Il Thess. 1:3. “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.”
Was Paul from the American South? I never noticed the “you all” before 🙂
Ok, back to serious.
We are bound: We must, we have no other choice than to give thanks. Bound in this verse comes from the word that means to owe. Gratitude to God is a debt the writers owed God for the increasing and continuous growth of the new believers in Thessalonica. And the verb tense expresses the need for ongoing and repeated thanksgiving. I am reminded of several other passages that teach us to always, continuously, be thankful. Have a gratitude attitude. In every single thing, give thanks to God always. If you struggle with having a thankful heart, please take the time to do a word study. You will be blessed.
The thanksgiving that Paul feels he and Silas and Timothy owe to God for the brethren there is a very high compliment to their spiritual growth and maturity. It is similar to the intense pride and gratitude we feel when our children grow up to live for the Lord, and we can see the fruit of our labors in them. It is a very tender relationship.
The reasons for their gratitude are wonderful:
Your faith groweth exceedingly: The words used here indicate a growth that is beyond all expectation, that goes way beyond what might be considered normal. Every now and then I see pictures of gardeners who are standing proudly beside a hugely enormous pumpkin, watermelon, potato or other vegetable that they have nurtured and spent a lot of time in preserving to such an unusual growth that it becomes nationally famous. It always makes me smile to see those pictures. I gardened, many years ago, and grew some carrots in sandy soil that were as big as quart-sized thermos bottles. I was so proud! How much more rewarding it must have been for the missionaries to see the results of their labors blossoming beyond all expectation.
The love of each one of you all toward one another aboundeth: The word abound means to become more, increase, be present in abundance. Their love toward each other is an outward manifestation of their inward growth in faith. And again, the verb tense indicates an ongoing, increasing love that overflows its normal limits like a river in flood. It is being shown and experienced by each and every one of them ALL; the whole church is imbued with this wonderful, encouraging, faith-based love for the family of God.
In I Thess. 3:10 and 12, both faith and love had been mentioned as matters that needed prayer and growth. The prayers have been answered, and now they are rejoicing.