What does 1 Thessalonians 2:20 mean?
ESV: For you are our glory and joy.
NIV: Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
NASB: For you are our glory and joy.
CSB: Indeed you are our glory and joy!
NLT: Yes, you are our pride and joy.
KJV: For ye are our glory and joy.
NKJV: For you are our glory and joy.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse Paul answers the question he posed in verse 19, asking what his ultimate reward was for his service to Christ. He replies that the Thessalonian believers—the people, themselves—were his joy and glory. This declaration would encourage the believers immensely and assure them that Paul's absence from them had not dimmed his love for them.

What Paul writes in this verse assures us that eternal value resides in work done in the name of Christ, not in material possessions (1 John 2:15–17). Jesus warned against materialism. He said: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19). He instructed His followers to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:20–21). The Thessalonian believers were Paul's treasure, and they were dear to his heart!
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 2:17–20 recalls how Paul had been chased out of Thessalonica, but he strongly wanted to return and see the Thessalonian Christians again. Repeatedly, he desired to return to Thessalonica, but was unable to do so. The Christians at Thessalonica meant so much to Paul that he anticipated greeting Christ at His coming with the blessing of knowing he had won these believers to Christ. They were his glory and joy.
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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