1 Thessalonians 3:10
Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
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(10) See your face.—Seeing them by proxy might satisfy for the while, but not for long. This exceeding importunate, prayer is caused by the feeling that it was Satan’s hindrance (1Thessalonians 2:18), not God’s will, which forbad the meeting. He would not so have prayed to go into Bithynia (Acts 16:7), for the essence of prayer is to conform the will to God’s will.

That which is lacking in your faith.—Bishop Wordsworth points out the unflattering faithfulness of St. Paul’s dealing with his converts. What the deficiencies were is unknown, but they certainly include want of knowledge of the state of the dead and concerning the Advent.

3:6-10 Thankfulness to God is very imperfect in the present state; but one great end of the ministry of the word is to help faith forward. That which was the instrument to obtain faith, is also the means of increasing and confirming it, namely, the ordinances of God; and as faith cometh by hearing, so it is confirmed by hearing also.Night and day - Constantly.

Praying exceedingly - Greek, abundantly; that is, there was much more than ordinary prayer. He made this a special subject of prayer; he urged it with earnestness, and without intermission; compare 1 Thessalonians 2:17.

And might perfect that which is lacking in your faith - Might render it complete, or fill up anything which is missing. The word used here (καταρτίσαι katartisai), means, properly, to make fully ready, to put full in order, to make complete; see the Romans 9:22 note; 2 Corinthians 13:9 note; Galatians 6:1 note. It is rendered mending, Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19; perfect and perfected, Matthew 21:19; Luke 6:40; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 5:10; fitted, Romans 9:22; perfectly joined together, 1 Corinthians 1:10; restore, Galatians 6:1; prepared, Hebrews 10:5; and framed, Hebrews 11:3. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The meaning here is, that whatever was deficient in their views of religious doctrine the apostle desired to supply. It is to be remembered that he was with them but a comparatively short time before he was compelled to depart to Berea, and it is reasonable to suppose that there were many subjects on which he would be glad to have an opportunity to instruct them more fully.

10. Night and day—(See on [2446]1Th 2:9). Night is the season for the saint's holiest meditations and prayers (2Ti 1:3).

praying—connected with, "we joy"; we joy while we pray; or else as Alford, What thanks can we render to God while we pray? The Greek implies a beseeching request.

exceedingly—literally, "more than exceeding abundantly" (compare Eph 3:20).

that which is lacking—Even the Thessalonians had points in which they needed improvement [Bengel], (Lu 17:5). Their doctrinal views as to the nearness of Christ's coming, and as to the state of those who had fallen asleep, and their practice in some points, needed correction (1Th 4:1-9). Paul's method was to begin by commending what was praiseworthy, and then to correct what was amiss; a good pattern to all admonishers of others.

We have here the last effect of Timothy’s message upon the apostle, it put him upon prayer for these Thessalonians; expressed by the assiduity of it, night and day, & c., that is, in a constant course; as we noted before, 1 Thessalonians 2:9. And by the fervency of it, exceedingly, or excessively. The Greek word cannot well be Englished, yet is often used by the apostle when he would express any thing with an emphasis, as Ephesians 3:20, and in this Epistle, 1 Thessalonians 5:13. And by the matter of it; that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. Though his Epistles might avail towards it, yet his personal presence would do more. There is a peculiar blessing attends oral preaching, more than reading. The like prayer he made with respect to the Romans, and upon the same account also, Romans 1:10,11. Though the apostle had before commended their faith, yet there was something lacking in it. No faith is made perfect at first; yea, the best faith may have some defects. And the word is used elsewhere to signify something that is wanting, or left behind, 1 Corinthians 16:17 Colossians 1:24. And their faith might be defective:

1. As to the matter of it, some mysteries of faith they might not yet understand; as the disciples did not, till after Christ’s ascension; and some of the Corinthians a while doubted the doctrine of the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:12, &c.

2. As to the clearness of it, with respect to the truths they did already know and believe.

3. As to the lively operations and fruits of it.

The former defects are removed by doctrine, the last by exhortation and comfort, and the apostle desired to see their face on the account of both: and to perfect a thing is to make it complete, both as to parts and degrees. The word here used we find often in the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 13:11 Galatians 6:1, &c.; and variously rendered in the several translations, but yet much to the same sense: the apostle being so suddenly driven from them, he left them as a house half built; but his affection to them was so great, that he longed to return to them for the perfecting of their faith, though he had met but a while before with such great perils at Thessalonica.

