I invite you to read my own “expanded” translation of 1 Thessalonians from the original Greek, part of my Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians. It may be purchased from Zondervan, Amazon and Logos. They all also offer the Spanish edition. While the commentary is based on the Greek text, we also place a great deal of emphasis on how the pastor might preach the epistle, and how it might be applied to today.
Click here to download and read: 1 Thessalonians ZECNT translation
Zondervan asked me for this specific dynamic style of translation, as will be seen in 1 Thess 1:3 where I unpack “your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” (so the ESV)
Here are some interpretative questions:
ONE: “Without fail we remember before God your work that arises from your believing, and your hard labor that comes from your love for others, and your endurance that comes from the hope you have, faith, love and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ as you live in the presence of God our Father” (1 Thess 1:3). Zondervan asked me for this specific dynamic style of translation; here I unpack “your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” (so the ESV). Thus “love for others” is because I take it that in this epistle Paul is speaking much of mutual love; likewise, he is concerned about the sign of the end times when “the love of many will grow cold” (Matt 24:12).
TWO: 1 Thess 1:9b-10 I take to be an outline of Paul’s gospel, one that the Thessalonians would have memorized. It is thus similar to his preaching outline in 1 Cor 15:3-5.
THREE: “We took the position of little children among you” (1 Thess 2:7). Most English versions have “we were gentle” among you. The difference between the two readings is based on the Greek text: the oldest manuscripts have the Greek nēpioi, “little children”. The majority of the manuscripts have ēpioi, “gentle”. When read aloud they would have sounded exactly the same, and this is what led to two readings. By “little children” Paul means that his team did not use adult guile to deceive his audience.
FOUR: “We who are alive and remain will be taken up together with those who were dead, in the clouds, to welcome the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:17) I translate the word apantēsis as “welcome.” The word was commonly used when a king or dignitary was going to visit a city, and the inhabitants went out to meet him and accompany him back. That is, the saints will ascend to meet Christ and then accompany him back to the earth at the beginning of his kingdom; this would all take place at the very end of the tribulation. I see no proof in the passage that the rapture will take place before the tribulation. See article HERE.
We will share the translation of 2 Thessalonians in another post.
“1 Thessalonians, my own translation for Zondervan,” by Gary Shogren, PhD in New Testament Exegesis, Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica