1 Thessalonians 2:9
For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
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(9) For.—As in 1Thessalonians 2:1, the general principles of the foregoing verses are supported by facts which the Thessalonians will remember. If the word attaches itself to any particular phrase, it is to “impart our own souls,” “we were ready to die for you; indeed, you remember how we worked ourselves almost to death.”

Labour and travail—not mere synonyms here: the first describes the kind of work; the second, the intensity of it: “our manual labour, and how hard we worked at that.”

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Ye remember, brethren, our labour — In the ministerial work; and travail Μοχθον, toil, in our secular employment; for labouring night and day, &c. — It seems they often took from the rest of the night the hours which during the day they had spent in the exercise of their ministry: because we would not be chargeable — But might be able to maintain ourselves. The apostle often appealed to this proof of his disinterestedness. Indeed, in preaching the gospel, he had no view but to promote the glory of God, and the salvation of mankind. Ye are witnesses — For our conduct was well known to you; and God also — Who observes our most secret actions, desires, and designs; how holily — Toward God, and in the things respecting his worship and service; and justly — With regard to men; and unblameably — In respect of ourselves; we behaved ourselves among you that believe — Who were the constant observers of our behaviour. As ye know how — With what earnestness, and diligence, and importunity; we exhorted, comforted, and charged every one of you — As far as God gave us access to you. By exhorting, we are moved to do a thing willingly; by comforting, to do it joyfully; by charging, to do it carefully. As a father doth his children — The apostle (1 Thessalonians 2:7) compared the gentleness with which he behaved toward the Thessalonian believers to the tenderness of a nursing mother toward her sucking children. Here he compares the affection and earnestness with which he recommended holiness to them, to the affection and earnestness of a pious father, who exhorts his own children. That ye would walk worthy of God — Conduct yourselves in such a manner as becomes those who know God, and profess to believe in, love, and serve him, and in a manner suitable to the relation in which it is your happiness to stand to him; who hath called you — By his gospel and his grace; unto his kingdom here, and glory hereafter.

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.Ye remember, brethren, our labour - Doubtless in the occupation of a tent-maker; Acts 20:34 note; 1 Corinthians 4:12 note.

And travail - see the notes on 2 Corinthians 11:27. The word means "wearisome labor."

For labouring night and day - That is, when he was not engaged in preaching the gospel. He appears to have labored through the week and to have preached on the Sabbath; or if engaged in preaching in the day time during the week, he made it up by night labor.

We preached unto you the gospel of God - That is, I supported myself when I preached among you. No one, therefore, could say that I was disposed to live in idleness; no one that I sought to make myself rich at the expense of others.

9. labour and travail—The Greek for "labor" means hardship in bearing; that for "travail," hardship in doing; the former, toil with the utmost solicitude; the latter, the being wearied with fatigue [Grotius]. Zanchius refers the former to spiritual (see 1Th 3:5), the latter to manual labor. I would translate, "weariness (so the Greek is translated, 2Co 11:27) and travail" (hard labor, toil).

for—omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

labouring—Greek, "working," namely, at tent-making (Ac 18:3).

night and day—The Jews reckoned the day from sunset to sunset, so that "night" is put before "day" (compare Ac 20:31). Their labors with their hands for a scanty livelihood had to be engaged in not only by day, but by night also, in the intervals between spiritual labors.

because we would not be chargeable—Greek, "with a view to not burdening any of you" (2Co 11:9, 10).

preached unto you—Greek, "unto and among you." Though but "three Sabbaths" are mentioned, Ac 17:2, these refer merely to the time of his preaching to the Jews in the synagogue. When rejected by them as a body, after having converted a few Jews, he turned to the Gentiles; of these (whom he preached to in a place distinct from the synagogue) "a great multitude believed" (Ac 17:4, where the oldest manuscripts read, "of the devout [proselytes] and Greeks a great multitude"); then after he had, by labors continued among the Gentiles for some time, gathered in many converts, the Jews, provoked by his success, assaulted Jason's house, and drove him away. His receiving "once and again" supplies from Philippi, implies a longer stay at Thessalonica than three weeks (Php 4:16).

