SUMMARY.--Salutation. Thanksgiving for the Faith of the Thessalonians. Commendation for Spreading the Gospel. The Great Change in Their Lives.
1. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. Silvanus is the same as the Silas of Acts. We learn from Acts (chapters 15 to 18) that both Silas and Timothy attended Paul on the second missionary journey during which the Epistle was written. Paul does not speak of his apostleship in this salutation, as in later epistles, because at this early period the Judaizing Christians had not begun to spread doubts whether he was an apostle. In God the Father. Hence, separated from the Gentiles. The Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, separated from the Jews.
2-5. We. The plural, perhaps, is used because Silas and Timothy were joined in the greeting, but the Epistle is Paul's, not the joint work of three persons. Give thanks. Almost all Paul's letters begin with thanksgiving. 3. Remembering . . . your work of faith. He states reasons for thankfulness. Work of faith. Works which result from faith. Labor of love. Toil for others caused by love for them and for Christ. Patience of hope. Patient endurance of toil, hardship and persecution through a hope in Christ. Probably a hope that soon these would cease with the coming of Christ. The Thessalonians, as we learn, expected his speedy coming. 4. Knowing . . . your election of God. That you are of the elect, the "chosen nation." All Christians were the elect, and the expression is another way of saying, "Knowing that you have become Christians." 5. For our gospel came not unto you in word only. God gave the spoken word power, the power of the Holy Spirit which dictated it. Observe that the "power" is referred to the preachers. Ye know. Ye know what was the life, the earnestness and the power in the Holy Spirit of us while we were preaching among you.
6, 7. Ye became followers of us. Followed them as they followed the Lord. Having received the word in much affliction. In the midst of opposition and persecution. See Acts, chapter 17. With joy of the Holy Ghost. With rejoicing as soon as they accepted the gospel. 7. So that ye were ensamples. Their earnestness was such that they were worthy of imitation by all who had become Christian. Macedonia. The great Roman province, of which Thessalonica was the capital, lying north of the Ægean Sea. Achaia. The Roman province of which Corinth was the capital. It embraced most of Greece.
8-10. For from you sounded out. The effect of the gospel in Thessalonica was so striking that the report of it went through all Macedonia and Greece, and awakened inquiry, so that a knowledge of the gospel was thus spread abroad. So that we need not to speak anything. Wherever he went he found that the news of the church in the great city of Thessalonica had preceded him, so that he did not need to tell it. 9. For they themselves. The people "every place" (verse 8). How ye turned to God from idols. Most of them had been heathen. See the accounts in Acts 17:4. 10. And to wait for his Son from heaven. The apostles saw the Lord ascend, but he left a promise that he would return, with the time wholly unrevealed. Hence, in preaching the gospel, they made his return to the world very prominent, and perhaps believed themselves in his speedy coming. Until after Jerusalem was destroyed the churches waited, as though the Lord would soon be revealed. We should still wait, "watch and pray." We know not the hour when he may either come, or we be called to him.