1 Thessalonians 3:12
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) And the Lord make you.—The word you in the Greek is emphatic and stands first. The wish in the previous verse concerned the writers:” But you (whether we come or not) may the Lord make,” &c. By “the Lord” here St. Paul seems to mean not only the Son: the word appears to be an equivalent for the name of God.

Increase and abound.—These words make the readers think first of progress and then of the state to which the progress will bring them—“Multiply you in love until you have enough and to spare of it”—and the same progress is expressed by the objects of the swelling charity: “So that you may not only love one another abundantly, but all mankind—missionary efforts being the supreme work of Christian love—“such loving missionary work” (the writers go on to say) “as ours among you.”

3:11-13 Prayer is religious worship, and all religious worship is due unto God only. Prayer is to be offered to God as our Father. Prayer is not only to be offered in the name of Christ, but offered up to Christ himself, as our Lord and our Saviour. Let us acknowledge God in all our ways, and he will direct our paths. Mutual love is required of all Christians. And love is of God, and is fulfilling the gospel as well as the law. We need the Spirit's influences in order to our growth in grace; and the way to obtain them, is prayer. Holiness is required of all who would go to heaven; and we must act so that we do not contradict the profession we make of holiness. The Lord Jesus will certainly come in his glory; his saints will come with him. Then the excellence as well as the necessity of holiness will appear; and without this no hearts shall be established at that day, nor shall any avoid condemnation.And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love - compare notes, 2 Corinthians 9:8. The word "Lord" here probably refers to the Lord Jesus, as this is the name by which he is commonly designated in the New Testament; see the notes on Acts 1:24. If this be so, then this is a petition to the Lord Jesus as the fountain of all grace and goodness. 12. The "you" in the Greek is emphatically put first; "But" (so the Greek for "and") what concerns "YOU," whether we come or not, "may the Lord make you to increase and abound in love," &c. The Greek for "increase" has a more positive force; that for "abound" a more comparative force, "make you full (supplying 'that which is lacking,' 1Th 3:10) and even abound." "The Lord" may here be the Holy Spirit; so the Three Persons of the Trinity will be appealed to (compare 1Th 3:13), as in 2Th 3:5. So the Holy Ghost is called "the Lord" (2Co 3:17). "Love" is the fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22), and His office is "to stablish in holiness" (1Th 3:13; 1Pe 1:2). Increase and abound; these two words denote an increasing and overflowing abundance. This is another thing he prays for; the former respected himself, this respected them. He desired to come to them to perfect that which was lacking in their faith, and he prays now for the abounding and increase of their love; not only to love one another, but to increase and abound in it; to increase the habits and abound in the fruits of love. They were under sore persecutions, and their love to one another was more necessary at such a time. And not only to one another, but to extend their love towards all men. Either all men in general; for love is a general duty we owe to all men: Owe no man any thing but to love one another, Romans 13:8; and therefore all our duty to men is comprehended under it. And the apostle requires this love to be added to brotherly kindness, 2 Peter 1:7; yea, love is required to enemies, Matthew 5:44, though not as enemies, yet as men. Or more particularly, believers; as sometimes all men is taken under that restriction, Titus 2:11.

Even as we do toward you: and he setteth before them his own love to them, both as a pattern and motive hereunto. Though the love of Christ is especially to be looked at, and is proposed often by the apostle Paul as the great argument of love to men, yet he mentions his own love to them here to show the constancy of his affection to them though absent from them, and to show that he persuaded no duty to them but what he practised himself. And the Lord make you to increase,.... That is, the Lord the Spirit; so that the object of prayer, addressed by the apostle, is Father, Son, and Spirit, as in Revelation 1:4. The Alexandrian copy reads "God". The Spirit is God, equally with the Father and the Son, and so a fit object of prayer with them, which otherwise he would not be. The request is, that he would cause these saints to increase in number, as the first churches greatly did: and in the gifts of the Spirit, which he divides to men severally as he will; and in his graces, as in faith, in hope, in holiness, in humility, in knowledge, in spiritual joy and strength, an increase in all which is from him:

and abound in love one towards another; for though they were taught of God to love one another, and did do so, and the apostle had had good tidings of their love; yet it was not perfect, there was room for a further exercise of it, by serving each other by it, in things spiritual and temporal; and he had his request, for it did abound in everyone of them towards each other, 2 Thessalonians 1:3

and towards all men; the men of the world, who were without, were not members of the church, nor professors of the Christian religion, but enemies to that, and to Christ, and to them; and yet they were to love them as men, and pray for them, and do them all the good that lay in their power:

even as we do towards you; for the love of the apostle, and those with him, abounded more and more towards these saints, and was so far from being weakened, that it was increased by their absence from them; and they were more abundantly desirous of seeing them, and were even quite impatient until they sent to them, and heard of them.

