Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

Exegetical Insight (Chapter 17)

The present active indicative often has an imperfective force; that is, it conveys the idea of ongoing or continuous action. When the Apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Thessalonian Christians, he wanted to reassure these new believers that they were not forgotten—that he and his companions still cared deeply for them. He tells them, “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Thess 1:2, NIV).

Paul expresses his constant practice of giving thanks to God by using the present active indicative verb eujcaristou:men. The verb could also, of course, be interpreted as “simple” or “undefined” action with no overtones of continuous prayer. The adverb “always” (pavntote), however, reinforces our impression that Paul is stressing that he prays regularly for the Thessalonians. It is also likely that in using the plural “we,” Paul is implying that he met often with Silas and Timothy to pray for these dear people. Certainly Paul also remembered the Thessalonians in his private times of prayer.

Far from being victimized by a group of itinerant moral preachers who sought their money and food, the Thessalonians were evangelized by a trio of men who proclaimed to them the living and true God. These were men whose lives had been touched deeply by the risen Christ and they poured themselves out to the Thessalonians in a loving and caring way. Their abrupt departure did not indicate a lack of concern; on the contrary, they were forced to leave, and now they prayed together constantly to the living God for these fledgling and vulnerable believers!

Clinton E. Arnold