Paul addresses the Thessalonian believers as brothers. Does this mean that he was only speaking to male recipients of his letter? Not at all. The Greek word used for brother (adelphoi) is used to refer to the brothers and sisters in a family. Since it is plural, there's no reason to doubt that Paul is addressing ALL of the believers in the Thessalonian church. But why call these people brothers or sisters? Were any of them actually related to Paul, Silas, or Timothy. I don't think we can know, but it is reasonable to assume that ALL of them were not their physical brothers and sisters. So what gives? Even though Paul is not teaching directly about God's family in this verse, it DOES tell us a little something about it. All who have trusted in Christ as the Lord of their lives are adelphoi in the family of God. If God has saved YOU, then you are a brother or sister of EVERYONE He has saved! John 1:9-13ESV tells us,
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in this name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.All "who believed in his name" are now the children of God. My immediate family is relatively small. My extended family is huge (dad is one of 11 and mom is one of 9). Either way, I rejoice because the family I have as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is as many as the sand on the seashore! (cf.Gen22:17) Even though I hail from sunny Southern California, and I have no physical siblings in the cities I've lived in outside of California, I have brothers and sisters in Christ from Louisville and Cincy who love me the same! We have the same Father! The same Savior and God! What a blessing God has given His children!
And Paul goes on to tell these brothers that they are "loved by God." I will most likely post on God's love in the future, but for now, it almost goes without saying that God loves people. Most Christians call Love His chief attribute. Just about everyone knows John 3:16, "For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His one and only Son...." So Paul is reminding the Thessalonian believers that they are the beloved children of God.
[sound of "can of worms" opening]
Again, verse 4 of 1 Thess. says, "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,...."
In case I didn't mention it before, I have been quoting from the ESV. NASB says, "...his choice of you." HCSB says, "...knowing your election...." NKJV says, "Knowing, beloved brethren, your election...." NIV reads, "...he has chosen you...." The Greek word is eklogen, and means choice, selection, election. So, why would this be opening a can of worms? What does it mean that God has chosen someone? Does God chose anyone? When the Bible speaks of election, it is speakning of God choosing people for salvation. The reason this becomes a "can of worms" is that God doesn't choose everyone for salvation.
This may be very difficult for some to accept, but it IS taught in the Holy Bible. Look at Eph1, Rom 8 and 9, John 6, and many, many other passages. What I will do is finish some thoughts on 1 Thess 1:4 and then take a detour for the purpose of giving more explanation of God's election.
So Paul tells his readers that he and his co-authors know that God has chosen them. The following verses tell us why this is so. For now, remember that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have repented of your sin, YOU are a BROTHER or SISTER to everyone who has done the same! Know, also, that you are loved by God! And as we shall see in an upcoming post, God has chosen you for this great salvation!
Remember, God is all Sovereign and stuff...