1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verses 1-5

1 Thessalonians Commentary Verses 3 1-5
1 Thessalonians Commentary Verses 3 1-5
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1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verses 1-5
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1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verses 1-5 | Afflictions, suffering, and trials are an unavoidable part of life for believers in this fallen world.

Coming into this assembly tonight in the middle of the week - we all look real nice and well put together. But if we were to be able to somehow take a poll of the afflictions of life that are being experienced by each of us here, the list - I imagine - would be lengthy.

On that list would surely be:

•           Relationship difficulties

•           Health problems

•           Discouraging family dynamics

•           Work pressures

•           Financial hardships

•           Uncertainty about the future

•           Loneliness

•           Guilt

•           Grief

•           Disappointment by others

And that list would certainly go on and on.

And in the midst of all of our afflictions - great or small - God is calling us to trust him. As we suffer difficulties, God doesn’t want us to lose sight of him. He wants us to believe him - that he’ll take care of you.

If God is at work in your life, then he’s teaching you an inevitable lesson. And that lesson is that believers Respond to Afflictions with Faith.

And it’s that very lesson that we see at work in the life of the Apostle Paul and the church in Thessalonica which he’s addressing in 1 Thessalonians 3. So, please join me there in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5 - where we’ll see this concept modeled for us of Responding to Afflictions with Faith.

Let’s read the first five verses of this chapter and then get into the details.

1 Thessalonians 3:1–5 AV 1873

1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;

2 and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

3 that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

So, let’s find this principle of Responding to Afflictions with Faith - starting in verse 1.

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verse 1

1 Thessalonians 3:1 AV 1873

1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Wherefore

3:1 Wherefore

1 Διὸ

Paul begins this chapter by saying “wherefore”. This indicates that he’s pointing back to something he previously said.

And what he’s referring back to is what we saw toward the end of chapter 2 in verses 17-20. That was the matter of Paul and Silas and Timothy wanting to be with those believers in Thessalonica - but being hindered from doing so.

And Paul says that there’s only so much of that forced separation that he and Silas and Timothy could take...

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary When we could no longer forbear

when we could no longer forbear

μηκέτι στέγοντες

Now, Paul twice in other passages in the New Testament claimed that he could forbear or bear with or endure anything.

How much suffering do you feel like you can endure?

•           Well, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:12 that instead of demanding his rights to being compensated as an apostle, he and his fellow-ministers endured or forbore everything so that they would not hinder the Gospel of Christ from going forth.

•           And then as Paul is in 1 Corinthians 13:7 commending to those Corinthian believers the excellencies of doing everything they do motivated by genuine love for others, he says that one of the qualities of true genuine love is that it bears all things. And since Paul was a mature believer, he would have been displaying this virtue of love in his life and thereby he would have been increasingly bearing all things.

So, the point is that the apostle Paul had gotten to the point in his Christian life that he could bear or endure just about anything.

But there was something that even the apostle Paul could not bear. And that was being separated from those Thessalonian believers for a moment longer. He says that there was a point at which he and Silas and Timothy “could no longer forbear” to be parted from the Thessalonians.

So, what did Paul and Silas and Timothy do when they reached that breaking point? …

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary we thought it good to be left at Athens alone

we thought it good to be left at Athens alone

εὐδοκήσαμεν καταλειφθῆναι ἐν Ἀθήναις μόνοι

We’re going to discover that the “we” in this verse is referring to Paul and Silas - and not Timothy. As we considered in our last message, those two were forbidden from going back to Thessalonica as far as we know. And - again as we considered last time - that’s probably because Jason - one of the Thessalonian believers - had promised to his city’s rulers that Paul and Silas wouldn’t return there again.

So, Paul and Silas are the “we” who were left alone in Athens. But that geographical reference leads us to consider the broader scope of the timeline that Paul has in mind in this passage.

[S] So, let’s remind ourselves of the events involved here.

•           As you know, Paul and Silas were run out of Thessalonica in Acts 17:1-9. Timothy was probably still in Philippi at that time.

•           Paul and Silas then went to Berea, but the unbelieving Thessalonian Jews followed them there and caused enough trouble that the believers in Berea had to send just Paul away from that city as well (Acts 17:10-15).

•           In the mean time, Timothy caught up with them from being in Philippi. And so, Silas and Timothy end up staying in Berea. But Paul goes to Athens (Acts 17:10-15), which would have been a 340 mile journey on land.

•           The believers who accompanied Paul to Athens were given an order when they arrived in that city to go back to Berea - where Silas and Timothy were - and to have them come to Paul there in Athens (Acts 17:10-15).

