Flourishing faith and growing love

2 thessalonians 1-3

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2016 comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the King James Version:

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

The New Living Translation of 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NLT) puts it this way:

[Encouragement during Persecution] Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.

Today’s verse notes two areas of growth in Christian believers: faith and love which are mentioned in Thessalonians, the Church Epistles whose focus is hope, the hope of Christ’s return. Paul commends the believers in Thessalonica for two reasons: “because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.”

In the corresponding verse in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (KJV) Paul also offers a similar commendation:

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

Amplified Bible offers this rendering:

Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith, and your service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout First and Second Thessalonians we find no reproof or correction directed toward this group of believers who are commended because of their flourishing faith: Their reputation as believers of great faith has spread across the world.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 in the Amplified Bible notes this:

For the word of the Lord has resounded from you and has echoed [like thunder], not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place [the news of] your [great] faith in God has spread, so that we never need to say anything about it.

The heading preceding the Verse of the Day in the New Living Translation mentions “Encouragement during Persecution.” This is precisely what these notable believers provide in 1 Thessalonians 3:7 in the Amplified Bible:

For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and suffering we have been comforted and greatly encouraged about you because of your faith [your unwavering trust in God—placing yourselves completely in His loving hands];

Not only are believers at the Church at Thessalonica to grow in faith, but believers everywhere are also exhorted to abound in love, as mentioned in

2 Corinthians 8:7

Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

Philippians 1:9 offers these encouraging words:

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Observe this part of the prayer offered in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 (KJV):

12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

One of the classic metaphors related to love is that of a rose. Indeed, love is a rose that grows—“The budding rose never stays the same but unfolds in lovelier ways.” Concerning the love of God, Paul offers this exhortation to those whose “love for one another is growing:”

1 Thessalonians 4: 9-10 (NLT):

But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.

Just as the Verse of the Day commends the believers in Thessalonica, the Scriptures also remind us that our faith and love are to increase and abound.

In thinking about the encouraging words found in First and Second Thessalonians and elsewhere, recall 1 Thessalonians 5:11 which provides the inspiration this poem:

Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Don’t stop now—keep on pursuing

Keep seeking His face

Don’t get weary in well doing

You must keep the pace

Seek and you shall find

The strength to be transformed–

Renewed in the spirit of your mind

Encourage yourself

And encourage one another

Build each other up

Every sister and brother

Speaking the truth, we grow up

Therefore, encourage one another

The accompanying video “Encourage one another” is also a compilation of the same verse from I Thessalonians 5:11 and other scriptures along with words of encouragement from Kimberly Culpen. May we all be strengthened and encouraged today.

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