Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Finally--literally, "As to what remains."
may have free course--literally, "may run"; spread rapidly
without a drag on the wheels of its course. That the new-creating word
may "run," as "swiftly" as the creative word at the first
The opposite is the word of God being "bound"
glorified--by sinners accepting it
Ga 1:23, 24).
Contrast "evil spoken of"
as it is with you--
(1Th 1:6; 4:10; 5:11).
2. that we . . . be delivered from unreasonable
. . . men--literally, men out of place, inept,
unseemly: out of the way bad: more than ordinarily bad. An
undesigned coincidence with
Paul was now at Corinth, where the JEWS "opposed
themselves" to his preaching: in answer to his prayers and those of his
converts at Thessalonica and elsewhere, "the Lord, in vision," assured
him of exemption from "the hurt," and of success in bringing in "much
people." On the unreasonable, out-of-the way perversity of the Jews, as
known to the Thessalonians, see
1Th 2:15, 16.
have not faith--or as Greek, "the faith" of the
Christian: the only antidote to what is "unreasonable and wicked." The
Thessalonians, from their ready acceptance of the Gospel
(1Th 1:5, 6),
might think "all" would similarly receive it; but the Jews were far
from having such a readiness to believe the truth.
3. faithful--alluding to "faith"
though many will not believe, the Lord (other very old manuscripts read
"God") is still to be believed in as faithful to His promises
Faith on the part of man answers to faithfulness on the part of
stablish you--as he had prayed
Though it was on himself that wicked men were making their onset, he
turns away from asking the Thessalonians' prayers for
so unselfish was he, even in religion), to express his assurance of
THEIR establishment in the faith, and preservation
from evil. This assurance thus exactly answers to his prayer for them
"Our Lord . . . stablish you in every good word and
work." He has before his mind the Lord's Prayer, "Lead us not into
temptation, but deliver us from evil"; where, as here, the translation
may be, "from the evil one"; the great hinderer of "every good word and
"the wicked one."
4. we have confidence in the Lord--as "faithful"
Have confidence in no man when left to himself
that ye both do--Some of the oldest manuscripts insert a clause, "that
ye both have done" before, "and are doing, and will do." He means the
majority by "ye," not all of them (compare
5. If "the Lord" be here the Holy Ghost
the three Persons of the Trinity will occur in this verse.
love of God--love to God.
patient waiting for Christ--rather as Greek, "the
patience (endurance) of Christ," namely, which Christ showed
ESTIUS, however, supports English Version
Re 1:9; 3:10).
At all events, this grace, "patience," or persevering endurance,
is connected with the "hope"
(1Th 1:3, 10)
of Christ's coming. In ALFORD'S translation
we may compare
Heb 12:1, 2,
"Run with patience (endurance) . . . looking to
JESUS . . . who, for the joy that was
before Him, endured the cross"; so WE are
to endure, as looking for the hope to be realized at His coming
(Heb 10:36, 37).
6. we command you--Hereby he puts to a particular test their
obedience in general to his commands, which obedience he had
withdraw--literally, "to furl the sails"; as we say,
to steer clear of (compare
Some had given up labor as though the Lord's day was immediately
coming. He had enjoined mild censure of such in
"Warn . . . the unruly"; but now that the mischief had
become more confirmed, he enjoins stricter discipline, namely,
withdrawal from their company (compare
2Jo 10, 11):
not a formal sentence of excommunication, such as was subsequently
passed on more heinous offenders (as in
He says "brother," that is, professing Christian; for in the case of
unprofessing heathen, believers needed not be so strict
disorderly--Paul plainly would not have sanctioned the
order of Mendicant Friars, who reduce such a "disorderly" and
lazy life to a system. Call it not an order, but a burden
to the community (BENGEL, alluding to the
for "be chargeable," literally, "be a burden").
the tradition--the oral instruction which he had given to them when
and subsequently committed to writing
(1Th 4:11, 12).
which he received of us--Some oldest manuscripts read, "ye received"; others, "they received." The English Version reading
has no very old authority.
7. how ye ought to follow us--how ye ought to live so as to
"imitate (so the Greek for 'follow') us" (compare
Notes, see on
8. eat any man's bread--Greek, "eat bread from any
man," that is, live at anyone's expense. Contrast
"eat THEIR OWN bread."