•           That much is fairly simple to attain from a reading of Acts. But it’s after these events that the chronology gets a little complicated.

•           We have Luke in Acts telling us that Paul was alone in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy after giving them the command to come to him there (Acts 17:16).

•           Then Paul after some period of time - and, again, apparently without Silas and Timothy - he decided to move on to Corinth from Athens (Acts 18:1).

•           Some surmise that Silas and Timothy came to Paul in Athens and then left again to go back north to Thessalonica. And I think that’s probably how we need to think about this and I’ll advocate for this in just a moment.

•           Then finally both Silas and Timothy come to Paul in Corinth from Macedonia (Acts 18:5). (Remember that Macedonia is the northern part of Greece where Thessalonica and Berea are, while Corinth and Athens are in the region of Achaia.)

•           But we need to reconcile the account in Acts to the information we have in 1 Thessalonians. Because in our text in 1 Thessalonians 3 it says that “we” thought it was a good idea to be left in Athens alone and to send Timothy. So, how do we fit someone or someones being left alone in Athens and sending Timothy back to Thessalonica?

•           I would reconstruct the situation as follows.

•           Paul goes down to Athens and asks for Silas and Timothy to come to him there. They do come. So then, Paul and Silas stay in Athens while they send Timothy to Thessalonica. But before Paul moves on to Corinth, Silas goes up toward Thessalonica to meet Timothy. Then both Silas and Timothy come down together to Corinth and meet Paul who is already there.

•           Finally, those three men were then all based there in Corinth for over a year and a half and wrote this letter at that point (Acts 18:11,18).

So, Paul and Silas thought it was a good idea to be left alone in Athens.

And as we’ve already considered, they sent Timothy back to Thessalonica…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verse 2

1 Thessalonians 3:2 AV 1873

2 and sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary and sent Timotheus

2 and sent Timotheus,

2 καὶ ἐπέμψαμεν Τιμόθεον,

But the believers in Thessalonica didn’t know Timothy all that well because he apparently wasn’t with Paul and Silas while those two were ministering in that city.

And so, even now in this letter, Paul decides to describe Timothy a little for these believers…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ

our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ

τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν καὶ συνεργὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τοῦ Χριστοῦ

So, Timothy is identified by Paul as a believer - he’s a brother - and “our” brother, Paul says.

And he’s a fellow-worker with - and servant of - God in the sense that he was working to bring God’s gospel of his Son Jesus Christ everywhere.

And here was Timothy’s mission for which Paul and Silas sent him from Athens back to Thessalonica...

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith

to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith

εἰς τὸ στηρίξαι ὑμᾶς καὶ παρακαλέσαι ὑπὲρ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν

This word “establish” refers to the strengthening of something. From weak to strong or even from strong to stronger.

This is an activity that leaders in Christ’s church need to be particularly engaged in - strengthening their fellow believers’ faith.

•           As Jesus was telling Peter that he would deny him the night before he was crucified, Jesus commanded him that after he turned from his denial, that he needed to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32).

•           This is what the apostle Paul would do for the disciples - the believers - as he traveled throughout region after region. He would find them and strengthen them (Acts 18:23).

•           This is why Paul wanted to visit the believers in Rome (Romans 1:11). He wanted to impart some spiritual gift to them so that they might be strengthened in their faith.

•           And ultimately, it’s God himself who will use his servants and whatever other means he wishes to strengthen us - his people (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17;3:3).

So, based on these considerations, might I suggest that we all pray - that as we gather together as an assembly - that this would be one result of our gatherings? That we would strengthen the faith of one another?

That’s what Timothy did for the Thessalonian believers.

He also comforted those believers.

•           This is what God does for you and me in all of our afflictions and trials (2 Corinthians 1:4). God comforts those who are cast down (2 Corinthians 7:6). Can you testify to that reality?

•           This act of comforting is also what believers are supposed to do for their fellow-believers - in particular, we have an example of this being urged on the Corinthian church which had just had to discipline a member for being disorderly. And thankfully that individual repented. And so, that kind of repentant brother needs to be - not disciplined anymore - but rather, comforted (2 Corinthians 2:7).

•           In two other places in the New Testament, Paul sent another believer to comfort an assembly - just like he did here with Timothy and the Thessalonians. He sent a man named Tychicus to the believers both in Ephesus (Ephesians 6:21) and in Colossae (Ephesians 6:21). Wouldn’t you like to be the go-to guy that was called in when an assembly of believers needed comfort? That was Tychicus.

•           And then Paul in the 4th and 5th chapters of 1 Thessalonians exhorts the believers there to comfort one another. They were to do that primarily with Paul’s own words as he’s teaching them in this letter (1 Thessalonians 4:18;5:11).

