The following is a personal paraphrase meant to illustrate how a student of the Bible might put the scriptures into their own words in order to better understand the text. As such, some liberties are taken in wording.
The Thessalonians themselves should know that Paul and his companion’s coming to them was not in vain. The fact that they came to Thessalonica and preached the gospel to them with boldness even after having suffered and being shamefully treated in Philippi, should serve as such evidence [a defense of their m.
Beyond this, the nature of Paul’s message and conduct, which the Thessalonians observed should serve to confirm that Paul’s ministry to them was from God, and fruitful. His preaching was free from error, it was motivated by purity and didn’t in anyway deal in deception. They were true ministers of God’s word, approved by Him and entrusted with the gospel. For this reason, they ministered not as men-pleasers but ministered to please God knowing that it is he who tests hearts.
The Thessalonians should know this is true because Paul and his companions never spoke words of flattery in order to gain financially from them. Nor did they seek praise or prestige from people. Nor did they use their authority to make demands of them.
On the contrary, they were gentle towards them like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. Like a mother they had affectionate desire towards them and were ready, not only to share the gospel of God, but to give of themselves. This because the believers had become very dear to them.
This affection and willingness to sacrifice was clearly seen as Paul and his companions refused to become a burden to any of them. Instead, they worked night and day so that they could provide for themselves as they proclaimed the gospel of God.
The behaviour of Paul and his companions towards the Thessalonians was holy, righteous and blameless. [Both God and the Thessalonians were witness to this].
The Thessalonians could affirm this as they remembered how Paul and his companions, like a father with his children, exhorted, encouraged, and charged each of them to live in a such a way as is worthy of God [who called them into his own kingdom and glory]
Paul is also thankful to God for the fact that the Thessalonians accepted the Apostolic preaching, not as the mere words of men but as it truly is – the word of God [which is at work in you believers].
It is clear that they received the word of God as the word of God because they received it in the midst of suffering. They were willing to receive it even as their own countrymen persecuted them. In doing this, they experienced [and set the same example] as the Apostles and the churches in Judea who also suffered persecution for the word’s sake].
Those Jews in Judea are those who killed Jesus and the prophets and drove Paul and his companions out of Thessalonica. They displease God and oppose all of mankind by hindering the Apostles from preaching the gospel to the Gentiles so that they might be saved. This is consistent with their pattern of rebellion against God. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last.
Although Paul and his companions were torn away from the Thessalonians by these sinful Jews, Paul’s affection was not in anyway diminished for the church. For this reason, they endeavoured the more eagerly and with great desire to see them again. They wanted to come see them on multiple occasions but Satan hindered them.
It makes sense that Paul would be so desirous to see the church because he saw their tremendous growth and obedience and endurance and looked forward to the coming of Christ when he could present these faithful believers to Jesus as the wonderful product of the Spirit’s ministry through him. Like an Olympian crowned with a laurel as the recognition of his victory, and thus representing all the labour and sacrifice he spent to achieve it, so these believers would serve as Paul’s crowning achievement when he stands before Christ. The prospect of such a day brought Paul great joy and hope.
In this way, these believers were Paul’s glory and joy.