Thanking God for His Work in Others (Part 1)

Like Paul, we can give thanks for the growth in faith and biblical love of each child of God.

November 15, 2021

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith growth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth."

2 Thessalonians 1:3

Part 1

Today:  We Are Obliged to Be Thankful

“We thank God for you always.  And that’s what we should do because you give us good reason to be thankful:  Your faith is growing more and more.  And the love that every one of you has for each other is also growing” (2 Thessalonians 1:3, HSB [1]).

The apostle Paul was the discipler and church planter par excellence.  We can learn much from his philosophy of ministry and his methods of training disciples.  As we study his letters, we find that he was always grateful for those who have given themselves to Christ.  In our verse for today, we see how thankful he is for the Thessalonians’ growth in Christ.  He is grateful and is glad to brag on them.


“We are bound … As it is meet.”
With these simple phrases, Paul shows us his heart regarding his gratitude for the Thessalonians.  He believes that saying these things is his obligation.

“We Are Bound”

“We owe it as a debt” [2] (JFB).

Paul repeats it –

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

This ancient word “bound” that he uses means “to owe… to owe money, be in debt for… that which is due, the debt,” and it is “metaphorically the goodwill due” [3] (Thayer).

“The Apostle feels himself under a special debt of gratitude to God for that which His grace had wrought in the Thessalonians” [4] (CB).

“As It Is Meet.”

This was what Paul needed to do.

“As it is meet.” Since it is fit or proper” [5] (Barnes).

The word meet that Paul chose is an old word that means “… having weight … worth as much … befitting … of one who has merited anything worthy” [6] (Thayer).

“For Paul, the giving of thanks for God’s great work was an obligation – he was bound to do so, and it was fitting, because of the work God did in the Thessalonian Christians” [7] (EWC).

Paul understood that giving thanks for the Thessalonian believers was just the right thing to do.


“To thank God always for you, brethren.”
Thanking God for his brethren in Christ is something that Paul did often, and he said so when he wrote to them.  Take note of his thankfulness for these believers –

To the Romans.

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans1:8).

To the Corinthians.

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4).

To the Thessalonians.

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2).

To the Ephesians.

“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16).

To the Philippians.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy” (Philippians 1:3-4).

To the Colossians.

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Colossians 1:3).

And to his brother in Christ, Philemon.

I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers” (Philemon 1:4).

It’s no doubt that these kind words by Paul were an encouragement to his believing friends.

In our verse for today –

“… the apostle here wraps up his praise of men in praise to God, giving Him the glory of the increase of grace which was manifest in the Thessalonian believers” [8] (Benson).

If nothing else, Paul’s words toward the brethren should make us pause and ask ourselves what our attitude is towards our brothers in Christ.  Do we merely tolerate them?  Do we criticize and complain about them?  Or, do we genuinely love and care for them?  Are we thankful for them?  Do we thank the Lord for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Paul’s lesson here is really a simple one.  Not only should we love and appreciate our fellow believers, but we ought to be grateful and thank the Lord for them.  And as we see here, it doesn’t hurt to let the brethren know that we are thankful for them as well.

Please join us tomorrow as we see why Paul is thankful for these Thessalonian believers.


Quote:  “Be thankful. God has commanded it—for our good and for His glory.  God’s command to be thankful is not the threatening demand of a tyrant.  Rather, it is the invitation of a lifetime—the opportunity to draw near to Him at any moment of the day” [9] (Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth).




[1] HSB is the Harvest Study Bible from Harvest Ministries in Guam.
[2] JFB, Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997).  Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 394).  Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[3] J.H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek Definitions, the electronic version in eSword.
[4] CB is the Cambridge Bible, the electronic Bible notes in eSword.  2 Thessalonians 1:3.
[5] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.  2 Thessalonians 1:3.
[6] J.H. Thayer, ibid.
[7] EWC is the Enduring Word Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.  2 Thessalonians 1:1-12.  The emphasis is theirs.
[8] Joseph Benson, Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, the electronic version in eSword.  2 Thessalonians 1:3-5.
[9] Woldgmuth’s quote was downloaded: November 15, 2021.  From: