The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 179 of 243
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"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the
Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul's prayer for these believers was not only that they might be preserved alive until
the near return of the Lord Jesus, but that they might be found to His approval when this
great event took place.
Chapter 4: starts with the Greek to loipon, literally `for the rest', hardly `finally' as
the R.V. The "furtherance" of the A.V. seems nearer its meaning, the Apostle continuing
the theme of brotherly love as it works out in practice:
"We beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as ye have received of us how ye
ought to walk and to please God, even as ye do walk, that ye abound more and more"
(4: 1 R.V.).
Note the phrase "even as ye do (or are) walking" in the R.V. which is added by reason
of the best Greek texts. Even though their standard of walk was so exemplary, Paul
would have them not rest on their laurels, but `abound' more and more. Perisseuo
translated `abound' is a typical Pauline word being used by him some 26 times. In this
epistle its occurrences are:
"The Lord make you to increase and abound in love" (3: 12).
"So that ye would abound more and more" (4: 1).
"We beseech you . . . . . that ye increase more and more" (4: 10).
We never get to the limits of practical love in the Christian life. This greatest of all
gifts is best shown in spending and being spent for others, pouring ourselves out, as it
were, in the loving service without stint for fellow-members of the Body of Christ. This
will be not just love--but overflowing love which is such a characteristic feature of God's
unfathomable love to us. It was this that Paul urged the Thessalonian believers to
evidence more and more. What opportunity has the world, the flesh or the devil, to enter
into a gathering of God's people where such a spirit is manifest?
The Apostle refers to the commands he had given them verbally `by the Lord Jesus'.
Later on in the chapter he speaks of details concerning the Lord's parousia or Coming
which he had `by the word of the Lord' (15). This does not necessarily mean, as some
assume, that these matters are entirely new, but Paul received his commission and all it
involved in revelation "not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the
Father" (Gal. 1: 1). It was not necessary to refer them to anything that God had revealed
through the Apostles of the Circumcision or by Christ when on earth. Paul's revelation
from the Lord was complete in all points, and whether some of it characterized truth
given in other callings or not did not matter; it was "by the Lord Jesus", now Risen and
Ascended, and conveyed through himself, an earthen vessel.
Just what this involves we must leave to the next article.