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1 Thessalonians 3:9

ESV For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God,
NIV How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?
NASB For what thanks can we give to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice because of you before our God,
CSB How can we thank God for you in return for all the joy we experience before our God because of you,
NLT How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.
KJV For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;

What does 1 Thessalonians 3:9 mean?

Instead of taking credit for the Thessalonians' spiritual progress, Paul gave thanks to God. The Lord deserved all the credit for what was taking place in the Thessalonians' lives. He strengthened them to overcome their afflictions and persecution. God was at work in their lives to perfect His will in them, just as He worked in the Philippian believers to "will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

No Christian can rightfully take credit for the spiritual progress he sees in another Christian. We may faithfully disciple another believer, but God deserves all the credit for what transpires in an individual's heart and life. In 1 Corinthians 3:5–6 Paul wrote, "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." Further, the spiritual qualities listed in Galatians 5:22–23 are not credited to any Christian worker, but to God. The qualities are called "the fruit of the Spirit."
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