1When we could bear it no longer, we decided that we would remain in Athens 2and send Timothy in our place. # 3:2 This may have been when Paul sent the letter of 2 Thessalonians with Timothy, which would make it earlier than 1 Thessalonians. He is our beloved brother and coworker with God # 3:2 Some manuscripts have “servant of God.” in preaching the gospel. We knew he would strengthen your faith and encourage your hearts 3so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions, for you know that we are destined for this. # 3:3 That is, the sufferings of persecution are included in God’s destined purpose for those who love God and faithfully follow Christ. See Acts 14:22. 4In fact, when we were with you we forewarned you: “Suffering and persecution is coming.” And so it has happened, as you well know. 5For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I sent our brother to find out if your faith was still strong, for I was concerned that the tempter # 3:5 Or “harasser,” an obvious title for Satan, our adversary. had somehow enticed you and our labor would have been in vain.
6But now, Timothy has just returned to us and brought us the terrific news of your faith and love. He informed us that you still hold us dear in your hearts and that you long to see us as much as we long to see you. 7So, our dear brothers and sisters, in the midst of all our distress and difficulties, your steadfastness of faith has greatly encouraged our hearts. 8We feel alive again as long as we know that you are standing firm in the Lord.
9How could we ever thank God enough for all the wonderful joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10Every night and day we sincerely and fervently pray that we may see you face-to-face and furnish you with whatever may be lacking in your faith.
11Now may our Father God and our precious Lord Jesus # 3:11 Some manuscripts add “the Anointed One.” guide our steps on a path straight back to you. 12And may the Lord increase your love until it overflows # 3:12 Or “May the Lord make you increase and your love superabound.” toward one another and for all people, just as our love overflows toward you. 13Then your hearts will be strengthened # 3:13 The Aramaic can be translated “He will lift up your hearts without contention.” in holiness so that you may be flawless and pure before the face of our God and Father at the appearing of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. # 3:13 Or “at the coming of the Lord of us, Jesus Christ, with all of the holy myriads of himself.” Amen!