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1 Thessalonians 1

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Salutation

1:1 From Paul 1  and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians 2  in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you! 3 

Thanksgiving for Response to the Gospel

1:2 We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly 4  in our prayers, 1:3 because we recall 5  in the presence of our God and Father 6  your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope 7  in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:4 We know, 8  brothers and sisters 9  loved by God, that he has chosen you, 10  1:5 in that 11  our gospel did not come to you merely in words, 12  but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you). 13 

1:6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received 14  the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. 1:7 As a result you became an example 15  to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 1:8 For from you the message of the Lord 16  has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, 17  so that we do not need to say anything. 1:9 For people everywhere 18  report how you welcomed us 19  and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath. 20 

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1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.

2 map For the location of Thessalonica see JP1 C1; JP2 C1; JP3 C1; JP4 C1.

3 tc The majority of witnesses, including several early and important ones (א A [D] I 33 Ï bo), have ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυριοῦ Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (apo qeou patro" Jhmwn kai kuriou Ihsou Cristou, “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”) at the end of v. 1. The more abrupt reading (“Grace and peace to you”) without this addition is supported by B F G Ψ 0278 629 1739 1881 pc lat sa. Apart from a desire to omit the redundancy of the mention of God and Christ in this verse, there is no good reason why scribes would have omitted the characteristically Pauline greeting. (Further, if this were the case, why did these same scribes overlook such an opportunity in 2 Thess 1:1-2?) On the other hand, since 1 Thessalonians is one of Paul’s earliest letters, what would become characteristic of his greetings seems to have been still in embryonic form (e.g., he does not yet call his audience “saints” [which will first be used in his address to the Corinthians], nor does he use ἐν (en) plus the dative to refer to the location of the church). Thus, the internal evidence is overwhelming in support of the shorter reading, for scribes would have been strongly motivated to rework this salutation in light of Paul’s style elsewhere. And the external evidence, though not overwhelming, is supportive of this shorter reading, found as it is in some of the best witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texttypes.

tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”

4 tn Or “mention you in our prayers, because we recall constantly…”

5 tn Grk “making mention…recalling.” The participle ποιούμενοι (poioumenoi) in v. 2 has been translated as temporal, and μνημονεύοντες (mnhmoneuonte") in v. 3 has been translated as causal.

6 tn Or the phrase may connect at the end of the verse: “hope…in the presence of our God and Father.”

7 tn These phrases denote Christian virtues in action: the work produced by faith, labor motivated by love, and endurance that stems from hope in Christ.

8 tn Grk “knowing.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the participle εἰδότες (eidotes) has been translated as a finite verb and a new sentence started here in the translation.

9 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).

10 tn Grk “your election.”

11 tn Or “because.”

12 tn Or “speech,” or “an act of speaking.”

13 tn Grk “just as you know what sort of people we were among you for your sakes.” Verse 5 reflects on the experience of Paul and his fellow preachers; v. 6 begins to describe the Thessalonians’ response.

14 tn Or “after you received.”

15 tc Most mss (א A C D2 F G Ψ 0278 Ï) have the plural τύπους (tupou", “examples”) here, while a few important witnesses have the singular τύπον (tupon, “example”; B D*,c 6 33 81 104 1739 1881 pc lat). With ὑμᾶς (Jumas, “you”) immediately preceding, the plural form looks motivated: Scribes would be expected to change the singular to the plural here. Although the external evidence for the singular reading is not overwhelming, the internal evidence for it is compelling.

16 tn Or “the word of the Lord.”

sn “The word of the Lord” is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rJhma tou kuriou; Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16, 1 Pet 1:25) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logo" tou kuriou; here and in Acts 8:25; 13:44, 48, 49; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said. Here the phrase has been translated “the message of the Lord” because of the focus upon the spread of the gospel evident in the passage.

17 tn Grk “your faith in God has gone out.”

18 tn Grk “they themselves,” referring to people in the places just mentioned.

19 tn Grk “what sort of entrance we had to you” (an idiom for how someone is received).

20 sn The coming wrath. This wrath is an important theme in 1 Thess 5.



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