1 Thessalonians 2:8
So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted to you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because you were dear to us.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) So means hero even so, confirming the simile, and is not to be taken in the sense of “therefore.”

Not the gospel of God only.—The gospel was, as it were, the milk given to the young converts; but the nursing mothers were ready to let them draw their very life away, so dearly did they love them.

2:7-12 Mildness and tenderness greatly recommend religion, and are most conformable to God's gracious dealing with sinners, in and by the gospel. This is the way to win people. We should not only be faithful to our calling as Christians, but in our particular callings and relations. Our great gospel privilege is, that God has called us to his kingdom and glory. The great gospel duty is, that we walk worthy of God. We should live as becomes those called with such a high and holy calling. Our great business is to honour, serve, and please God, and to seek to be worthy of him.So, being affectionately desirous of you - The word here rendered "being affectionately desirous" - ὁμειρομενοι homeiromenoi - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means to "long after, to have a strong affection for." The sense here is, that Paul was so strongly attached to them that he would have been willing to lay down his life for them.

We were willing to have imparted unto you - To have given or communicated; Romans 1:11.

Not the gospel of God only - To be willing to communicate the knowledge of the gospel was in itself a strong proof of love, even if it were attended with no self-denial or hazard in doing it. We evince a decided love for a man when we tell him of the way of salvation, and urge him to accept of it. We show strong interest for one who is in danger, when we tell him of a way of escape, or for one who is sick, when we tell him of a medicine that will restore him; but we manifest a much higher love when we tell a lost and ruined sinner of the way in which he may be saved. There is no method in which we can show so strong an interest in our fellow-men, and so much true benevolence for them, as to go to them and tell them of the way by which they may be rescued from everlasting ruin.

But also our own souls - Or rather "lives" - ψυχὰς psuchas; Matthew 6:25; Matthew 20:28; Luke 12:22, Luke 12:13; Mark 3:4. This does not mean that the apostle was willing to be damned, or to lose his soul in order to save them, but that if it had been necessary he would have been ready to lay down his life; see 1 John 3:16. "We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren;" compare notes, John 15:13. His object seems to be to assure them that he did not leave them from any want of love to them, or from the fear of being put to death. It was done from the strong conviction of duty. He appears to have left them because he could not longer remain without exposing others to danger, and without the certainty that there would be continued disturbances; see Acts 17:9-10.

8. So—to be joined to "we were willing"; "As a nurse cherisheth … so we were willing," &c. [Alford]. But Bengel, "So," that is, seeing that we have such affection for you.

being affectionately desirous—The oldest reading in the Greek implies, literally, to connect one's self with another; to be closely attached to another.

willing—The Greek is stronger, "we were well content"; "we would gladly have imparted," &c. "even our own lives" (so the Greek for "souls" ought to be translated); as we showed in the sufferings we endured in giving you the Gospel (Ac 17:1-34). As a nursing mother is ready to impart not only her milk to them, but her life for them, so we not only imparted gladly the spiritual milk of the word to you, but risked our own lives for your spiritual nourishment, imitating Him who laid down His life for His friends, the greatest proof of love (Joh 15:13).

ye were—Greek, "ye were become," as having become our spiritual children.

dear—Greek, "dearly beloved."

A further account of their behaviour among them. The former verse showed their great gentleness, this their great love; expressed, first: In their affectionate desire of them; as the Latin phrase, cupidissimus fui, imports love to the person. And it was the desire of their salvation, first in their believing, and then perseverance and progress in faith. It was themselves, not their goods, they desired; as Paul elsewhere saith: We seek not yours, but you. Secondly, In the effect of it, which was imparting the gospel to them, whereby they might be saved; which is amplified by two things:

1. That they did this willingly, not out of mere necessity, with a backward mind; the word is eudokoumen, we were well pleased to preach, and with complacence of mind.

2. That they were willing to impart their souls to them; that is, to hazard their lives for them in preaching to them, as Acts 16:1-40; the same word signifying both the soul and life, and he that dies for another gives his life to them. Or, it may refer to their labours and hardships, whereby they endangered their lives for them, labouring night and day, 1 Thessalonians 2:9. Others understand the words only as an expression of their great affection to them; a man imparts his soul to the person whom he entirely loves, as Isaiah 58:10; when a man gives relief to a person in want out of love and compassion, he imparts his soul in what he gives. So did they in the gospel thus preached. And the word imparting is used to express relief to the wants of the body, Romans 12:8; and the gospel is the bread of life to give relief to the soul, and used in this sense also, Romans 1:11. The apostle may here futher allude to mothers that are nurses, who impart not only other food, but their milk, which is their blood, to cherish their children.

