Commentary on "The Apostolic Example (1 Thess. 2:112)"
Day 5: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - Caring Deeply (1 Thess. 2:7, 8)
The author was "on a roll" for the last couple of paragraphs of yesterday's lesson, and he continues to follow the Word of God fairly closely as he starts out today's lesson. Among the particularly strong points made in this first section are:
These statements are Scripturally accurate and directly reflect the emphasis of the passage. It is a shame that the author has to ruin this good work with a return to his personal agenda of promoting the overriding importance of character. The author asks, "What does this teach us about the importance of character in the lives of those who witness to others?" I think the question should be "what does this teach us about the importance of love?". That is far more harmonious with the words written in the passage.
Then the author returns to a summary of the previous errors and Scriptural manipulations that he taught in previous lessons. First he returns to Greek philosophy for his truth:
"In Monday’s lesson we mentioned the three ancient keys to persuasion: the character of the speaker (ethos), the logic of the argument (logos), and the appeal to emotion or self-interest (pathos)."
Then he expands the textual manipulation when he says: "In verses 4–6 Paul emphasizes the character of the apostles as being a reason to follow them."
Previously the author had only gone so far as to claim that "the character of the apostles as a key element of the preaching". I compared this to Scripture in the comments on Monday's lesson and showed how much this perverted the Word of God in order to follow the author's agenda. But now the author builds a new deception on top of the previous one. Now Paul is telling the people that his character is a reason to follow them. With each little step the lesson's author moves us further and further from what the Word of God actually says.
The author then returns to Greek philosophy as the guiding principle for understanding verses 7 and 8. "In verses 7 and 8 we see an appeal to pathos, the emotional bond that developed between the apostles and the Thessalonians. The gospel is at its most powerful when it touches the heart."
The Gospel touches our hearts because of its amazing message, not because somebody treated us well. The Gospel touches our hearts because the Holy Spirit is living and active, not because of the characters of the one telling us the message. The author has robbed the Gospel message of all its power. Instead the power of the preaching came from character. This is a perversion of God's Word and shows a disdain for the Gospel.
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