Paul’s Work for God in Thessalonica
1Brothers and sisters, you know that our visit to you produced results. 2 You know what happened earlier in the city of Philippi. We suffered, and people treated us very badly there. But God gave us the boldness to tell you his good news. We preached to you even when people strongly opposed us. 3 The appeal we make is based on truth. It comes from a pure heart. We are not trying to trick you. 4 In fact, it is just the opposite. God has approved us to preach. He has trusted us with the good news. We aren’t trying to please people. We want to please God. He tests our hearts. 5 As you know, we never praised you if we didn’t mean it. We didn’t put on a mask to cover up any sinful desire. God is our witness that this is true. 6 We were not expecting people to praise us. We were not looking for praise from you or anyone else. Yet as Christ’s apostles, we could have used our authority over you. 7 Instead, we were like young children when we were with you.
As a mother feeds and cares for her little children, 8 we cared for you. We loved you so much. So we were happy to share with you God’s good news. We were also happy to share our lives with you. 9 Brothers and sisters, I am sure you remember how hard we worked. We labored night and day while we preached to you God’s good news. We didn’t want to cause you any expense. 10 You are witnesses of how we lived among you believers. God is also a witness that we were holy and godly and without blame. 11 You know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. 12 We gave you hope and strength. We comforted you. We really wanted you to live in a way that is worthy of God. He chooses you to enter his glorious kingdom.
13 We never stop thanking God for the way you received his word. You heard it from us. But you didn’t accept it as a human word. You accepted it for what it really is. It is God’s word. It is really at work in you who believe. 14 Brothers and sisters, you became like the members of God’s churches in Judea. They are believers in Christ Jesus, just as you are. Your own people made you suffer. You went through the same things the church members in Judea suffered from the Jews. 15 The Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets also forced us to leave. They do not please God. They are enemies of everyone. 16 They try to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles. These Jews don’t want the Gentiles to be saved. In this way, these Jews always increase their sins to the limit. God’s anger has come on them at last.
Paul Wants to See the Believers in Thessalonica
17 Brothers and sisters, we were separated from you for a short time. Apart from you, we were like children without parents. We were no longer with you in person. But we kept you in our thoughts. We really wanted to see you. So we tried very hard to do so. 18 We wanted to come to you. Again and again I, Paul, wanted to come. But Satan blocked our way. 19 What is our hope? What is our joy? When our Lord Jesus returns, what is the crown we will delight in? Isn’t it you? 20 Yes, you are our glory and our joy.