Word and Power
of the Spirit
Calling & Conduct
Exemplary Hope of
Motivating Hope of
Purifying Hope of
Comforting Hope of
Invigorating Hope of
Written from Corinth
Modified from the
Jensen's Survey of
An Exemplary Conversion
An Exemplary Witness
An Exemplary Follow-Up
FOR INDEED WHEN WE WERE WITH
YOU, WE KEPT TELLING YOU IN ADVANCE THAT WE WERE GOING TO SUFFER
AFFLICTION: kai gar hote pros
humas emen, (1PIAI) proelegomen (1PIAI) humin hoti mellomen (1PPAI)
thlibesthai, (PPN): (John 16:1, 2, 3; Acts 20:24)
When we were with (pros)
you - Here Paul looks back to the time when the missionaries were
still in a mutual face-to-face relationship with (pros)
their readers. Then "we kept telling you that we would be persecuted."
Jesus like Paul forewarned His
disciples in order to keep them from being tripped up when afflictions
These things I have spoken to you,
(note the stabilizing effect of sound doctrine) that
(introduces a purpose clause) you may be kept from stumbling
(literally from being stumbled, entrapped or tripped up - and giving
up one's faith). They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but
an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is
offering service to God. And these things they will do, because they
have not known the Father, or Me. (See note John
Hiebert remarking on
telling you in advance writes that...
Thus the suffering Thessalonians
could take courage that their suffering as believers was no untoward
accident that had unexpectedly befallen them; it was part of God's
appointment for them. And as such they could be assured not only of
its necessity but also of its beneficial purpose (Mt 5:10, 11, 12-see notes
12; 2Ti 2:10, 11,
4:12, 13, 14-notes
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)
Kept telling in advance (4302)(prolego
pró = before + lego = to say) means
literally to say or tell beforehand (in advance and so to predict), to foretell
or to forewarn (the idea is the to warn in advance).
Forewarned is forearmed and that is
what Paul and Barnabas sought to do to the new disciples in Lystra,
Iconium and Antioch, Luke recording...
And after they had preached the
gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to
Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening (episterizo -
= continually placing them firmly upon the Solid Rock of sound
doctrine) the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in
the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the
kingdom of God." (Acts 14:21, 22)
He had plainly told them
beforehand, in advance of its actual arrival, that suffering would be
the inevitable result of accepting the gospel. Paul wisely followed
the example of Christ Who warned His disciples that trouble awaited
From now on I am telling you before
it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that
I am He. (John 13:19)..
And now I have told you before it
comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe.
Comment: Notice that these "appointments" with
trouble serve a divine purpose of nurturing faith! And it is this kind
of "eternal perspective" which allows us to practice the command to
"in everything give thanks" - 1Th 5:18-note)
There is an important principle to
note for all those who would evangelize and then follow up (disciple)
-- To leave converts unwarned of the possible adverse personal
consequences of their acceptance of the gospel is to do them a serious
injustice. Yes, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,
but that plan will always include suffering for the gospel! We must
forewarn disciples so they are forearmed (cp Acts 14:22)
In an ancient Greek secular use of
Gaius, an attorney, before
his death expresses his thoughts in an epitaph for his tomb
Notice that here in 1Thes 3:4, prolego
is in the
conveying the sense
of "we were telling you (over and over)" or repeatedly.
Paul warned them many times for he understood Jesus’ teachings and
also had personal experience in God's "school of suffering".
Prolego is used in 1 verse
and 13 verses in the
Isaiah 41:26 Who has
declared this from the beginning, that we might know? Or from former
times, that we may say, "He is right!"? Surely there was no one who
declared, Surely there was no one who proclaimed (LXX
= prolego = "proclaimed beforehand"), Surely there was no one
who heard your words.
Matthew 24:25 Behold, I
have told you in advance.
Mark 13:23 But take heed;
behold, I have told you everything in advance.
Acts 1:16 Brethren, the
Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold
by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those
who arrested Jesus.
Romans 9:29 (note)
And just as Isaiah foretold, "Except the Lord of Sabaoth
had left to us a posterity, We would have become as Sodom, and would
have resembled Gomorrah."
2 Corinthians 7:3 I do not
speak to condemn you; for I have said before that you
are in our hearts to die together and to live together.
2 Corinthians 13:2 I have
previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I
say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as
well, that if I come again, I will not spare anyone
Galatians 1:9 As we have
said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to
you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 5:21 envying,
drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn
(prolego) you just as I have forewarned (proeipon - AAI from
prolego) you that those who practice such things shall not inherit
the kingdom of God.
For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in
advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to
pass, as you know.
