“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“
you welcomed it
The second word for the way the Thessalonians embraced the Bible is the word “welcomed.” The first word “received” carries the idea of openness to listen. The word “welcomed” is an advance on formally listening to God’s Word. “Received” emphasizes the understanding while “welcomed” emphasizes the appropriation of that understanding to experience.
The word “welcomed” signifies the idea of accepting by deliberate and ready action the exposition of the Word of God. This is a mode of acceptance (2 Corinthians 8:17; 11:4).
There is a distinction between “received” and “welcomed.” “Received” suggests self-prompting whereas “welcomed” indicates a welcoming or an appropriating reception. “Received” alludes to the ear whereas “welcomed” alludes to appropriation by heart (2 Thessalonians 2:10; James 1:21). We welcome the truth when we love it.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Ephesians 6:17).
Other passages indicate favorable reception of testimony and teaching (Luke 8:13; John 12:38; Acts 8:14; 11:1; 17:11; Romans 10:16, 17; Galatians 3:2, 5; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). People with positive volition readily receive the Word of God and regard it as true (Luke 8:13; Acts 8:14; 2 Corinthians 11:4).
It is not enough to appreciate the teaching of God’s Word; we must apply it in our experience to make it fully effective in our lives.
There is more to the Christian life than just hearing the Bible’s teaching. Many people hear the Bible weekly but it doesn’t do them any good.
“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:2).
Positive reception to the Word of God by the people of God makes the Bible effective in our lives. If we stop at appreciating God’s Word without applying God’s Word, we will not fully comprehend God’s plan for our Christian lives. We must both “receive” and “welcome” God’s Word. We welcome God’s Word when we apply it to our experience.
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (James 1: 21-24).
When we make the Word the controlling influence of our lives, then we know we have appropriated God’s Word to experience.