, with Musculus, Piscator, Er. Schmid, Turretin, Fritzsche (on 2 Cor. diss. I. p. 3), de Wette, Koch, and Auberlen, unite παρʼ ἡμῶν with παραλαβόντες; for against this is not only the order of the words, as we would expect παραλαβόντες παρʼ ἡμῶν λόγον ἀκοῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ, whereas in the passage there exists no reason for the separation of the natural connection; but also chiefly the addition of ἀκοῆς would be strange, as along with παραλαβόντες παρʼ ἡμῶν it would be superfluous. It is otherwise with our interpretation, in which an important contrast exists, Paul contrasting himself as the mere publisher to the proper author of the gospel; and in which also the construction is unobjectionable (against de Wette), as ἀκούειν παρά τινος (see John 1:41) is used, substantives and adjectives often retaining the construction of verbs from which they are derived. See Kühner, II. pp. 217, 245.

τοῦ Θεοῦ] not the objective genitive, the word preached by us which treats of God, i.e. of His purposes of salvation (Erasmus, Vatablus, Musculus, Hunnius, Balduin, Er. Schmid, Grotius), against which the following οὐ λόγον ἀνθρώπωνἀλλὰ λόγον Θεοῦ is decisive; but the word which proceeds from God, whose author is God Himself.

ἐδέξασθε] ye have received it, sc. the word of God preached.

οὐ λόγον κ.τ.λ.] not as the word of man. The addition of a ὡς (οὐχ ὡς λόγον ἀνθρ. ἀλλὰὡς λόγον Θεοῦ), dispensable in itself (see Kühner, II. p. 226), is here the rather left out, because the apostle would not only express what the preaching of the word was in the estimation of the Thessalonians, but likewise what it was in point of fact, on which account the parenthesis καθώς ἐστιν ἀληθῶς, according as it is in truth, is emphatically added.

The Thessalonians received λόγος Θεοῦ as the word of God, seeing they believed it, and were zealous for it.

ὅς] is not to be referred to Θεοῦ (Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, Koppe, Flatt, Auberlen, and others), but to λόγον Θεοῦ (Syr. Ambrose, Erasmus, Estius, Balduin, Aretius, Wolf, Turretin, Benson, Fritzsche, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Koch, Hofmann); for (1) in what immediately precedes, the subject is not Θεός, but λόγος Θεοῦ. (2) Paul uses always the active ἐνεργεῖν of God (comp. 1 Corinthians 12:6; Galatians 2:8; Galatians 3:5; Ephesians 1:11; Php 2:13), and of things the middle ἐνεργεῖσθαι (comp. Galatians 5:6; Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:29).

ἐνεργεῖται is middle (which is active), not passive (which is made active), as Estius, Hammond, Schulthess, Schott, Bloomfield, and others think.

ἐν ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν] does not mean: “ex quo tempore religionem suscepistis” (Koppe); for then ἐν ὑμῖν πιστεύσασιν would have to be put. Also not: “quum susceperitis” (Pelt), or “propterea quod fidem habetis” (Schott), because or in so far as, ye believe and continue believing (Olsh. Koch); for if it were a causal statement, the participle πιστεύουσιν without the addition of the article would be put. τοῖς πιστεύουσιν rather serves only for the more precise definition of ὑμῖν, thus indicating that πιστεύειν belongs to the Thessalonians.

