1 Thessalonians 4:10
And indeed you do it toward all the brothers which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brothers, that you increase more and more;
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(10) And indeed ye do it—i.e., “love one another;” but the words seem to imply a very practical form of love. This fact justifies St. Paul in saying that the Thessalonians were so taught of God.

Toward.—Rather, even unto; as far as unto. The Thessalonians’ charity has travelled already a long way from its starting-point at home, extending over all northern Greece. As Thessalonica had been the centre of evangelisation (1Thessalonians 1:8), so also of the maintenance of the Churches. The words need not necessarily (though they do probably) imply a number of missionary stations besides the three places where the Apostles had preached.

Increase more and more.—A little too emphatic: abound (or, overflow) still more. The words are identical with those in 1Thessalonians 4:1. The brotherly kindness of the Thessalonians did not spread over a wide enough area in merely traversing Macedonia, nor was it so unostentatious as true love should be.

4:9-12 We should notice in others what is good, to their praise, that we may engage them to abound therein more and more. All who are savingly taught of God, are taught to love one another. The teaching of the Spirit exceeds the teachings of men; and men's teaching is vain and useless, unless God teach. Those remarkable for this or any other grace, need to increase therein, as well as to persevere to the end. It is very desirable to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behaviour. Satan is busy to trouble us; and we have in our hearts what disposes us to be unquiet; therefore let us study to be quiet. Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men's matters, have little quiet in their own minds, and cause great disturbances among their neighbours. They seldom mind the other exhortation, to be diligent in their own calling, to work with their own hands. Christianity does not take us from the work and duty of our particular callings, but teaches us to be diligent therein. People often by slothfulness reduce themselves to great straits, and are liable to many wants; while such as are diligent in their own business, earn their own bread, and have great pleasure in so doing.And indeed ye do it - See the notes on 1 Thessalonians 1:7.

But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more - See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 3:12. Here, as elsewhere, the apostle makes the fact that they deserved commendation for what they had done, a stimulus to arouse them to still higher attainments. Bloomfield.

10. And indeed—Greek, "For even." As an evidence of the truth of their love for which he commended them, and that they were taught it of God, he gives a practical instance of it in this verse; else the apostle might have been thought to flatter, or to command a love that was without fruit; and therefore he saith not, ye profess it, but ye do it: so 2 Corinthians 8:11, perform the doing of it.

Toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia; which was a large province, wherein were planted many churches. Their love was not guided by interests, opinions, civil relations, or self-respects, but it reached to all that were brethren; and that in some real effect of it, in some work of charity, or liberality, or otherwise, not here mentioned, but we read of it, 2 Corinthians 8:1,2.

But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; but, however, their love was not yet perfect, and therefore he beseecheth them to abound more and more; either meant as to the extent of it, not to confine it only to Macedonia, or as to the degree of it, to excel men in it, as the Greek word may be rendered: and the same word the apostle useth, and upon the same account, 2 Corinthians 8:7. Neither love, nor any other grace, is made perfect at once; even those that are taught of God, are taught by degrees. And love being a grace so suitable to the gospel, and their present suffering state, he therefore especially exhorts to a progress in it. And indeed ye do it towards all the brethren,.... Whether high or low, rich or poor, bond or free, greater or lesser believers, and whether related in the bonds of nature or not; they exercised this grace of love without respect of persons, to all, and not only to all the brethren in the particular community at Thessalonica, but

which are in all Macedonia; throughout the whole country, particularly at Philippi and Berea, and other places:

but we beseech you, brethren. The Alexandrian copy reads, "beloved brethren"; and the Syriac version, "I beseech you, my brethren: that ye increase more and more"; in showing love to the brethren; which may be done both by administering to them in things temporal, by assisting them in distress, by sympathizing with them, and by giving them counsel and advice; and in things spiritual, by bearing their burdens, forbearing with them, and forgiving them; by admonishing them in love, by stirring them up to love and good works, by praying with them and for them, and by instructing and building them up in their most holy faith; and this increase, and abounding in the exercise of this grace, may respect not only the more frequent and fervent use of it, but also the larger extent of it to other objects; as not only to all the brethren in their own church, and to all that were in Macedonia, to which it did extend, but likewise to all the brethren in other parts of the world, and which are more distant and remote; and even to the poor saints at Jerusalem in particular; and accordingly we find that their love did abound unto them; see Romans 15:25, this shows, that though brotherly love was much practised by these saints, yet it was not perfect; nor is any grace perfect as to degrees; nor is any saint perfect in the discharge of duty in this life.

And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
1 Thessalonians 4:10. An explanatory confirmation of the statement θεοδίδακτοί ἐστε εἰς τὸ ἀγαπᾶν ἀλλήλους by an actual historical instance. Calvin finds in 1 Thessalonians 4:10 an argumentum a majore ad minus: “nam quum eorum caritas per totam Macedoniam se diffundat, colligit non esse dubitandum, quin ipsi mutuo inter se ament.” But the emphasis rests not on ἀλλήλους and τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς τοὺς ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ, but on ἀγαπᾶν and ποιεῖτε. Also the opinion of de Wette, whom Koch follows, that an additional reason is here adduced why the Thessalonians require no further exhortation, is to be rejected, as then καὶ ποιεῖτε would require to be written instead of καὶ γὰρ ποιεῖτε, because γάρ cannot be co-ordinate with the preceding γάρ.