Ye were dear unto us; or, ye have been beloved of us; wherein the apostle more plainly declares their love to them as the ground of all their labours and perils in preaching to them; yea, it may reach to all that he had said before concerning their carriage among them, all was from love. So being affectionately desirous of you,.... Not of theirs but them; not of glory from them, nor a maintenance by them, but of their spiritual and eternal welfare; were as fond of them as a nursing mother is of her children, who, when absent from them but ever so little a while, longs to see them; see 1 Thessalonians 2:17 and 1 Thessalonians 3:1,

we were willing: took the utmost pleasure, delight, and complacency:

to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only; the sincere milk of the word, which they did freely, fully, and for their spiritual good and profit, without any regard to any advantage of their own:

but also our own souls, or "lives"; which is the highest expression and strongest proof of love that can be given; and respect is still had to the similitude of the nursing mother, who may be said to impart her blood, for such it her milk diversified, for the nourishment of her children: and such was the great concern of the apostles for the interest of Christ, the spread of the Gospel, and the good of souls, that their lives were not dear unto them, so that these ends might he answered: because ye were dear unto us; both because they were loved by God, redeemed by Christ, regenerated by the Spirit of Christ, and had the image of Christ stamped upon them; and also because that they were their spiritual children; and as children are dear to their parents, so were these to them, even to such a degree, as that, were there a necessity for it, they could freely have laid down their lives for them.

{6} So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

(6) To consider the flock that is committed to him as more important than his own life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 2:8. Ὁμείρεσθαι] occurs, besides LXX. Job 3:21, and Symmachus, Psalm 62:2 (yet even in these two places MSS. differ), only in the glossaries. Hesychius, Phavorinus, and Photius explain it by ἐπιθυμεῖν. Theophylact derives it from ὁμοῦ and εἴρειν; and corresponding to this, Photius explains it by ὁμοῦ ἡρμόσθαι. Accordingly, ὁμειρόμενοι ὑμῶν would denote bound with you, attached to you. Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 792 f., Schott, and others agree. But this is questionable—(1) Because the verb is here construed with the genitive, and not with the dative; (2) because there is no instance of a similar verb compounded with ὁμοῦ or ὁμός; see Winer, p. 92 [E. T. 125]. Now, as in Nicander (Theriaca, ver. 2:402) the simple form μείρεσθαι occurs in the sense of ἱμείρεσθαι, it can hardly be doubted that μείρεσθαι is the original root to which ἱμείρεσθαι and ὁμείρεσθαι (having the same meaning) are related, having a syllable prefixed for euphony. Compare the analogous forms of κέλλω and ὀκέλλω, δύρομαι and ὀδύρομαι, φλέω and ὀφλέω, αὔω and ἰαύω, and see Kühner, I. p. 27. Accordingly, as ἱμείρεσθαι τινός denotes primarily the yearning love, the yearning desire for union with an absent friend, and secondarily is, according to the testimony of Hesychius, synonymous with ἐρᾶν, ὁμειρόμενοι ὑμῶν receives here the suitable meaning of filled with love to you. Beza unnecessarily, and against the context (because the word is a verbum ἐρωτικόν), supplies: videlicet vos ad Christum tanquam sponsam ad sponsum adducendi.

οὕτως] belongs not to ὁμειρόμενοι (Schrader), but to εὐδοκοῦμεν; thus it is not intensifying so much, but a simple particle of comparison: thus, in this manner.

εὐδοκοῦμεν] not present, but imperfect with the augment omitted. See Winer, p. 66 [E. T. 83]. εὐδοκεῖν, to esteem good, here, to be willing, denotes that what took place was from a free determination of will. Thus it is used both of the eternal, gracious, and free counsels of God (Colossians 1:19; Galatians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21), and of the free determination of men (Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς] not a Hebraism in the sense of nosmet ipsos (Koppe, Flatt), but our lives (Hom. Od. iii. 74; Aristoph. Plut. 524); the plural ψυχάς proves that Paul thinks not of himself only, but also of Silvanus and Timotheus.

On ἑαυτῶν, comp. Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 272; Winer, p. 136 [E. T. 187], However, the verb μεταδοῦναι does not strictly apply to τὰς ἑαυτῶν ψυχάς, as the idea of imparting is here transformed into that of offering up, devoting. (Erroneously Bengel: anima nostra cupiebat quasi immeare in animam vestram. Hofmann: In the word preached, which Paul and his companions imparted to the Thessalonians even to the exhaustion of their vital power, this as it were passed over to them, just as the vital power of the mother passes over to the child, whom she is not content with nourishing generally, but, from the longings of love to it, desires to nourish it by suckling.) From the compound verb μεταδοῦναι the idea of the simple verb δοῦναι is accordingly to be extracted (a zeugma; see Kühner, II. 606).

The thought contained in ὡςοὕτως is accordingly: As a mother not only nourishes her new-born child with her milk, but also cherishes and shelters it, yea, is ready to sacrifice her life for its preservation, so has the apostle not merely nourished his spiritual child, the Thessalonian church, with the milk of the gospel, but has been also ready, in order to preserve it in the newly begun life, to sacrifice his own life.

