4 So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,
5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;
6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you.
for (v.4) = on account of
patience (v.4) = abiding under
“Persecutions” describes the hostile actions of others; “afflictions” are the various forms of injury to body and mind suffered by those who are persecuted.
that you endure (v.4) = to bear up. The present continuous tense indicates that the afflictions which beset them at the beginning (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14) had been continued or renewed. — Vine, page 105.
The Thessalonians were enduring persecution so patiently that Paul boasted of them to others. [It isn’t OK] to boast about yourself though (Proverbs 27:2). … When David boasted (Isaiah 17:34), he was boasting about what the Lord could do through him (vs. 45-46). And when Paul boasted (2 Corinthians 11:5) he too was boasting about the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:8).
It must be OK to brag about others, though, since Paul did it. If it wasn’t, Solomon would have said “don’t let another man praise thee.” Of course, when we praise men in spiritual areas, we are praising the Lord for what He is doing through them. That’s why Paul praised the Thessalonians. … It’s not a natural thing for faith to grow amidst tribulations. It’s natural for faith to be shaken instead of growing, or Paul wouldn’t have warned us not to let it happen (1 Thessalonians 3:3). — Kurth
which is (v.5) — not in the Greek, but necessary in English to complete the thought. They refer to the Thessalonians patience and faith, not to the persecutions.
manifest (v.5) = not secret. The persecutions the Thessalonians were enduring were evidence of the righteous judgment of God, a sign that God will someday judge the persecutors in righteousness.
manifest evidence (v.5) = proof. … That they had endured patiently and that faith had not failed, was proof of the new life, and a guarantee that, in the end, God would vindicate Himself and them. — Vine, page 105.
The aggravation and hatred of the persecutors [while they were at the same time] beholding the peace and joy of those they persecuted was “a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God,” for already the persecuted believers were better off than their persecutors! Note: this was but a “token,” though a “manifest” one, of the actual judgment to come, when verses 6-10 will be fulfilled.
A comparison with Philippians 1:28 makes it appear further that this situation was a “manifest token” to them, the persecutors, of judgment to come. Mark well: “… in nothing terrified by your adversaries; which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”
“Their hearts and consciences are troubled with foreboding thoughts as they see your constancy,” says the Apostle, “while you are encouraged with the assurance that He who sustains you now will bring you through victorious.”
Their present situation was but “a … token of the righteous judgment of God, for the judgment itself was still to come. — Stam, pages 112-113.
righteous (v.5) = just, without prejudice or partiality.
judgment (v.5) = the act of distinguishing and separating.
counted worthy (v.5) — Fitness, not merit. There was no intrinsic merit in the exercise of faith and patience such as would establish a claim to the kingdom of God; their faith and patience testified … to the working in them of the powers of that kingdom. It was fitting and right, then, that persons in whom those powers were operating, and in whom consequently a character in harmony with that kingdom was being produced, should be given a place in it at its manifestation. — Vine, page 106.