1 Thessalonians 3:8
For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Now we live, if.—“Now” contrasts the new life and vigour which the “gospel of their faith and charity” had infused into the Apostle, with the deadly sinking he had felt at the thought of their possible apostacy. At the same time the “if” has the half-future sense, as though St. Paul meant that the continuance of this “life” was contingent upon their continued steadfastness. Another interpretation has been suggested, according to which both the “we” and “ye” are perfectly general, and therefore interchangeable, and the sense is made to be a vague proposition, “for standing fast in the Lord is a sine qua non of life”—life in the theological sense: and parts of Romans 7, 8 are compared. This interpretation, however, suits the Greek as little as the context.

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.For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord - This is equivalent to saying, "My life and comfort depend on your stability in the faith, and your correct Christian walk;" compare Martial 6:70. Non est vivere, sed valere, vita - "Life consists not merely in living, but in the enjoyment of health." See also Seneca, Epis. 99, and Manilius, 1 Thessalonians 4:5, as quoted by Wetstein. The meaning here is, that Paul now enjoyed life; he had that which constituted real life, in the fact that they acted as became Christians, and so as to show that his labor among them had not been in vain. The same thing here affirmed is true of all faithful ministers of the gospel. They feel that they have something that may be called life, and that is worth living for, when those to whom they preach maintain a close walk with God. 8. now—as the case is; seeing ye stand fast.

we live—we flourish. It revives us in our affliction to hear of your steadfastness (Ps 22:26; 2Jo 3:4).

if—implying that the vivid joy which the missionaries "now" feel, will continue if the Thessalonians continue steadfast. They still needed exhortation, 1Th 3:10; therefore he subjoins the conditional clause, "if ye," &c. (Php 4:1).

The comfort of their faith was so great that it would be as life to him, if they stood fast in it; which he calls a standing

fast in the Lord. Life is not only the union of soul and body; comfort is the life of the soul, especially that which springs from Divine causes. And on the contrary, the apostacy and degeneracy of a people doth kill the hearts of their faithful teachers.

For now we live,.... Before they were dead men, lifeless, disconsolate, dispirited, carrying about with them the dying of the Lord Jesus, and death working in them, and they, as it were, under the sentence of that, being killed all the day long for Christ's sake; but now, upon this news, in the midst of all their sore trials and troubles, their spirits revived, and they became alive and cheerful; see Psalm 22:26, it was like life from the dead unto them:

if ye stand fast in the Lord: or "our Lord", as the Syriac and Ethiopic versions read; that is, "in the faith of the Lord", as the Arabic version renders it: they were in the Lord secretly by electing grace, and openly by regenerating grace, and they abode in him; and by persevering grace, they were rooted and built up in Christ, and established in the faith of him, of his person, office, and grace; they were steady in the exercise of grace upon him, and stood fast in the liberty wherewith he had made them free, and continued steadfastly in the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel; for the "if" here is not expressive of doubting, but of reasoning, "seeing ye stand fast in the Lord"; of which they were assured by Timothy: and this gave them fresh spirit and life amidst the deaths in which they often were.

For now we {a} live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

(a) For now you cannot otherwise think of me as at rest and in a good state of being, unless you go forward in religion and faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 3:8. Paul considers the ἀνάγκη and θλίψις which lay upon him as a θάνατος, but he does not feel this evil; the θάνατος is converted to him into ζωή, when he learns how the churches which he had founded cleave to the Lord. External matters are, in general, indifferent to the apostle, provided he reaches his life-aim, to lead souls to Christ; every success in reference to this imparts strength and fulness of life to him.

νῦν] is not to be understood in contrast to the pre-Christian life of the apostle, when his thought and aim were entirely different; whereby a thought entirely foreign to the context would be introduced. The force of νῦν as an adverb of time, at present, is not to be too greatly pressed (Marloratus: Sub adverbio nunc repetit, quod prius dixerat, se afflictione et necessitate graviter fuisse oppressum), but has here (on account of ἐάν) a causal reference; now, serving as an introduction to what follows: ἐὰν ὑμεῖς στήκητε ἐν κυρίῳ. Comp. Kühner, II. p. 385; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 25.

ζῶμεν] not to be referred, with Chrysostom, to the future, eternal life, nor weakened to “we are happy” (Pelt and others), or “satisfied” (Grotius, Moldenhauer), but the meaning is: For now we live, i.e. we are in full strength and freshness of life, we do not feel the sorrows and tribulations which the outer world prepares for us.

ἐὰν ὑμεῖς στήκητε ἐν κυρίῳ] when, or so soon as ye stand fast in the Lord, hold fast to His fellowship.

ὑμεῖς] applies specially to the Thessalonians what holds good of Christians generally.

ἐάν] makes the fact of the stedfastness of the readers appear as a well-grounded supposition (see Schmalfeld, Syntax des Griech. Verbums, p. 201). But the hypothetical form of the sentence includes, indirectly, the exhortation to hold fast to the Lord for the future.

1 Thessalonians 3:8. The news put life and spirit into him.—στήκετε, for construction cf. Mark 11:25 and Abbott’s Johan. Gramm., 2515 (i).

8. for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord] “if ye stand fast:” the pronoun bears the emphasis. St Paul felt as though his life was wrapped up in this Church. A load of apprehension was lifted from his mind, and he resumed his work at Corinth with the sense of renewed health and vigour, saying to himself, “Yes, now one really lives!” For in truth

“The incessant care and labour of his mind

Had wrought the mure, that should confine it in,

So thin, that life looked through and would break out.”

His heaviest burden, weighing down body and mind alike, was “the care of the Churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28-29).

This passage, like the Epistle to the Galatians and the Second to Corinth, shews St Paul as a man of high-strung and ardent nature, sensitive in his affections to an extreme degree. His whole soul was bound up with the Churches he had founded (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:8, and note). They were his “children,” his “loved and longed for,” his “joy and glory, and crown of boasting.” He lived for nothing else. Read in illustration of this 2 Corinthians 7:2-16.

1 Thessalonians 3:8. Νῦν ζῶμεν, now we live) now we feel that we are alive. The form of testifying the highest joy; comp. Psalm 63:4.

Verse 8. - For now we live. Not to be referred to the eternal and future life (Chrysostom); or to be weakened as if it merely signified, "We relish and enjoy life notwithstanding our affliction and distress" (Pelt); but the meaning is the good tidings which Timothy has brought have imparted new life unto us; "we are in the full strength and freshness of life, we do not feel the sorrows and tribulations which the outer world prepares for us" (Lunemann). The apostle considers his condition of affliction and distress as a kind of death: so, elsewhere he says, "I die daily" (1 Corinthians 15:31); and from which death he was now again raised to life. If; provided - a hypothetical assumption. Ye stand fast; continue firm in the faith of the gospel. In the Lord; the element of true life. 1 Thessalonians 3:8Stand fast (στήκετε)

The sense of firm standing is derived from the context, and does not inhere in the word. In Mark 3:31; Mark 11:25, it means simply to stand. Comp. Philippians 4:1. It does not occur earlier than N.T.

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