{3} And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

(3) Another part of the epistle, in which he speaks of the duties of a Christian life. And he shows that the perfection of a Christian life consists in two things, that is, in charity toward all men, and inward purity of the heart. And the accomplishment of these things is nonetheless deferred to the next coming of Christ, who will then perfect his work by the same grace with which he began it in us.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 3:12. To the wish as regards himself, Paul adds a further wish as regards his readers.[49]

ὙΜᾶς ΔΈ] Bengel puts it well: sive nos viniemus, sive minus.

If Ὁ ΚΎΡΙΟς (see critical note) is genuine, it may grammatically refer either to God or to Christ (although the latter is the more usual); also ἜΜΠΡΟΣΘΕΝ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, instead of ΑὐΤΟῦ, is no objection to the reference to God, as the repetition of the name in full shortly after its mention is not rare; comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:2; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 4:16; Winer, p. 130 [E. T. 180].

The optatives (not infinitives, as Bretschneider thinks, who without justification supplies δῴη ὙΜῖΝ) ΠΛΕΟΝΆΣΑΙ and ΠΕΡΙΣΣΕΎΣΑΙ are in a transitive sense: but the Lord make you to become rich and abound in love. On πλεονάζειν, comp. LXX. Numbers 26:54; Ps. 70:21; on ΠΕΡΙΣΣΕΎΕΙΝ, comp. Ephesians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 9:8, etc. Erroneously Theodoret, whom Cornelius a Lapide follows, takes ΠΛΕΟΝΆΣΑΙ by itself, of the external increase of the church: εὔχεται τοίνυν αὐτοὺς καὶ τῷ ἀριθμῷ πλεονάσαι καὶ τῇ ἀγάπῃ περισσεῦσαι, τουτέστι τελείαν αὐτὴν κτήσασθαι, ὥστε μηδὲν ἐλλείπειν αὐτῇ. So also Olshausen and Koch erroneously distinguish ΠΛΕΟΝΆΖΕΙΝ and ΠΕΡΙΣΣΕΎΕΙΝ as cause and effect: to increase, and arising from this increase, abundance. Similarly Fromond. as extensio and intensio charitatis.

εἰς ἀλλήλους] towards fellow-Christians.

ΕἸς ΠΆΝΤΑς] is not an explication of εἰς ἀλλήλους: erga vos invicem et quidem omnes, which Koppe thinks possible, but means toward all men generally. Estius: etiam infideles et vestrae salutis inimicos. Theodoret, without reason, limits it to fellow-Christians of all places; whilst he interprets εἰς ἀλλήλους of fellow-Christians in Thessalonica.

ΚΑΘΆΠΕΡ ΚΑῚ ἩΜΕῖς ΕἸς ὙΜᾶς] sc. τῇ ἀγάπῃ πλεονάζομεν καὶ περισσεύομεν, as we also are rich in love and abound toward you. Only this completion of the ellipsis corresponds to the context, and the objection to it, that πλεονάζειν and ΠΕΡΙΣΣΕΎΕΙΝ is used first in a transitive and then in an intransitive sense, is of no force, as the passage of the one into the other here is so insensible and easy, that no reader could take objection to it. Arbitrary are the completions of Calvin: affecti sumus; Nösselt: animati sumus; Baumgarten-Crusius: ἜΧΟΜΕΝ (?); Pelt and Schott: ΠΟΛΛῊΝ ἈΓΆΠΗΝ ἜΧΟΜΕΝ; Wolf (and so essentially already Musculus): ΠΕΡΙΣΣΕΎΣΑΙ, abundare nos in vos faciat; in which latter case the accusative ἩΜᾶς (as certainly Laurent, Neutestam. Studien, Gotha 1866, p. 188, actually reads, but without justification) must be put in place of the nominative ἡμεῖς. Also, supplying the simple copula sumus (Grotius) is to be rejected, which would suppose a form of speech entirely un-Grecian. Correctly, according to the sense, Theophylact: ἔχετε γὰρ μέτρον καὶ παράδειγμα τῆς ἀγάπης ἡμᾶς.

