2 Thessalonians 1:1-3
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other.
Silvanus (v.1) = The full name of Silas, the man beaten and jailed with Paul in Philippi (Acts 16:19-24) who then helped Paul found the Thessalonian church. As co-writer of the first epistle (1 Thessalonians 1:1), Silvanus is part of the “we” (2:2), and there was no Silvanus in Philippi, only a Silas. So Paul mentions Silas in the opening salutation since the Thessalonians knew and loved the man who suffered with Paul and then helped found their church along with Timothy. — Kurth
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (v.1) = the believer’s position in Christ. All men are born into Adam but are baptized into Christ when they are saved (1 Corinthians 12:13).
grace (v.2) = gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Believers are saved by grace, but also need grace to deal with the problems of life.
peace (v.2) — Believers have peace with God when they are saved (Romans 5:1), but Paul was reminding them that they couldn’t lose this peace when they sinned because they had it “in Christ,” not because of their own works.
[Paul] pens this blessed benediction without any word of warning, comfort, or encouragement concerning “the day of [God’s] wrath,” evidently because [the Thessalonians] have no connection with this. Certainly, if they were to be called upon to go through the prophesied Tribulation, the omission of such comfort and encouragement would be unforgivable.
For another thing, these versed speak of a growing ministry of grace, not a last stand against the forces of evil such as well be taken by the remnant in the Tribulation. — Stam, page 111.
we are bound (v.3) = under legal or moral obligation, in debt, owing. Paul felt he owed a moral debt to God to think Him that the faith and love of the Thessalonians had grown because He had prayed that their faith and love would grow (1 Thessalonians 3:10-12). No wonder he said he was bound to think God for them “as it is fitting,” for it is not fitting to not thank God when He answers prayer. — Kurth
give thanks to God always for you (v.3) — The apostle had been so tried at Corinth and on the way thither, and at the same time so filled with apprehension for the converts at Thessalonica, that it seemed to him as though his very life depended on their steadfastness (1 Thessalonians 3:1-8). Receiving confirmation of the former favorable report of their welfare, he acknowledges his own sense of indebtedness to God for what he looked upon as a mercy to himself. — Vine, page 103.
grows (v.3) = the growth of living things, as seeds
faith (v.3) — faith is the noun, believe is the verb — Kurth
In his first letter, Paul expressed concern about the Thessalonians’ faith (1 Thessalonians 3:5, 10). In his second letter, he thanks God that their faith has grown. The growth is given by God (1 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 9:10).
Faith grows by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
love (v.3) = agape
every one of you (v.3) — not just the church was growing, but the individual members were growing
abounds (v.3) = more than enough, increasing
In Paul’s first epistle he thanked God for the Thessalonians faith and love and hope (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3), but doesn’t mention their hope here. Their hope was not just the Rapture (Titus 2:13), it was the pre-Tribulation Rapture—that God will call us home before the Tribulation. Because of the tribulations the Thessalonians were enduring (1:4), they had begun to believe that they were in the Great Tribulation. But Paul had said “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), and had told these very Thessalonians the same when he was with them (1 Thessalonians 3:3-4).
The troubles of the [Great] Tribulation are all sent from God. Even those that come from Satan are just God using him as a chastening tool. Your troubles do not come from God—they are not “acts of God” as the insurance companies claim. But you serve a God that can bring good things out of your troubles (Romans 8:28), good things like patience, experience, and hope (Romans 5:3-4). — Kurth
The Thessalonians faith and love were growing, but their hope wasn’t. That’s why Paul wrote this letter.
Verse 6 sounds a lot like Isaiah 49:25, which is spoken to the Jews, the seed of Abraham, fulfilling Genesis 12:3. So why is Paul saying things like that to us, i.e., that God will recompense tribulation to those that trouble the Body of Christ? Paul says a lot of things like that. [For example] he applies Hosea 13:14, which is about Israel’s resurrection (Hosea 13:9-14) to us (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). That’s one of the ways he uses the Old Testament—he applies the principles. There is no sting in death for the believer no matter what dispensation you are in, and if you mess with God’s people you mess with Him, no matter what dispensation you are in. Although now that the dispensation of grace has fully set in, He will delay recompensing tribulation to persecutors until after the Rapture. — Kurth.
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