Ἔπαινος Θεσσαλονικέων ἐπὶ τοίς ἀξίοις τῶν Ἀποστόλων ἀγῶσιν.
Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος.
(Χρυσοστόμου.) Ὁ μακάριος Ἰωάννης—τί δήποτε Ἐφεσίοις μὲν ἐπιστέλλων, καὶ τὸν Τιμόθεον ἐχων μεθ᾽ἑαυτοῦ, οὐχὶ συνέταξεν ἑαυτῷ· καίτοι γνωριζόμενον παρ᾽αὐτοῖς καὶ θαυμαζόμενον· “τὴν γὰρ δοκιμὴν αὐτοῦ γινώσκετε,” φησὶ, “ὅτι ὡς πατρὶ τέκνον σὺν ἐμοὶ ἐδούλευσεν,” καὶ πάλιν, “ὅτι οὐδένα ἔχω ἰσόψυχον, ὅστις γνησίως τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν μεριμνήσει·” ἐνταῦθα δὲ συντάττει αὐτὸν ἑαυτῷ; ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, ὅτι τότε μὲν ἔμελλεν αὐτὸν πέμπειν εὐθέως, καὶ περιττὸν ἦν ἐπιστέλλειν τὸν τὰ γράμματα καταληψόμενον· φησὶ γὰρ, “τοῦτον ἐλπίζω πέμψαι ἐξ αὐτῆς,” ἐνταῦθα δὲ, οὐχ οὕτως, ἀλλ᾽ἐπανελθὼν ἦν εὐθέως, ὥστε εἰκότως ἐπέστελλεν· “ἄρτι γὰρ,” φησὶ, “ἐλθόντος Τιμοθέον πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀφ᾽ “ὑμῶν.” Διατί δὲ αὐτοῦ προτίθησι τὸν Σιλουανὸν, καίτοι μυρία αὐτῷ μαρτυρῶν ἀγαθὰ, καὶ πάντων αὐτὸν προτιθείς; ἴσως μὲν ἐκείνου τοῦτο ἀξιοῦντος κατὰ πολλὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην, καὶ παρακαλοῦντος. ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὸν διδάσκαλον ἑώρων οὕτω ταπεινοφρονοῦντα, ὡς τὸν μαθητὴν ἑαυτῷ συντάττειν, πολλῷ μᾶλλον καὶ αὐτὸν ἂν τοῦτο ἐζήτησε καὶ ἐπέδραμεν· οὐδὲν δὲ ἐνταῦθα αὐτὸς περὶ ἑαυτοῦ τίθησιν, οὐχ ὁ Ἀπόστολος, οὐχ ὁ δοῦλος· ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ διὰ τὸ νεοκατηχήτους εἶναι τοὺς ἄνδρας, καὶ μηδέπω αὐτοῦ πεῖραν εἰληφέναι· ἄλλως τε, καὶ ἀρχὴ τοῦ κηρύγματος ἔτι ἦν τοῦ πρὸς αὐτούς· ἀκούσας δὲ ἦν ὁ Ἀπόστολος θλιβομένους τοὺς Θεσσαλονικεῖς, καὶ δειλιάσας μήποτε μετατεθῶσιν ἀπὸ τῆς πίστεως, πέμπει Τιμόθτεον πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀθηνῶν· ἐκείνου δὲ ἐλθόντος καὶ ἀπαγγείλαντος ὡς εἰσὶν ἑδραῖοι, χαίρων γράφει πρὸς αὐτούς· ἅμα δὲ ἀκούσας, ὅτι περὶ τὸν βίον ἐλαττώματά τινα εἶχον, καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα γράφει, καὶ αὕτη ἡ ὑπόθεσις· τὸ δὲ προοίμιον προεξηγησάμεθα “τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων, τῇ ἐν Θεῷ Πατρὶ καὶ Κυριῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ.”
ἸΩΆΝΝΟΥ. Εἰκὸς ἦν ὀλίγους εἶναι καὶ οὐδέπω συνεστάναι· διὰ τοῦτο παραμυθεῖται διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ἔνθα μὲν γὰρ τολὺς παρεληλύθει χρόνος, καὶ τὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας σύστημα πολὺ ἦν, οὐ τίθησι τοῦτο· ἐπειδὴ δὲ ὄνομα πλύθους ἐστὶν ὡς τὰ πολλὰ τὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ὄνομα, καὶ συστήματος ἤδη συγκεκροτημένου, διὰ τοῦτο αὐτὸς οὕτω καλεῖ.
Praise of the Thessalonians for their struggles worthy of the apostles.
Paul, and Silas, and Timothy.
(Chrysostom) The blessed John—when writing to the Ephesians, and having Timothy with him, he did not include himself, being known and admired by them, he says, “For you know his character, that as a son serves his father, Timothy served with me,” and again, “that I have no one as like-minded, who will be as concerned as he is about you.” But here, does he associate Timothy with himself? It seems to me that then he was immediately about to send Timothy, and it would have been far too cumbersome to write the words, “the one who will deliver this letter.” For he says, “I hope to send him,” but here it is not the case. Instead, having returned, Timothy was nearby, so he likewise sent the letter. For Paul writes, “now Timothy has come to us from you.” But for what reason does he place Silas before Timothy, though indeed he testifies to the myriad good things about Timothy and places him above everyone? Perhaps Timothy thought it worthy and exhorted Paul to do so according to his great humility. For since he saw the teacher humbling himself thus so as to associate himself with his disciple, he sought and ran after this all the more. And neither does Paul here appoint for himself a title, neither “an Apostle” nor “a servant.” It seems to me that he did not include a title because the men were newly instructed, and they had not yet encountered an issue on account of him as of yet, and because it was still the beginning of his preaching to them. And when the Apostle heard about the Thessalonians afflictions and being afraid that they might abandon the faith, he sends Timothy to them from Athens. When Timothy returned and brought news of how they were stable, Paul writes to them rejoicing. And at the same time he heard that certain people were dejected concerning life, he writes these things to them, and this is his advice. And now let us explain the introduction, “to the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
CHRYSOSTOM. It is likely that there were few people in the church and that it was not yet established. For this reason, Paul exhorts them by the name of the church. For where a large amount of time has passed and the whole of the church was composed of many people, he does not add this. But since the name is much the same as the name of many of those who attended the church and the whole having already been joined together, therefore he calls them the Thessalonians.