2 Thessalonians 1:4
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) So that we ourselves.—Why was it less likely that St. Paul and his companions should thus glory in them than other friends did, or perhaps than the Thessalonians themselves? Possibly, because it seemed almost like self-praise to praise their own converts; but much more probably, because the writers had before felt and expressed misgivings on the point: this suits the thought of 2Thessalonians 1:3 better.

Glory in you in the churches of God.—Not only in thanksgiving to God (though, perhaps, outbursts of praise in the public services of “the churches” may be included), but also in talking to other men, at Corinth and elsewhere: so, in return, St. Paul “boasted” to the Thessalonians about the Corinthians (2Corinthians 9:2).

Your patience and faith.—It was well proved that St. Paul had no more cause for misgiving, and that the tempter’s tempting by persecution had not made the apostolic labours to be in vain. (See 1Thessalonians 3:5.) “Patience,” in the New Testament, does not mean a meek submissiveness, but a heroic endurance. The “faith” here becomes almost equivalent to “hope,” except that it introduces the ground of such hope: viz., confidence in the living God; it also includes the notion of faithfulness.

Persecutions and tribulations.—The difference-between the two words is, that while “tribulation” is quite general, and implies no personal enmities, “persecution” means that a certain set of persons were organising active measures for the annoyance of the Church. Such persecution they were still “enduring” when the Letter was written.

1:1-4 Where there is the truth of grace, there will be an increase of it. The path of the just is as the shining light, which shines more and more unto the perfect day. And where there is the increase of grace, God must have all the glory. Where faith grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows faith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern for others, when trials from God, and persecutions from men, quicken the exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith of which the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them to endure all their tribulations.So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God - That is, we mention your example to other churches, and glory in it, as an evidence of what the gospel is suited to do; see the notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20; compare the notes on 2 Corinthians 9:2.

For your patience - Your patient endurance of trials.

And faith - Fidelity, or constancy. You have shown unwavering confidence in God in your afflictions.

In all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure - See the notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13. It would seem from this that the persecutions and trials to which the apostle referred in his First Epistle were still continued.

4. glory in you—make our boast of you, literally, "in your case." "Ourselves" implies that not merely did they hear others speaking of the Thessalonians' faith, but they, the missionaries themselves, boasted of it. Compare 1Th 1:8, wherein the apostle said, their faith was so well known in various places, that he and his fellow missionaries had no need to speak of it; but here he says, so abounding is their love, combined with faith and patience, that he and his fellow missionaries themselves, make it a matter of glorying in the various churches elsewhere (he was now at Corinth in Achaia, and boasted there of the faith of the Macedonian churches, 2Co 10:15-17; 8:1, at the same time giving the glory to the Lord), not only looking forward to glorying thereat at Christ's coming (1Th 2:19), but doing so even now.

patience—in 1Th 1:3, "patience of hope." Here hope is tacitly implied as the ground of their patience; 2Th 1:5, 7 state the object of their hope, namely, the kingdom for which they suffer.

tribulations—literally, "pressures." The Jews were the instigators of the populace and of the magistrates against Christians (Ac 17:6, 8).

which ye endure—Greek, "are (now) enduring."

In the former verse the apostle gave thanks for them, in this he glories in them; he gave thanks for them to God, and glories in them before men. Wherein Silvanus and Timotheus are to be understood as joined with him herein. Glorying inclndes in it high estimation of a thing, rejoicing in it, high commendation of it, and applauding ourselves in it; and it must be some great thing, either really or in opinion, and in which some way or other we ourselves are concerned. And glorying is a good or evil according to the matter or object of it. To glory in our wisdom, strength, riches, Jeremiah 9:23; to glory in men, 1 Corinthians 3:21, in our own works, Romans 4:2, in what we have received as if not received, 1 Corinthians 4:7, after the flesh, 2 Corinthians 11:18, or in our shame, Philippians 3:19; all this glorying is evil. But to glory in God, Isaiah 41:16, in his holy name, 1 Chronicles 16:10, with God’s inheritance, Psalm 106:5, in the knowledge of the Lord, Jeremiah 9:24, in the cross of Christ, Galatians 6:14, in tribulation, Romans 5:3, in Christ Jesus, 1 Corinthians 1:31, in hope, Hebrews 3:6, and of the success of the ministry in the church’s growth, and their faith and patience, as here in the text; all this glorying is good: as elsewhere he boasted or gloried in the Corinthians’ liberality, 2 Corinthians 9:2; but his glorying in them was not to exalt himself, but to magnify the grace of God, and provoke other churches to imitate them.

