4:16. And when this epistle shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans: and that you read that which is of the Laodiceans.
And that you read that which is of the Laodiceans... What this epistle was is uncertain, and annotators have given different opinions concerning it. Some expound these words of an epistle which St. Paul wrote to the Laodiceans, and is since lost, for that now extant is no more than a collection of sentences out of the other epistles of St.
Paul; therefore it cannot be considered even as a part of that epistle.
Others explain that the text means a letter sent to St. Paul by the Laodiceans, which he sends to the Colossians to be read by them.
However, this opinion does not seem well founded. Hence it is more probable that St. Paul wrote an epistle from Rome to the Laodiceans, about the same time that he wrote to the Colossians, as he had them both equally at heart, and that he ordered that epistle to be read by the Colossians for their instructions; and being neighbouring cities, they might communicate to each other what they had received from him; as one epistle might contain some matters not related in the other, and would be equally useful for their concern; and more particularly as they were equally disturbed by intruders and false teachers, against which the apostle was anxious to warn them, lest they should be infected by their pernicious doctrine.
4:17. And say to Archippus: Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.
4:18. The salutation of Paul with my own hand. Be mindful of my bands.
Grace be with you. Amen.
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE THESSALONIANS
Thessalonica was the capital of Macedonia, in which St. Paul, having preached the Gospel, converted some Jews and a great number of the Gentiles: but the unbelieving Jews, envying his success, raised such a commotion against him that he, and his companion, Sylvanus were obliged to quit the city. Afterwards he went to Athens, where he heard that the converts in Thessalonica were under a severe persecution, ever since his departure; and lest they should lose their fortitude, he sent Timothy to strengthen and comfort them in their sufferings. In the meantime St.
Paul came to Corinth, where he wrote this first Epistle, and also the second to the Thessalonians, both in the same year, being the nineteenth after our Lord's Ascension. These are the first of his Epistles in the order of time.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 1
He gives thanks for the grace bestowed on the Thessalonians.
1:1. Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians: in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:2. Grace be to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing,
1:3. Being mindful of the work of your faith and labour and charity: and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father.
1:4. Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election:
1:5. For our gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also: and in the Holy Ghost and in much fulness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes.
1:6. And you became followers of us and of the Lord: receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
1:7. So that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.
1:8. For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and in Achaia but also in every place: your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak any thing.
1:9. For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you: and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 2
The sincerity of the apostle's preaching the gospel to them and of their receiving it.
2:1. For yourselves know, brethren, our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain:
2:2. But having suffered many things before and been shamefully treated, (as you know) at Philippi, we had confidence in our God, to speak unto you the gospel of God in much carefulness.
2:3. For our exhortation was not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in deceit.
2:4. But as we were approved by God that the gospel should be committed to us: even so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who proveth our hearts.
2:5. For neither have we used at any time the speech of flattery, as you know: nor taken an occasion of covetousness (God is witness):
2:6. Nor sought we glory of men, neither of you, nor of others.
2:7. Whereas we might have been burdensome to you, as the apostles of Christ: but we became little ones in the midst of you, as if a nurse should cherish her children:
2:8. So desirous of you, we would gladly impart unto you not only the gospel of God but also our own souls: because you were become most dear unto us.
2:9. For you remember, brethren, our labour and toil: working night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you, we preached among you the gospel of God.
2:10. You are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and without blame we have been to you that have believed:
2:11. As you know in what manner, entreating and comforting you (as a father doth his children),
2:12. We testified to every one of you that you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
2:14. For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews:
2:15. Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men;
2:16. Prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end.
To fill up their sins... That is, to fill up the measure of their sins, after which God's justice would punish them. For the wrath of God is come upon them to the end... That is, to continue on them to the end.
2:17. But we, brethren, being taken away from you for a short time, in sight, not in heart, have hastened the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
2:18. For we would have come unto you, I Paul indeed, once and again: but Satan hath hindered us.
2:19. For what is our hope or joy or crown of glory? Are not you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
2:20. For you are our glory and joy.
1 Thessalonians Chapter 3
The apostle's concern and love for the Thessalonians.
3:1. For which cause, forbearing no longer, we thought it good to remain at Athens alone.
3:2. And we sent Timothy, our brother and the minister of God in the gospel of Christ, to confirm you and exhort you concerning your faith:
3:3. That no man should be moved in these tribulations: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.