(note) and that no man
transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is
the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you
before and solemnly warned you.
Hebrews 4:7 (note)
He again fixes a certain day, "Today," saying through David after so
long a time just as has been said before, "Today if you
hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts."
2 Peter 3:2 (note)
that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by
the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by
Jude 1:17 But you, beloved,
ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand
by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
We were going to (3195)
(ginomai) means to come into existence, in this case
continually being (present
tense) in the
state of suffering affliction.
Paul knew what was coming and yet
he pressed onward toward the goal. He calls all believers to be
imitators of him as he is of Christ Jesus, Who for the joy set before
endured the cross and despised the shame (He 12:2, 3-see notes
Jon Courson commenting on
trials wrote that...
A. W. Tozer was right when
he said, “Before God can use a person greatly, He must allow that
person to be hurt deeply.” This isn’t because God is mean, but because
He knows we can’t comfort others unless we’ve been comforted
Trials not only enable us to
comfort others, but they purify our own faith. That’s why Peter said,
“Don’t think it strange concerning the fiery trials that come your
way. They are sent to test and purify your faith” (1Peter 4:12-note).
What happens when you are in a
fiery trial? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego will tell you: Jesus
shows up (Da 3:25). That’s why James tells us to count it all joy
when we fall into trials (Jas 1:2-note).
“Whoopee! A trial! How wonderful!”
Crazy? Not really, because if you have this mind-set in your difficult
times, you will see Jesus in a way that will blow your mind, warm your
heart, and bless your socks off!
Trials don’t make or break us,
gang. They simply reveal what’s inside. When I’m driving and hit a
bump, the tea that splashes out of the mug on my dashboard was there
before the bump. The bump doesn’t put the tea in. It just shows what
was already in the cup. That’s what trials do. (Courson,
J: Jon Courson's Application Commentary: NT. Nelson. 2004
Richison comments on
affliction writing that...
This pressure from without hems the
believer in a situation like a mountain gorge. God puts conditions in
our narrow way and presses us into distressing problems.
We are hard pressed on every side,
yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair… (2Corinthians
God puts us into a squeeze play.
Compression produces gold and compression produces character in the
Christian suffering is inseparable
from the Christian life. Christians face different kinds of
affliction: persecution (1Th 1:6-note),
imprisonment (Acts 20:23), derision (He 10:33-note),
poverty (2Corinthians 5:13), sickness (Re 2:22-note), and inner
distress (Php 1:17-note;
Tribulation tests whether we will
spread the gospel at the risk of life or limb and whether we will
claim the promises of God (2Corinthians 1:8, 9). Faith accepts God’s
discipline and patiently endures trial (2Thessalonians 1:4). A
Christian has the assurance that the coming glory far overshadows
present suffering (2Corinthians 4:17, 18). God’s promises give us hope
in the face of suffering.
Suffer affliction (2346)
(thlibo from tribos = wear away, rub, break in
pieces; NIDNTT says thlibo is from the root thlao = squash,
crush) (See study of related word
thlipsis) literally means to press, squash,
hem in and then to be narrow. It pictures putting pressure upon or a pressing in upon
or a pressing hard upon a person (as upon Jesus
getting in the boat to keep from being crowded in Mark 3:9).
Richison explains that...
The words “suffer tribulation”
refers to suffering due to the pressure of circumstances or the
antagonism of others (2 Thessalonians 1:6, 7). This pressure from
without hems the believer in a situation like a mountain gorge (Ed
note: see use in Mark 3:9 below for an illustration for this sense of
thlibo). God puts conditions in our narrow way and presses us into
distressing problems. (Ref)
The Williams’ translation
footnote says this is the
picture of a loaded wagon crushed
under its heavy load
Marvin Vincent has the following note explaining that the root
to press or squeeze. Tribulation is
perhaps as accurate a rendering as is possible, being derived from
tribulum, the threshing-roller of the Romans. In both the idea of
pressure is dominant, though thlipsis does not convey the idea of
separation (as of corn from husk) which is implied in tribulatio."
(Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New Testament Vol. 1, Page 3-80)
The idea is to press together,
compress, squash, hem in. Figuratively thlibo refers to
sufferings that arise from the pressure of circumstances or from the
antagonism of persons and so means to afflict, to harass, to
discomfit, to oppress, to vex. Philosophically group (thlibo,
for life’s afflictions. And so thlibo means to trouble, to
afflict, to distress, to oppress, to cause trouble. In the passive
voice it means to be the recipient of such trouble, etc, and thus to
experience hardship or be afflicted (see 2Cor 1:6).
