Online Bible Commentary
The Word of God
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. (NKJV)
Paul begins this passage by writing that he continually thanks God for the believers at the church in Thessalonica (v. 13a). He is thankful to God because they accepted the words of those who were ministering to them not as the “word of men”, but as the “word of God” (v. 13b). The literal translation of the Greek reads “you welcomed not as a word of men, but as it is truly, the word of God.” He writes that this word of God is at work in the believers (v.13c).
Paul then writes that because they believed the word as the word of God, the church became “imitators of the churches” in Judea (v. 14a). The evidence of their belief was that they remained steadfast throughout the persecution, as did the churches in Judea. The church in Thessalonica was persecuted primarily by local Jews, just as were the churches in Judea (v.14b).
Paul then continues to condemn the Jews as people who “killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us” (v.15a). The Jews killed some of their own prophets and also persecuted Paul and Silas driving them from Thessalonica to Berea. Paul does not write this as one who is anti-Semitic, but as one with first hand facts, since he was once the ringleader of the Jews who persecuted believers in Judea.
These Jews thought they were pleasing God but, in fact, “they do not please God and are contrary to all men” (v. 15b). This was because they were “forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved” (v. 16a).
These Jews “fill up the measure of their sins” (v. 16b). In other words, the magnitude of their sins was now resulting in consequences. The consequences were that “wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (v.16c). Paul does not specify here what the wrath was that came upon the Jews.
We see three main points in this passage. First, the Bible is the word of God. Although men wrote down the words they did so by the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit. The words were not their words but God’s words. God “breathed” the words into them (2 Timothy 3:16).
Second, the result of accepting the Bible as the word of God is that you will become an “imitator” of Christ. Until you accept the Bible as the word of God it is just another book. It is just another self-help book. It is just a book of good suggestions for living. It is a book that you can believe what makes sense and discard the things that don’t make sense. You can pick and choose what you want to believe. It is a good reference book to have lying on the coffee table.
But the Bible is not just another book. It is the word of God. When you accept it as the word of God. and read it, you begin growing in Christ, becoming more like Him every day. You are then able to please Him, as you become more and more like Him.
The third point in this passage is that we should be very careful not to do anything to hinder the work of God. God takes this very seriously. His wrath will come down upon those who hinder others from coming to Christ. We hinder others from coming to Christ by persecuting them or those who minister to them, or by supporting them in their sin.