1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
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(19) “We were most anxious to come and stablish you for we should lose all our hope and joy and honours if Christ should come and we should have lost you.”

Our hopei.e., the object on which our hopes are centered.

Crown of rejoicing.—Or, of boasting; “crown that we are proud to wear,” like victors in the games For the meaning of such phrases, see Note on 1Thessalonians 1:3

Even ye—(not necessarily excluding other converts) just you, and others like you.

In the presence.—“It is the thought of presenting you to Him that thrills us with hope, joy, pride—the thought of wearing such a decoration before Him.” (Comp. 2Corinthians 11:2.)

2:17-20 This world is not a place where we are to be always, or long together. In heaven holy souls shall meet, and never part more. And though the apostle could not come to them yet, and thought he might never be able to come, yet our Lord Jesus Christ will come; nothing shall hinder that. May God give faithful ministers to all who serve him with their spirit in the gospel of his Son, and send them to all who are in darknessFor what is our hope - That is, "I had a strong desire to see you; to assist you; to enjoy your friendship; for you are my hope and joy, and my absence does not arise from a want of affection." The meaning, when he says that they were his "hope," is, that their conversion and salvation was one of the grounds of his hope of future blessedness. It was an evidence that he was a faithful servant of God, and that he would be rewarded in heaven.

Or joy - The source of joy here and in heaven.

Or crown of rejoicing - Margin, as in Greek, "glorying;" that is, boasting, or exulting. The allusion is, probably, to the victors at the Grecian games; and the sense is, that he rejoiced in their conversion as the victor there did in the garland which he had won; notes, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Are not even ye - Or, will not you be?

In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming - "When the Lord Jesus appears at the end of the world, then our highest source of happiness and honor will be your conversion and salvation." Then their salvation would be a proof of his fidelity. It would fill his soul with the highest happiness, that he had been the means of saving them from ruin.

19. For—giving the reason for his earnest desire to see them.

Are not even ye in the presence of … Christ—"Christ" is omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Are not even ye (namely, among others; the "even" or "also," implies that not they alone will be his crown) our hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing before Jesus, when He shall come (2Co 1:14; Php 2:16; 4:1)? The "hope" here meant is his hope (in a lower sense), that these his converts might be found in Christ at His advent (1Th 3:13). Paul's chief "hope" was Jesus Christ (1Ti 1:1).

Here the apostle gives the reason of his desire to see them. He first calls them his hope; that is, the master of his hope, that among others they should be saved in the day of Christ. Secondly, his joy: he at present rejoiced in their ready and sincere receiving the gospel preached by him. Thirdly, his crown of rejoicing, which signifies the triumph and height of joy: and seeing he mentions the presence and coming of Jesus Christ, he looks to the crown that he should receive at that day, which he speaks of, 1 Corinthians 9:25; and these Thessalonians, among others, would help to make up this crown of rejoicing to him. And in the words we may observe an eminent gradation, as also that the crown of ministers will arise not only from Christ, but from their people also.

For what is our hope, or joy,.... The apostle here gives a reason why they were so concerned at parting with the Thessalonians, and were so desirous of seeing them again, and attempted it so often, cause they were their "hope"; not the foundation of it, which was Christ; nor the thing hoped for, which was eternal life; nor the ground of their hope, which was the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ; but they were persons whom they hoped well of, and of whom their hope was steadfast; as of their election of God, of their redemption by Christ, of their effectual calling, of their perseverance in faith and holiness, notwithstanding all reproach and persecution; and of meeting the Lord, and being together with him for ever: and they were also their "joy"; their conversion was a matter of joy to them, because of the glory of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, displayed therein; because of the abundant grace bestowed on these persons; and because that hereby the kingdom of Satan was weakened, and the kingdom of Christ enlarged and his churches increased and beautified; and their own ministry was blessed and confirmed, and their hearts and hands strengthened, and they encouraged to go on in it: and they continued to be their joy, inasmuch as they stood fast in the Lord, walked on in the truth, and had their conversations as became the Gospel of Christ; and they were persuaded would be their joy hereafter, at the second coming of Christ; when they should give up their account of them with joy, and not with grief: and it is added,

