1 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Defending righteous lifestyle when falsely accused can be necessary for relationships.
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Published June 27th, 2016
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Personal Meditation
Notable Features
English Translation (ESV with some modifications)
Personal Meditation
Defending yourself is often a tightrope to walk on. We can do it out of offense and pride very easily. But, here we see that Paul is defending himself against some forms of accusation. What struck me was the reasoning behind it. He wanted to keep a healthy and proper relationship with the Thessalonians. So, there is a right time to defend yourself. What really matters is the reason behind the defense. Is it your pride in wanting to be right or is it your wanting the truth to be told/remembered so that relationships stay healthy. If the latter, then we can know that it is being done properly.
Notable Features
Paul is constantly using what Runge calls "Counter-Point/Point" sets. They aren't all the same in how they are functioning. But, it is easy to see how he is defending himself through using these (Red is the Counter-Point and Blue is the Point). Numerous Parenthetical statements in this section also (Grey boxes). He is either speaking to the Thessalonian's firsthand knowledge or God being a witness. This serves to slow down the discourse and cause the recipients to think or closely on what is being stated by Paul. I've highlighted yellow where he talks about the gospel, speaking, or appealing to them (under the domain of speaking a message). This repetition throughout the passage shows to be an important topic and brings coherence to the passage. I've highlighted orange where he talks about knowing or remembering (the idea of possessing information). This is consistently scattered throughout the passage. This also shows an important feature and idea he is hitting on along with bringing coherence to the passage as a whole. Metaphors come up three times in this section. First, they were like infants (that is, they were innocent). Second, they were like a nursing mother (that is, they were affectionately loving them). Third, they were like a father (this is, they trained them). These metaphors are important features in that they help to understand Paul's heart and apostolic ministry. I changed up some of the ESV's translation to be more in line with the NET (see the note below). Especially over the textual issue in v.7. Green boxes are supportive. γὰρ "for" starts almost every section (including 2:1 which is significant when one looks at the higher level discourse of 1 Thessalonians). 2:7c-8 and 2:10 are the only exceptions to this. This is important to notice if one wants to understand the larger discourse (as a side note, this larger section would be fun to arc).
English Translation (ESV with some modifications)
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
For you yourselves know, brothers,
that our coming to you was not in vain.
But though we had already suffered
and been shamefully treated
at Philippi,
as you know,
we had boldness
Content/Main Point
in our God
to declare to you the gospel of God
in the midst of much conflict.
For our appeal does not spring from error
any attempt to deceive,
but just as we have been approved
by God
to be entrusted
with the gospel,
so we speak,
Main Point
not to please man,
but to please God
who tests our hearts.
For we never came with words of flattery,
as you know,
nor with a pretext for greed—
God is witness.
Nor did we seek glory from people,
whether from you
from others,
though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.
instead we became little children
Main Point
among you.
As a nursing mother taking care of her own children.
So, being affectionately desirous of you,
we were ready
to share with you not only the gospel of God
but also our own selves,
Thematic Addition
because you had become very dear to us.
For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil:
we worked night and day,
that we might not be a burden to any of you,
while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.
You are witnesses, and God also,
how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you
For you know
how, ... we exhorted each one of you
encouraged you
charged you
to walk in a manner worthy of God,
who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
like a father with his children,
The reason I didn't put this as negative is because he isn't denying the first point. It's "not only" the gospel (Which is a good thing) he is adding on more which is really his point point in the pair.
Note the notes from NET: The variant ἤπιοι (hpioi, “gentle”) has fair support (ℵ 2 A C 2 D 2 Ψ c 0278 33 1739 1881
Liz Cleary
Ryan - Your personal meditations and notable features are REALLY helping me with the 5th pass, connecting it and putting it all together. Thank you for going above and beyond just the mechanics of phrasing and sharing your gifts with us!
Ryan Robinson
Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad they are able to encourage and help! :)
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.