And no doubt this is exactly what God wants for us as well in this assembly and outside of this assembly in the context of fellowship with others believers. That we would be comforting to others and comforted by others.

Is this comfort what you look to do as you come to church on Sundays and Wednesdays? Is this the aim of your communication with your fellow Christians throughout the week - to comfort them as any of us have sorrows or afflictions or trials in our lives?

Wouldn’t it be great to be a Timothy or a Tychicus who was known for his ability to comfort his fellow believers? But the reality is that we’re all called to do this as we gather together and as the need arises.

Well, what was Paul hoping would happen from Timothy’s going to the Thessalonians after their forced departure from those believers? What was his intention for Timothy going to them and strengthening and comforting them?…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verse 3

1 Thessalonians 3:3 AV 1873

3 that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary that no man should be moved by these afflictions

3 that no man should be moved by these afflictions

3 τὸ μηδένα σαίνεσθαι ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν ταύταις

Paul wanted to make sure that no one in that church was moved by these afflictions.

This verb moved occurs nowhere else in either the New or Old Testaments. But in ancient Greek literature outside of the New Testament the word was used to speak of a dog wagging its tail.

https://ref.ly/logosres/lsj?ref=Page.p+1580&off=7333

And whether you own a dog or you’ve just observed one doing its “dog things”, you know what its like for a dog to wag its tail.

Our family unfortunately had to sell our dog Oreo back to the person who originally sold him to us. It was just too much for us after several weeks of us trying to make it work out.

But I’ll use him for one last illustration! When we had Oreo for the better part of a month, I observed this phenomenon of his wagging his tail. Sometimes it was sort of slow. But often the wagging could become quite fast. And interestingly, sometimes that fast wagging could even disturb him and he would seek to bite this thing that was moving behind him and irritating him.

And I think that’s sort of how Paul is picturing the potential impact of these afflictions on the Thessalonian believers - of course, in a completely non-humorous way. It’s as if the Thessalonians were the tail being wagged around harshly and even violently.

And you and I are amongst people in this very room who may at any moment be experiencing this kind of dynamic in life. Maybe you yourself feel like life is shaking you.

So, what has the power to cause this kind of violent shaking of a believer?

Paul identifies afflictions as the culprit.

•           Affliction is the label given to several unpleasant and painful realities - like the pains of childbirth (John 16:21) or being betrayed by family (Acts 7:10) or going through a famine and having no food to eat (Acts 7:11) or having to leave your home and place of residence because your life is being threatened (Acts 11:19) or being bound with chains (Acts 20:23) or even experiencing the pain of being widowed (James 1:27). Those realities of life are all identified as things that are afflictions for believers.

•           And the reality is that affliction in the life of a professing believer really tests the nature of your faith. Jesus reminds us in the parable of the seed and the soils that affliction causes a certain type of individual who receives the word with joy - but has no firm root in himself - to fall away from Christ (Mark 4:17). And certainly the opposite is the case. If you're firmly rooted in Christ, then afflictions will come but you will remain. You will not fall away. You will bear fruit for God.

•           So, we shouldn’t feel like something strange is happening to us when we experience affliction in this life. Jesus basically promised all of his people that you will experience affliction in this world. But he adds - “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33).

•           The apostle Paul’s message to the believers in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch was "that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

•           And contrary to what our flesh would want us to do - we’re to glory and even boast in afflictions. Because we know that afflictions work endurance in us (Romans 5:3).

•           And ultimately, afflictions will never separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35).

For the Thessalonian Christians, these afflictions would certainly center on the persecution in their city that led to Paul and Silas being run out of town. And no doubt the persecution continued against them after the departure of Paul and Silas.

And Paul didn’t want them to be moved or shaken - or wagged, as it were - by these afflictions and persecutions.

Well, how could the Thessalonians - or even we ourselves - not be moved or shaken by afflictions in our lives?

We need to know and be convinced of a vital truth concerning these afflictions in our lives…

for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto

αὐτοὶ γὰρ οἴδατε ὅτι εἰς τοῦτο κείμεθα

This word appointed refers to something determined or set.

•           It’s like the prophet Simeon told Mary, Jesus’ mother, that her child was set for the rise and fall of many and as a sign that would be rejected (Luke 2:35). Jesus was destined for that purpose. God had determined to use him that way.

•           Or like how Paul the apostle was set for the defense of the gospel (Philippians 1:16). It’s for that reason that he found himself in prison as he wrote his letter to the Philippian church. God has determined that he would be there in order to preach the gospel to those who there in that prison - and beyond.

