For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For ye know.—He calls on the Thessalonians’ memory to support his statement, “ye received;” at the same time awakening their interest to catch the special point next to come, by laying stress on “what commandments.”
By the Lord Jesus.—Not as if the Lord were the person who took the commandments from St. Paul to the Thessalonians, but the person by means of whose inspiration St. Paul was enabled to give such commandments.commandments, not so much his own as the Lord’s, as the word itself imports here used, and is expressed in the text.
By the Lord Jesus: though the apostle had authority, yet it was but derivative from Christ; and therefore not to walk as the apostle had commanded would be disobedience to Christ himself. And he minds them of what they knew, that their knowledge might be exemplified in practice; for as faith, so knowledge, is dead which doth not influence the life; and they knew that he commanded them not in his own name, but in the name of Christ.
by the Lord Jesus; in his name, and by his authority, and as ordered by him; for their commission ran to teach men all things, whatsoever Christ commanded: now since they knew what these commandments were, and whose they were, and the obligation they lay under to regard them, the apostle makes use of it as a reason or argument to engage them to obedience to them; for he that knows his Lord's will, and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, Luke 12:47.For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Thessalonians 4:2. A strengthening of παρελάβετε παρʼ ἡμῶν, 1 Thessalonians 4:1, by appealing to the knowledge of the readers: for it is well known to you, ye will thus be the more willing to περισσεύειν. This appeal to their own knowledge is accordingly by no means useless, and still less un-Pauline (Schrader, Baur), as it is elsewhere not rare with Paul; comp. Galatians 4:13; 1 Corinthians 15:1 ff., etc.
παραγγελίαι] not evangelii praedicatio, in qua singula praecepta semine quasi inclusa latitant (Pelt), against which is the context and the plural form; but commands (comp. Acts 5:28; Acts 16:24; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:18), and that to a Christian life. The stress is on τίνας, to which τοῦτο, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, corresponds.
διὰ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ] through the Lord Jesus, by means of Him, i.e. Paul did not command διʼ ἑαυτοῦ, but Christ Himself was represented by him as the Giver of the παραγγελίαι. Comp. Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 235 f. Schott blends the ideas in a strange manner: Auxilio sive beneficio Christi, siquidem Paulus, ab ipso domino ad provinciam apostoli obeundam vocatus, διʼ ἁποκαλύψεως Χριστοῦ inter illos docuerat. So also de Wette: by means of the revelation given in the Lord, so that the general divine truth is communicated through Him. Falsely Pelt, διά is equivalent to ἐν; and Grotius, accepta is to be supplied.1 Thessalonians 4:2. Almost a parenthesis, as Bahnsen points out in his study of 1–12 (Zeitschrift f. wiss. Theol., 1904, 332–358). The injunctions (παραγγελίαι in semimilitary sense, as 1 Timothy 1:18) relate to chastity (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) and charity, (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10), with a postscript against excitement and idleness (11, 12).—παραγγ. for the cognate use of this term (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:8) in the inscriptions of Dionysopolis (παραγγέλλω πᾶσιν μὴ καταφρονεῖν τοῦ θεοῦ) cf. Exp. Ti., x. 159.—διὰ κ.τ.λ., the change from the ἐν of 1 Thessalonians 4:1 does not mean that the Thessalonians before their conversion got such injunctions from Paul on the authority of Christ, while afterwards they simply needed to be reminded of the obligations of their union (ἐν) with the Lord. No strict difference can be drawn between both phrases (cf. Heitmüller’s Im Namen Jesu, 71 f.), though the διά lays rather more stress on the authority. For Jesus to command διά the apostles seems to us more natural than to say that the apostles issue commands διὰ τοῦ Κυρίου, but the sense is really the same. The apostles give their orders on the authority of their commission and revelations from the Lord whom they interpret to His followers (cf. Romans 15:30; Romans 12:2). But this interpretation must have appealed to the sayings of Jesus which formed part of the παράδοσις (cf. Weizsäcker’s Apostolic Age, i. 97, 120, ii. 39). Thus 8a is an echo of the saying preserved in Luke 10:16.2. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord jesus] Lit., charges … through the Lord Jesus; similarly in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “as we charged you,” and in 2 Thessalonians 3:4, &c. The Greek word signifies an announcement, then a command or advice publicly delivered. In 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:18 the whole practical teaching of Christianity is called a “charge.” Here the Apostle is referring to particular items of conduct as matter of so many “charges.” These charges were given “through the Lord Jesus,” since His name and authority were used to support them (comp. 2 Thessalonians 3:6, “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”); while they were given “in the Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:1), as they appealed to the Christian standing of the readers and their conscious relationship to Christ, Whose coming in glory they expected.
The Apostle is “writing no new commandment;” he recalls to his readers’ remembrance what he had so often urged upon them (see note on ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:5). It is on one prominent subject of those well-remembered charges that he has now to dwell:—1 Thessalonians 4:2. Παραγγελίας, commandments) Paul uses this word at this very early time, when writing to the Thessalonians, whose piety took it in the right spirit, as did also the piety of Timothy, to whom he gives his commands with the greatest sternness. The same word occurs, 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:12. In addressing other churches subsequently, when his authority was established, he uses it very seldom.Verse 2. - For ye know; appealing to their memory in confirmation of what he had said. What commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus; or, through the Lord Jesus; that is, not merely by his authority, but by means of him, so that these commandments did not proceed from Paul, but from the Lord Jesus himself. We have here, and indeed in this chapter throughout, an assertion of the inspiration of the apostle: the commandments which he gave to the Thessalonians were the commandments of the Lord Jesus.
Better, charges. Only four times in N.T. olxx. The verb παραγγέλλειν to command or charge is frequent, and is often used in Class of military orders. See Xen. Cyr. ii., 4, 2; Hdt. iii., 25.
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