1 Thessalonians

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1 Thessalonians 3 – Skeptics Annoted Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 Thessalonians 3 in the Skeptics Annoted Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;

2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.

6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:

7 Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:

8 For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;

10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.

12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

"He may stablish your hearts ... at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul expected Jesus to return within his lifetime.
The apostle does not claim here that Jesus Christ will return in his own life time, but simply that our hearts should be blameless until he does. As John Gill explains:

and this the apostle desires may be at the coming of our Lord Jesus; or unto the coming of him, as in 1 Thess. 5:23. Either at death, when he comes into his garden, and gathers his lilies, and takes his to himself to be for ever with him; or at the day of judgment, when he comes to judge the quick and dead;

At other places Paul clearly establishes that before Christ returns certain conditions must be fulfilled. For example the Jews will believe in Christ, see Rom. 11:26. The question about when Christ should return also arose in this congregation of Thessalonica, therefore in his second letter to them Paul lays down some other conditions, see 2 Thess. 2