1That is why, when we could bear it no longer, we decided to remain alone in Athensa 2and sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,b 3so that no one be disturbed in these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined* for this. 4For even when we were among you, we used to warn you in advance that we would undergo affliction, just as has happened, as you know.c 5For this reason, when I too could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had put you to the test and our toil might come to nothing.
6But just now Timothy has returned to us from you, bringing us the good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us and long to see us as we long to see you. 7Because of this, we have been reassured about you, brothers, in our every distress and affliction, through your faith. 8For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.
Concluding Thanksgiving and Prayer. 9* What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you, for all the joy we feel on your account before our God? 10Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith. 11Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, 12and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you,d 13so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. [Amen.]e
* [3:3] We are destined: the Greek phraseology and the context suggest Paul’s concern to alert his readers to difficulties he knew they would necessarily face and to enable them to see their present experience in the light of what he warned them would happen in the future. This line of thought is followed in 2 Thes 2:1–15.
* [3:9–10] The tension between Paul’s optimism concerning the Thessalonians’ faith and his worries about their perseverance remains unresolved. Perhaps this is accounted for not only by the continuing harassment but also by the shortness of his own stay in Thessalonica (even if that were over twice as long as the conventional three weeks that Luke assigns to it, Acts 17:2).