In the churches of God; where the excellency of grace is known, and the commendation of it will be received and imitated; and not amongst carnal men, who scoff at true goodness. And it was the apostle himself, and Silvanus and Timotheus, that thus gloried in them. It adds to persons’ commendation, when it is by men of great knowledge, wisdom, and goodness. And it was by such as well knew them, and understood their state; and being instruments in their conversion, were more concerned to glory in them than any other apostles or ministers. And their glorying in them, as it respects what he said of them in the former verse, so what he further adds in this, which is their

patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations. Persecutions are properly sufferings for righteousness’ sake: tribulations, any kind of suffering, as some distinguish. And it seems they had many of both, when he saith all, & c. And yet they endured them, that is, not only suffered them because they could not cast them off, but in the sense of the apostle James, Jam 5:11: Behold, we count them happy which endure; which is a suffering out of choice, and not mere necessity, as Moses did, Hebrews 11:25, when sufferings stand in competition with sin, or the dishonour of the Christian profession. Sufferings in themselves are not desirable, and the apostle did not glory in their sufferings, but in their faith and patience. As he before joined faith and love together, so here faith and patience; and as love springs from faith, so doth Christian patience, whereby it is distinguished from patience as a mere moral virtue found among the heathen, either that of the Stoics, Peripatetics, or Platonists. Faith and patience are well styled the two suffering graces, and therefore here mentioned by the apostle when he mentions their sufferings. Faith as it depends upon God, and sees love under afflictions, believes his promises, looks at the recompence of reward, &c., so it supports under suffering. And patience, as it keeps down passion, and quiets the soul under its burden, makes it to sit lighter, and gives advantage to the exercise of that grace and reason, whereby a Christian is strengthened under his sufferings. Now hereupon the apostle glories in them, as men are apt to do in the heroic acts of great conquerors; or the captain of an army, in the valiant performances of his soldiers. So that we ourselves glory in you,.... Or "of you"; for though they were the subject concerning which, yet not the object in which they gloried; the apostle elsewhere advises not to glory in men, but only in the Lord; nor was this his practice contrary to his advice, for he did not boast of these persons with respect to their carnal things; he did not glory in their flesh, nor in their riches, nor wisdom, nor strength, nor any external gift; he gloried indeed of their graces, and of the exercise and increase of them; but of these not as of themselves, or as owing to him, and his fellow ministers, but as instances of the grace of God, and for which he gives thanks to him: and besides, he did not glory of these in the presence of God, in whose presence none should glory, but

in the churches of God; the other churches in Macedonia and Achaia, as Philippi, Berea, Corinth, &c. he gave thanks to God for them, and gloried of them before men, or among the saints, to the glory of the grace of God in them, and in order to stir up other churches to an emulation and imitation of them. And the particulars he gloried of them for were as follow,

for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: many and sore were the reproaches, the afflictions, and persecutions that befell them for the sake of Christ, and their profession of him, and his Gospel; and which is more or less the case of everyone that will live godly in Christ Jesus: and these they endured, they bore and stood up under, they were not shocked, and staggered, and moved from the hope of the Gospel by them; which shows that the truth of grace was in them; for where there is not the root of the matter, when tribulation and affliction arise because of the profession of the word, such are offended, stumbled, and quickly gone; but these saints endured their afflictions, and with great patience, without murmuring and repining, and with great constancy, firmness, and resolution of mind. They stood fast in the grace and doctrine of faith, and in the profession of both, which they held without wavering, and none of the things they met with could move them from it. The apostle had mentioned their faith before, and he takes notice of it again, because their patience, constancy, and perseverance in sufferings, arose from it; for the trying of faith works patience, James 1:3. The Ethiopic version leaves out the word "faith", but very wrongly.

