I was afraid of vain labor (1 Thess. 3:5)

“For this reason,

When I could bear it no longer,

I sent Timothy

To find out

About your faith.

I was afraid

That somehow the tempter

Had tempted you.

Thus,

Our labor had been in vain.”

διὰ τοῦτο κἀγὼ μηκέτι στέγων ἔπεμψα εἰς τὸ γνῶναι τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν, μή πως ἐπείρασεν ὑμᾶς ὁ πειράζων καὶ εἰς κενὸν γένηται ὁ κόπος ἡμῶν.

Paul then said, “For this reason (διὰ τοῦτο), when I could bear it no longer (κἀγὼ μηκέτι στέγων), I sent Timothy (ἔπεμψα) to find out (εἰς τὸ γνῶναι) about your faith (τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν).  I was afraid that somehow (μή πως) the tempter (ὁ πειράζων) had tempted you (ἐπείρασεν ὑμᾶς).  Thus, our labor had been (γένηται ὁ κόπος ἡμῶν) in vain (καὶ εἰς κενὸν).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word στέγων, that means to cover closely, bear up under, endure patiently.  Paul was worried about the situation in Thessalonica.  He could not bear to wait any longer.  He decided to send Timothy to find out what was going on there.  He was concerned about their faith in Jesus Christ.  He thought that maybe the tempter or Satan had tempted them so badly that they had lost faith in Jesus Christ.  He was bothered and anxious about his own work there.  Had he labored in vain?  Did he do something to cause their faith to be weak?  Have you ever labored in vain?

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