1 Thessalonians Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. From: Sha’ul, Sila and Timothy
To: The Messianic Community of the Thessalonians, united with God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah:
Grace to you and shalom.
Sha'ul is Paul (Ac 13:9&N). Sila (Silas, Silvanus; see Ac 15:22N) and Timothy (Ac 16:1-3&NN) accompanied Sha'ul on his second journey (Ac 15:40-18:22).
The Thessalonians. Ancient Thessalonica is modern Salonika, in Macedonia, northern Greece. »
2. We always thank God for all of you, regularly mentioning you in our prayers,
3. calling to mind before God our Father what our Lord Yeshua the Messiah has brought about in you — how your trust produces action, your love hard work, and your hope perseverance.
Sha'ul has a very Jewish view of trust (or "faith") as being not merely a mental attitude or belief in a creed, but a firm reliance which produces action; compare Ac 3:16&N. Likewise love is not only a feeling; it results in hard work. And hope is not a vapid wish but the expectation, grounded in God's Word, that he will fulfill his promises to his people (see Ro 9:1-11:36N); as such, it produces perseverance, patience, endurance (compare Ro 5:2-5,8:20-25; MJ 6:11).
"But for now, three things last — trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love" (1С 13:13). Here, however, Sha'ul mentions hope at the end of the list in order to emphasize it, because a major problem in the Thessalonian Messianic community was misunderstanding the nature of our hope in the Messiah's Second Coming, with impatience and laziness among the consequences (v. 10,2:19,3:13,4:13-5:6; 2Th 1:7-10, 2:1-12,3:6-15).
4. We know, brothers, that God has loved and chosen you;
5. that the Good News we brought did not become for you a matter only of words, but also one of power, the Ruach HaKodesh and total conviction — just as you know how we lived for your sakes when we were with you.
The Good News is often communicated in a unbalanced way. We get dry words gospels, mushy Ruach (Spirit) gospels, fanatical and exhausting total-conviction gospels and hard-driving power gospels; none of them is complete. But the Good News is a balanced mix of all four, expressing itself practically in the quality of a believer's life (how we lived for your sakes when we were with you); and it results in imitation (v. 6; 1С 11:1), itself capable of becoming a pattern to be imitated and reproduced (w. 7-9, 2 Ti 2:2).
6. You, indeed, became imitators of us and of the Lord; so that even though you were going through severe troubles, you received the Word with joy from the Ruach HaKodesh.
7. Thus you became a pattern for all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia;
8. for the Lord’s message sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but everywhere your trust toward God became known. The result is that we don’t need to say anything;
9. since they themselves keep telling us about the welcome we received from you and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the true God, the one who is alive,
10. and to wait for his Son Yeshua, whom he raised from the dead, to appear from heaven and rescue us from the impending fury of God’s judgment.
Christianity is sometimes seen by non-Christians as idolatry, making something less than God (Yeshua, a man) into God. Shu'ul knew what idols were and how idolaters behaved, so it is no empty compliment when he writes that you turned to God from idols to serve the true God, the one who is alive, not a lifeless block of wood or stone. He then gives the proper perspective on Yeshua; he is God's Son, as the Tanakh indicates (at Isaiah 9:5(6), Psalm 2:7, Proverbs 30:4, Daniel 7:13), whom he raised from the dead, and who will, at his Second Coming, appear from heaven, where he is now "seated at the right hand of God" (Psalm 110:1). There he is interceding for us (MJ 7:25), and when he returns, he will rescue us from the impending fury (see Ro l:18a&N). The words, "of God's judgment," are not in the Greek text but are implied. The references to end-time events here, at 2:19 and at 3:13 are all building up to the climactic teaching of 4:13-5:6.
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- chapter 3
- chapter 4
- chapter 5