Thanksgiving for the Faith of the Thessalonians.
Commendation for Spreading the Gospel.
The Great Change in Their Lives.
1. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy. Silvanus is the same as the
Silas of Acts. We learn from Acts
(chapters 15 to 18)
that both Silas and Timothy attended Paul on the second missionary
journey during which the Epistle was written. Paul does not speak of
his apostleship in this salutation, as in later epistles, because at
this early period the Judaizing Christians had not begun to spread
doubts whether he was an apostle.
In God the Father. Hence, separated from the Gentiles.
The Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, separated from the Jews.
2-5. We. The plural, perhaps, is used because Silas and Timothy
were joined in the greeting, but the Epistle is Paul's, not the joint
work of three persons.
Give thanks. Almost all Paul's letters begin with
3. Remembering . . . your work of faith. He states
reasons for thankfulness.
Work of faith. Works which result from faith.
Labor of love. Toil for others caused by love for them and for
Patience of hope. Patient endurance of toil, hardship and
persecution through a hope in Christ. Probably a hope that soon these
would cease with the coming of Christ. The Thessalonians, as we learn,
expected his speedy coming.
4. Knowing . . . your election of God. That you are of
the elect, the "chosen nation."
All Christians were the elect, and the expression is another way of
saying, "Knowing that you have become Christians."
5. For our gospel came not unto you in word only. God gave the
spoken word power, the power of the Holy Spirit which dictated it.
Observe that the "power" is referred to the preachers.
Ye know. Ye know what was the life, the earnestness and the power
in the Holy Spirit of us while we were preaching among you. 
6, 7. Ye became followers of us. Followed them as they followed
Having received the word in much affliction. In the midst of
opposition and persecution. See
Acts, chapter 17.
With joy of the Holy Ghost. With rejoicing as soon as they
accepted the gospel.
7. So that ye were ensamples. Their earnestness was such that
they were worthy of imitation by all who had become Christian.
Macedonia. The great Roman province, of which Thessalonica was
the capital, lying north of the Ægean Sea.
Achaia. The Roman province of which Corinth was the capital. It
embraced most of Greece.
8-10. For from you sounded out. The effect of the gospel in
Thessalonica was so striking that the report of it went through all
Macedonia and Greece, and awakened inquiry, so that a knowledge of the
gospel was thus spread abroad.
So that we need not to speak anything. Wherever he went he found
that the news of the church in the great city of Thessalonica had
preceded him, so that he did not need to tell it.
9. For they themselves. The people "every place"
How ye turned to God from idols. Most of them had been heathen.
See the accounts in
10. And to wait for his Son from heaven. The apostles saw the
Lord ascend, but he left a promise that he would return, with the time
wholly unrevealed. Hence, in preaching the gospel, they made his return
to the world very prominent, and perhaps believed themselves in his
speedy coming. Until after Jerusalem was destroyed the churches
waited, as though the Lord would soon be revealed. We should
still wait, "watch and pray."
We know not the hour when he may either come,
or we be called to him.