1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness— 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority (1 Thessalonians 2).
The word “vain” can also be translated “empty-handed.” Rather than coming to the Thessalonians empty-handed, indeed Paul and his companions came full of “boldness” in their speech. Where did this boldness come from? First, from the Source of the gospel, which is God Himself, who had “entrusted” them with it and given them “authority” as “apostles of Christ” Himself.
They also found their boldness in the message itself, which is such exceeding good news, that it made persecution or applause or personal gain pale in comparison. They did not care if the Thessalonians treated them the same way the Philippians had treated them (beating him and Silas and putting them in stocks in a jail), they did not care whether they esteemed them, and they did not care if they gave them financial support. And because of this disposition, Paul and his companions did not resort to “flattering speech,” but instead spoke the gospel free from “error” and “impurity” and “deceit.”
Lord, help us This Day to be bold gospel-bearers. Amen.