[49] Entirely erroneously, Piscator begins with this verse the second or exhortative portion of the Epistle.1 Thessalonians 3:12-13. The security and purity of the Christian life are rested upon its brotherly love (so Ep. Arist., 229); all breaches or defects of ἁγιωσύνη, it is implied, are due to failures there (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:6); even sensuality becomes a form of selfishness, on this view, as much as impatience or resentment. This profound ἀγάπη “is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken;” it fixes the believing man’s life in the very life of God, by deepening its vital powers of growth; no form of ἁγιωσύνη which sits loose to the endless obligations of this ἀγάπη will stand the strain of this life or the scrutiny of God’s tribunal at the end.—ὑμᾶς δὲ, what ever becomes of us.—ἁγίων, either (a) “saints” (as II., 2 Thessalonians 1:10, De Wette, Hofmann, Zimmer, Schmidt, Everling, Kabisch, Findlay, Wohl.), or (b) “angels” (Exodus 1:9; Ps. Sol. 17:49, etc., Hühn, Weiss, Schrader, Titius, Schmiedel, Lueken), or (c) both (cf. 4 Esd. 7:28, 14:9; Bengel, Alford, Wohl., Askwith, Ellicott, Lightfoot, Milligan). The reminiscence of Zechariah 14:5 (LXX) is almost decisive for (b), though Paul may have put another content into the term; πάντων must not be pressed to support (c). In any case, the phrase goes closely with παρουσίᾳ. The ἅγιοι are a retinue.12. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one towards another] In the Greek order, But you may the Lord make to increase, &c.—“whatever it may please Him to appoint in respect to us and our coming” (Ellicott). 1 Thessalonians 3:12 is linked with 11, just as 1 Thessalonians 3:11 with 10, by contrast. The Apostle is thinking now of what the Thessalonians were to each other and might do for each other, in distinction from himself.

“The Lord” is still the “Lord Jesus” of the adjoining verses, the Pattern and Fountain of love. Comp. John 13:34; Ephesians 5:2 (“Walk in love, as the Christ also loved you”). Christ is invoked as the Lord, in His Divine authority and power to grant this prayer (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:5).

Increased love would be the best supplement of their “defects of faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:11), and the basis of the unblameable holiness in which they are to appear at Christ’s coming (1 Thessalonians 3:13). In “brotherly love” the Thessalonians already excelled (ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:3); but this is a grace of which there can never be too much. Its “increase” lies in its own growth and enlargement; its “abundance” is the affluence with which it overflows toward others. These synonyms are delicately varied in Romans 5:20 : “where Sin increased (or multiplied), Grace superabounded.”

But this multiplied and overflowing love is not to be confined to the brotherhood: toward one another, and, he adds, toward all. Similarly in ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:15. For the Thessalonian Church, cruelly persecuted, this wider love was peculiarly necessary, and difficult. It meant loving their enemies, according to Christ’s command (Matthew 5:44).

The Apostle has shewn them by his example how to love each other in Christ (see ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20); and remembering this he adds, even as we also toward you. Comp. the appeal of Christ in John 13:34 (“even as I loved you”). Paul’s love too was not stationary, but living and growing. This verse has the same turn of expression as 1 Thessalonians 3:6, “even as we also (long to see) you.”

Faith was the object of the Apostle’s prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Love in ver.12; and now 1 Thessalonians 3:13 crowns both, as it seeks for the Thessalonians, in view of Christ’s coming, a well-assured Hope (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3):—1 Thessalonians 3:12. Ὑμᾶς, you) whether we come or not.—πλεονάσαι καὶ περισσεύσαη) On the difference between these two words, comp. 2 Corinthians 4:15, note.[12]—καὶ ἡμεῖς, even we) namely, even as we are full of love [towards you].

[12] πλεονάζω has a positive force: περισσεύω, the force of a comparative: The Lord make you full and even abound.—ED.Verse 12. - And the Lord. By some referred to the First Person of the blessed Trinity, God our Father (Alford); by others to the Holy Ghost, as the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are afterwards both mentioned in the prayer; but it is to be referred, according to the prevailing usage in Paul's Epistle, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Make you; literally, you may the Lord make, putting the emphasis on" you." To increase and abound in love one toward another; toward your fellow-Christians. And toward all men; toward the human race in general. "This is the character of Divine love to comprehend all; whereas human love hath respect to one man and not to another" (Theophylact). Even as we do toward you; that is, as we abound in love toward you.
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