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1 Thessalonians 2:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Nor of men sought we glory - As we preached not for worldly gain, so we preached not for popular applause; we had what we sought for-the approbation of God, and the testimony of a good conscience.

When we might have been burdensome - They had a right to their maintenance while they devoted themselves wholly to the work of the Gospel for the sake of the people's souls. Others understand the words εν βαρει ειναι, to be honorable; we sought no glory of you nor of others, though we were honorable as the apostles of Christ. כבוד cabod, in Hebrew, to which the Greek βαρος answers, signifies not only weight but glory; and in both these senses the apostle uses it, 2 Corinthians 4:17.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Nor of men sought we glory - Or praise. The love of applause was not that which influenced them; see the notes on Colossians 1:10.

Neither of you, nor yet of others - Nowhere has this been our object The love of fame is not that which has influenced us. The particular idea in this verse seems to be that though they had uncommon advantages, as the apostles of Christ, for setting up a dominion or securing an ascendancy over others, yet they had not availed themselves of it. As an apostle of Christ; as appointed by him to found churches; as endowed with the power of working miracles, Paul had every advantage for securing authority over others, and turning it to the purposes of ambition or gain.

When we might have been burdensome - Margin, “or, used authority.” Some understand this as meaning that they might have demanded a support in virtue of their being apostles; others, as Calvin, and as it is in the margin, that they might have used authority, and have governed them wholly in that manner, exacting unqualified obedience. The Greek properly refers to that which is “weighty” - ἐν βαρέι en barei- “heavy, burdensome.” Anything that weighs down or oppresses - as a burden, sorrow, or authority, would meet the sense of the Greek. It seems probable, from the context, that the apostle did not refer either to authority or to support exclusively, but may have included both. In their circumstances it might have been somewhat burden some for them to have maintained him and his fellowlaborers, though as an apostle he might have required it; compare 1 Corinthians 9:8-15. Rather than be oppressive in this respect, he had chosen to forego his right, and to maintain himself by his own labor. As an apostle also he might have exerted his authority, and might have made use of his great office for the purpose of placing himself at the head of churches, and giving them laws. But he chose to do nothing that would be a burden: he treated them with the gentleness with which a nurse cherishes her children (1 Thessalonians 2:7), or a father his sons (1 Thessalonians 2:11). and employed only the arts of persuasion; compare notes on 2 Corinthians 12:13-16.

As the apostles of Christ - Though the writer uses the word apostles here in the plural number, it is not certain that he means to apply it to Silas and Timothy. He often uses the plural number where he refers to himself only; and though Silas and Timothy are joined with him in this Epistle 1 Thessalonians 1:1, yet it is evident that he writes the letter as if he were alone and that they had no part in the composition or the instructions. Timothy and Silas are associated with him for the mere purpose of salutation or kind remembrance. That this is so, is apparent from 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13. In 1 Thessalonians 3:1, Paul uses the plural term also. “When we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; compare 1 Thessalonians 3:5. “For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith.” Neither Silas nor Timothy were apostles in the strict and proper sense, and there is no evidence that they had the “authority” which Paul here says might have been exerted by an apostle of Christ.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle had no wordly design in his preaching. Suffering in a good cause should sharpen holy resolution. The gospel of Christ at first met with much opposition; and it was preached with contention, with striving in preaching, and against opposition. And as the matter of the apostle's exhortation was true and pure, the manner of his speaking was without guile. The gospel of Christ is designed for mortifying corrupt affections, and that men may be brought under the power of faith. This is the great motive to sincerity, to consider that God not only sees all we do, but knows our thoughts afar off, and searches the heart. And it is from this God who trieth our hearts, that we must receive our reward. The evidences of the apostle's sincerity were, that he avoided flattery and covetousness. He avoided ambition and vain-glory.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 256-7

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.” AA 256.1

Many of the believers in Thessalonica had “turned ... from idols to serve the living and true God.” They had “received the word in much affliction;” and their hearts were filled with “joy of the Holy Ghost.” The apostle declared that in their faithfulness in following the Lord they were “ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” These words of commendation were not unmerited; “for from you,” he wrote, “sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad.” AA 256.2

The Thessalonian believers were true missionaries. Their hearts burned with zeal for their Saviour, who had delivered them from fear of “the wrath to come.” Through the grace of Christ a marvelous transformation had taken place in their lives, and the word of the Lord, as spoken through them, was accompanied with power. Hearts were won by the truths presented, and souls were added to the number of believers. AA 256.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 347

Before he became a disciple of Christ, Paul had occupied a high position and was not dependent upon manual labor for support. But afterward, when he had used all his means in furthering the cause of Christ, he resorted at times to his trade to gain a livelihood. Especially was this the case when he labored in places where his motives might have been misunderstood. AA 347.1

It is at Thessalonica that we first read of Paul's working with his hands in self-supporting labor while preaching the word. Writing to the church of believers there, he reminded them that he “might have been burdensome” to them, and added: “Ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” 1 Thessalonians 2:6, 9. And again, in his second epistle to them, he declared that he and his fellow laborer while with them had not eaten “any man's bread for nought.” Night and day we worked, he wrote, “that we might not be chargeable to any of you: not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 9. AA 347.2

At Thessalonica Paul had met those who refused to work with their hands. It was of this class that he afterward wrote: “There are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” While laboring in Thessalonica, Paul had been careful to set before such ones a right example. “Even when we were with you,” he wrote, “this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Verses 11, 12, 10. AA 347.3

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