The inducement to such a conduct was love, which the apostle, although he had already mentioned it, again definitely states in the words διότι ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε, because ye were dear and valuable to us.1 Thessalonians 2:8. ὁμειρόμενοι (cf. Job 3:21, LXX; Psalm 62:2, Symm.) = “yearning for, or, over”. εὐδοκ., for absence of augment cf. W. H., ii. 161, 162.—διότι causal (“for as much as”), almost = γάρ (as in Modern Greek).8. so being affectionately desirous of you] R. V., even so.

The rare and peculiar Greek verb (one word) rendered “being affectionately desirous” implies the fondness of a mother’s love—yearning over you.

With this mother-like affection, he continues, we were well pleased to impart unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls (R. V.). The apostles were not merely willing (A.V.) to bestow themselves on the Thessalonians, they actually did so, and with the glad consent of a mother nourishing the babe from her own life. The same verb is rendered “thought-good” in ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:1; and the corresponding noun is “good-pleasure” in 2 Thessalonians 1:2 (see note).

For “souls” we might read “lives” (psyché is never the soul in general, but the individual soul, the personality)—our lives, our very selves. The Apostle sacrificed all personal aims and private interests—“what things were gains to me” (Php 3:7)—to the cause of the Gospel; his life was put in continual hazard in behalf of the Church; and for such people as the Macedonian Christians he did this with cordial satisfaction. “If I am made a libation over the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all” (Php 2:17). Even to the thankless Corinthians he says, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15). This is the true way to “impart the gospel of God,” to give our own heart and soul with it. For it is to impart the Gospel in the spirit in which it came from God, “Who spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32); and in the spirit of Christ, “Who gave Himself up for us” (Galatians 1:4; Galatians 2:20), Who “poured out His soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:12).

because ye were dear unto us] More adequately, ye became very dear (R. V.); lit., beloved, the word so often applied to Christ (in the Gospels) by the Father: “My Beloved,” “My Son, the Beloved” (comp. Ephesians 1:6, “accepted in the Beloved”). This Church had won upon St Paul’s affections in an especial degree. They were lovable people, dear to God and to the servants of God. Comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; see also Introd. pp. 34, 35, and notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.1 Thessalonians 2:8. Οὕτως, ἱμειρόμενοι ὑμῶν, εὐδοκοῦμεν) and seeing that it was so, i.e. inasmuch as we felt the strongest affection for you, we were ready, etc. The text has been at once suited for (pronunciationem) correct delivery, whilst in the marks of punctuation a more careful stopping of the sentence is equivalent to a note. The same word, ἱμείρονται, is found in Job 3:21. Εὐδοκοῦμεν, even without the augment, may still be the imperfect tense: in the whole[6] of Paul’s statement all the facts proceed in the preterite, which the versions here also retain.—ΨΥΧᾺς, souls) Our soul desired as it were to enter into your soul.

[6] In the last Ed. of the Gnomon, published at Berlin, and in the Tubingen Ed., 1773, I find nota instead of tota: the translation in that case would be, in a well-known narrative. Tota seems to suit the sense here.—TR.

Tota is the reading of Ed. 2, quarto, A.D. 1752, and is doubtless the true reading.—ED.Verse 8. - So being affectionately desirous of you; a strong expression in the original: "being filled with earnest love for you." We were willing. The word denotes a predetermination of the will: "we esteemed it good." To have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls. An evident climax: not only were we willing to preach the gospel of God to you, but more than this, to sacrifice our own lives for your advantage. The word here rendered "souls" denotes lives; and the meaning is that the apostle was willing to submit to death for the sake of the Thessalonians. The plural "we" still implies Paul and Silas and Timothy. The thought is - As a nursing mother not only nourishes tier children, but is also ready to sacrifice her life for them; so the apostle not only nourished his spiritual children with the pure milk of the gospel, but was ready to sacrifice his own life for their spiritual maintenance; thus expressing in the strongest manner the womanly tenderness of the apostle toward his converts. Because ye were dear unto us. Being affectionately desirous (ὁμειρόμενοι)

N.T.o. Once in lxx, Job 3:21. The figure of the nursing mother is continued. She is not satisfied with nursing the child, but interests herself affectionately in all that concerns it.

We were willing (ηὐδοκοῦμεν)

Better, we were pleased. Imperfect tense: we continued to entertain and manifest our affectionate solicitude. The verb occasionally in later Greek, and often in lxx. In N.T. it is used of God's decrees, as Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15; Colossians 1:19; and of the free determination and plans of men, as Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:1.

Souls (ψυχάς)

Better lives. See on Romans 11:3; see on 1 Corinthians 15:45; see on Mark 12:30.

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