To make good what he had asserted before about their integrity in preaching the gospel, that it was without covetousness, and vain-glory, &c., and about their great affection to them therein, he appeals to their own memory.

Our labour and travail: labour, in what we suffered, attended with care and solicitude of mind, as the word imports; and travail, in what we did, attended with weariness, as some distinguish of the words.

For labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you; this refers to some bodily labour they used, which I find not mentioned in the story while they were at Thessalonica, though Paul did practise it at Corinth, Acts 18:3. To prevent scandal and misconstruction that may arise from receiving maintenance, and in case of the church’s poverty, the apostle would refuse it; but without respect to these he pleaded it at his due, 1 Corinthians 9:1, &c. And his refusing was no work of supererogation, as the papists plead hence; for in such cases it was a duty with respect to the honour of his ministry; so that it ought not to pass into a rule, either that ministers in no case may labour with their hands to get their bread, or that they ought so to do always, as some would conclude hence, and preach freely. However, he commends them that they forgot not the labour and travail they underwent for their sake, and that both night and day, which implies assiduity and diligence, as 1 Thessalonians 3:10 Psalm 1:2 Luke 2:37; and so to be taken here. Though it may signify their spending part of the night as well as the day in some bodily labour, (the same we read 2 Thessalonians 3:8), yet not to be understood as if they spent the whole night and day therein; for how then could they have preached the gospel to them, as he here addeth; and they would take nothing of maintenance from any of them, or be chargeable or burdensome to them; not from the poor, to whom it might really be a burden, nor from the rich, who yet might be backward, and account it a burden.

For ye remember brethren, our labour and travail,.... The great pains they took, even to weariness. The Vulgate Latin version renders the last word, "weariness"; and the Arabic version, "anxiety"; and the Ethiopic version, "affliction"; it is to be understood both of corporeal and spiritual labour, working with their hands and preaching the Gospel; this could not but be remembered by them, since it was not a year ago they were with them:

for labouring night and day; at our handicraft, or "at the work of our hands", as the Syriac version renders it; which they continually attended to, even night and day, when they were not preaching the Gospel, or disputing with the Jews, or praying and conversing with those that believed, or refreshing themselves with food and rest. The apostle's business was making of tents; see Gill on Acts 18:3,

because we would not be chargeable to any of you; neither to the whole body, nor to any single person; which shows that they did not seek their own ease and worldly interest; and proves what is before asserted, that they did not use a cloak of covetousness, but chose to forego, and not insist on what they had a right to, lest the Gospel should be hindered or reproached:

we preached unto you the Gospel of God; freely and with great application and diligence; for this is the other part of their labour and travel; for the ministry of the word is a work, and a laborious one, when closely attended to; a preparation for it by prayer, reading, meditation, and much study, are wearisome and fatiguing; and to preach the word in season and out of season, with all longsuffering and doctrine, is very laborious; to which no man is sufficient of himself, and is a work which requires great faithfulness, application, and industry; and is oftentimes made the more heavy through the malice and opposition of enemies, and the weakness of friends.

{7} For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

(7) To let go of his own rights, rather than to be a cost to his sheep.

1 Thessalonians 2:9. Γάρ refers not to δυναμενοι ἐν βάρει εἶναι, 1 Thessalonians 2:6 (Flatt), but either to ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι (1 Thessalonians 2:7), or to εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι, or, finally, to ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε (1 Thessalonians 2:8). For the first reference (ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι), it may be argued that ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι is the chief idea, the theme as it were, of 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; but against this is, that the same thought which was expressed in ἐγενήθημεν ἤπιοι is repeated and more definitely developed in a much more vivid and special manner by means of the parallel sentence, attached without a copula, and thus complete. In such a case a causal conjunction following refers rather to the more vivid and concrete expression than to the more general and abstract. Accordingly, we are referred to the connection with εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι. Neither can this, however, be the correct connection; for then must 1 Thessalonians 2:9 have proved the readiness of the apostle when at Thessalonica to sacrifice his own life for the Thessalonians, as is expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:8. But this is not the case, for in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 Paul speaks indeed of his self-sacrificing love, but not of the danger of his life which arose from it. Also Auberlen, who recently has maintained a reference to εὐδοκοῦμεν μεταδοῦναι, can only support this meaning, that Paul has adduced his manual labour mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 2:9 as a “risking of his health and life.” But how forced is this idea of the context, and how arbitrarily is the idea of the sacrifice of life, supposed to be expressed therein, contorted and softened down! It is best, therefore, to unite γάρ with διότι ἀγαπητοὶ ἡμῖν ἐγενήθητε, a union which, besides, is recommended by the direct proximity of the words.

