Prayer Series XXVIII
CONTEXT: Paul as usual begins this epistle with a greeting, introduction and in this case, praise or thanks to the church at Thessalonica. Matthew Henry breaks down the chapter as follows: The apostle blesses God for the growing state of the love and patience of the Thessalonians. (1-4) And encourages them to persevere under all their sufferings for Christ, considering his coming at the great day of account. (5-12)
When this “verse of the day” came across my computer this morning, it reminded me that prayer does not “end” when we see the results. We must thank not only God but also the folks who are the subject of our prayers.
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on this verse says the following:
We are bound—Greek, “We owe it as a debt” (2Th 2:13). They had prayed for the Thessalonians (1Th 3:12) that they might “increase and abound in love”; their prayer having been heard, it is a small but a bounden return for them to make, to thank God for it. Thus, Paul and his fellow missionaries practice what they preach (1Th 5:18). In 1Th 1:3, their thanksgiving was for the Thessalonians’ faith, love, and patience”; here, for their exceeding growth in faith, and for their charity abounding. “We are bound” expresses the duty of thanksgiving from its subjective side as an inward conviction. “As it is meet,” from the objective: side as something answering to the state of circumstances [Alford]. Observe the exact correspondence of the prayer (1Th 3:12, “The Lord make you to abound in love”) and the answer, “The love of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth” (compare 1Th 4:10).