World English Bible translation
1:2We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers, 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father. 1:4 We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen, 1:5a and that our gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance.
The early apostles were men of prayer. From their Master, they had learned that God is a Father that may be spoken with at any time. God is present and active. He desires to communicate with us and for us to communicate with him. The word for "give thanks" is the same Greek word that we also translate Eucharist. Giving thanks, our prayers, are a communion with God.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy give thanks for them all. Whenever they pray, their prayers are for each individual. They are part of the assembly that is in Christ, but they are also precious to God and his apostles as individuals.
They are remembered and honored for three things. Their (1) work of faith. Their (2) labor of love. Their (3) patience (long-suffering or endurance) of hope. The Christian graces of faith, hope and love that pervade the scriptures are here combined with words of action. This letter is meant to encourage action. The actions that the Thessalonians have already taken are praised. The young converts are prepared for the actions that will be needed. Their faith, hope, and love will be source and fuel for what God has planned for them.
"We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen.." These Christians are brothers to Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. This book is full of descriptions that encourage the Thessalonians to see themselves as family, with each other and with Christians everywhere. And, not only are they brothers, they are brothers chosen by God. God himself placed His hand on them and said, "You are my son." It is God who has added them to His family through adoption.
".. and that our gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power.." The good news of Christ Jesus is not just words on a page or spoken by men. The gospel has the power to change men's lives. It has the power to change the course of history. It has the power to change our hearts.
".. and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance." The Spirit of God is the one who brings this power into our lives. It is the Spirit of Christ that comes into our hearts convicting us of sin and offering His grace and mercy. And, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is "much assurance". God is not tentative with his children. He offers them power, His presence, and assurance that he is with them.
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