21Our brothers and sisters, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure. 2
You know how we had already been ill-treated and insulted in Philippi before we came to you in Thessalonica. And even though there was much opposition, our God gave us courage to tell you the Good News that comes from him. 3Our appeal to you is not based on error or impure motives, nor do we try to trick anyone. 4Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives. 5You know very well that we did not come to you with flattering talk, nor did we use words to cover up greed — God is our witness! 6We did not try to get praise from anyone, either from you or from others, 7even though as apostles of Christ we could have made demands on you. But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother2.7 we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother; some manuscripts have we were like children when we were with you; we were like a mother. taking care of her children. 8Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us! 9Surely you remember, our brothers and sisters, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God.
10You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct towards you who believe was pure, right, and without fault. 11You know that we treated each one of you just as a father treats his own children. 12We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.
13And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God's message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God's message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe. 14
Our brothers and sisters, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews, 15
who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone! 16They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God's anger has at last come down on them!
17As for us, brothers and sisters, when we were separated from you for a little while — not in our thoughts, of course, but only in body — how we missed you and how hard we tried to see you again! 18We wanted to return to you. I myself tried to go back more than once, but Satan would not let us. 19After all, it is you — you, no less than others! — who are our hope, our joy, and our reason for boasting of our victory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes. 20Indeed, you are our pride and our joy!
Finally, we could not bear it any longer. So we decided to stay on alone in Athens 2while we sent Timothy, our brother who works with us for God in preaching the Good News about Christ. We sent him to strengthen you and help your faith, 3so that none of you should turn back because of these persecutions. You yourselves know that such persecutions are part of God's will for us. 4For while we were still with you, we told you beforehand that we were going to be persecuted; and as you well know, that is exactly what happened. 5That is why I had to send Timothy. I could not bear it any longer, so I sent him to find out about your faith. Surely it could not be that the Devil had tempted you and all our work had been for nothing!
Now Timothy has come back, and he has brought us the welcome news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always think well of us and that you want to see us just as much as we want to see you. 7So, in all our trouble and suffering we have been encouraged about you, brothers and sisters. It was your faith that encouraged us, 8because now we really live if you stand firm in your life in union with the Lord. 9Now we can give thanks to our God for you. We thank him for the joy we have in his presence because of you. 10Day and night we ask him with all our heart to let us see you personally and supply what is needed in your faith.
11May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way for us to come to you! 12May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more and more and become as great as our love for you. 13In this way he will strengthen you, and you will be perfect and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all who belong to him.3.13 all who belong to him; or all his angels.
41Finally, our brothers and sisters, you learnt from us how you should live in order to please God. This is, of course, how you have been living. And now we beg and urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to do even more. 2For you know the instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality. 4Each of you men should know how to live with his wife4.4 live with his wife; or control his body. in a holy and honourable way, 5not with a lustful desire, like the heathen who do not know God. 6In this matter, then, no man should do wrong to his fellow-Christian or take advantage of him. We have told you this before, and we strongly warned you that the Lord will punish those who do that. 7God did not call us to live in immorality, but in holiness. 8So then, whoever rejects this teaching is not rejecting a human being, but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
9There is no need to write to you about love for your fellow-believers. You yourselves have been taught by God how you should love one another. 10And you have, in fact, behaved like this towards all the brothers and sisters in all Macedonia. So we beg you, our brothers and sisters, to do even more. 11Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. 12In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need.
13Our brothers and sisters, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him.
What we are teaching you now is the Lord's teaching: we who are alive on the day the Lord comes will not go ahead of those who have died. 16There will be the shout of command, the archangel's voice, the sound of God's trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. Those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first; 17then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 18So then, encourage one another with these words.