Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5
Thesis: The apostle's "male" behavior was a necessary counterpoint to his "wet nurse" behavior.
Introduction: Several weeks ago we looked at Paul's claim that the Thessalonians could remember his activity "as a babe" among them like the harmlessness of a "wet nurse" when she was caring for her own children. The focus of that part of this paragraph was upon his absolute fixation upon the benefit he was bringing to them. He would not refrain from imparting to them the Gospel and his own soul and his fixation was upon not putting them under any constraints of any kind to give him anything, working day and night to provide for his own needs.
This evening we are going to look at the other side of that coin. Whereas his "harmlessness" was like unto the care a wet nurse gave to her own children, the counter balance to that was his activity as a "father toward his own children". The wet nurse required nothing of them for her own needs, but the "father" is full of "insistence". There are, obviously, two sides to The Gospel: what God has provided of His own efforts at His own cost; and the reciprocity that His provision requires.
June 22, 2014
- I. A Father "Exhorts".
- A. The word is the same as that used to describe The Gospel in 2:3.
- 1. It refers, fundamentally, to a "summons" to someone who is far off.
- 2. It is to be understood to include every kind of verbal meaning that has to do with getting a person to leave where they are to come alongside of God (exhort, encourage, rebuke, etc.).
- 3. At root, it is an "insistence" that "believers" leave off what has caused them to drift away and do whatever they must do to respond to the summons.
- a. This "whatever they must do" boils down to one basic "love" and one basic "belief"; it is a shift in values and beliefs (repentance).
- b. Clearly, this will result in actions taken as the love/faith issues settle in, but the point is not the actions; it is the driver of those actions.
- B. The issue of a "summons" is not nearly as "harmless" as the issue of a wet nurse/babe because it insists upon responsible responses.
- II. A Father "Encourages".
- A. This verb is found only in four texts in the New Testament, but two of them are extremely helpful and the other two are found in this letter.
- B. The word itself was coined to describe the "telling of" something "alongside of" someone who had a special need with the implication that the "telling" was supposed to address the need.
- C. In the two more enlightening texts (John 11:19 and 11:31), the "need" was Martha's and Mary's emotional distress created by the death of their brother and Jesus' lack of presence, and the "solution" was "soft conversation", probably involving the recounting of some of the experiences they had shared with Lazarus.
- D. In the other text in this letter, the word is used to describe the proper action to take with what the Authorized Version translators, for whatever reason, call "the feebleminded" (an almost ludicrous translation).
- 1. The NASB goes with "fainthearted" but even this misses the point.
- a. The "feebleminded/fainthearted" are actually those whose "souls" have been reduced to extreme "smallness" by reason of some catastrophic event which has pretty much wiped out whatever it was that the "soul" was fixed upon.
- b. This exactly fits the content of the John 11 context wherein the sisters have lost the male fixture in their household and now have a large hole in their souls that leaves them emotionally distraught.
- 2. It is interesting that when Paul had the opportunity to use this term in regard to those who have died, he refrained (4:13-18).
- E. Fathers, Paul says, come alongside their distraught children in the times when those children have suffered some particularly difficult "soul" loss.
- III. A Father "Implores".
- A. The word means "to bear witness" and is the root of the word "martyr": someone who tells what he/she has experienced with solid conviction and without being swayed by the implications.
- B. This is likely a parallel to the Old Testament idea of the fathers telling the children "the old stories" that will set the children up to apprehend reality through the lenses of those stories.
- 1. Included in this scenario is the telling of personal experiences that the father has had so that he may give the children a basis for buying into his view of life, love, and faith.
- 2. The assumption is that the "father" has something worth having in his own life, love, and faith.
- IV. A Father Has An Objective in Mind.
- A. The short term objective is "a worthy walk" with the "calling God".
- B. The longer term objectives are two: the Kingdom and the Glory.