Online Bible Commentary
1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you-- 7 therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? (NKJV)
The undisputed writer of this letter is Paul. Paul and Silas planted a church in Thessalonica in early 50 A.D. on Paul’s second missionary journey. Thessalonica was located in Macedonia, the northern area of Greece.
After leaving Thessalonica because of persecution Paul and Silas travelled south, ministering in Athens and Corinth. They spent eighteen months in Corinth (Acts 18:11).
When Timothy joined them in Corinth he gave a good report on the new church in Thessalonica, which prompted the writing of this letter in late 50 or early 51 AD. Timothy delivered the letter to the church shortly thereafter. This was Paul’s second letter, after his letter to the Galatians.
In this passage, Paul expresses Silas’ and his reaction to the good report delivered by Timothy. Prior to Timothy’s report they had been concerned with the new believers in Thessalonica losing their faith because of persecution.
Timothy’s report contained “good news of your faith and love” (v. 6a). The new believers had remained strong in their faith and their love not only for their fellow believers but also for unbelievers.
Timothy also reported that the new believers in Thessalonica “always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us”, referring to Paul and Silas (v. 6b). Paul responded that they “also” greatly desire “to see you”, referring to the new believers (v. 6c).
Paul reports to them that “in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith” (v. 7). Paul and Silas experienced “affliction”, persecution, throughout their travels. The gospel was always under assault by the Jews. Not only were they persecuted, but they were also in “distress” as they worried about the faith of the new believers in Thessalonica. Timothy’s good report has now relieved their distress. They are now “comforted” by the report of the new believers’ strong faith.
The distress was so great that Paul and Silas could not “live” until they knew if the new believers would “stand fast in the Lord” (v. 8). In other words, they were sitting on pins and needles until Timothy arrived with the good news. They had to depart Thessalonica quickly before their work was finished, because of the persecution. They had been worried that their work would be in vain, that the new believers would not “stand fast” in their faith.
Paul reports that he and Silas have been giving “thanks” to God and joyfully rejoicing “for your sake before our God” for the good report that that the new believers have remained strong in their faith (v. 9). They have been “exceedingly” praying “night and day” that they “may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith” (v. 10). Paul and Silas have been praying that they would be able to return to Thessalonica and disciple the new believers.
There is more to being a Christian that just salvation. We must also be discipled continually. We must be taught the Bible and surround ourselves with other believers. We must read the Bible and pray on a regular basis. This allows us to stand fast in our faith, in a world where our faith is constantly under assault.