καὶ γάρ] not equivalent to simple γάρ (so most critics), and also not quin etiam, or imo (Calvin), but for also; comp. Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 137 f. Whilst γάρ is a justification of ἀγαπᾶν, the idea of διδαχθῆναι is carried on to the idea of ποιεῖν by means of the corresponding καί.

ποιεῖτε] has the chief accent; it denotes the actual practice.

αὐτό] scilicet, τὸ ἀγαπᾶν, not τὸ τῆς φιλαδελφίας (Baumgarten-Crusius and Koch).

περισσεύειν μᾶλλον] to increase yet more, scilicet, in brotherly love. Musculus, appealing to Php 4:12, arbitrarily takes περισσεύειν absolutely, whilst he makes a new train of thought commence with παρακαλοῦμεν: “qua eos redigat in ordinem, qui doctrina charitatis ad ignaviae suae, desidiei, curiositatis et quaestus occasionem abutebantur, nihil operis facientes, sed otiose ac curiose circumeundo ex aliorum laboribus victitantes,” and finds the meaning: “ut abundetis magis, h. e. ut magis in eo sitis, ut copiam eorum, quae ad vitae hujus sunt sustentationem necessaria, habeatis, quam ut penuriam patientes fratribus sitis oneri.” Equally erroneously, because unnatural, Ewald thinks that as the following φιλοτιμεῖσθαι, so also even περισσεύειν μᾶλλον, is to be included in the unity of idea with ἡσυχάζειν κ.τ.λ., 1 Thessalonians 4:11 : “to keep quiet still more, and zealously,” etc. Besides, the construction of περισσεύειν, with a simple infinitive following, would be wholly without example.[51]

μᾶλλον] The same intensification as in 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

[51] Ewald in vain endeavours anew to defend the above construction of the words in his Jahrb. d. bibl. Wissenschaft, 10 Jahrb. Gött. 1860, p. 241 ff.: That the apostle, after he had before said that it was not necessary to write to the Thessalonians concerning brotherly love, because they sufficiently practised it, could not, without self-contradiction, proceed to say, but we exhort you yet to increase in brotherly love. In this Ewald is certainly right. But Paul only declared before that the Thessalonians practised brotherly love—that they already practised it sufficiently we do not read; this, on the contrary, is only arbitrarily introduced by Ewald.


After the example of Schrader, Baur (p. 484) finds also 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 only suitable for a church which had already existed for a considerable time. How otherwise could the brotherly love of the Thessalonians, which they showed to all the brethren in all Macedonia, be praised as a virtue already so generally proved? Certainly Paul recognises the brotherly love of the Thessalonians as a “virtue already proved;” but Baur, no less than Schrader, overlooks (1) that not εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους, but εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ, is written; consequently, the exercise of that virtue is limited to the Christian circle nearest to the Thessalonians; (2) that Paul yet desires an increase in that virtue, thus indicating that the exercise of it had only shortly before commenced. An interval of half a year (see Introduction, § 3) was accordingly a sufficient time for the Thessalonians to make themselves worthy of a praise restricted within such bounds.10. And indeed] should be For indeed. Their practice of the Divine lesson, as described in this verse, showed that they were truly “taught of God” to this effect.

ye do it towards all the brethren which are in all Macedonia] Thessalonica was a prosperous commercial city and the capital of Macedonia (see Introd. Chap. I.). It was the natural centre of the Macedonian Churches—including Philippi and Berœa, with other communities which had probably sprung up around these principal towns. The Thessalonian Christians were using their position and influence for the good of their brethren around them, and thus giving proof that they had learnt the great lesson of Divine grace. Silas and Timothy, recently returned from Macedonia (Acts 18:5; see ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:6), had doubtless told the Apostle how well they did their duty towards the neighbour Churches (comp. ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8, and notes).

but we beseech you, brethren] should be exhort (R. V.), as in 1 Thessalonians 4:1 (comp. note, also on “comfort,” ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:2); same word in 1 Thessalonians 4:18, and ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14.

that ye increase &c.] Better rendered, that you abound still more; the Apostle repeats the exact phrase employed in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, which takes up the verb of ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (see notes).

In all Christian virtues growth is possible and desired, but “brotherly love” above others is susceptible of constant and unlimited increase. The Apostle reverts to this point once more, in ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

Philadelphia (brother-love) in common Greek did not go beyond its literal sense. In Christian speech it was at once applied to the “brothers” of the new life in Christ, those who are united in the acknowledgement of God as their Father (ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:1, see note). Comp. 1 John 4:21; 1 John 5:1, “This commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.… Whosoever loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” The word recurs in Romans 12:10; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22; also in 2 Peter 1:7, where in “brother-love” charity (or love) is directed to he “supplied,” as its spiritual and universal principle.

From the second topic of his “charge,” which the Apostle is happily able to dismiss in a few words, he proceeds to the third:—Verse 10. - And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia. Not only to those in Thessalonica, but to all believers in your country and neighborhood. But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; that ye make progress in brotherly love - that it increase in purity, in warmth, and in extent.
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