[AC or BC?… or ABC?]

[AC or BC?… or ABC?]

My friends and I are studying 1 Thessalonians together.

It’s an awesome study group for several reasons.

1. The people there are fun to spend time with. Most are young adults from the youth group and the hosts are also a young couple, missionaries who came to serve in Ukraine in May.

2. It’s a heaven for linguists! The Bible study is usually in English (because Joey and Ree speak English and we are learning), we study a Russian Bible (because most of the people at the Bible study speak Russian and it’s hard for them to read that much English for now), and since Joey knows Greek, we also get our Greek lessons. Aw, I love it.

3. It has been a blessing for me to be able to talk about theological stuff with people who are not afraid to think… and who are Christians. I have enjoyed spending time with my non-Christian friends talking about and studying the Bible, but with them there are times when you have to stop at the basic principles or stories, like Jesus and feeding the 5,000… At this Bible study, we talk about more meaty stuff.

Last week I had a question about a verse we have read and tonight we have spent a couple of hours studying the implications of the verse.

We sent Timothy to strengthen and establish and to exhort and comfort and encourage you in your faith, so that no one of you should be disturbed and beguiled and led astray by these afflictions and difficulties to which I have referred. For you yourselves know that this is our appointed lot.

1 Thessalonians 3:2-3, AMP

Quite straightforward, ain’t it? Troubles are part of our calling. Or is that what Paul meant?

The reason I even noticed that there was something interesting was because we were reading Bible in Russian while I was looking at English version on my iPod simultaneously.

The thing is… in Russian, it sounds like Paul is saying, “We have sent Timothy to encourage you and strengthen your faith…  because that is what we are destined for.” The part about the afflictions is less stressed and it’s like Paul simply mentions it matter-of-factly.

So we divided the verse into three parts. 

A: We sent Timothy to strengthen and establish and to exhort and comfort and encourage you in your faith

B: so that no one of you should be disturbed and beguiled and led astray by these afflictions and difficulties to which I have referred.

C: For you yourselves know that this is our appointed lot.

What is C referring to? A or B? Both?

AC: It is our calling to encourage and strengthen the faith of those we know – especially if they are new Christians (“old” Christians need encouragement often as well).

BC: Considering the times Paul was writing this letter and all the persecution he has been facing along with other followers of Christ, suffering and trials were, as Amplified Bible adds in parenthesis, “unavoidable in our position, and must be recognized as” our appointed lot.

I find these kinds of passages rather interesting to study because they get you to a whole new level of understanding the full message of the Bible. It is a book you can read and read and read, and no matter how many times you’ve seen the passage, read it again and you’ll be able to find a new lesson in it. I think it is one of the reasons Bible is one of the most awesome books ever written.

So what do you think?

AC or BC? Or, perhaps, ABC?

  • Mary

    Zee,
    I looked at three English translations: KJV, RSV, and the New English Bible. Considering the statement and its full context in each translation I think C is referring to B. ABC is an interesting suggestion because it includes the idea that practising the faith will be difficult. In this sense A,B, and C are all related.

    Reading any scripture requires careful reading and re- reading. They are inexhaustable.

    • Yeah, I figured as much regarding the BC (since the next verse alludes to it, sort of)… but AC is also not excluded 🙂

      ABC are interrelated, for sure 🙂

      Thanks for the input, Mary!

      • Mary

        The whole chapter ( in the three translations I have seen )make clear that C Is referring to B. Of course in the broad context faith is what we are talking about, faith and the difficulties we inevitably encounter, thus ABC.

  • My take is that Timothy was sent to strengthen etc the Christians because afflictions can be expected. So I reckon BC.

    • I guess my main problem is with the idea that Christians’ “destine” is to suffer. In a way, Christianity usually brings trials because we’re not home yet… but destined to suffer? Possibly, it also stood out to me because of all the differences in languages…

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