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 1:4. The progress of the Thessalonians in Christianity so rejoiced the heart of the apostle, that he expresses this joy not only in thanksgiving before God, but also in praises before men.

ὥστε] refers back to ὑπεραυξάνειἀλλήλους.

ἡμᾶς αὐτούς] This emphatic designation of the subject might be thus explained, that otherwise such praise was not the usual custom of the speakers, but that the glorious success of the gospel in Thessalonica caused them to forget the usual limits of moderation and reserve. This opinion is, however, to be rejected, because it would then without any reason be supposed that Paul had inaccurately written ἡμᾶς αὐτούς (we ourselves) instead of αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς (even we).[34] It is therefore more correct to see in ἡμᾶς αὐτούς, that although it was true that the praise of the Thessalonians was already sufficiently spread abroad by others, yet that they themselves, the writers of the Epistle, in the fulness of their joy could not forbear to glory in their spiritual offspring. A reference to 1 Thessalonians 1:8 (de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius) is not to be assumed. Schott erroneously attempts to justify the emphasis on ἩΜᾶς ΑὐΤΟΎς, by understanding the same of Paul only in contrast to Silvanus and Timotheus, the subjects along with Paul of the verb ὀφείλομεν, 2 Thessalonians 1:3; for to maintain such a change of subject between 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:4 is impossible. Equally incorrect is also the notion of Hofmann, that αὐτούς added to ἡμᾶς denotes “of ourselves” “unprompted.” For it is absurd to attempt to deny that ἡμᾶς αὐτούς must at all events contain a contrast to others.

ἐν ὑμῖν ἐγκαυχᾶσθαι] boast of you. ἘΝ ὙΜῖΝ is a preliminary object to ἘΓΚΑΥΧᾶΣΘΑΙ, which is then more completely unfolded in ὙΠῈΡ Τῆς ὙΠΟΜΟΝῆς Κ.Τ.Λ.

ἘΝ ΤΑῖς ἘΚΚΛΗΣΊΑΙς ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ
] in Corinth and its filiated churches. The cause which gave occasion to Paul’s boasting of his readers is more specially expressed, being what was formerly represented as the motive of the apostolic thanksgiving; whilst formerly faith in Christ and brotherly love were mentioned (2 Thessalonians 1:4), the latter is here left entirely unmentioned, whilst the first is named in its special operation as Christian stedfastness under persecution.

ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπομονῆς ὑμῶν καὶ πίστεως] is not, with Grotius, Pelt, and others, to be understood as a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, in the sense of ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπομονῆς ὑμῶν ἐν πίστει, or ὑπὲρ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν ὑπομενούσης. Nor is stedfastness, as Calvin, Hemming, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bouman, Chartae theol. Lib. I. p. 83 ff.,[35] Alford, and others think, particularly brought forward by the ΠΊΣΤΙς mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 1:3; and then, in addition, ΠΊΣΤΙς is once more insisted on as the foundation on which ὙΠΟΜΟΝΉ rests, which would indeed be a strange proceeding, and would greatly interfere with the clearness of thought. But ΠΊΣΤΙς is here used in a different sense from that in 2 Thessalonians 1:3. Whilst πίστις in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 denoted faith in Christ, the expression here, as the article Τῆς only placed once proves, is of a similar nature with ὙΠΟΜΟΝΉ; whilst the reference to Christ as the object of faith steps into the background, and the idea of “faith” is transformed into the idea of “fidelity.” This rendering is the less objectionable as Paul elsewhere undoubtedly uses πίστις in the sense of fidelity (comp. Galatians 5:22; Romans 3:3; Titus 2:10; comp. also the adjective πιστός, 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:13); and, besides, the notion of fidelity in this passage implies the more general notion of faith in Christ; πίστις here denoting nothing else than faith in Christ standing in a special and concrete relation, i.e. proving itself under persecutions and trials.

πᾶσιν] belongs only to ΔΙΩΓΜΟῖς ὙΜῶΝ. This is shown by the article repeated before ΘΛΊΨΕΣΙΝ, and by the additional clause ΑἿς ἈΝΈΧΕΣΘΕ, which is parallel with ὙΜῶΝ.

