1. Paul, Silas, and Timothy,
To the church in Thessalon in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Health and happiness to you.(1)
2. We always thank God for all of you, naming you in our beads.
3. Before God our Father, we ongoingly call to mind your work of trust(2), your strife of love, and your steadfast hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. Brothers and sisters, you who are loved by God, we know that he has chosen you
5. on the grounds that our gospel came to you not only in words, but also with might, with the Holy Ghost, and with full belief. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
6. You became followers of us and of the Lord. Notwithstanding so much hardship, you welcomed the word with gladness given by the Holy Ghost.
7. And so for the believers in Macedon and Achaia, you became a likeness(3) to be followed.
8. The Lord’s word rang out from you not only in Macedon and Achaia, but also everywhere your trust in God has spread to. Therefore, we don’t need to say anything about it,
9. for they themselves bear forth how you took us in as guests.(4) They tell how you shifted away from heathen worship,(5) to carry out work(6) for the living and true God,
10. and to watch for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who hands us over from the wrath to come.
1. Brothers and sisters, you yourselves know that our coming to you was not worthless.
2. As you know, we had erstwhile undergone hardship and mishandling in Philippi, but with God’s help, we dared to tell you(7) his gospel amid much hindering.
3. For our behest is not made to mislead, befoul, or trick you.
4. Rather, we speak as those whom God has found trustworthy with the gospel. We seek not to be liking to folk, but to God, who looks into our hearts.
5. As God is our witness, you know that we never came with fawning words or outdecked greed.
6. We weren’t looking to win a good name on earth,(8) not from you or anyone else. As Christ’s erranders, we could have been a burden to you,
7. but we were mild among you, like a childrearer(9) cares for her children.
8. We were fond of you so much that we were happy to share with you not only God’s gospel, but also our own selves, since you had become so dear to us.
9. Brothers and sisters, you have in mind our sore strife. We worked night and day so that we wouldn’t be a burden to anyone while we spoke forth God’s gospel.
10. Both you and God are witnesses of how holy, upright, and guiltless we were towards you who believe.
11. As you know, we dealt with each one of you as a father deals with his own children, bidding, soothing,
12. and witnessing for you to lead lives worthy of God, who calls you to his rich kingdom of awe.(10)
13. We also can’t stop thanking God for another thing. When you took in God’s Word, which you heard from us, you didn’t welcome it as men’s word, but as what it truly is: God’s Word, which is at work in you who believe.
14. For you, brothers and sisters, became followers of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus. At the hands of your landsmen, you have undergone the same things as those churches did from the Jews,
15. who killed the Lord Jesus and the soothsayers, and also drove us out. They are not to God’s liking.
16. When they hinder us from speaking to the heathens, so that these might be spared in whole,(11) they show themselves to be against everyone. They are always full of sin, but the wrath has come upon them to the end.
17. Brothers and sisters, when we for a short time were bereft from you in body, but not in heart, we overflowed with a keen yearning to see you head on.
18. This is why we wanted to come to you - indeed I, Paul, did again and again, but Satan hindered us.
19. For what, if not you, would be our hope, or happiness, or high-hearted wreath before our Lord Jesus comes at last?
20. Yes, in you we boast with great mirth.
1. So when we couldn’t stand it anymore, we thought it best to be left alone in Athens.
2. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading Christ’s gospel, to strengthen and hearten you on behalf of your trust in God,
3. so that no one would be unsettled by these hardships. You know quite well that we were meant for this.
4. For even when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would undergo hardship. And indeed you know that’s what happened.
5. This is why, when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I sent to find out about your trust. I feared the misleader may have misled you, and our work may have been for nought.
6. But Timothy has newly come to us from you, bringing good tidings of your trust and love. He told us that you always keep us fondly in mind, wishing greatly to see us, as much as we wish to see you.
7. Therefore, brothers and sisters, your trust in God heartened us in all our harrowing hardship,
8. for now we live if you stand fast in the Lord.
9. How can we give thanks back to God for you, and for how glad you have made us before God?(12)
10. Night and day we bid most earnestly to see you again and fill in the shortcomings of your trust in God.
11. Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, lead our way to you.
12. May the Lord make your love for each other, and for everyone else, grow and overflow, even as ours does for you.
13. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be guiltless and holy before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes at last with all his holy ones.
1 lit., “Grace and peace to you”. ‘Grace’ has traditionally been interpreted as “God’s free gift of salvation”, but when Paul uses the word to mean this, he will usually specify the Giver: e.g., “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:28) Here then I believe it to be more of a greeting than a theological statement. The same goes for ‘peace’, for which I wanted to avoid the unnatural-sounding “frith”. This eloquent greeting can perhaps also be rendered as: “Kind greetings and best wishes to you”.
2 The Greek ‘písteos’ means “confiding belief”. I think “trust” better captures this notion than “belief”, which can mean mere opinion.
3 The Greek ‘typon’ means “example”, “model”, or “pattern”, but has also been used as “image”, especially in referencing Christian icons as an image of the heavenly reality. For this reason, I settled on the phrase “likeness to be followed”.
4 The Greek ‘eísodon’, meaning “entry”, also connotes “receiving”, as in a visit, for which I chose the phrase “took us in as guests”. It is also used at the beginning of Chapter 2.
5 lit., “idols”
6 “Carry out work” is meant to translate the Greek ‘doulein’, which is “to serve”.
7 The literal Greek says: “We were bold in our God to speak to you.”
8 lit., “We did not seek glory from men”
9 “-rearer” is from Old English ‘ræran’, “to raise” “to build up”
10 lit., “to his kingdom and glory”
11 The Proto-Indo-European root *sol is behind the Greek, Latin, and English words for “salvation”, “save”, “whole”, and “health”. I hope the phrase “spared in whole” captures the idea of “being made complete” along with “being rescued”.
12 lit., “For what thanks are we able to return to God concerning you over all the joy with which we rejoice because of you before our God?”