What does 1 Thessalonians 2:13 mean?
ESV: And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
NIV: And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
NASB: For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of mere men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which also is at work in you who believe.
CSB: This is why we constantly thank God, because when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you welcomed it not as a human message, but as it truly is, the word of God, which also works effectively in you who believe.
NLT: Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God — which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.
KJV: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
NKJV: For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse Paul expresses his unceasing gratitude that the Thessalonian Christians had responded with faith when he preached to them. They accepted what he said as God's Word and not the word of men. Paul understood that the Word of God had taken hold of their lives and was bearing spiritual fruit. This comment expands on the remarks made by Paul at the start of this letter, when he also referred to his "constant" mention of the Thessalonians in his prayers.

Psalm 1 illustrates the power of God's Word in the life of the person who gives it a warm reception. It causes that person to be "like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season" (Psalm 1:3). This acceptance is not meant to be blind, or foolish, however. The Bible specifically commends those who seek to confirm the truth of what they hear, even from someone like Paul (Acts 17:11).
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 2:13–16 explains why Paul gives thanks for the Christians at Thessalonica. They had responded positively to the Word of God, and the Word had produced fruit in their lives. They had become like the Judean believers by withstanding persecution. Paul assures his readers that those who oppose the gospel are objects of God's wrath.
Chapter Summary:
Paul begins to flesh out the general ideas he mentioned in chapter 1. Here in chapters 2 and 3, he further explains how he came to preach to the Thessalonian people. Paul particularly notes that his good conduct, proving his unselfish motivations, was instrumental in his success. The warm response of the people also endeared them to Paul, making him long to visit them again. Unfortunately, Paul was prevented from doing so, a struggle he attributes to Satan. Paul once again expresses his gratitude for the Thessalonian Christians' ability to honor God despite persecution.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 briefly introduced the relationship between Paul and the Christians at Thessalonica. This introduction is expanded in chapter 2, where Paul gives additional details about how he came to preach there, why he left, and what he has heard of their spiritual progress. Chapter 3 will round out this glowing report with a reference to a visit from Paul's friend and student, Timothy.
Book Summary:
The apostle Paul's second missionary journey included a visit to the prominent Greek city of Thessalonica. This stood alongside a major land route and boasted a busy seaport. A number of individuals believed Paul's message (Acts 17:1–4), but an angry mob forced Paul to leave the city after his brief stay. Later, while in Athens, Paul received a glowing report: the believers at Thessalonica were growing spiritually and serving God fervently. However, they had questions about the Lord's return, including what happens to a believer who dies before that day. And, as all churches do, they had some areas in which they were falling short. In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, written about AD 51, he addresses these developments. Paul expresses gratitude for the Thessalonian believers' spiritual progress, and frequently makes references to Christ's impending return.
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