1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Advent C1


How canA we thankB GodC enough for you in return for allD the joyE that we feelF before our God because of you? 

Notes on verse 9

A “can” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
B “thank” = eucharistiaantapodidomi. Eucharistia is 15x in NT. From eucharistos (thankful, well favored); {from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); {from chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards)}}. This is thankfulness or thanksgiving. It is active gratitude. It is related to the word “eucharist.” Antapodidomi is 7x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + apodidomi (to give back, return, give away; to restore as when one makes payment – to render what is due, to sell); {from apo (from, away from) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense)} This is to give in return, pay back, to render what is appropriate for good or bad.
C “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
D “all” = pas. This is all or every.
E “joy” = chara. Related to “thank” in v9. From chairo (see note B above). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
F “feel” = chairo. Related to “thank” and “joy” in v9. See note B above.

10 Night and dayG we prayH most earnestly that we may seeI you faceJ to face

Notes on verse 10a

G “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
H “pray” = deomai. From deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited) This is having an urgent need because one is missing or needing something so it is an earnest appeal or pressing request.
I “see” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
J “face” = prosopon. Related to “see” in v10. From pros (at, towards, with) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (see note I above)}. This is the face, surface, or front. It can imply presence more generally.

and restoreK whatever is lackingL in your faith.M

Notes on verse 10b

K “restore” = katartizo. 13x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + artizo (get ready, prepare); {from artios (perfect, complete, ready, adequate, fitted); from arti (now, in the moment); from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is to prepare, complete, perfect for final use. This is restoring something to a good condition, whether for the first time or one more. It is to repair in a literal or figurative sense.
L “lacking” = husterema. 9x in NT. From hustereo (to fall behind, come late, be interior, suffer need, be left out); from husteros (last, later). This is something lacking. So it could be a need or a defect. It could be a shortcoming or poverty.
M “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

11 Now may our God and FatherN himself and our LordO JesusP directQ our wayR to you. 

Notes on verse 11

N “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
O “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
P “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
Q “direct” = kateuthuno. Related to “thank” in v9. 3x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to) + euthuno (to guide, steer, make a straight direction); {from euthus (immediately, upright, straight and not crooked); {perhaps from eu (see note B above) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish)}}. This is to make straight, to go on a path that is efficient, without dilly-dallying. Figuratively, it is to direct.
R “way” = hodos. This is way, road, path, or journey. It can imply progress along a route.

12 And may the Lord make you increaseS and aboundT in loveU for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 

Notes on verse 12

S “make…increase” = pleonazo. 9x in NT. From pleion (many, more, great, having a greater value, more excellent); from polus (much, many, abundant). This is to abound, increase, to superabound. It shares a root with “pleonasm.”
T “abound” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.
U “love” = agape. From agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.

13 And may he so strengthenV your heartsW in holinessX

Notes on verse 13a

V “strengthen” = sterizo. 13x in NT. From sterigx (a support, plant down); perhaps from histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand firm). This is to make fast, support, strengthen, establish, fix firmly, to go resolutely.
W “hearts” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
X “holiness” = hagiosune. 3x in NT. From hagios (sacred, holy, set apart, different other; physically pure, morally blameless, or ceremonially set apart); from hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). This is holiness or sacredness. It is in the condition of being holy.

that you may be blamelessY before our God and Father at the comingZ of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.AA, BB

Notes on verse 13b

Y “blameless” = amemptos. 5x in NT. From a (not, without) + memphomai to blame, be disgraceful; be rejected due to doing bad things); {from mempteos (rejected because one has been condemned)}. This is blameless, without fault, irreproachable, free of defect. So, this is one who is morally pure.
Z “coming” = parousia. From pareimi (to be present, have come) {from para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + eimi (to be, exist)}. This is presence, coming, arrival, advent. Properly, it was the term for an official visit of a king or someone else with formal authority. It is used specifically in the New Testament to refer to Jesus’s second coming.
AA “saints” = hagios. Related to “holiness” in v13. See note X above.
BB {untranslated} = amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.

Image credit: “Abs-4w” by Dalma Szalontay, 2015.

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