The First to the Thessalonians 3:1-13

3  So when we could bear it no longer, we thought it best to stay on alone in Athens;+  and we sent Timothy,+ our brother and God’s minister in the good news about the Christ, to make you firm* and comfort you regarding your faith,  so that no one might be shaken* by these tribulations. For you yourselves know that we cannot avoid suffering such things.+  For when we were with you, we used to tell you in advance that we would suffer tribulation, and that is what has happened, just as you know.+  That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn of your faithfulness,+ in case somehow the Tempter+ might have tempted you, and our labor might have turned out to be in vain.  But Timothy has just now come to us from you+ and has given us the good news about your faithfulness and love, that you always continue to remember us fondly and that you long to see us in the same way as we also do you.  That is why, brothers, in all our distress and tribulation, we have been comforted because of you and the faithfulness you demonstrate.+  Because we are revitalized if you are standing firm in the Lord.  For how can we show our thanks to God concerning you in return for the great joy we feel before our God on your account? 10  Night and day we make supplications as earnestly as we can to see you in person* and to supply what is lacking in your faith.+ 11  Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus make a way for us to come to you. 12  Moreover, may the Lord cause you to increase, yes, to abound in love for one another+ and for all, just as we do for you, 13  so that he may make your hearts firm, blameless in holiness before our God+ and Father at the presence of our Lord Jesus+ with all his holy ones.

Footnotes

Or “to strengthen you.”
Lit., “swayed.”
Or “see you face-to-face.” Lit., “see your face.”

Study Notes

we: Paul may have been alone in Athens, later departing for Corinth, where Silas and Timothy rejoined him. (Ac 18:5) So he may have used “we” as applying to himself. While it cannot be ruled out that either Silas or Timothy was with Paul in Athens, it does not seem likely, since he had left them behind in Beroea.​—Ac 17:13, 14.

God’s fellow workers: The Greek word for “fellow worker,” sy·ner·gosʹ, appears more than ten times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, most often in Paul’s letters. The expression is used regarding those who shared together in spreading the good news. (Ro 16:9, 21; 2Co 1:24; 8:23; Php 2:25; 4:3; Col 4:11; Phm 1, 24) Here Paul calls attention to the great privilege that Christian ministers have of being “God’s fellow workers.” (See study note on 1Co 3:6.) Paul expresses a similar thought at 2Co 6:1, where he speaks about “working together with him,” that is, with God.​—2Co 5:20; see study note on Ro 16:3.

minister: Some ancient manuscripts read “fellow worker,” using the same Greek word (sy·ner·gosʹ) that appears at 1Co 3:9 (see study note), where Paul speaks of Christians as “God’s fellow workers.”

we cannot avoid suffering such things: Or “we are appointed to this.” This does not mean that Christians were individually appointed to suffer certain trials. Rather, Jehovah and his Son knew that the Christian congregation as a whole would suffer persecution as a result of the witnessing work. (Mt 10:17, 21-23; 23:34; Joh 16:33) However, persecution often served to help, not hinder, their preaching. For example, when Christians had to flee Jerusalem because of severe persecution, they spread the message in the lands to which they were scattered.​—Ac 8:1-5; 11:19-21.

faithfulness: The Greek word used here (piʹstis) can be rendered by such terms as “faith” (Mt 8:10; Ro 1:17; 1Th 3:2, 10), “faithfulness” (Mt 23:23), and “trustworthiness” (Tit 2:10). In this context (1Th 3:5-7), piʹstis indicates that the Thessalonian Christians were remaining firm and sticking to their faith despite adversity. It thus highlights their “faithfulness,” or loyalty, to God when they were under trial. Their example of faithfulness encouraged Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, who were experiencing “distress and tribulation.”​—1Th 3:7.

the Tempter: This designation for Satan the Devil, used twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures, is a form of the Greek verb “to tempt; to test.” (Mt 4:3) Other forms of the same verb are used to describe the activities of Satan, for example, at 1Co 7:5 and Re 2:10.

distress: Lit., “necessity.” The term used here is also rendered “times of need.” (2Co 6:4; 12:10) So Paul may be referring to situations in which he and his companions were lacking the basic necessities of life.

we are revitalized: Lit., “we live.” The Greek word meaning “to live” is here used figuratively in the sense of feeling a renewed life, of being joyful, refreshed, and freed from anxiety.

had made supplication: Or “had prayed earnestly (pleadingly).” The Greek verb deʹo·mai refers to the offering of earnest prayer coupled with intense feeling. The related noun deʹe·sis, rendered “supplication,” has been defined as “humble and earnest entreaty.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the noun is used exclusively in addressing God. Even Jesus “offered up supplications and also petitions, with strong outcries and tears, to the One who was able to save him out of death.” (Heb 5:7) The use of the plural “supplications” indicates that Jesus implored Jehovah more than once. For example, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed repeatedly and fervently.​—Mt 26:36-44; Lu 22:32.

make supplications: See study note on Ac 4:31.

presence: This is the first of six times that Paul mentions Christ’s presence in his two letters to the Thessalonians. (See Glossary, “Presence”; see also “Introduction to 1 Thessalonians.”) Paul looks forward to the presence of the Lord Jesus, and he delights in the prospect that his dear fellow believers would be rewarded during that time. Later in the letter, he prays that they be found “blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the presence of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”​—1Th 3:13; see study note on 1Co 15:23.

at the presence of our Lord Jesus: See study note on 1Th 2:19.

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