#189 “DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE YOU SERVE?” (1 THESSALONIANS 2:7-8)

  1. But we were gentle (nēpioi, infant child) among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. Paul uses two family metaphors to highlight his integrity among the Thessalonians: an infant and a nursing mother. It was common in Paul’s day for traveling speakers to take advantage of the people. Therefore, Paul used familial language to communicate his efforts to protect and provide for the needs of the Thessalonians. He was innocent in his nurturing like a “wet nurse” caring and feeding a baby. Elsewhere, Paul conveyed the same tender care to the Corinthians: “Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children” (2 Cor. 12:14). In the OT, God described himself as a mother caring for her children (Isa. 49:15; 66:12-13).
  2. So, being affectionately desirous (deep longing; to yearn for someone) of you, we were ready (to take pleasure) to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. As an apostle, Paul used his authority to love and care for the Thessalonians. Affectionately desirous—A word not commonly used by Paul. The GK word is homeiromenoi, “to be drawn to someone with deep affection and longing.” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, “The rarity of the term selected in 1 Th. 2:8 brings out the peculiar nature of the relation of the apostle to the community. This consists in a “warm inward attachment.” The apostle is impelled by it to serve, not only in unconditional obedience to his commission, but also in heartfelt love for the community.” A simple translation can read, “Because we loved you so much, we were ready to share with you…”