EPISTLE OF S. PAUL, THE APOSTLE,
TO THE THESSALONIANS.
S. Paul having preached with success at Thessalonica, the chief city of Macedonia, wrote to them this letter, to confirm them in the Christian faith and in the practice of virtue. This, in order, is the first epistle of S. Paul. He wrote it about the year fifty-two, as it is thought, from Corinth. Wi.
--- S. Paul having preached the gospel in this place, converted some Jews and a great number of Gentiles; but the unbelieving Jews, envying his success, raised such a commotion against him, that he and his companion Silvanus were obliged to quit the city. Afterwards he went to Athens, where he had heard that the converts in Thessalonica were under a severe persecution ever since his departure; and lest they should lose their fortitude, he sent Timothy to strengthen and comfort them in their sufferings. In the mean time S. Paul came to Corinth, where he wrote this first epistle and also the second to the Thessalonians, both in the same year, being the nineteenth after our Lord's ascension. Ch.
--- S. Paul preached the faith in this city, assisted by Silas or Silvanus, whose name is joined with the apostle's in this letter. See Acts xvii. Being driven away from this city by the violence of the Jews, he left Timothy and Silas in Macedonia, to confirm the new converts in their faith. But having afterwards called them to him, and hearing of their constancy and perseverance, he writes this epistle to encourage them and praise them. It is the first in time of all S. Paul's epistles, and filled with the most affectionate expressions of love and tenderness for his spiritual children in Jesus Christ. In the latter part of the epistle, he gives some short instructions concerning the state of souls after death, and the coming of the last day; as his companions had informed him that strange reports concerning these two articles were in circulation at Thessalonica, to the disturbance of the faithful. Calmet. Estius et alii.
--- The first three chapters are to confirm and comfort the Thessalonians against the temptations of persecution; the other two are to exhort them to live up to the precepts he delivers them.
Ver. 1. Paul. It is observed that S. Paul never calls himself an apostle in either of the epistles to the Thessalonians. The reason why he deviates from his ordinary custom on this occasion, probably is, that joining his name with the other two, he did not like to assume a title, though his due, which the others did not possess. Estius.
--- Such condescension to your neighbours' feelings, even in trifles, is highly delicate and praiseworthy. A.
Ver. 3. The apostle praises the Thessalonians for the progress they had made in the theological virtues, and enumerates the profit they had derived from each. Their faith had produced works; their charity rendered their labour light and easy, and their patience was the fruit of their future hopes, in confidence of which they bore what they had to suffer from their unconverted countrymen. Estius.
Ver. 5. In power. The sense is, I have preached the gospel to you, not only in words of persuasion, but have proved it by the power of miracles, in much fulness, or in great abundance. I have also taught you the gospel not by my words only, but by my actions; for you know what kind of a life I led among you. I had no interest but in gaining your souls. And I rejoice to hear you have received it in much power, by the Holy Ghost working within you. A.
--- And in much fulness.† Some would have the Greek word to signify in a full assurance; but in the style of the New Testament, it may as well signify a fulness, or plenitude. Wi.
[†] V. 5. In plenitudine multâ, en plhrofria pollh. See Luke i.
Ver. 8. From you was spread abroad the word.† The Greek, was sounded about.
--- In every place. In very many places. Wi.
[†] V. 8. Diffamatus est, exhcetai. Insonuit, S. Chrys. says, (log. b. p. 166.) dhlwn oti wsper salpiggoV, instar Tubæ.