Paul's affection for the church

Paul’s affection for the church

Paul restates his love and honesty toward the believers in Thessalonica to keep them from being deceived by others.

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were (「是怎樣為人」) among you for your sake.” (1:5)

“For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness (NRSV, ‘impure motives’), nor in guile. But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak (「我們就照樣講」); not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness.” (2:3-5) Paul asked God to witness his honesty toward the believers.

“Nor of men sought we glory (「求榮耀」)(NRSV, ‘seek praise’), neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome (「雖然可以叫人尊重」), as the apostles of Christ (NRSV, ‘though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ’). But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children. So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” (2:6-8) Paul did not just impart the gospel, but also “our own souls”, meaning that he was willing to devote his life for the believers. By the same token, we do not simply spread the gospel but impart the love of God to the listeners.

“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you (「免得叫你們一人受累」), we preached unto you the gospel of God.” (2:9) On his missionary journey, Paul worked at weekdays and preached the gospel on Sabbath days in synagogues. He received no financial assistance from the believers in Thessalonica. He only received assistance from the believers of Philippi, as said in Phil 4:15-16, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”

“Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblamably we behaved ourselves among you that believe. As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God.” (2:10-12) Paul’s exhortation and honest behavior toward the believers can be witnessed by themselves besides God. Once again, Paul emphasizes his intimate relationship with the believers as his “children”. (2:7,11)