Monday, March 29, 2010

Words, rich with meaning

I'm in the process of reading through 1 & 2 Thessalonians in my devotional time. I am also reading Leon Morris' Tyndale New Testament Commentary alongside. I recently read the first passage; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3.


1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians' Faith and Example

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Morris, in his commentary, points out the significance and rich meaning of several words in this opening to 1 Thessalonians.Speaking of their "labor of love", Morris writes "Paul means more than small deeds of kindness done without of hope of reward. The word kopos denotes laborious toil, unceasing hardship borne for love's sake." That exposition put me in my place; often I look to my small deeds as heroic sacrifice for Christ. And yet, the call is to unceasing and laborious working for Christ.

Morris also discusses the steadfastness of hope. "Hypomone, rendered endurance [or steadfastness], means not a negative, passive acquiescence, but an active, manly endurance; 'not the resignation of the passive sufferer, so much as the fortitude of the stout-hearted soldier' ." I'm not here to patiently 'get through' life, but to endure with courage and strength.

Morris' explanation of key words and phrases is helping my understanding as I go through these epistles. They are powerful words, rich with meaning, inspired by the Power, and the Source of all meaning; God.

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