Here in 1Thessalonians 3:4
does not refer merely to a prediction, but to God's appointed will.
The basic idea of thlibo is ‘severe constriction’, ‘narrowing’ or ‘pressing
together’ and thlibo is the verb used to describe the pressing of
grapes to extract juice and make wine!
What do pressing circumstances
"extract" out of you...what kind of wine...sweet or bitter? Similar notions
underlie the Latin word tribulum (a threshing sledge), which is the source
of the English word tribulation. Most biblical
references to tribulation are to sufferings endured by the people of
God. The central and dominating factor in the biblical understanding
of such suffering however is the mystery of the the suffering Servant, the
Messiah (see notes
Revelation 1:9; cf. Isa 63:9). All the tribulations of
the Messianic people are to be viewed in the light of the Savior's
Here are some phrases in which
thlibo is found in ancient secular Greek writings: "tight
quarters", "the city is jammed full with a multitude", "a tight place
and full of bad snakes", "distressed by someone's scheming",
"distressed soul". The figurative used in classic Greek use is common,
both in the sense of oppress (external) and of grieve, vex (internal).
Epictetus speaks of the pressures of life (ta thlibonta) which the
true Stoic must and can overcome (Dissertationes, 4, 1, 45; cf. 1, 25,
17 and 28; 2, 27, 2 f.; 3, 13, 8).
Thlibo is found 76 times in
(Ex. 3:9; 22:21;
23:9; Lev. 19:33; 25:14, 17; 26:26; Deut. 23:16; 28:52-53, 55, 57;
Jos. 19:47; Jdg. 4:3; 6:9; 8:34; 10:8-9, 12; 1 Sam. 10:18; 28:15;
30:6; 2 Sam. 13:2; 22:7; 1 Ki. 8:37; 2 Ki. 13:4; 2 Chr. 6:28; 28:22;
33:12; Ezra 4:1; Neh. 4:11; 9:27; Job 20:22; 36:15; Ps. 3:1; 13:4;
18:6; 23:5; 27:2, 12; 31:9; 42:10; 44:7; 56:1; 60:12; 69:17, 19;
78:42; 81:14; 102:2; 106:11, 42, 44; 107:6, 13, 19, 28; 120:1; 143:12;
Isa. 11:13; 18:7; 19:20; 28:14; 29:7; 49:26; 51:13; Jer. 30:20; Lam.
1:3, 5, 7, 10, 17, 20; 2:17; Ezek. 18:18; Mic. 5:9). Here are a few
Exodus 3:9 And now, behold,
the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen
the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing (Lxx =
Judges 4:3 And the sons of
Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and
he oppressed (Lxx = thlibo) the sons of Israel severely for
Judges 10:9 And the sons of
Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and
the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed
(Lxx = thlibo).
Judges 10:12 Also when the
Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed (Lxx
= thlibo) you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their
1Samuel 10:18 and he said to
the sons of Israel, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I brought
Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the
Egyptians, and from the power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing
Psalm 18:6 In my distress
(Lxx = thlibo = when I was afflicted) I called upon the LORD, And
cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my
cry for help before Him came into His ears.
Psalm 69:17 And do not hide
Thy face from Thy servant, For I am in distress (Lxx = thlibo);
answer me quickly.
Psalm 107:6 Then they cried
out to the LORD in their trouble (Lxx = thlibo used as a noun);
He delivered them out of their distresses.
Psalm 120:1 A Song of
Ascents. In my trouble (Lxx = thlibo used as a noun) I cried to
the LORD, And He answered me.
Micah 5:9 Your hand will be lifted
up against your adversaries (Lxx = thlibo = "those who
continually afflict you"), And all your enemies will be cut off.
TDNT has this comment
regarding the uses of thlibo (and
in the ...
1. The theologically
significant figurative use is common in the LXX for various Hebrew
terms meaning a. “to distress,” b. “to treat with hostility,” c. “to
afflict,” d. “to oppress,” and e. “to harass,” “be hostile to,” and
even “destroy,” or, in the case of the noun, a. “trouble,” b.
“distress,” c. “oppression,” “tribulation,” etc.
2. Both internal and
external afflictions are in view, the former covering both distress
and anxiety, the latter the afflictions of slaves or aliens,
oppression by enemies, and such troubles as illness, desert wandering,
3. Inner fear or anguish may
be intended (cf. Gen. 42:21).
4. The terms acquire
theological significance because the reference is usually to the
distress of Israel (or the righteous), e.g., in Egypt (Ex. 4:31), or
exile (Dt. 4:29). Often such distress is seen as a divine visitation
on the people, so that we read of a present or future day of
affliction (Isa 37:3; Hab. 3:16).