μνημονεύετε] as γάρ proves, is indicative, not imperative.

κόπος and μόχθος] labour and pains: placed together also in 2 Thessalonians 3:8 and 2 Corinthians 11:27. Musculus: Significat se haud leviter et obiter, sed ad fatigationem usque incubuisse laboribus. Arbitrarily separating and mixing the gradation, Balduin interprets κόπος “de spirituali labore, qui consistebat in praedicatione evangelii;” and μόχθος “de manuario labore scenopegiae.”

νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας] a concrete and proverbial circumlocution of the abstract ἀδιαλείπτως. But νυκτός, as usual (Acts 9:24 is an exception), is placed first, because the Jews (as also the Athenians, see Plin. Nat. Hist. ii. 79; Funke, Real-Schullex. II. p. 132) reckoned the civil day from sunset to sunset (see Winer’s bibl. Realwörterb. 2d ed. vol. II. p. 650). Pelagius, Faber, Stapulensis, Hemming, Balduin, and Aretius arbitrarily limit νυκτός to ἐργαζόμενοι, and ἡμέρας to ἐκηρύξαμεν.

ἐργάζεσθαι] (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:12; Acts 18:13) the usual word also among the classics (comp. Xen. Mem. i. 2. 57) to denote working for wages, especially manual labour or working by means of a trade (therefore the addition ταῖς χερσί, 1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28). Paul means his working as a tent-cloth maker, Acts 18:3.

πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἐπιβαρῆσαί τινα ὑμῶν] in order not to be burdensome to any, sc. by a demand of maintenance. Incorrectly, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Pelt, and others infer from this that the converted Thessalonians were poor. Evidently this unselfish conduct of the apostle had its ultimate reason in an endeavour that there should be no hindrance on his part to the diffusion of the gospel.

εἰς ὑμᾶς] represents the readers as the local objects of κηρύσσειν; comp. Mark 13:10; Luke 24:47. Therefore, according to the general sense, it is true that εἰς ὑμᾶς and ὑμῖν do not differ, but the mode of looking at it is somewhat different. See Winer, p. 191 [E. T. 266].

1 Thessalonians 2:9. “Paul means by the phrase, night and day, that he started work before dawn; the usage is regular and frequent. He no doubt began so early in order to be able to devote some part of the day to preaching” (Ramsay, Church in Roman Empire, p. 85). Paul, to the very last (cf. Acts 20:29 f.), seems to have been sensitive on this point of independence.

9. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail] In ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (see note) the Apostle spoke with thankfulness of his readers’ “labour of love;” this laborious spirit they had learnt from himself: comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9, where it appears that to some of them his example was a reproof.

“Travail” is added to “labour,” as in 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 11:27 (the reference being in each case to manual labour), to indicate the difficulty, as labour the toilsomeness of the Apostle’s work.

