1 Thessalonians 2:1-20 open_in_new
The Nature of St. Paul's Life and Work at Thessalonica
2. The persecution at the Roman garrison-town of Philippi made a deep impression on St. Paul the Roman citizen (Acts 16:19-40; Philippians 1:30). It was the indignity that hurt him.
Contention] better, 'conflict.'
1 Thessalonians 2:3 open_in_new
It would seem that St. Paul was at first looked upon by some as an impostor, seeking his own ends. He declares that he came with a sincere desire for their salvation only. Deceit] better, 'error.' Uncleanness] Impurity was often associated with heathen worship, and this was especially the case at Thessalonica and Corinth.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 open_in_new
Allowed] better, 'approved.'
1 Thessalonians 2:5 open_in_new
Cloke of covetousness] i.e. covering to conceal avarice.
6-11. St. Paul says that he might have made a display of apostolic authority and have demanded pecuniary support: see 1 Corinthians 9. But he was like a babe (better than 'gentle'), or like a mother who nurses her own children, or a father who guides and directs his son. At the same time he supported himself by tentmaking (Acts 18:3; Acts 20:34).
13-16. A second thanksgiving for their faith and patience under persecution.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 open_in_new
The (Gentile) Thessalonian Church had suffered much at the hands of their fellow-countrymen, just as the Jewish Church had suffered from the unbelieving Jews. Here was a bond of union and sympathy between the two.
15, 16. A characteristic outburst. The Jews had followed St. Paul with unceasing hostility in Europe as well as in Asia. They have driven him from Thessalonica and Berœa, and were doing their utmost against him at Corinth. Theirnarrow exclusiveness (forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles) and hatred of other nations (contrary to all men) were a bitter trial to a patriot like St. Paul. To the uttermost] i.e. there was no longer any hope of their repentance or escape from their doom (Matthew 23:32). The end was close at hand.
17. 'Till Timothy's good report of you reached us, we were anxious about you, but now we rejoice and bless God for the news he brings, that you have stood firm under persecution.'
18. St. Paul generally uses the 1st person plural in these Epistles, including Silvanus and Timothy with himself. Here, however, he speaks for himself. The hindrance may have been an illness—probably malarial fever (2 Corinthians 12:7), or Jewish hostility. To St. Paul Satan is a real person (Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Timothy 1:20).
1 Thessalonians 2:19 open_in_new
The prospect of presenting his converts to Christ fills the Apostle with joy.