Paul and Silas and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians which lives in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
May good-will and peace be granted to you.
We thank God always for you all and mention you in our prayers, for we constantly remember before our God and Father your active faith and loving service and firm hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
You yourselves know, brothers, that our visit to you was not without results. At Philippi, as you remember, we had the courage through divine help to tell you the good news of God even though we had been ill treated and insulted. We loved you so much and you had become so dear to us that we would gladly have given to you not only God's good news, but also our very lives.
Brothers, you remember our hard labor and toil, how we worked at our trade night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, while we told you God's good news. You are witnesses, and so is God, that our dealings with you who believe in Christ were pure, just, and beyond reproach, and that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children, persuading and encouraging you, and appealing to you to live so that you would be worthy of the God who calls you to his own Kingdom and glory.
We thank God constantly for this also, that when you received God's message from us you accepted it not as a mere word of man but for what it really is, the message of God, which even now is doing its work in the hearts of you who believe. You have begun to follow the example of the churches of God in Judea which are united with Jesus Christ, for you have suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they have suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus.
Brothers, when we were torn away from you for a little time (out of sight but not out of mind!), we were exceedingly eager to see you face to face. We did want to come to you -- I, Paul, did more than once, but Satan put difficulties in our way. For who is |our hope, our joy, our crown| of which we have a right to be proud? Is it not you? For you are our glory and our joy!
So when I could stand it no longer, I decided that it was best to remain alone at Athens and send Timothy, our brother and God's servant in telling the good news about Christ, to strengthen your faith and so to encourage you that none of you might be disturbed by the troubles through which you are passing, for you know that we must have them.
But now that Timothy has just come back and brought me the good news of your faith and love and how you always remember me lovingly, longing to see me as I long to see you, I have been comforted, brothers, in all my distress and trouble by your faith.
How can we thank God enough for all the joy that comes to us through you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see your faces and supply whatever is lacking in your faith. May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make your love for one another and for all men grow ever greater, even as does our love for you, so as to make your hearts strong and your characters without fault in the sight of our God and Father.
I solemnly charge you in the name of the Lord to have this letter read aloud to all the brothers. The love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.