St Paul was a “tentmaker by trade” (Acts 18:3). Jewish fathers, even if wealthy, had their sons taught some mechanical craft as a remedy against poverty or idleness; and Paul had learnt in his youth at Tarsus the business of cutting out and stitching the coarse goats’ hair cloth used in Cilicia for making tents. He found this skill hi his wandering apostleship a great resource. An irksome kind of labour, to be sure, and but ill paid. It was a pathetic sight when the Apostle held up “these hands” to the Ephesian elders, hard and blackened with their rough task (Acts 20:34). But he thus earned for himself the necessaries of subsistence, and avoided burdening the infant Churches with his maintenance. In this way he was free to direct his own movements, and raised himself above mean suspicions. At the same time, he did not refuse occasional aid from a Church like the Philippian, in which he had full confidence, and whose affection would have been hurt by refusal. On this subject read 1 Corinthians 9:1-19; 2 Corinthians 11:7-12; Php 4:10-20; Acts 20:33-35. Silas and Timothy, who are included in this statement, may have had other means of support. But in Acts 20:34 the Apostle speaks of “these hands” as “ministering” also “to the needs of those with me.”

for labouring night and day] Omit “for,” and read this clause in apposition with the last. Ye remember … our labour ant travail: working night and day … we preached, &c. Busy in teaching and preaching during the daytime, the Apostle often pursued his tentmaking far into the night.

because we would not be chargeable unto any of you] St Paul puts it in a more delicate way than this: that we might not lay a burden on any of you. It was consideration for his Thessalonian flock, rather than regard to his personal independence, that influenced him. How different was he from the false shepherds who “eat the fat and clothe them with the wool, but feed not the flock” (Ezekiel 34:3). Most of the Thessalonian Christians, doubtless, were poor; while at Philippi there was “Lydia, a seller of purple,” and perhaps others of considerable means, who could afford to “send once and again to” Paul’s “necessity” (Php 4:15-16). Yet Jason of Thessalonica, in whose house the apostles lodged, seems to have been a man of substance (Acts 17:5-9); and there were “of the first women” of the city “not a few” amongst Paul’s adherents in this place.

Thus “making the gospel without expense,” as later at Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:18),—we preached unto you the gospel of God) “Preached” is proclaimed, heralded. St Paul refers to the circumstances of his “entrance” (1 Thessalonians 2:1) and the manner in which he and his companions then bore themselves. The Herald, or Town Crier, in ancient cities was commonly a salaried official.

A third time the Apostle writes “the gospel of God” (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:8)—a phrase occurring only thrice in all the other Epistles. It suggests in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 the greatness of the charge entrusted to Paul; here, the greatness of the boon gratuitously bestowed on the Thessalonians.

Verse 9. - For; a proof or confirmation of this dearness of the Thessalonians to the apostle. Ye remember, brethren; recalling to their recollection his conduct when he was with them. Our labor and travail. These two terms frequently occur together (2 Corinthians 11:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:8), and can hardly be distinguished; "labor," or" toil," is active, denoting exertion; "travail" is passive, denoting weariness or fatigue, the effect of the exertion. For laboring; in its strict meaning chiefly used of manual labor. Paul here refers to his working for his own support as a tent-maker. Night and day. Night precedes according to the Jewish mode of reckoning. It does not denote that the apostle made up by labor at night the loss of time during the day which his higher duties, as a preacher of the gospel, occasioned; that he wrought at his trade at night, and preached during the (lay; but the phrase, "night and day," denotes incessantly, continually. Because we would not be chargeable to any of you. Not a proof of the poverty of the Church of Thessalonica; but the reason of this unselfish conduct of the apostle was that no hindrance should arise on his part to the spread of the gospel; that no imputation of selfishness or covetousness should be laid to his charge. As he had done at Thessalonica so the apostle acted in other places. Thus at the time he was writing this Epistle he was working for his support at Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 11:9). And such was also his practice at Ephesus; for in his farewell address to the Ephesian elders he could appeal to them: "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me" (Acts 20:34). We preached unto you the gospel of God. Thus freely, without charge. 1 Thessalonians 2:9Labor - travail (κόπον - μόχθον)

The two words are associated in 2 Corinthians 11:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:8. Μόχθος travail, Po. Frequent in lxx. Κόπος emphasizes fatigue, μόχθος hardship.

Because we would not be chargeable (πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἐπιβαρῆσαι)

Incorrect. Rend. that we might not burden. Put you to expense for our support. Comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:8.

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