1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.
This chapter of the letter involves Paul defending his ministry. It is in response to those who tried to claim that he was doing this solely to get money, not to glorify God. As we can see here, his defense actually builds on his introduction (chapter 1).
Paul points out that the people of Thessalonica know the heart of Paul and his men. Why is this? Because he exemplified everything he described in chapter 1. His intentions were pure and purposely to serve and worship God, not anything else. I appreciate how he explains the suffering and treatment in Philippi. I believe this further explains the motivation behind his actions. I mean, think about it, if you were doing something like fundraising and your “campaign” resulted in being beaten and kicked out of town, wouldn’t you change your strategy? Here he explains that they preached the same thing in Thessalonica as they did in Philippi.
This is why their words are not motivated by error or impurity or by way of deceit, because if it was, they would be more worried about being “believable” and “pleasing the masses” instead of telling the Truth. Paul lays this out in verse 4.
I believe that while this is a letter to defend his ministry, Paul’s words here are inspiring and an example we should look to. What do we do when we talk about God? Do we try to bend the words around to make it “acceptable”? How do we view persecution? Is our ministry set out to make people happy or tell the truth? Remember, our job in regards to spreading the Gospel is to plant the seed and tell the Truth, it’s God’s job to incite belief and faith. This sometimes seems easier said than done, as we will occasionally meet up with a “tough crowd”. In fact, I’ve had many questions asked of me that I don’t think I could have answered on my own. This is why we must look to God for the words to speak.
Where does your exhortation come from? Do you speak of the Gospel at all? Why? Why not? These are all measures of our faith in God’s Word, which comes as a direct result of our relationship with Him. We cannot be as bold as Paul without that relationship. Where is your relationship with God today? Ask Him to examine your heart and show you how to become bold like Paul was.