What does 1 Thessalonians 3:12 mean?
ESV: and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,
NIV: May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
NASB: and may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;
CSB: And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you.
NLT: And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
KJV: And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
NKJV: And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
Verse Commentary:
Paul's prayer in these verses expresses his strong desire that the Lord would keep on increasing the Thessalonians' love. He uses a term derived from the Greek root word perisseuo, which implies something that "overflows" or "spills over the top." Paul desires to see their love greatly increase for fellow believers and everyone else. Paul's love for the Thessalonians served as a model for the believers at Thessalonica. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Paul named love as the greatest quality of the Christian life, In 1 John 3:14 the apostle John cites love as a proof of one's salvation, and in 1 John 4:7 he writes, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."

Christians should love one another and also love the lost. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, demonstrated love for the lost. He illustrated this love by telling a story about a shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep to rescue one lost sheep. When he brought it safely to the fold, he called his neighbors to rejoice with him (Luke 15:1–7).
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 3:11–13 concludes this chapter with Paul's prayer for himself and for his readers. He asks God and the Lord Jesus to guide him and his coworkers to the Thessalonians. He also prays that the Lord would cause the Thessalonians' love to overflow to one another and to others. He assures his readers that his love overflowed to them. He strongly desires that God will strengthen his readers' faith so they will be fully separated unto him without any valid accusation when Jesus returns. Paul adds, ''with all his saints.'' When Jesus comes in the air to catch away his church, the souls of departed Christians will accompany Him to receive their resurrected, glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Chapter Summary:
In chapter 3, Paul completes his discussion of the current state of the church in Thessalonica. After sending Timothy, Paul has received confirmation that the believers there are standing firm in their faith. Their devotion to the gospel is surviving, despite the persecutions which Paul predicted would arise. Paul once again thanks the Thessalonians for their faithfulness and prays for their continual growth.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 3 concludes Paul's comments about the condition of the Thessalonian church. These began in chapter 1 and were given more details in chapters 2 and 3. Here, Paul expresses his joy that the Thessalonians are enduring persecution faithfully, and he prays that they will continue to grow. In the following chapters, Paul will address some of the concerns plaguing the Thessalonians, including worries about the end times.
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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