1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us…
I. ST. PAUL CLAIMED TO BE A TEACHER OF THE WORD OF GOD.
1. He did not admit that his teachings were merely human speculations on religious subjects. His position was entirely different from that of the most gifted philosopher, more exalted since he stood forth as the apostle of superhuman truth, and also more humble since he subordinated his own private ideas to the message of which he was but the bearer.
2. St. Paul did not profess to be simply a witness of the facts of the gospel. That was the position of the first Christian teachers. St. Peter and his companions of the day of Pentecost presented themselves as witnesses of the great transactions of the life of Christ, and chiefly of his resurrection. They narrated what they had seen and heard (Acts 2:32; 1 John 1:1). St. Paul had not been a companion of our Lord. But he had something higher than the knowledge of experience and observation. He did not learn his gospel of men; it was revealed to him in the solitudes of Arabia.
3. St. Paul claimed to be inspired with a Divine revelation. It was not his thought, nor even his testimony of Divine facts, but the Word of God that he proclaimed. It is plain that the apostle used his own language, and spoke in a characteristic and individual style. He also reasoned with his own intellect; for inspiration does not simply breathe through a man as through a mechanical instrument. But his language and thought and whole being were illumined and elevated by the Spirit of God, so that he saw the truth of God and was able to speak the Word of God.
II. THE THESSALONIANS ACCEPTED ST. PAUL'S MESSAGE AS THE WORD OF GOD.
1. They admitted the fact. They did so, no doubt, first because the power and personal influence of the apostle impressed them; then because they were convinced by his arguments; then because they must have felt the inherent beauty and greatness of what he taught; and lastly because they saw the good effects of his gospel. By these four gradations we are led on to a more and more consistent belief in the Divine authority of the gospel; viz. by authority, by argument, by the excellency of the gospel itself, and by its fruits.
2. The Thessalonians received the message as befitted its Divine origin.
(1) They believed in its truth. God only speaks what is true. To establish a message as the Word of God is to prove its truth.
(2) They submitted to its authority. There may be many things in the gospel which we cannot account for. Our faith in God should be implicit.
(3) They yielded to its influence. Thus they let it work in them. The Word of God is a word of grace and a word of command. To accept it aright we must avail ourselves of the grace and obey the command. To receive a word of pardon as from a king is to leave the prison when the door is open. To receive a message as from a master is to carry out the order.
III. ST. PAUL'S TEACHING PROVED ITSELF TO BE THE WORD OF GOD BY ITS EFFECTS. It was found to be working in the Church at Thessalonica. The Word of God is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). Christ's words were spirit and life (John 6:63). This Divine Word is no barren revelation of far-off celestial curiosities. It is a message concerning human and earthly as well as heavenly affairs. Like the first creative word, when God spake and it was done, the message of the new creation is a word that effects. God's words are deeds. But that they may be deeds in us it is necessary for us to receive them in faith. And in proportion to our faith will the energy of God's Word work in us. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
WEB: For this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when you received from us the word of the message of God, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also works in you who believe.