Clearer distinctions between ΔΙΩΓΜΟΊ and ΘΛΊΨΕΙς (as “pericula, quae totum coetum concernunt” and “singulorum privata infortunia,” Aretius; or “open and hidden distress,” Baumgarten-Crusius) are precarious. Only so much is certain that ΔΙΩΓΜΟΊ is speciale nomen, θλίψεις generalius (Zanchius).

αἶς ἀνέχεσθε] an attraction for ὯΝ ἈΝΈΧΕΣΘΕ (so, correctly, also Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 140 [E. T. 161]),—not, as Schott, Olshausen, de Wette, and Hofmann maintain, instead of ἃς ἀνέχεσθαι; for ἈΝΈΧΟΜΑΙ always governs the genitive in the N. T., never the accusative; comp. Matthew 17:17; Mark 9:19; Luke 9:41; Acts 18:14; 2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:19; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Hebrews 13:22. Fritzsche’s opinion (on 2 Cor. diss. II. p. 53 ff.), that there is no attraction at all, and that ἀνέχεσθαι is here (as in Eurip. Androm. 981, συμφοραῖς ἠνειχόμην) construed with the dative, and denotes “sustinendo premi calamitatibus h. e. preferre mala,” is contradicted by the above N. T. usage.

The present ἈΝΈΧΕΣΘΕ represents the persecutions and the trials as belonging to the present. Accordingly a new outbreak of persecution must be meant, as the First Epistle describes the persecutions as past.[36]

[34] The latter, however, is actually found in B א and some min.

[35] But Bouman ultimately adds (p. 85): “Cujus (sc. dicti Paulini) intacta vulgari utriusque substantivi significatione, explicandi alia etiam in promptu est, ab illa, quam memoravimus, paullo diversa via ac ratio. Etenim optimis quibusque scriptoribus non raro placuisse novimus, ut a singularibus ad generaliora nuncupanda progrederentur. Quidni igitur primum singularem ὑπομονῆς constantiae, virtutem celebrare potuit apostolus, atque hinc ad universae vitae Christianae moderatricem fidem, Domino habitam, praedicandam gressum facere? But also against this the non-repetition of the article before πίστεως; decides.

[36] That a critic such as Baur knows how to convert this deviation from the First Epistle into a dependence upon it is not strange (see Apostel Paulus, p. 488). “This present tense evidently shows how the author transfers what had been said in 1 Thess. to his own time.” Also Schrader draws from ver. 4 an objection against the authenticity of the Epistle, but for this reason: “because later in the course of the Epistle the writer appears to have forgotten that at that instant the Thessalonians were in great tribulation.” But Paul dwells on this subject throughout the whole of the first chapter. Why should he tarry longer on it, or recur to it anew, since it referred to a virtue of the Thessalonians already proved, whereas the chief object of his Epistle consisted in supplying the actual and considerable wants of the church in knowledge and conduct?2 Thessalonians 1:4. The single article groups ὑπομονὴ and πίστις as a single conception = faith in its special aspect of patient endurance (cf. on Revelation 13:10), faithful tenacity of purpose. M. Gebhardt, in his L’Italie Mystique (pp. 318 f.), observes that “the final word of Dante’s belief, of that ‘religion of the heart’ which he mentions in the Convito, is given in the 24th canto of the Paradiso. He comes back to the very simple symbol of Paul, faith, hope and love; for him as for the apostle faith is at bottom simply hope.” Faith is more than that to Paul, but sometimes hardly more. The Thessalonians are not to fear that they are holding a forlorn outpost. Neither man nor God overlooks their courage (cf. Plato’s Theaet., xxv., ἀνδρικῶς ὑπομεῖναι καὶ μὴ ἀνάνδρως φεύγειν). Their founders and friends at a distance are watching with pride their resolute faith; while in God’s sure process of providence that faith has a destiny of its own, since it is bound up with His eternal designs. Hope is only mentioned once (2 Thessalonians 2:16, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:5) in this epistle, for all its preoccupation with the future. Faith covers almost all its contents here.—θλίψεσιν more general than διωγμοῖς.—ὑπὲρ, as in I., 1 Thessalonians 3:2, is equivalent to περί, with a touch of personal interest (Abbott’s Johannine Grammar, p. 559; Meisterhans, Gramm. d. attischen Inschriften, 182).4. so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God] The triumph of the Gospel at Thessalonica had given peculiar gratification of the Apostle (1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:7-9; 1 Thessalonians 2:20, “You are our glory and joy”). For the advantageous position of this Church and its great activity caused its testimony for Christ to spread throughout the neighbouring provinces. He is thinking now, however, of more distant Churches—those of Judæa, for example (which he calls “churches of God” in 1 Thessalonians 2:14), and of Syria, with whom Silas and himself would be in correspondence. To them he had sent this cheering news, expressing his joy over the faith and devotion of the new converts in language of exultation. Similarly in 2 Corinthians 9:2 he speaks of “boasting to the Macedonians” of the liberality of Corinth. He delighted to praise one Church before another.