or crown of rejoicing; or of "glorying", or "boasting"; not that they gloried in them, for they gloried not in men, but in the Lord, in his righteousness, riches, wisdom, strength, and grace, in the person, blood, and cross of Christ; but they gloried of them, as trophies of divine grace, as a prey taken out of the hand of the mighty, and as lawful captives delivered from the power of Satan, and of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of Christ. The Alexandrian copy reads, as we render it,

crown of rejoicing: which is but a stronger phrase, to press the joy they had in their conversion and perseverance, in allusion to crowns wore at times of rejoicing, as at marriage feasts, and the like: hence we read (i) of the crowns of the bridegrooms, and of the brides, which were forbidden the use of in the war of Vespasian; the latter were made of gold, in the form of the city of Jerusalem, and from thence called golden cities (k); and the former, some say, were made of salt and sulphur, to put them in mind of the destruction of the Sodomites, for their unnatural lusts (l); others of a salt stone as clear as crystal, or of the stone Bdellium, painted in the colour of sulphur (m); and some were made of myrtles and roses, but in the war of Vespasian only those made of reeds were used (n); these crowns at weddings seem to be the "beautiful crowns" in Ezekiel 23:42 where the Septuagint use the same phrase as here, , "a crown of rejoicing", or "glorying": the Hebrew phrase , may be rendered "a crown of glory", as the phrase here is by the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions; but does not mean the crown of glory, life, righteousness, and immortality, the apostle expected at the hands of Christ another day; nor that his being an instrument of the conversion of these persons was the ground of such an expectation, or was what entitled him to such a crown; since he knew that conversion work was owing to the powerful grace of God, and the crown of eternal life was his free gift; but that it would be an honour to him, and give him abundant joy and pleasure at the coming of Christ, to be encircled with such a number of souls he had been useful to, and who were his spiritual children; just as children's children are the crown of old men, Proverbs 17:6 all this is put by way of question, which strongly affirms,

are not even ye; or "ye also", as well as others, as the Corinthians and Philippians; see 2 Corinthians 1:7.

In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? to judge the quick and dead, when both they and these should meet him, and stand before him with confidence, being clothed with his righteousness, and clad with robes of immortality and glory.

(i) Misna Sota. c. 9. sect. 14. (k) Maimon. in Misna Sota, & in Sabbat, c. 6. sect. 1.((l) Ez Hechaim M. S. apud Wagenseil in Sota ib. (m) Bartenora in Misna Sota, c. 9. sect. 14. (n) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 49. 2.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
1 Thessalonians 2:19. A reason not for περισσοτέρως ἐσπουδάσαμεν τὸ πρόσωπον ὑμῶν ἰδεῖν, 1 Thessalonians 2:17 (Hofmann), but of the twice formed resolution of the apostle to return to Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 2:18. This earnest desire to return is founded on the esteem of the apostle for his readers, on account of their promising Christian qualities. Grotius: Construi haec sic debent: τίς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἐλπὶςἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίουἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς; Certainly correct as regards the matter and the thought, as ἔμπροσθενπαρουσίᾳ is to be referred to the preceding predicates, but ought not to be connected with ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς, as a second independent question. So also Olshausen, who renders it thus: “or do not ye also (as I myself and all the rest of the faithful) appear before Christ at His coming, i.e. without hesitation, without any doubt, ye will surely be also recognised by Christ as His, and therefore will not fall away again at any time from the faith.” But the reason and justification for this strange position of the words consist in this, that Paul originally conjoined the words τίς γὰρὑμεῖς in thought, and originally wrote them by themselves; but then to present the predicates already put down as considered not in a worldly, but in a specifically Christian sense, he introduces, as a closer definition and explanation of the whole clause τίςὑμεῖς, the words ἔμπροσθενπαρουσίᾳ. There is, accordingly, no need for the supposition of Laurent (Neutestam. Studien, Gotha 1866, p. 28 f.), that Paul only at a later period, after he had read through the whole Epistle once, placed these words in the margin, or ordered them to be inserted. Accordingly, the apostle says: For who is our hope or joy or crown of rejoicing, or are not even ye this? before our Lord Jesus at His coming; i.e., if any one deserves to be called our hope, etc., ye deserve it. As the addition ἔμπροσθεν κ.τ.λ. proves that the apostle thinks on the judgment connected with the coming of Christ.

