by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2 March 8, 2015 Dayton, Texas
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. [And] be at peace among yourselves.
1901 ASV Translation:
12 But we beseech you, brethren, to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 and to esteem them exceeding highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
I. Paul's Request.
A. Its nature.
1. The verb translated "beseech" is used in the New Testament with a wide range of nuances.
a. It is sometimes used when a person "asks" another person a question.
b. It is sometimes used when a person "urges" his/her will upon another when no question is in view.
c. It is sometimes used when a person "begs" in desperation for a favor.
d. It is used by Paul in one other text of 1 Thessalonians (4:1), and there it is coupled to "parakaleo".
e. Trench says that its particular essence involves a kind of "equality" between the one who asks and the one being asked, but this seems patently false from merely looking at the way it is used in the New Testament. The people who "asked" Jesus for a favor were not in any sense "equal" to Jesus in their "asking" and when Jesus "asked" people questions, He was not trying to make them feel "equal" to Him.
f. John is the majority user of this verb and he uses it in a wide variety of settings. It is his key word for "pray" in John 17 and in other "prayer" contexts.
g. It seems that the word is used whenever there is a setting wherein someone wants to attempt to get his/her agenda in play, and he/she sees the person being "asked" as a means to that end.
2. Only the immediate context reveals how much "intensity" there is in the "request".
B. Its content.
1. "...to know them...".
a. The issue of the "knowing" is a relatively large issue in 1 Thessalonians because Paul uses this word 16 times in this short book. It is significant that its use directly addresses "what manner of men we were among you" (1:4) since in our current text this is the issue: knowing the character of those who labor, etc.
b. It is clear from Paul's emphasis early in the letter that he considered that the impact of his labors was directly affected by the kind of person he was perceived to be by those in whom he sought that impact.
c. The "up" side of this "knowing" is its ability to motivate emulation.
d. The "down" side of this "knowing" is its ability to discourage people from believing the truth (if the teacher is hypocritical, the taught will not do any of the challenging things set before them).
e. The "them" have three characteristics.
1) They "labor" (note 1:3; 2:9; and 3:5) among you. At issue is their motivation in that "the labor of the love" is the standard given in 1:3 and maintained throughout.
2) They "are set over you by the Lord".
a) This is no small issue in view of Paul's words to the Ephesian elders that "ofyourownselves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw disciples after them" (Acts 20:30).
b) The qualifications are established by the Scriptures and are only set aside to the destruction of the flock.
3) They "are admonishing you".
a) The verb used is repeated in 5:14 in a specific sense: confrontation of the unruly; and 2 Thessalonians 3:15 uses it in the same sense of admonishing a wayward "brother".
b) The verb is used in 8 contexts of the New Testament and retains the sense of confronting flawed thinking/behavior in all but a couple of texts, and those do not disallow the idea of "confrontation of flaws".
f. That there were already some in Thessalonica capable of this kind of activity is remarkable in that Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy were not there long enough to have put those kind of men in place.
2. "...to esteem them...".
a. The idea is to make some judgment calls.
b. These judgment calls are to be rooted in love and to go to some degree of extremes.
c. The issue: their "work". The assumption is that they are actually doing legitimate "work" as identified by the three issues noted above.
II. Paul's Command.
A. Assumes a certain level of difficulty in making the aforementioned judgment calls.
B. Insists upon at least some "gracious" latitude.