Serving as a third career project manager in missions with Wycliffe Associates, Inc.
User since 2019
Rodney's proficiency badges
Rodney's published pages
view all (1 total)
Apostles Apologetic:  God's Pleasure and a Nursing Mother
1 Thessalonians 2:1-7
The motivations for ministry come from the desire to please God by speaking gospel truth as a mother caring for her young.
Published November 13th, 2019; Updated November 13th, 2019
Share / Groups / About Author
Main point summary
Key Words - some cross referenced texts**
Acts Background**
Main point summary
The apostles are entrusted with gospel truth and speak it from pure hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:3-7
For l our appeal does not spring from m error
For our calling of you to the gospel does not have at its source any delusion
or n impurity
or anything unholy
or o any attempt to deceive ,
or any slight of hand to trick you
but just
but just
as we have been approved by God
as God first tested and commissioned us, he has
p to be
( we have been ) entrusted with the gospel ,
entrusted to us the gospel, which is the good news of our Savior and Lord Jesus.
so we speak ,
Therefore we speak this truth
not q to please man ,
not trying to please men,
but to please God r who tests our hearts.
but to please God, because it is he who examines our hearts.
s For we never came with words of flattery , 1 as you know,
We didn't come flattering you to boost your ego or make you feel good in the moment, as you know,
nor (did we come ) with a pretext for greed — t God is witness .
nor did we come under the guise of altruism while hiding greediness--God is our witness!
u Nor did we seek glory from people, whether (seeking glory) from you or (seeking glory) from others,
nor did we seek to be lifted up among the people, either among you or any glory-seeking among others,
v though we could have made w demands as x apostles of Christ .
even as we could have required things of you as apostles of Christ.
But we were y gentle 1 among you,
None of these things, but instead we were gentle among you,
z like a nursing mother taking care of her own children .
like a new mother, baby in arms, taking care of all of her children.
Main Point, paraphrased: We speak to please God, not men.
Primary Support paraphrased: God tests our hearts and we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so.. .
Secondary Support: 3a-c and 5a through 6b.
Secondary support, 5a-6b, along with 3a through 3c.
This seems a summative connector here, also in opposition of the above carnal reasons. Dramatic opposite in this figure of speech, as there isn't an image more tender or kind, or patient then a mother--a nursing mother. I'd assert the summative because of placement at the end of this passage. This is the feeling that Paul wanted them to take away--their love for them. The gospel in its purity is the greatest gift of love. So it ties back to the main point that way.
Though, meaning "we had every right"
Self evident to the Thessalonians.
Only God can know the heart, but this is the highest standard that the Apostles could have called upon.
Key Words - some cross referenced texts**
KEY WORDS: 1 Thessalonians 2:3-7 Note: First listing under each are cross references in the text if there is one. Appeal - G3874 paraklesis - Outline of Biblical Usage: 1. a calling near, summons, (esp. for help); 2. importation, supplication, entreaty...5. universally, "persuasive discourse, stirring addressed -- instructive; admonitory, consolatory; powerful ...discourse" Used of the apostles' instruction or preaching, 1 Thess. 2:3. - similar theme passage 2 Cor. 2:17. 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ . (2 Corinthians 2:17 ESV ) Error - 11 Therefore t God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe u what is false, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 ESV _______________ 2:11 [1 Kgs. 22:22; Ezek. 14:9; Rev. 17:17] 2:11 [1 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:2]; See Rom. 1:25 Impurity 7 For r God has not called us for s impurity, but in holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 ESV _______________ 4:7 ver. 3; See 1 Pet. 1:15 4:7 ch. 2:3 Deceive 2 But we have renounced z disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice 1 cunning or a to tamper with God’s word, but b by the open statement of the truth c we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 ESV _______________ 4:2 See Rom. 6:21 4:2 Greek to walk in 4:2 ch. 2:17 4:2 ch. 6:7; 7:14 4:2 ch. 5:11, 12 Approved by God 17 For we are not like many, 1 a peddling the word of God, but b as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ c in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 2:17 NASB _______________ 2:17 Or corrupting 2:17 2 Cor 4:2; Gal 1:6-9 2:17 1 Cor 5:8; 2 Cor 1:12; 1 Thess 2:4; 1 Pet 4:11 2:17 2 Cor 12:19 Entrusted with the Gospel Flattery Pretext for greed glory seeking Potential for "demands as apostles of Christ," v.6 9 For you remember, brothers, b our labor and toil: we c worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 ESV _______________ 2:9 2 Thess. 3:8; [Phil. 4:16] 2:9 See Acts 18:3 9 And when I was with you and was c in need, d I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia e supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain f from burdening you in any way. 2 Corinthians 11:9 ESV _______________ 11:9 Phil. 4:12 11:9 ch. 12:13, 14 11:9 [1 Cor. 16:17; Phil. 4:15, 16] 11:9 ch. 12:16; 1 Thess. 2:6 j Am I not free? k Am I not an apostle? l Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? m Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 1 Corinthians 9:1 ESV _______________ 9:1 ver. 19 9:1 Acts 14:14; 2 Cor. 12:12; 1 Thess. 2:6; [2 Cor. 10:7; Rev. 2:2] 9:1 ch. 15:8; Acts 9:3, 17; 18:9; 22:14, 18; 23:11 9:1 See ch. 3:6
Acts Background**
Acts 16:11-40
The Conversion of Lydia 11 So, setting sail from Troas, we n made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to o Philippi, which is a leading city of the 1 district of Macedonia and p a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And q on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate r to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we s sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, t who was a worshiper of God. The Lord u opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, v and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she w prevailed upon us. Paul and Silas in Prison 16 As we were going to x the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had y a spirit of z divination and a brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, b crying out, “These men are c servants 1 of d the Most High God, who proclaim to you e the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, f “I command you g in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And h it came out that very hour. 19 But i when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and j dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They k advocate customs that are not lawful for us l as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders m to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner n prison and fastened their feet in o the stocks. The Philippian Jailer Converted 25 p About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly q there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately r all the doors were opened, and s everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and t was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer 1 called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he u fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, v what must I do to be w saved?” 31 And they said, x “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you y and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them z the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he a was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he b rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. 35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, c uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and c they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and d asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited e Lydia. And when they had seen f the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
Acts 17:1-15
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica 17 1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to g Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul went in, h as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them i from the Scriptures, 3 j explaining and proving that it was necessary for k the Christ to suffer and l to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And m some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did n a great many of the devout o Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 p But the Jews 1 q were jealous, and taking r some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, s they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against t the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is u another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. Paul and Silas in Berea 10 v The brothers 1 immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they w went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, x examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 y Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek z women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, a agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then the brothers b immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and c Timothy remained there. 15 d Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as e Athens, and after receiving a command f for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.