Paul, however, calls the Thessalonians ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν (comp. Liv. xxviii. 39), not because he anticipates a reward for himself on account of the conversion of the Thessalonians effected by him (Estius, Fromond., Joachim Lange, Hofmann, and most critics), or at least a remission of the punishment for his early persecution of the Christian church (for the emphasis rests not on ἡμῶν, but on the predicates ἐλπὶς κ.τ.λ.), but because he has the confident hope that the Thessalonians will not be put to shame at the trial to be expected at the advent, but will rather be found pure and blameless, as those who embraced the faith with eagerness, and heroically persevered in it in spite of all contentions.

ἢ χαρά] or joy, as by the conversion and Christian conduct of the Thessalonians the kingdom of God has been promoted.

ἢ στέφανος καυχήσεως] or crown of glory (comp. עֲטֶרֶת תִּפְּאֶרֶת, Ezekiel 16:12; Ezekiel 23:42; Proverbs 16:31, and also the LXX.; Php 4:1; Soph. Aj. 460; Macrob. in somn. Scip. i. 1), inasmuch as this greatness and glory, occasioned by the labours of the apostle for the church, is, as it were, the victorious reward of his strivings.

ἢ οὐχί] not nonne (Erasmus, Schott, and others), but an non, for here introduces the second member of a double question.

καὶ ὑμεῖς] also ye: for, besides the Thessalonians, there were other churches planted by Paul worthy of the same praise. According to de Wette, to whom Koch and Bisping attach themselves, ἢ ὑμεῖς should properly have followed στέφ. καυχήσ.: “no one is more our hope than you;” but with καί the apostle corrects himself, not to say too much, and not to offend other churches. But just because ἢ ὑμεῖς imports too much, why should not the apostle have designed to put ἢ οὐχὶ καὶ ὑμεῖς from the very first!

ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ παρουσίᾳ] at his coming (return) to establish the Messianic kingdom (comp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, et al.; Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 341 ff.); an epexegesis to ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ.

1 Thessalonians 2:19. Of course we wanted to come back, for (γάρ), etc. The touch of fine exaggeration which follows is true to the situation. Paul’s absence from the young church was being misinterpreted in a sinister way, as if it implied that the Achaian Christians had ousted the Thessalonians from his affections. You it is, he protests, who but you (καὶ superfluous after , as in Epict. i. 6, 39; Romans 14:10, but really heightening the following word, as in Romans 5:7; almost = “indeed” or “even”)—you are my pride and delight!στέφανος, of a public honour granted (as to Demosthenes and Zeno) for distinguished public service. The metaphor occurs often in the inscriptions (cf. also Pirke Aboth, iv. 9). Paul coveted no higher distinction at the arrival of the Lord than the glory of having won over the Thessalonian church. Cf. Crashaw’s lines to St. Teresa in heaven:

“Thou shalt look round about, and see Thousands of crown’d souls throng to be Themselves thy crown”.

Παρουσία = royal visit (cf. Wilcken’s Griech. Ostraka, i. 274 f.), and hence applied (cf. Matthew 24.) to the arrival of the messiah, though the evidence for the use of the term in pre-Christian Judaism is scanty (Test. Jud. xxii. 3; Test. Levi. viii. 15; for the idea of the divine “coming” cf. Slav. En., xxxii. 1, xlii. 5). This is the first time the term is used by Paul, but it was evidently familiar to the readers. Later on, possibly through Paul’s influence, it became an accepted word for the second advent in early Christianity.

19. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?] Not rejoicing, but glorying (R. V.), or boasting. “Crown of glorying” is a Hebrew idiom (Isaiah 62:3; Proverbs 16:31, &c.); it is the crown which expresses one’s exultation,—not the king’s “diadem” (as in Revelation 19:12), but the wreath of the victor in the games (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). So he calls the Philippians his “joy and crown—a boast to me in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain” (Php 2:16; Php 4:1). And here: “Who will furnish our crown at Christ’s coming—who, indeed, but you?”

