1 Thessalonians 2:1–12 (NKJV)
1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.I Thessalonians 2:1-12
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
This passage opens with Paul offering an apologetic (defense) of his ministry and preaching. In four small sections, Paul speaks of his and his team’s ministry and asserts that their words or preaching were pure and right. He strongly states that his ministry was not in vain. Perhaps as a response to accusations against him, he denies certain traits that would have disqualified their ministry in Thessalonica and around Asia Minor. Those traits are listed below, divided into discussions from each of the four triplets of verses.
- Paul begins with an assertion (vs. 1-3) that their ministry was done through much suffering, but with boldness in the face of great opposition. Their preaching did not come from error, uncleanness, or deceit. Paul characterizes their preaching and ministry as pure and accurate.
- He then claims (4-6) that their ministry was approved by God unto them as stewards of the gospel. Therefore, their goal was to please Him, the one who sent them. Their words were therefore spoken in a effort to glorify Him. They were not given to please men, flatter men, or seek glory from men. They did not desire these things, but rather to please God.
- Paul next characterizes (7-9) their ministry as that of a nursing mother: gentle, affectionate, and labor-intensive. This nurturing model serves as an image that should support the notion that Paul and his ministry companions did not want to be a burden or a drain on the Thessalonian disciples.
- The final triplet (10-12) finds Paul writing of their devotion and blameless behavior as they ministered in Thessalonica. He exhorted, comforted, and challenged the young disciples in the city, like a good father would do with his children. His motivation was the evangelism and discipleship of souls in this city. His motives were pure and selfless, not selfish or deceitful.
Paul faced unending opposition to the gospel message he preached. He was beaten, stoned, chased, falsely accused, imprisoned unjustly, and did not waver in his dedication to the gospel. He desired for souls to hear the wonderful truth that transformed his life, and he would not be denied that purpose. Give yourself for others, live your life in a way that reflects the heart and soul of Jesus Christ. Walk worthy of the calling of God upon your life. Show the world the bold, unbending conviction of your heart and mind: to love God and receive His grace while telling the world that Jesus saves!