Who: The apostles addressing those in the circle of the Thessalonian church. Although addressed to believers, and the assumption that all receiving this letter are in the faith, there is enough warning here to brace those who say that they are in the faith, but may not actually be saved. Perhaps like in Jesus' parable of the sower, it would be likened to the seed sown on rocky ground. It cannot stand. I would call this that justification hadn't actually taken place through faith. What: Defense of the apostles approach and manner. When and Where: This text of 1 Thessalonians was written on Paul's second missionary journey which was ~April 50 AD to September of 52 AD. 1 Thessalonians was written from Corinth in early summer of 51. Paul's visit to Thessalonica was around three months (but the text says he preached three sabbaths in synagogue). He was forced to leave after the persecutors from up north in Philippi trailed him down the Greek peninsula to Thessalonica. Why: Young church, struggling, Paul concerned and wanted to affirm his love, his (their/the apostles') purity of motives, and to instruct them for further fruit as they grow into the faith. He was concerned that they collectively had withered under persecution. How: Very explicitly Paul tells them of his love and concern for them. He uses the figure of speech --a mother nursing her children. Protecting, watching, guarding, and nourishing. Even though Paul used these word pictures, he was not hesitant to say that he didn't come trying to please them--used the word "flattery", but God. His call is much higher than pleasing men, and he/they came preaching the gospel in the sight of God. ______________________________________ Figures of Speech "nursing mother taking care of her own children" v.7 Genre - informal apostolic letter to the Thessalonian church as a whole; one of nine. Not specifically addressed to pastors. No use of OT in this passage. _____________________________________ Words of witness or testimony, one from human observation and two claiming that God is witness: v.4g "...God who tests our hearts " This is bearing the ultimate standard for the apostles behavior. v.5a For we never came with words of flattery, as you know. Paul was referring to something seemingly obvious to the Thessalonians, that the apostles didn't employ flattery to win their favor. v.5b "pretext for greed--". Only God can see the hearts of men and so Paul says, "God is witness."
Paraphrasing to unpack the author’s... Assertions - Paul (the writer for the apostles) asserts that although they have authority from God to be directive and give commands, they are actually very gentle, seeking to be winsome. Yet in all of their gentleness, they spoke truth--the truth of the gospel which doesn't flatter (but crucifies pride) and requires humility to accept. Connections - the connectors in this paragraph are exclusively in the negative except for the positive of their intent to please God and the figure of speech in 7b. Under examination this first one points to the Main Point. This use of negatives is interesting. I know that this is only one paragraph out of the whole, but when this is studied by itself there is something powerful about Paul's choice of words. I'm not sure what to call this. It seems like there may be a literary term for it. Figures of speech - Only one that is obvious is v.7 OT quotations and allusions - none observed. 2. Finding takeaways: Commands - There are no explicit commands to the reader either then or today. There are a lot of inferred injunctions, such as purity of heart in all of our dealings, including the highest call of being entrusted with the gospel of Christ. In my study of this passage I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 which has parallels to this purity of heart when presenting the gospel, which is called the glory of Christ. Then in v. 6 it says, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." So the implied command "takeaway" is for believers to realize that it is the highest calling to share the gospel with those in the darkness, and it must be done with a pure heart. Means - I think that the above emphasis on God's glory and Christ's image of that glory (his face) is also a means. Testing by God of our hearts is the primary means on the negative side, and is in the primary support as such. Motivations - The negatives are effective for specifying what we should not do. The glory of Christ (the gospel) is the prime motivator on the positive side. Anchors - This state of being entrusted or commissioned with the gospel seems an anchor to the presentation/appeal from humility and purity. 3. My next step in implementing the tools I've gained in this course is to do an end to end study of 1 Thessalonians. Mainly, I figure it fits the criteria of a short book, plus it is one that I've studied and received feedback on in parts through this course since I paid the extra for feedback. Studying the whole book through will then also enable me to review pertinent lesson feedback in context with the whole. It has been helpful to copy certain lesson material to my Apple Notes application so I can review it, and even copy and paste it in as I have done above. Most of my actual composition I do on my laptop, but I love the way I can use my tablet in the gym (on appropriate machine) to read, watch, listen, and otherwise review and meditate on what I'm studying. I plan to take the Phrasing course next, but am going to give it some time--several weeks or a month or two, so that I can do the above plus some reading elsewhere. I plan to share this completed course (and my badge?) with our pastor and perhaps intro it to our training class for younger men.
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.