For this cause, when I could no longer forbear
Or "bear" the above vehement desire of seeing them, or of hearing from them. Here the apostle speaks in the singular number, and seems to intimate, as if what was said before of the like kind is to be understood singly of him; for these words are a repetition and summary of the foregoing, with some diversity:
I sent to know your faith; how it stood, whether it was staggering
through these afflictions, or firm; whether it was weak or strong, what was wanting in it; and whether it grew and increased. The Arabic version adds, "and charity"; for of this, as well as of faith, Timothy brought an account, as appears from the following verse.
Lest by some means the tempter;
Satan, so called from his common and constant employ in tempting men to sin; see ( Matthew 4:3 )
have tempted you with success,
and got an advantage over them, improving these afflictions to such a purpose as to move them from the hope of the Gospel, and relinquish the profession of it; for otherwise there was no question to be made but he had tempted them, or solicited them to it; for none of the saints are free from his temptations; the apostle himself was not, nor indeed our Lord Jesus Christ: but the apostle's fears were, lest he should so have tempted them as to have gained upon them, and have persuaded them to have turned their backs upon the Gospel, and not expose their name and credit, and hazard the toss of worldly substance, and even life itself, for the sake of it.
And our labour be in vain:
in preaching the Gospel among them; not with respect to God, to whom the word never returns void and empty; nor with regard to the apostles, whose judgment was with the Lord, and their work with their God, who will of his own grace reward them; but with respect to the Thessalonians, to whom, should Satan gain his point, it would be of no use and service, for which the concern was. The Ethiopic version reads, "and your labour be in vain": in receiving the apostles, embracing and professing the Gospel, and suffering for it; see ( Galatians 3:4 ) but the common reading is best, and agrees with what the apostle elsewhere says, ( Galatians 4:11 ) ( 2:16 ) .