•           Or like how God set or determined or appointed the Old Testament Law for sinners and unrighteous people (1 Timothy 1:9). That’s it’s purpose - to show lost individuals their need of salvation from their sin.

And you and I have a purpose. We have something that God has determined that we need to experience in this life. He has appointed us to this. And that is afflictions.

You may look at your afflictions and trials and difficulties and think that somehow God has temporarily lost control of your life. That he has perhaps abandoned you for the moment. And you’re just waiting for him to kind of reappear in your life and start blessing you again - and then you would know that he’s with you once more.

But the reality is that for all believers, God has appointed for us our particular afflictions in this life. Your suffering difficulties is no indication that God has abandoned you. To the contrary - your difficulties are God’s special appointment for you.

You’re not some anomaly because you’re suffering hardships. You are in the mainstream of Christian living and experience. Paul says “we are appointed thereunto”. Its not just the apostle Paul who was set for suffering. And it’s not just the Thessalonians. But its you and me as well.

And this is just one reason why I hate the so-called prosperity gospel. This false religion teaches: “that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for [you], and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

According to the prosperity gospel then, the more godly you are, the better your life will be. If you live for God - however that may be defined - God will in turn reward you with tangible physical blessings in this life. In fact, he’s actually obligated to do so.

The problem with this way of thinking is that it takes future blessings that we’re promised beyond this life and moves them forward in God’s timeline into the present age.

But the reality of the matter is that God has determined in this life that you will experience afflictions - rather than unmixed tangible blessings.

And the real problem with adopting the prosperity gospel is that - because it isn’t actually what God has promised his people - those who embrace this religion become disillusioned when God doesn’t come through for them in the ways that they’ve been led to believe that he’s obligated to come through for them.

It’s good for us to align ourselves with reality. And that reality for believers in this life is that we will suffer afflictions. But the far greater reality that we need to simultaneously keep in mind is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - who himself experienced afflictions in this wicked world - that he has overcome this world.

And because of that - because Jesus died for your sin and rose victoriously over sin and death - soon enough you and I will enjoy an eternity free of affliction.

But for now - like our Lord and all of his apostles and all believers throughout history - we’re appointed for sufferings and hardships and trials. And God will see us through all of it.

And yet, our tendency is - and the tendency of the believers in Thessalonica was - to be kind of shocked as we experience these difficulties. And so, Paul needs to remind these folks that he used to remind them about this unpleasant reality when he was with them…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verse 4

1 Thessalonians 3:4 AV 1873

4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary For verily, when we were with you we told you before that we should suffer tribulation

4 For verily, when we were with you we told you before that we should suffer tribulation

4 καὶ γὰρ ὅτε πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἦμεν προελέγομεν ὑμῖν ὅτι μέλλομεν θλίβεσθαι

So, with whatever time that Paul and Silas had with those believers in Thessalonica before they were forcefully parted from them, this matter of suffering afflictions is something that they addressed with them on apparently numerous occasions. The phrase “we told you before” could also be translated as “we kept on telling you before”. Like this was a repeated theme for Paul and Silas.

Because the unpleasant reality of suffering as a believer is one that the mind just doesn’t want to comprehend or pick up. So, that’s surely one reason for Paul and Silas’ repeated warnings about coming afflictions.

But another reason for the repeated emphasis on this reality of affliction in the life of a believer is that it was coming. That word “should” is translating a word that means “about to” - indicating imminence. Paul and Silas knew that both they and the Thessalonians were about to suffer tribulation.

And suffer tribulation they did as we saw in Acts 17 and as is mentioned in these two letters to this church.

•           This word - translated as “suffer tribulation” in English - is used in the gospels to describe the narrow and tight way by which we are saved (Matthew 7:14).

•           It describes the impact of a crowd of people gathering around Jesus (Mark 3:9).

•           So, there’s a tightness and pressure about this idea. Does that describe your being afflicted? You feel pressure from all directions? You feel squeezed and like there’s nowhere to turn?

•           In fact, Paul twice uses this word in 2 Corinthians with the added description that this tightness and squeezing of their inner men was “on every side” (2 Corinthians 4:4;7:5).

•           But we need to remember that this suffering tribulation has been the experience of God’s people for ages. Hebrews 11:37 reminds us that this experience of constricting difficulties in one’s life has been the lot of those who truly follow God by faith throughout the Old Testament and even now.

•           And while believers are commended for doing our best to relieve those who are experiencing this kind of tribulation (1 Timothy 5:10), ultimately it’s God alone who will completely and ultimately relieve us of these tight, constraining difficulties when Jesus returns. He will give us rest with all of his people at that time (2 Thessalonians 1:7). And the individuals who are currently troubling God’s people - themselves will be troubled on that day (2 Thessalonians 1:6).