In both Epistles they state they maintained themselves by labor; but in
this second Epistle they do so in order to offer themselves herein as
an example to the idle; whereas, in the first, their object in doing so
is to vindicate themselves from all imputation of mercenary motives in
preaching the Gospel
(1Th 2:5, 9)
[EDMUNDS]. They preached gratuitously though they
might have claimed maintenance from their converts.
labour and travail--"toil and hardship" (see on
night and day--scarcely allowing time for repose.
chargeable--Greek, "a burden," or "burdensome." The
Philippians did not regard it as a burden to contribute to his
(Php 4:15, 16),
sending to him while he was in this very Thessalonica
(Ac 16:15, 34, 40).
Many Thessalonians, doubtless, would have felt it a privilege to
contribute, but as he saw some idlers among them who would have made a
pretext of his example to justify themselves, he waived his right. His
reason for the same course at Corinth was to mark how different were
his aims from those of the false teachers who sought their own lucre
(2Co 11:9, 12, 13).
It is at the very time and place of writing these Epistles that Paul is
expressly said to have wrought at tent-making with Aquila
an undesigned coincidence.
&c.; Ga 6:6.)
10. For even--Translate, "For also." We not only set you the
example, but gave a positive "command."
commanded--Greek imperfect, "We were commanding"; we kept charge
would not work--Greek, "is unwilling to work."
this to be the argument: not that such a one is to have his food
withdrawn from him by others; but he proves from the necessity of
eating the necessity of working; using this pleasantry, Let him
who will not work show himself an angel, that is, do without food as
the angels do (but since he cannot do without food, then he ought to be
not unwilling to work). It seems to me simpler to take it as a
punishment of the idle. Paul often quotes good adages current among the
people, stamping them with inspired approval. In the Hebrew, "Bereshith Rabba," the same saying is found; and in the book
Zeror, "He who will not work before the sabbath, must not eat on the
11. busy bodies--In the Greek the similarity of sound
marks the antithesis, "Doing none of their own business, yet overdoing
in the business of others." Busy about everyone's business but their
own. "Nature abhors a vacuum"; so if not doing one's own business, one
is apt to meddle with his neighbor's business. Idleness is the parent
12. by--The oldest manuscripts read, "IN
the Lord Jesus." So the Greek,
implying the sphere wherein such conduct is appropriate and consistent.
"We exhort you thus, as ministers IN
Christ, exhorting our people IN Christ."
with quietness--quiet industry; laying aside restless, bustling,
their own--bread earned by themselves, not another's bread
13. be not weary--The oldest manuscripts read, "Be not cowardly
in"; do not be wanting in strenuousness in doing well.
EDMUNDS explains it: Do not culpably
neglect to do well, namely, with patient industry do your duty in your
several callings. In contrast to the "disorderly, not-working
14. note that man--mark him in your own mind as one to be avoided
that he may be ashamed--Greek, "made to turn and look into
himself, and so be put to shame." Feeling himself shunned by godly
brethren, he may become ashamed of his course.
15. admonish him as a brother--not yet excommunicated (compare
Do not shun him in contemptuous silence, but tell him why he is so
16. Lord of peace--Jesus Christ. The same title is given to Him as
to the Father, "the GOD of peace"
(Ro 15:33; 16:20;
An appropriate title in the prayer here, where the harmony of the
Christian community was liable to interruption from the "disorderly."
The Greek article requires the translation, "Give you the
peace" which it is "His to give." "Peace" outward and inward, here and
always--unbroken, not changing with outward circumstances.
by all means--Greek, "in every way." Most of the oldest
manuscripts read, "in every place"; thus he prays for their peace
in all times ("always") and places.
Lord be with you all--May He bless you not only with peace, but
also with His presence
Even the disorderly brethren (compare
"a brother") are included in this prayer.
17. The Epistle was written by an amanuensis (perhaps Silas or
Timothy), and only the closing salutation written by Paul's "own hand"
Wherever Paul does not subjoin this autograph salutation, we may
presume he wrote the whole Epistle himself
which--which autograph salutation.
the token--to distinguish genuine Epistles from spurious ones put
forth in my name
in every epistle--Some think he signed his name to every Epistle
with his own hand; but as there is no trace of this in any manuscripts
of all the Epistles, it is more likely that he alludes to
his writing with his own hand in closing every Epistle, even in
those Epistles (Romans, Second Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians,
First Thessalonians) wherein he does not specify his having done so.
so I write--so I sign my name: this is a specimen of my
handwriting, by which to distinguish my geniune letters from
18. He closes every Epistle by praying for
GRACE to those whom he addresses.
Amen--omitted in the oldest manuscripts It was doubtless the response
of the congregation after hearing the Epistle read publicly; hence it
crept into copies.
The Subscription is spurious, as the Epistle was written not "from
Athens," but from Corinth.