But why does he write “we ourselves,” laying stress on the fact that he and his companions were thus boasting? Because, surely, they were slow to boast of anything that redounded to their own credit (see Galatians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 12:1-6, “It is not expedient for me, doubtless, to glory”), as the Thessalonians well knew (1 Thessalonians 2:6-7); and yet they could not refrain from “boasting” over them. This unwonted and irrepressible glorying before men shows how deep and fervent was St Paul’s thanksgiving to God.

for your patience and faith] On “patience” see note to 1 Thessalonians 1:3. There we find endurance of hope, here endurance and faith are linked together. For it was the persistence of the Thessalonians’ faith, the way in which it endured the severest strain, that was so wonderful and made the Apostle point them out with pride to the older Churches.

in all your persecutions and the afflictions which you are enduring: so the last clause of the verse literally reads. “Persecutions” formed the chief element in their sufferings (1 Thessalonians 2:14; Acts 17:5-9); but they had to endure afflictions of many kinds. Comp. Hebrews 10:32-33, “Ye endured a great conflict of sufferings,—being made a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions, … and partakers with those so used.”

Afflictions: same word as in 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 3:7 (see notes on the last two vv.).2 Thessalonians 1:4. Ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς, we ourselves) Paul himself, with Silvanus and Timothy, gloried, as being a witness; he not merely heard of the fact from witnesses.—ὑπὲρ, for) construed with εὐχαριστεῖν, to render thanks, 2 Thessalonians 1:3. Hence at the end of 2 Thessalonians 1:3 we must put a comma; comp. Colossians 1:5, note. The parallelism [the clauses and words in 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, standing parallel to one another] gives force.—καὶ πίστεως, and faith) Faith here denotes faithful constancy in confession of the truth.Verse 4. - So that we ourselves. "We" - Paul and Silas and Timothy, the founders of the Church of Thessalonica. "We ourselves," not merely we of our own accord (Hofmann), but we as well as our informants, who brought us this intelligence of the increase of your faith and love. Glory in you in the Churches of God; that is, in those Churches with which we come in contact; namely, the Church at Corinth and the Churches in Achaia. It would appear from this that several Churches had been founded in Achaia, as, for example, the Church of Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). For your patience and faith; not to be weakened as a Hebraism for "your patient faith," or "for the patience of your faith;" nor is faith to be taken in the sense of faithfulness or fidelity (Lunemann); but, as in the previous verse, it denotes "faith in Christ." Patience is steadfast endurance, which, in order to be of any value in the sight of God, must be combined with faith; stoical endurance is not here nor anywhere else inculcated in Scripture. In all your persecutions and tribulations - afflictions - that ye endure; or, are enduring; the persecution which arose when Paul was at Thessalonica being continued. The patience and faith of the Thessalonians shone the more brilliantly amid persecution and affliction, even as the stars shine brightest in the dark night. To be a true Christian in the time of peace is a great matter; but to be a true Christian in the season of persecution is a greater; faith is then tested in the furnace. Glory (ἐνκαυχᾶσθαι)

N.T.o. The simple verb καυχᾶσθαι to boast, and the kindred nouns καύχημα ground of boasting, and καύχησις act of boasting, are favorites with Paul.

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