Are not even ye] This clause is best read, with Westcott and Hort, as a rhetorical parenthesis—are not even ye?—then the main question is resumed and completed: “before our Lord Jesus at His coming?”

It is then that the Apostle will wear the crown which the Thessalonians furnish for him. His wealth is in hope. He loves them for what they are, but still more for what they will be in the “unveiling of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19),—“set faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Then how proud (in the just sense of that word) will their Apostle be of them! See the prayers of ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; also Colossians 1:28-29, where the goal of Paul’s labours is that he “may present every man perfect in Christ.”

our Lord Jesus Christ] should be our Lord Jesus (R. V.). On a point like this we should always consult a critical text, such as that of the Revisers. Copyists were peculiarly liable to error in the names of Christ.

Observe the return in glory, and as Judge, of the same Lord Jesus Whom the Jews wickedly killed, 1 Thessalonians 2:15 : “I saw in the midst of the throne … a Lamb, as though it had been slain,” Revelation 5:6. He had said to His judges: “Ye shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). This title identifies the Divine Judge and Conqueror over sin and death with the historical and human Jesus (comp. John 5:27; Acts 17:31). The combination Lord Jesus is more frequent in these Epistles than anywhere else in the N.T., a circumstance due to their prevailing reference to the Second Coming. For further notes on the title see ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7.

his coming] Lit., presence—Greek, parousia—i.e. “presence” in its active sense (different from the “presence,” or “face,” of 1 Thessalonians 2:17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9)—His arrival.

Here is the earliest example of a word, parousia, that has passed into the language of theology, denoting the promised Advent of Christ in glory, when He will come to complete His work of redemption and to judge mankind. His own teaching on the subject is recorded in Matthew 24; Matthew 25; Mark 13; Luke 12:35-59; Luke 17:20-37; Luke 19:11-27; Luke 21:5-36; John 5:27-29; John 14:1-3; John 16:22, &c. Seven times the Apostle uses this solemn word in these two letters—once besides, in 1 Corinthians 15:23. From the three writings we lean nearly all that he has to teach on this mysterious subject. The parousia is spoken of by Christ, in answer to His disciples, in Matthew 24; and is referred to also in the Epistles of James, Peter, and John.

1 Thessalonians 2:19. Τίς γὰρ) So, τίς γὰρ, LXX., 1 Samuel 11:12.—ἐλπίς, κ.τ.λ.) our hope, etc.: comp. the end of this verse. It is great praise.—στέφανος καυχήσεως, a crown of [rejoicing] glorying) So LXX., Proverbs 16:31.—καὶ ὑμεῖς, even ye) He does not exclude others: he chiefly reckons these among the number.—ἐν, in) Regarding this particle, comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Romans 2:16, note [In the day expresses something more than against the day]. So far is hope extended! [So far does his hope reach! even to the day of Christ.]

Verse 19. - For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? or, glorying. The apostle calls the Thessalonians his "hope," not because he anticipates any reward from their conversion, or because their conversion would counterbalance his former persecution of the Christians, but because he hoped to meet them in glory; he calls them his "joy," because he would rejoice with them in their final salvation; and he calls them his "crown of rejoicing," because he regards them as trophies of the victory of the gospel which he preached. Similarly he calls the Philippians "his joy and crown" (Philippians 4:1). Are not even ye; or rather, are not ye also? - ye as well as other Christians? In the presence of - before - our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming; at the restoration of his Messianic kingdom. 1 Thessalonians 2:19Hope

Used of the object of hope, as Colossians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18.

Joy - crown (χαρὰ - στέφανος)

Comp. Philippians 4:1. The phrase crown of rejoicing or boasting, in Proverbs 16:31; Ezekiel 16:12; Ezekiel 23:42. Comp. Isaiah 62:3, στέφανος κάλλους crown of beauty, and Soph. Aj. 465, στέφ εὐκλείας crown of renown. The Thessalonians were "a chaplet of victory of which Paul might justly make his boast in the day of the Lord" (Ellicott). For στέφανος see on Revelation 4:4.

Coming (παρουσίᾳ)

See on Matthew 24:8, and see on ἐπιφάνεια appearing, 1 Timothy 6:14 and see on 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

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