Night and day praying exceedingly,.... This good news, not only comforted their hearts, and revived their spirits, and filled them with joy and thankfulness, but also sent them to the throne of grace to pray without ceasing, continually, night and day, and as often as they went thither, and that with great fervency and earnestness, in a multitude of petitions; or, as the Arabic version renders it, "with prayers exceeding a multitude"; with innumerable requests:

that we might see your face: once more, and converse face to face:

and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? in the grace of faith; for though they remembered their work of faith with pleasure, and had had good tidings of it very lately, and were thankful that it grew exceedingly as it did, yet they knew it was not perfect, there was unbelief attending them: and though it is God's work to increase faith, as well as to produce it, yet, as the ministry of the word is the means of the first planting of it, so it also is of the increase of it. This may likewise be understood of the doctrine of faith, which though they had received in the love of it, and had made considerable progress in their knowledge of it; yet they knew but in part, and needed to be taught the way of God, and truths of the Gospel more perfectly; and the ministry of the word is for the perfecting of the saints in the knowledge of the Son of God, and of other truths; wherefore the apostle desired greatly to see them, that he might be an instrument of instructing them, more perfectly in the knowledge of divine things; and in this, and in the following epistle, he does particularly instruct them about the rise and fall of antichrist, the coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead, articles of faith in which they seemed to have been deficient: but now, though these saints had deficiencies in their faith, yet they were not what the Jews call (o) , "such as are deficient in faith", or want faith entirely, a phrase somewhat like this which is here used.

(o) Maimon. Hilch. Mechira, c. 7. sect. 8, 9.

Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might {b} perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

(b) Paul was forced through the pressing dealing of the enemies to leave the building which he had just begun: and for that reason he had left Silas and Timothy in Macedonia, and when Timothy came to Athens to him, he sent him back again immediately. So that he desires to see the Thessalonians, that he may thoroughly perfect their faith and religion, that was as yet imperfect.

1 Thessalonians 3:10. Δεόμενοι] is not used absolutely instead of δεόμεθα or ἐσμὲν δεόμενοι, which Cornelius a Lapide and Baumgarten-Crusius assume, and Flatt thinks possible, but neither is it to be united with χαίρομεν (Schott, de Wette, Koch, Riggenbach), but belongs to the main thought τίναἀνταποδοῦναι, and assigns the reason for it by the fervent longing for the readers, and anxiety for their Christian character: What sufficient thanks are we able to give to God for our joy over you, as we (cleaving to you with such paternal love that we), without ceasing, pray to see you again, and complete the defects of your faith?

νυκτός] See on 1 Thessalonians 2:9. Erroneously Fromond.: it is placed first, quia nocte praecipue propter solitudinem et silentium sancti se orationi dare solent.

The accumulation of expressions νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ, is the natural outflow of the strength of his feeling; comp. Php 1:23.

ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ] above measure, is found only in 1 Thessalonians 5:13, Ephesians 3:20, and Theodoton, ad Daniel, 3:22. Erroneously—because grammatically impossible

Clericus insists on referring it by means of a trajection not to δεόμενοι, but to ἰδεῖν, defending his opinion on the ground that ὑπερεκπερ. denotes something not strictly necessary, whereas prayer is a duty, a necessity: orantes ut videamus vultum vestrum, quasi cumulum laetitiae nostrae. Non satis erat Paulo scire Thessalonicenses constanter evangelio adhaerere, quamvis summam laetitiam ex eo nuntio perciperit, volebat ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ, ex abundanti, eos videre.

εἰς τὸ κ.τ.λ.] the design of δεόμενοι: praying to this end, in order by means of prayer (by the answer to it) to attain the ἰδεῖν and καταρτίσαι.

καταρτίζειν] is to place in the condition of perfectness, of completeness. Thus καταρτίζειν τὰ ὑστερήματα τῆς πίστεως signifies: to render complete the defects of faith, that is, in order to make perfect that which is wanting in faith (Theodoret: τὰ ἐλλείποντα πληρῶσαι). By this ὑστερήματα τῆς πίστεως Paul understands partly defects of faith as regards insight (particularly in respect of the impending advent; comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff.); partly defects of faith as regards its practical verification in the Christian life (comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:1 ff.). It follows, moreover, from καταρτίσαι τὰ ὑστερήματα, with what inconsiderate arbitrariness Baur misuses even this passage in support of his assertion that the Thessalonian church had already existed for a long time.

