1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 ESV
1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
13 And j we also thank God constantly 1 for this, that when you received k the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it l not as the word of men 2 but as what it really is, the word of God, m which is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, n became imitators of o the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For p you suffered the same things from your own countrymen q as they did from the Jews, 1 15 r who killed both the Lord Jesus and s the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and t oppose all mankind 16 u by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always v to fill up the measure of their sins. But w wrath has come upon them at last! 1
Main point summary
We thank God that you honoured God by recognising our words as his Word even when doing so brings opposition. (You copied this from others and others still have copied you in this matter.)
1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
And j we also thank God constantly 1 for this,
Not only is all that true (referring to 1:2-2:12) we have even more cause for giving thanks to God:
that when you received k the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it l not as the word of men 2 but as what it really is, the word of God, m which is at work in you believers.
we give thanks because , when we came to you, you recognised that what we were preaching was not just our own words or idea, but the actual words of God himself, straight out of his own mouth! And this Word of God is powerfully active in Christians like you.
For you, brothers, n became imitators of o the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea.
We know that because you did had exactly the same response as the Chrsitians in Judea when we preaching the word of God to them:
For p you suffered the same things from your own countrymen q as they did from the Jews, 1
That is , they suffered opposition from their own people just like you did.
r who killed both the Lord Jesus and s the prophets,
When we were in Judea preaching, the local Jews (the same ones who had rejected John the Baptist and other prophets and had also had Jesus himself crucified)
and drove us out,
they ejected us from their city
and displease God
and in doing so, showed that they had not intention of honouring God - rather they enrage him
and t oppose all mankind u by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—
because they stop people (Jews and Gentiles alike) from hearing the Word of God by stopping preachers like us proclaiming the gospel.
so as always v to fill up the measure of their sins. But w wrath has come upon them at last! 1
By doing this , all they do is increase their guilt - more and more rejection of God which will only ever lead to wrath. More and more wrath!
I. INTRODUCTION 1:1 A. Authors 1:1a B. Recipients 1:1b C. Greetings 1:1c II. HISTORICAL RECOLLECTIONS 1:2-3:13 A. Introductory Prayer 1:2-5a B. Faith Sounding Forth 1:5b-10 C. Bold But Pure Proclamation 2:1-6 D. Gentle Fathers 2:7-12 E. Reception of the Word 2:13-16 F. Torn Away 2:17-20 G. News Received 3:1-10 H. Closing Prayer 3:11-13 III. HOLINESS 4:1-5:22 A. Walk and Please God 4:1-2 B. Sancification 4:3-8 C. Brotherly Love 4:9-12 D. Brothers Fallen Asleep 4:13-18 E. Times & Seasons 5:1-11 F. Work & Pray 5:12-22 IV. CLOSE 5:23-28 A. Benediction 5:23-24 B. Request for Prayer 5:25 C. Greeting 5:26-28
Paul is thanking God (cf. 1:2; 3:9 and 5:18). The tone of the letter is very positive towards Thessalonians, and God's work amongst them. Linked with this, Paul makes repeated references to the ongoing nature of this thanks (1:2-3). It seems that 2:13 is a direct continuation/progression from Paul's first 'section' of thanks in 1:2-2:12. The second section of thanks (2:13-10) concludes with a further prayer (3:12-13). In 2:14 the Thessalonians become imitators of the churches in Judea; whereas in 1:7 it was the Thesslonians who were being imitated. The nature of this imitation is that the Thessalonians accepted the Word of God despite the suffering that it brought (cf. 1:6). vv15-16 is a description of the nature of the suffering that the Judean Christians experienced (not the Thessalonians). The suffering was from the Jews (i.e those charactierically inclined to opposed God's messengers, i.e. the OT prophets as well as Jesus himself). The Jews drove the apostles out of their cities By doing so they dishonour and work against God There is a contrast between the "all mankind" in v16b and the Jews/countrymen of v14b. God's word is for all, not just the Jews. In fact, it is the Jews who have a historical habit of rejecting God's word.
There aren't any explicit commands in this passage. The embedded exhortation , however, is an encouragement to keep seeing the words of the apostles as the word of God - despite any opposition. This is seen in the main point in v13b as well as in the negative picture of the Judean Jews who oppose and displease God by not accepting the apostles words as the Word of God. The theme of displeasing God is also a motivation: the end result awaiting the Judean Jews who reject God's word is his wrath. There is no way to reject God's word, dishonour and displease him and still expect to enjoy his blessing. Rejecting God's word is equivalent to rejecting God himself. Furthermore, as a motivation , the contrast is drawn between the Judean Jews who oppose mankind and both the Judean and Thessalonian Christians who have been model examples to the rest of humanity. This truth is probably also a means of obeying this passage: we honour God's word by helping others to honour God's word.
I'm planning on continuing working in depth through the rest of 1 Thessalonians using the skills I've learnt/revised during this course. I am a church pastor and so my goal in this course was to revise/refresh my careful reading - and that's been successfully achieved. In my own private readings (i.e. not sermon preparation) I'll be reading and re-reading big chunks of 1 Thess, as well as carefully observing smaller sections. In terms of sharing with others, the encouragement (and challenges) of this course, have already started coming out and shaping the bible study that I lead each week. I'm encouraging others to read more carefully, not making too many assumptions and looking especially closely at connecting words.