[37] So specially Alford: We as well as πάντες οἱ πιστεύοντες ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ, 1 Thessalonians 1:7.1 Thessalonians 2:13-16. Further thanksgiving for their endurance of trial.13. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing] Revised reading: And for this cause we also, &c. The Apostle has already given thanks for the Christian worth of the Thessalonians (ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 ff.); his thanksgiving is renewed when he considers that this is the fruit of his own and his companions’ labour amongst them. Hence we is emphasized here (in the Greek), but not in ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

“For this cause” looks back over the whole of the last section, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Accordingly he continues:—

because, when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us] Better, (we give thanks) that (R. V.), or in that: comp. notes on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3. The recollections of the last paragraph prompt the writer to the thanksgiving which takes shape in the words that follow:—

For ye received the word of God, &c., R. V. renders: ye received from us the word of the message (Greek, word of hearing), even the word of God. Perhaps the A.V. is nearer to St Paul’s meaning: “from us” in the original immediately follows “hearing,” and appears to be dependent upon it. We therefore translate, somewhat freely, but after the order of the Greek: when you received the word you heard from us—God’s word. “Word” is not repeated by the Apostle, nor has it the definite article; English idiom requires both. His joy is that a message heard from his lips, not his own indeed but God’s word (see 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9, and note on the last), had been thus received. For the connection of “hearing” and “from us” comp. 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:2, “what thou hast heard from me”; and 2 Corinthians 1:19, “the Son of God proclaimed through me and Silas and Timothy.” “Faith comes by hearing”; and hearing requires “a preacher” (Romans 10:13-17).

ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God] R. V., accepted for received: the Greek verb differs from that of the last clause, which might signify the mere outward reception of something “heard”; this term, as in ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:6, denotes a willing, hearty acceptance—a welcome given to the “word.” It is the expression used in Galatians 4:14 :—“as an angel of God you received me”; again in Php 4:18, where Paul speaks of his welcoming the timely gift from Philippi; and is the common Greek term for receiving a guest.

Literally the clause reads, you accepted not men’s word, but, as it is truly, God’s word. “Men’s word”—the mere word of “Paul and Silas and Timothy.” The Thessalonians accepted God’s word as God’s, with reverence and faith. They recognised in what they heard from Paul and Silas a higher Voice, the message of the living and true God, calling them to life eternal. The success of religious teaching lies in its power to make God’s voice audible through human speech. If the preacher cannot do this, he does nothing. And this accounts for the result, which St Paul next describes:—

which effectually worketh also in yom that believe] which also worketh (R. V.: read worketh with an emphasis), or is operative, effectual.

The “work of faith” which the Apostle admired in the Thessalonian Church (ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 : see note) is the work of God’s word in them. In their lives that word takes effect; it puts forth its energy, and does its proper work. “The seed” of all such fruit “is the word of God” (Luke 8:11).

On “you that believe” see note to ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:7. Here the present tense of the participle makes its force sensible—“you that do believe;” continued faith being the condition of this sustained efficacy of the word of God in the Thessalonians. Mighty as it is, that word can do nothing for us unless we believe it (comp. Matthew 13:58).

section iii

Jewish Persecutors of the Church. Ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16This short paragraph is of peculiar interest. The Apostle was at the time exposed in his Gentile mission to the bitterest persecution from the unbelieving Jews, as we gather from the contemporary narrative of Acts 16-18. And he employs against them in 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 language more severe than is found in any other of his writings. Evidently he regarded the Jews as being now, in the counsels of God, a doomed nation (1 Thessalonians 2:16). Accordingly, we find him in Romans 9-11, a few years later, arguing upon the reprobation of “Israel after the flesh” as a settled thing. We observe, too, his desire (1 Thessalonians 2:14) to draw the Jewish and Gentile sections of the Church nearer to each other in sympathy under the stress of persecution. As to the bearing of this passage on the date of the Epistle, see Introd. p. 23, foot-not[7].

[7] foot-note It is necessary to observe that the opponents St Paul has in view in 1 Thessalonians 2 (see esp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16) are unconverted Jews, altogether hostile to the gospel Paul preached. The Jews of Thessalonica drove him from this city, and following him to Berœa attacked him there; and their compatriots at Corinth imitated their example, though happily not with the same success (Acts 17:5; Acts 17:13; Acts 18:12-17). Of the Jewish Christians opposed to Paul and his Gentile mission, the “false brethren” who afterwards “troubled” him at Corinth and in Galatia, we find in these Epistles no trace whatever.