5. Yet the righteous also
suffer various afflictions (enemies, sickness, etc.) from which God
delivers them (cf. Ps 9:9; 32:7, etc.). In later Judaism afflictions
are said to bring about repentance, increase merit, or achieve
expiation for the self or others. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
Thlibo is used 10 times in
Matthew 7:14 (note)
"For the gate is small, and the way is narrow (thlibo -
= a contracted way,
straitened way or compressed way and is the
continual state of the way - cf John 14:6) that leads to life, and few are those who
Mark 3:9 And He told His
disciples that a boat should stand ready for Him because of the
multitude, in order that they might not crowd (thlibo) Him;
2 Corinthians 1:6 But if we
are afflicted (present
being afflicted), it
is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for
your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same
sufferings which we also suffer;
2 Corinthians 4:8 we are
being afflicted) in
every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
2 Corinthians 7:5 For even
when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we
were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears
(note) For indeed
when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were
going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as
2 Thessalonians 1:6 For
after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who (present
- continually) afflict you 7 and to give relief to you
who are (present
and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven
with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
1 Timothy 5:10 having a
reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she
has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints'
feet, if she has assisted those in distress (thlibo used
hear as a noun, literally means "those who are continually being
afflicted"), and if she has devoted herself to every good work.
Hebrews 11:37 (note)
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were
put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in
goatskins, being destitute, afflicted (hard-pressed by their
Why are trials and afflictions
necessary? Such experiences endured in
God's power and for His glory prepare us to be able to comfort others
also. In addition, trials serve to purify our faith, Peter exhorting
Beloved, do not be surprised at the
fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as
though some strange thing were happening to you but to the degree that
you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at
the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. (See
(Comment: Remember beloved that your trials are not sent to
break you irreparably [although brokenness is often a "benefit" of
trials - see Psalm 51:17 -
but to reveal what is really inside and ultimately to conform you to
the image of God's Son.)
Richison reminds us that...
Paul leveled with them that they
would meet such things if they became Christians. He never
misrepresented the difficulty in becoming a Christian. He never
painted a rosy picture of a bed of ease. The Christian life demands
confrontation. True Christianity is not convenient. (Ref)
AND SO IT CAME TO PASS, AS YOU
KNOW: (PPN) kathos kai egeneto (3SAMI) kai oidate. (2PRAI):
(1Thes 2:2,14; Acts 17:1,5, 6, 7, 8, 9,13; 2Corinthians 8:1,2;
2Thessalonians 1:4, 5, 6)
(kathos) means as, just as, even as. Milligan has a similar use in
a ancient secular Greek writing -- "that we will superintend the lamps
of the above mentioned temples, as aforesaid"
Came to pass (1096)
(ginomai) is used essentially to describe what comes into
existence. Here the foretold afflictions did in fact come into
Hiebert comments that with
the phrase and so it came to pass Paul makes...
an appeal to the exact fulfillment
of their predictions. This verification of his words should
encourage them and strengthen their faith. It was assurance that
the missionaries knew what they were talking about. As you well
know is a confirmatory appeal to the personal experience of his
readers. They could personally testify that his predictions had been
no empty saying. (Hiebert,
D. Edmond: 1 & 2 Thessalonians: BMH Book. 1996)(Bolding
means perception by sight (perceive, see) as in
Mt 2:2 where the wise men "saw His star". It
is the verb that describes absolute,
positive, beyond a chance of a doubt type of knowing something. The
speaks of the permanence of their knowing.
It refers to that quality of
knowledge that is intuitive. It means to see with the mind’s eye,
signifies a clear and purely mental perception. It describes one as
having come to a perception or realization of something.
Fausset rightly observes
The correspondence of the event to
the prediction powerfully confirms faith: “Forewarned, forearmed”
[Edmunds]. The repetition of “ye know,” so frequently, is designed as
an argument, that being forewarned of coming affliction, they should
be less readily “moved” by it.
Hendricksen agrees writing
Afflictions that have been
predicted, and that take place in accordance with this prediction,
serve to strengthen faith. (Hendriksen,
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book
Trials are the norm in the
"victorious" Christian life, but we can rest assured that the
Refiner's hand is always on the thermostat. Trials for believers prove
the reality of our faith, and weed out those who are mere professors
(1Pe 1:7-note), enable us to comfort and encourage others who are going
through trials (2Co 1:4), develop endurance in our character (Rom.
5:3), make us more zealous in spreading the gospel (Acts 4:29;
5:27, 28, 29: 8:3, 4) and help to remove the dross from our lives (Job