1 Thessalonians 3:10. Another adaptation of ethnic phraseology, cf. Griechische Urkunden, i. 246, 12, νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐντυγχάνω τῷ θεῷ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν (a pagan papyrus from second or third century, A.D.). The connection of δεόμενοι κ.τ.λ. with the foregoing words is loose, but probably may be found in the vivid realisation of the Thessalonians called up before his mind as he praised God for their constancy. Timothy had told him of their loyalty, but had evidently acquainted him also with some less promising tendencies and shortcomings in the church; possibly the Thessalonians had even asked for guidance on certain matters of belief and practice (see below). Hence Paul’s eagerness to be on the spot again, not merely for the sake of happy fellowship (Romans 1:11), but to educate and guide his friends, supplying what was defective in their faith. As this was impracticable in the meantime, he proceeds to write down some kindly admonitions. Thus 10b forms the transition to the second part of the letter; Paul, as usual, is wise enough to convey any correction or remonstrance on the back of hearty commendation. In the prayer which immediately follows, 10a is echoed in 11, 10b in 12, 13, for the maturing of the Thessalonian’s faith does not depend on the presence of their apostles. Whatever be the answer to the prayer of 11, the prayer of 12, 13 can be accomplished.

10. night and day praying exceedingly] In this last adverb, peculiar to St Paul, he strains language to express the ardour of his feeling: beyond measure exceedingly; it recurs in ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 and Ephesians 3:20. Night and day puts more vividly the “without ceasing” of ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3; comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:9.

“Praying” is here, more strictly, begging, or beseeching, and points to the want of the suppliant (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:20, “We beg you, on Christ’s behalf, Be reconciled to God”); whereas the ordinary word for prayer (see e.g. ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:1) indicates devotion towards the object of worship. Prayer goes with thanksgiving, as in ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3, and constantly in St Paul; comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.

that we might see your face] might makes the realisation seem distant and doubtful; read may (R. V.). See notes on ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:17.

and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith] Or, may make good the deficiencies of your faith; not so much what was lacking in as lacking to their faith. Thessalonian faith was in itself steadfast and vigorous (ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, “Your faith groweth exceedingly”); but it needed the supplement of added Christian light and moral wisdom. Hence the teaching and admonition the Apostle supplies in chaps. 4, 5 and in the Second Epistle (see Introd. pp. 23–25). Timothy’s return from Thessalonica and the news he brought, while removing St Paul’s great anxiety, made him still more sensible of the need this young and most promising Church had for the continued instruction which he alone could supply. This increased his eagerness to revisit the Thessalonians. For a similar wish—less warmly expressed, inasmuch as it concerned strangers—see Romans 1:9-15; Romans 15:23.

The word rendered “perfect” means to fit up, furnish, fully equip; it is used of “mending nets” (Matthew 4:21), of “vessels fitted for destruction” (Romans 9:22), and of “perfecting saints for work of ministration” (Ephesians 4:12).

1 Thessalonians 3:10. Νυκτὸς, night) Alluding to his holy thoughts during the night, 2 Timothy 1:3.—τὰ ὑστερήματα, the things which are wanting) [the deficiency, that which is lacking]. Even the Thessalonians had points in which they were in need of improvement.

Verse 10. - Night and day (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:9) praying exceedingly. Denoting the intense earnestness and anxiety of the apostle for the spiritual welfare of the Thessalonians, that found vent to itself in incessant prayer for them. Now follows the subject-matter of his prayer. That we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. The faith of the Thessalonians was not perfect; it was "lacking" in several respects. It was defective in extent; they were ignorant of many of the doctrines of the gospel, and had formed erroneous views of other doctrines, such as the second advent. It was defective in application; they had not yet renounced all the corrupt practices of their former heathen life, nor had they embodied all the precepts of the gospel into their actual life. The Thessalonians were as yet but novices. So also the reason which impelled Paul to wish to come to Rome was to supply that which was lacking in the faith of the Roman converts (Romans 1:11). Confirmation was a work in which the apostle delighted, being both important and desirable. In general, faith at first is weak and defective; it is only developed by degrees. Especially is it increased by every increase of spiritual knowledge. "Add to your faith knowledge" (2 Peter 1:5, 6). The remark of Calvin is worthy of attention: "Paul is desirous of having the opportunity given him of supplying what is wanting in the faith of the Thessalonians, or, which is the same thing, completing in all its parts their faith which was as yet imperfect. Yet this is the faith which he had previously extolled marvelously. From this we infer that those who far surpass others are still far distant from the goal. Hence, whatever progress we may have made, let us keep in view our deficiencies, that we may not be reluctant to aim at something further." 1 Thessalonians 3:10Exceedingly (ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ)

Comp. Ephesians 3:20. Paul is fond of compounds with ὑπὲρ above. Of the 28 N.T. words compounded with ὑπὲρ, 22 are found in Paul, and 20 of them only there.

Perfect (καταρτίσαι)

Primarily, to adjust, fit together; so mend, Matthew 4:21. Of the creation of the world, Hebrews 11:3. See on Matthew 21:16; see on Luke 6:40; see on 1 Peter 5:10; see on Romans 9:22.

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