These Afflictions

1Thessalonians 3:1-4 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow-labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and you know. 

‘Could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone.’ When I could not bear to continue without knowing of your state I sent Timothy from Athens, choosing to be left alone than to be uncertain of your welfare (3:1-5).

‘Fellow-labourer’ [Greek: sunergos] fellow-labourer (3:2; Php. 4:3; Phm. 1:1, 24); fellow-worker (Col. 4:11); workfellow (Rom. 16:21); labourers together (1Cor. 3:9); companion in labour (Php. 2:25); fellow helper (2Cor. 8:23; 3Jn. 1:8); and helper (Rom. 16:3, 9; 2Cor. 1:24).

‘Afflictions’ [Greek: thlipsis] does not refer to a disease, as usually understood, but tribulation. Translated “tribulation” 20 times; “affliction” in the sense of tribulation 18 times; “burdened” (2Cor. 8:13); “anguish” (John 16:21); “persecution” (Acts 11:19); and “trouble” (1Cor. 7:28; 2Cor. 1:4, 8). Not once is it used for physical sickness or disease.

‘Tribulation’ [Greek: thlibo] narrow (Matt. 7:14); suffer tribulation (3:4); throng (Mark 3:9); afflict (2Cor. 1:6; 1Tim. 5:10; Heb. 11:37); and trouble (2Cor. 4:8; 7:5; 2Thess. 1:6-7).

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