1 Thessalonians 2:4-6

4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness.
6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
ESV
4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
NLT
4 For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
MSG
4 Be assured that when we speak to you we're not after crowd approval - only God approval. Since we've been put through that battery of tests, you're guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas.
CSB
4 Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but rather God, who examines our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 THESSALONIANS 2

The apostle in this chapter gives a further account of his ministry among the Thessalonians, of the nature, manner, and success of it, and of his regard to them, and conduct and conversation when with them; and commends their readiness in receiving the Gospel, and excuses his present absence from them. He appeals to them themselves for the truth of it, that his entrance to them, or preaching among them, was not in vain and without success, 1Th 2:1 that it was with all boldness and intrepidity of mind, notwithstanding what he had suffered before for it, 1Th 2:2 and with all integrity and faithfulness to the trust reposed in him by the Lord, without deceit and guile, or seeking to please men, but God the searcher of hearts, who had committed this trust unto him, 1Th 2:3,4 and that neither then, nor at any other time, he had used flattery, or showed covetousness; which he calls God to witness, 1Th 2:5 nor of them or others sought glory and honour, even that which was due unto him by virtue of his office, 1Th 2:6 but had showed all gentleness, humanity, and, affection; which he illustrates by the simile of a nurse cherishing her children 1Th 2:7 and by the willingness he showed not only to preach the Gospel to them, but to lay down his life for them, had it been necessary; so great was his affection for them, 1Th 2:8 and, as a proof of this, he puts them in mind of his labours, both in preaching the word, and in working with his own hands; because he would not be burdensome and chargeable to them, 1Th 2:9 and as for his conversation among them, he appeals both to God and them, how holy, just, and unblemished it was, 1Th 2:10 and reminds them of his tenderness, diligence, and faithfulness, in exhorting, comforting, and charging them, particularly to walk worthy of God; since he had called them to his kingdom and glory, 1Th 2:11,12 and then he expresses his thankfulness to God for their reception of the worth of the Gospel; not as an human invention, but as of God, which wrought effectually in them, 1Th 2:13 the evidence of which were partly their imitation of the churches of Christ in Judea, in doctrine and practice; and partly their suffering the same things they did, of the Jews, 1Th 2:14 who are described by their ill usage of, and cruelty to, Christ, their own prophets, and his apostles, by their not pleasing God, and by their opposition to men; an instance of which is given in prohibiting the apostles to preach to the Gentiles, whose end in so doing with respect to the Gentiles, was that they might not be saved; but God's end in suffering them so to do, was with respect to them that they might fill up their iniquity, and so entire wrath and ruin come upon them, as had been foretold, 1Th 2:15,16 and then the apostle concludes the chapter, by expressing his affectionate concern in parting with them, which was not in heart but in body; by declaring his earnest desire and endeavour to see them again; and by observing to them the reason he had not and could not come unto them, because Satan hindered him, 1Th 2:17,18 the cause of his being so desirous to see them, was their being his hope, joy, glory, and crown of rejoicing, both now and hereafter, 1Th 2:19,20.

\\you\\ The apostle having observed in 1Th 1:9 that those persons to whom the report of the Gospel being preached at Thessalonica, and the success of it there was made, showed everywhere both what manner of entrance he and his fellow ministers had in that place, and the conversion of many souls there; he enlarges upon the latter, and here reassumes the former, and appeals to the Thessalonians themselves, who must know full well, and better than others, what an entrance it was; and which is to be understood not merely of a corporeal entrance into their city and synagogue, but of their coming among them, by the preaching of the Gospel, as the ministers of the word and ambassadors of Christ:

\\that it was not in vain\\; it was not a vain show with outward pomp and splendour, as the public entrances of ambassadors into cities usually are; but with great meanness, poverty, reproach, and persecution, having been lately beaten and ill used at Philippi; nor was it with great swelling words of vanity, with the enticing words of man's wisdom, to tickle the ear, please the fancy, and work upon the passions of natural men, in which manner the false teachers came: but the apostle came not with deceit and guile, with flattering words or a cloak of covetousness, or with a view to vain glory and worldly advantage; nor was the message they came with, from the King of kings, a vain, light, empty, and trifling one; but solid and substantial, and of the greatest importance; the doctrine they taught was not comparable to chaff and wind; it was not corrupt philosophy and vain deceit, the traditions and commandments of men, but sound doctrine, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ: nor was it fruitless and without effect; the word did not return void and empty; but was powerful and efficacious to the conversion of many souls. Christ was with them both to assist them in their ministry, and to bless it to the salvation of men; nor was their coming to Thessalonica an human scheme, a rash enterprise, engaged in on their own heads, on a slight and empty foundation; but upon good and solid grounds, by divine direction and counsel; see Ac 16:9,10. 06428-940723-0952-1Th2.2

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 In-Context

2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.
3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.
4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness.
6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.
7 Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children,
8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

Cross References 8

  • 1. Galatians 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:11
  • 2. S Romans 2:29; Galatians 1:10
  • 3. S Revelation 2:23
  • 4. S Acts 20:33
  • 5. ver 10; S Romans 1:9
  • 6. John 5:41,44
  • 7. 1 Corinthians 9:1,2
  • 8. 2 Corinthians 11:7-11
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