So, Paul and Silas had told the Thessalonian believers these things before their forced parting. They told them that they would all suffer situations in their life that were tight and squeezing and full of pressure.

And so, that’s just what happened…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary even as it came to pass, and ye know

even as it came to pass, and ye know

καθὼς καὶ ἐγένετο καὶ οἴδατε

So, the Thessalonian believers indeed saw - and were fully aware - that what Paul had told them would happen concerning their afflictions and suffering did indeed happen.

And again, I think this is referring to their forced separation by the means of the mob that ran Paul and Silas out of town and then would have turned their malicious intents toward the believers who were left behind.

… So, can you imagine seeing a group of individuals - or even just one individual - saved as a result of your verbal witness to them… and then as you’re ministering to them and trying to do your part to see them grow in the faith - that persecution arises to the extent that you need to leave them? And they’re left with no human resource to help them continue-on in their walk with Jesus Christ.

How would you feel about that? I think it would weigh heavy on your heart.

And that’s just how Paul expresses feeling about his having to leave the Thessalonians as he continues into verse 5…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary Verse 5

1 Thessalonians 3:5 AV 1873

5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary For this cause when I could no longer forbear

5 For this cause when I could no longer forbear

5 διὰ τοῦτο κἀγὼ μηκέτι στέγων

So, this idea of forbearing is repeated from verse 1. It serves to bookend this section - here in verse 5 and back in verse 1.

Now, back in verse 1, it was stated that “we” couldn’t forbear. But in this verse now it says that Paul himself couldn’t forbear. It’s getting more personal as he continues to think about their untimely parting. It was a painful memory and reality for Paul, Silas, and Timothy altogether - but especially for Paul, personally.

And this personal concern led Paul to action…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary I sent to know your faith

I sent to know your faith

ἔπεμψα εἰς τὸ γνῶναι τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν

Paul wanted to know - are those Thessalonians still standing strong in their faith in Christ? So, he sent Timothy to check on them.

Paul wanted to know the status of the Thessalonians’ trusting Christ. They had made an initial profession. But were they clinging to Christ in the midst of their difficulties? Because one thing that difficulties does is to really test whether your faith in Christ is genuine. Will you stick with him even if he sends hard things into your life? Some don’t. Some leave him.

And behind every decision of a professing believer to stop following Christ, there’s a real, literal, and very evil being. There is a literal devil who is at work in this world and even among God’s people…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary lest by some means the tempter have tempted you

lest by some means the tempter have tempted you

μή πως ἐπείρασεν ὑμᾶς ὁ πειράζων

So, Paul’s great desire and prayer was that this wouldn’t have happened to those believers in Thessalonica. He was greatly desirous that the Tempter would not have effectively tempted them.

This is of course referring to the ultimate enemy of God and his people - the devil.

This is his identification and activity. He tempts. He is the tempter. He influences an entices us to sin. He suggests subtly that we abandon God when times are tough. In our times of weakness and deep need, he offers “solutions” that are not in keeping with what God wants for us.

But - as you know - it’s this kind of temptation that Jesus Christ our Savior suffered himself from the devil. And so, Hebrews 2:18 shares with us the wonderful reality that because Jesus suffered temptation, he’s able to help people like you and me who are beset with temptations.

So, Paul’s question was - did the Thessalonians take this help from the Lord? Did they continue trusting this one who was tempted just like they were - yet without sin?

Because if the Thessalonians did give in to the temptations of Satan, that would mean that in a sense, all of the hard work of Paul and Silas and Timothy would be in vain…

1 Thessalonians 3 Commentary and our labour be in vain

and our labour be in vain

καὶ εἰς κενὸν γένηται ὁ κόπος ἡμῶν

Now, there’s a real sense in which anything you do for the sake of Jesus Christ won’t ever truly be in vain. You will receive a reward - whether your efforts outwardly appear to be “successful” or not.

And yet, we understand what Paul’s saying here. He worked hard to proclaim the gospel to these folks. He and Silas labored among them - both working with their hands and trying to build these people up in their faith. They did this day and night. Paul and Silas had little rest for a significant period of time as they served these new believers.

And the thought that the devil might have been able to undo all of their hard work - was unbearable for Paul, personally.

So, what did Paul discover concerning the faith of the Thessalonians when he sent Timothy to them? We’ll see that next time in verses 6 and following!

[S] In the meantime, may the Lord help each of us to Respond to Afflictions with Faith.

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