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1 Thessalonians 2:5-8

5 For we never appeared with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed – God is our witness –
6 nor to seek glory from people, either from you or from others,
7 although we could have imposed our weight as apostles of Christ; instead we became little children among you. Like a nursing mother caring for her own children,
8 with such affection for you we were happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.




In the previous passage, Paul spoke of his courage in God to declare the gospel to the Thessalonians and of his motive to please God and not men. In this passage, he further describes his pure and humble motive and manner among them.

For we never appeared with flattering speech, as you know –

  • Webster defines flattery as praise that is not sincere.
  • Romans 16:18 (NET)
    18 For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive.

Discussion Questions:

  • What should come to our mind when someone is using flattering speech?
  • Can you give an example where someone is using flattering speech to sell you something or convince you of something?

nor with a pretext for greed – God is our witness –

  • Meaning Paul’s conscience before God was clear because he was not teaching them with the motive to get their possessions.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:17 (NET)
    17 For we are not like so many others, hucksters who peddle the word of God for profit, but we are speaking in Christ before God as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God.
  • 1 Peter 5:2 (NET)
    2 Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversight not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you give examples in modern Christianity of those who preach to obtain a lot of  money?
  • Should pastors and evangelists ask for money?  Explain.
  • Should we provide for pastors and evangelists?

nor to seek glory from people, either from you or from others –

  • Meaning Paul’s motive in teaching them was not to receive praise and great honor from men. This idea was also implied in v. 2:4.

although we could have imposed our weight as apostles of Christ –

  • Some Greek texts include this phrase and others do not.
  • As an apostle, Paul could’ve burdened them by requiring money and glory as mentioned above. As Jesus’ sent-one, He deserved as much.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you think of a example of a church leader appearing to desire too much praise and honor from men?
  • When do service toward God, do you sometimes feel a desire to be recognized and lifted up by men?


  • This word contrasts what Paul could have expected from them. Instead he appeared humble before them.

we became little children among you –

  • Again, Greek texts differ on the inclusion of this phrase.
  • Paul uses the phrase, little children, to show how humbly he came to them – children having the lowest demands for respect in society.

Like a nursing mother caring for her own children, with such affection for you –

  • Paul uses a second image of his humbleness. Instead of the image of a dignitary, he instead chooses the image of an affectionate nursing mother feeding her own children.

Discussion Questions:

  • What adjectives come to your mind when you think of a nursing mother ?
  • John Gill says ….and so designs a nursing mother, one whose the children are, has bore them as well as nurses them, and therefore has the most tender concern for them; she lays them in her bosom, and hugs them in her arms, and so warms and cherishes them; gives them the breast, bears with their frowardness, condescends to do the meanest things for them; and that without any self-interest, from a pure parental affection for them: and such were the apostles to these Thessalonians; they were their spiritual parents, of whom they travailed in birth, till Christ was formed in them; they used them with the greatest kindness and tenderness; they fed them with the sincere milk of the word; they bore patiently all the slighting and ill treatment they met with; and condescended to men of low estates, and did them all the good offices they could, without any selfish views or sinister ends…
  • Can you think of church leaders who act this way toward their flock?
  • Can you think of people throughout your day in which you can treat with this type of attitude?

we were happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives-

A) share

  • Strong’s Definitions: μεταδίδωμι; metadídōmi, met-ad-id’-o-mee; to give over, i.e. share.

B) gospel

  • Strong’s Definitions: εὐαγγέλιον; euangélion, yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on; a good message, i.e. the gospel.

C) lives

  • ψυχή psychḗ,psoo-khay’
  • Walter Bauer’s Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd ed, p 893:
  • The word means “Soul, life, it is often impossible to draw hard and fast lines between the meanings of this many-sided word.”
  • i. Of life on earth and its external physical aspects.
  • ii. The soul as seat in the center of the inner life of man and it’s many and varied aspects.
  • iii. This sole as seat and center of life that transcends the earthly….
  • Other English translations translate the word has follows:
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (KJV) So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (ESV) So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
  • The sense of the word seems to mean that Paul was willing to invest great energy into this people. He desired to pour his life into them like a mother into her child.
  • The word could even mean that Paul was willing to die for them.

Discussion Questions:

  • Can you name some examples of Christian leaders who have poured their life into others?
  • Can you think of opportunities in your life where you can invest energy to teach or serve others within or outside of your family?

because you had become dear to us-

A) had become

  • Though others can become dear to us fairly quickly, it usually takes time being with them before they become dear to us.

B) dear

  • Strong’s Definitions: ἀγαπητός; agapētós, ag-ap-ay-tos’; beloved.

Discussion Question:

  • Can you share names of Christian brothers and sisters who have become dear to you?

Listening Prayer method – a method where you write what you think God would say to you after meditating and studying a Bible passage.

Do you love others like a nursing mother?


My message is not flattering.  Mankind has sinned against Me, they are headed for the judgement!  Tell others the danger they are in.  Do not speak with flattering language making them feel good about their sinful condition.  But speak the truth with humility and love.

Serve others with a pure heart.  Do not serve with the motive of money or recognition.  Don’t miss out on My reward to receive a reward from men.

Again, be humble in reaching out to others with My message of reconciliation.  Reach out to them as a friend.  Serve them with care as a nursing mother.

Invest your life, soul, and energy into others by serving them and by telling them the message of forgiveness of sins through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.