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1 Thessalonians 3:1-3

Context

3:1 So when we could bear it no longer, we decided to stay on in Athens 1  alone. 3:2 We 2  sent Timothy, our brother and fellow worker for God 3  in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen you and encourage you about your faith, 3:3 so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this.

1 map For location see JP1 C2; JP2 C2; JP3 C2; JP4 C2.

2 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

3 tc A variety of readings occurs in this verse. Instead of “and fellow worker for God” (καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, kai sunergon tou qeou), B has “and fellow worker” (καὶ συνεργόν); א A P Ψ 0278 6 81 629* 1241 1739 1881 2464 lat co read “and servant of God” (καὶ διάκονον τοῦ θεοῦ, kai diakonon tou qeou); D2 Ï and a few versional witnesses read “and a servant of God and our fellow worker” (καὶ διάκονον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ συνεργὸν ἡμῶν); and F G have “servant and fellow worker for God” (διάκονον καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ). The reading of the text (καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ) is found in D* 33 b {d m o} Ambst {Pel}. It may be argued that all readings that do not collocate συνεργόν with θεοῦ are secondary, as this is certainly the harder reading. Indeed, in only one other place in the NT are human beings said to be συνεργοὶ θεοῦ (sunergoi qeou; 1 Cor 3:9), and the simplest (though by no means the only) interpretation is that the genitive should be taken associatively (“a fellow worker in association with God”). It is difficult to account for συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ here unless it is authentic because of the theological difficulty that would be easily seen in this wording. A genealogy of the readings suggests that various scribes may have deleted τοῦ θεοῦ or swapped διάκονον for συνεργόν to remove the offense. The readings of the Byzantine text and two Western mss (F G) appear to be conflations of earlier readings, but the reading of F G nevertheless indirectly supports καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ since it does not remove the offense. Although the witnesses for καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ are minimal, the internal evidence is quite strong in favor of this reading. With hesitation, it is adopted as authentic.

tn Although 1 Thess 3:2 is frequently understood to mean that Timothy is “God’s fellow worker,” such a view assumes that the genitive θεοῦ (qeou) is associative for it is related to συνεργόν (sunergon). However, a genitive of association is not required by the syntax (cf. ExSyn 130).



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