Vincent's Word Studies
Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;
Lit. no longer forbearing. See on 1 Corinthians 9:12 : lxx, Sir. 8:17. For Class. parall. Soph. O. C. 15; Elec. 1118; Eurip. Hippol. 844; Ion 1412. He means that his longing for some personal communication from the Thessalonians became intolerable.
To be left - alone (καταλειφθῆναι - μόνοι)
And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:
See on Matthew 20:26; see on Mark 9:35. Not in the official sense of deacon which occurs only in the Pastorals. Διάκονος minister and διακονία ministry or service are common expressions of service to Christ or to men. Paul habitually uses them in this way. See Acts 1:25; Acts 6:4. Διάκονοι is used of ministers of Satan, 2 Corinthians 11:15, and διάκονος of the civil magistrate, Romans 13:4. See Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles.
Omit from text.
To establish (στηρίξαι)
That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.
N.T.o olxx. In Class., as early as Homer, of dogs; to wag the tail, fawn (Hom. Od. x. 217; xvi. 6). Hence of persons, to fawn or cringe. The word is apparently used here in the original sense, to be shaken.
We are appointed (κείμεθα)
As Luke 2:34 (see note); Philippians 1:17. Comp. Acts 14:22, in which occur four of the words used here. For the thought, see Matthew 5:10; Matthew 10:17; Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 2:21 ff.; 1 Peter 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:12.
For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
The tempter (ὁ πειράζων)
In vain (εἰς κενον)
The phrase only in Paul. See 2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16. The force of the preposition is fairly represented by to in the phrase to no purpose. lxx has εἰς κενὸν, εἰς τὸ κενὸν, and εἰς κενὰ.
But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:
Good remembrance (μνείαν ἀγαθὴν)
Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:
Rev. distress. The derivation from ἄγξειν to press tightly, to choke (Lightfoot, Ellicott) is doubtful. In the sense of urgency, distress, seldom in Class. See 1 Corinthians 7:26; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Luke 21:23.
For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
Stand fast (στήκετε)
For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;
Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Comp. Ephesians 3:20. Paul is fond of compounds with ὑπὲρ above. Of the 28 N.T. words compounded with ὑπὲρ, 22 are found in Paul, and 20 of them only there.
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
With all his saints (μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων αὐτοῦ)
Saints is often explained as angels; but the meaning is the holy and glorified people of God. Οἱ ἅγιοι is uniformly used of these in N.T. and never of angels unless joined with ἄγγελοι. See Luke 9:26; Mark 8:38; Acts 10:22. It is doubtful if οἱ ἅγιοι is used of angels in lxx. Zechariah 14:5, which is confidently cited as an instance, is quoted at the conclusion of the Didache (xvi. 7), clearly with the sense of glorified believers. Ἅγιοι ἄγγελοι appears Tob. 11:14; 12:15; Job 5:1. Angels has no connection with anything in this Epistle, but glorified believers is closely connected with the matter which was troubling the Thessalonians. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13. This does not exclude the attendance of angels on the Lord's coming (see Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26), but when Paul speaks of such attendance, as 2 Thessalonians 1:7, he says, with the angels (ἀγγέλων) of his power.