Analysis: The Apostle (1) again thanks God for the reception given to the Gospel by his readers, 1 Thessalonians 2:13; (2) he sees in their union with the Judean Churches in persecution a proof of its efficacy in them, 1 Thessalonians 2:14; and (3) this gives him occasion to denounce Jewish violence against the Gospel, whose punishment is now decreed and impending, 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16.1 Thessalonians 2:13. Διὰ τοῦτο, for this cause) i.e. because you have had such teachers.—εὐχαριστοῦμεν, we give thanks) The naked and categorical sentence would be, You have received [the word of God]. Affection has rendered the language modal[8] by adding thanksgiving.—παραλαβόντες) παραλαμβάνω signifies simply receiving; δέχομαι, includes also in the signification, pleasure and inclination in receiving.[9]—οὐ λόγον ἀνθρώπων, not the word of man) This is an explanation of what he just now said, “the word of God.” Ye have received it, namely, not the word of men, etc.—ὅς, who) viz. God,[10] who thereby shows [viz. by its effectual working in you] that the word is truly the word of God, ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:8-9; Acts 14:3.—ἐνεργεῖται, works effectually) Galatians 3:5. [It, for instance, worketh in you patient endurance, 1 Thessalonians 2:14.—V. g.]

[8] See App. under the title, “Modalis Sermo.”

[9] “When ye received the word—ye welcomed it.” The distinction of the verbs is lost in Engl. Vers.—ED.

[10] But Engl. Vers. makes the antecedent of ὃς, not Θεὸς, but λόγος: which effectually worketh.—ED.Verse 13. - For this cause. Not because God has called you to his kingdom and glory, but, referring to what follows, because of your reception of' the gospel. We thank God. Although the reception of the gospel was in one sense the free and voluntary act on the part of the Thessalonians; yet in another sense it was the act of God who ordained them to accept the gospel; their belief was an operation of God in them. Without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us; literally, because when ye receive, d from us the Word of hearing, which is of God. The gospel is called "the Word of hearing," because it came by hearing; hence "the Word heard," or "the Word of the message" (R.V.). It is further designated "of God" - the Word whose Author is God. Ye received it not as the word of men - as if it were of human origin - but as it is in truth, the Word of God - of Divine origin - which effectually worketh. The pronoun may refer to God, "who effectually worketh," or better to the Word of God, as the principal subject of the sentence. Also in you that believe. The gospel was powerful as respects the preachers, and effectual as respects the hearers. Also - we

Also may point to an expression of thanksgiving in a letter from the Thessalonians to Paul. You say "we give thanks to God." We also give thanks. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us (παραλαβόντες λόγον ἀκοῆς παρ' ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ)

Rend. when ye received the word of the message (which came) from us, even the word of God. The words the word of the message from us form one conception, governed by παραλαβόντες having received or when ye received; therefore from us is not to be taken as depending on having received, as Rev. when ye received from us the word, etc. Of God (supply the word) is added in order to correct any possible false impression made by from us. Ἁκοή in N.T. means the sense of hearing, as Matthew 13:14; 1 Corinthians 12:17; 2 Peter 2:8 : or the organ of hearing equals ear, as Mark 7:35; Luke 7:1 : or a thing heard, a report, rumor, as John 12:38; Romans 10:16. The phrase λόγος ἀκοῆς or τῆς ἀκοῆς the word of hearing, or word of the message, signifies the word which is heard. Comp. Hebrews 4:2. See on the fame, Luke 4:37.

Effectually worketh (ἐνεργεῖται)

Referring to the word, not to God. Comp. Philippians 2:13. In the middle voice as here, used only by Paul and James, and only of things. See Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 1:29; James 5:16, and footnote on Colossians 1:29. The noun ἐνέργεια, Po. It means power in exercise, and is used only of superhuman power.

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