“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“
because when you received the word of God
The word “because” expresses the reason for the thanksgiving – the nature of the way they received the Bible as God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit uses two words for the way the Thessalonians embraced the Bible: “received” and “welcomed.” The word “received” comes from two words: from beside and to take or receive. The idea is to take to oneself or to take something from someone else. This is the systematic learning of God’s Word.
The New Testament uses this term especially for receiving formal instruction in the Word of God (1 Corinthians 11:23; 15:1, 3; