Verse 1 – For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.
Verse 2 – But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to Speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
Paul and Silas had been beaten and imprisoned in Philippi for casting a demon out of a slave girl (Acts 16:16-40).
Verse 3 – For our exhortation did not come from deceit or uncleanness, nor was it in guile.
Verse 4 – But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
Paul never changed the message of the gospel to make it more acceptable, but he did tailor it to each audience. The message of the gospel must never be compromised.
Verse 5 – For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness – God is witness.
Flattery is phony, and it is a false cover-up for a person’s real intentions. Those who proclaim God’s truth have a special responsibility to be honest.
Verse 6 – Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
Verse 7 – But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
Verse 8 – So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
Verse 9 – For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.
Paul reminded them that he worked every day as to not cost anyone anything. He had no intention of making himself rich at the expense of others.
Verse 10 – You are witness, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
Verse 11 – as you know we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
Just as a father guides and looks out for his children, more mature Christians should take new believers under their counsel until they are strong enough to be an influence of faith, on their own.
Verse 12 – that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Verse 13 – For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
Keep in mind, the word of God is not only Scripture, but Jesus Himself whom lives in each believer which is the Word of God.
Verse 14 – For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Jews,
Verse 15 – who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men,
“They” refers to the Jews of verse 14. This is the only place in Paul’s writings where he identified those who were responsible for Jesus death. This pattern is obvious – rejection of the message of truth, and then persecute the messenger.
Verse 16 – forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.
Some Jews objected to offering the message of the gospel to the Gentiles. “Completing the measure of their sins,” is literally to “fill up their sins.” God will only tolerate a certain amount of sin before judgment falls, because He knows who will turn or not
Verse 17 – But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire.
Verse 18 – Therefore we wanted to come to you – even I, Paul time and again – but Satan hindered us.
Verse 19 – For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
Verse 20 – For you are our glory and joy.