3:1 Paul's Feelings Toward the Thessalonians
SUMMARY OF I THESSALONIANS 3:
Paul in His Great Solicitude Sent Timothy to Them. The Joy That Timothy's Report Gave Him. His Prayer to See Them Face to Face. A Prayer for Them.
When we could no longer forbear. The closing verses of chapter 2 show Paul's great desire to see them, as a father to see his suffering children (see 1Th 2:11). Hindered (1Th 2:18), he at last thought it good to be left alone at Athens (Ac 18:1-5).
3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother. Paul had been left alone at Athens, went to Corinth alone, and was there joined by Silas and Timothy, who came from Macedonia (Ac 18:5). Timothy had been sent to strengthen the new church at Thessalonica.
3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions. Timothy was sent to prevent any one being moved from Christ by the opposition and persecutions suffered.
For yourselves know. Know that it is the lot of God's people to suffer persecution.
3:4 We told you before that we should suffer tribulation. He had faithfully forewarned them that tribulation would come.
3:5 Lest by some means the tempter have tempted you. The tempter is Satan. Unable to hear from them, fearing the effect of their fiery trial, he sent Timothy, not only to strengthen them, but to report to him their state.
3:6 Now when Timotheus came from you unto us. Timothy came to him at Corinth and brought an excellent report of the young and persecuted church (Ac 17:15).
3:7 We were comforted over you. The good tidings of the faithfulness of the saints filled him with joy.
3:8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. How tender his affection for them if he could say that good news from them filled him with new life!
3:9 What thanks can we render to God? How can we be thankful enough?
3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly. An expression of his intense longing to see again a band of young converts so tenderly endeared to him.
And may perfect that which is lacking in your faith. Instruct them more fully in knowledge and duty. So recently heathen, they needed a wise teacher very much.
3:11 Now God himself... direct our way unto you. An appeal that he may be permitted to return to them. The prayer was granted in due time, though not for three or four years (Ac 20:1,2).
3:12 The Lord make you to increase and abound in love. Whether he may come or not, his prayer is for their increase in love, the greatest of all graces.
3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts. Love shed abroad in their hearts would have this effect, and fit them for every duty and trial. He that loveth supremely fulfill the whole law.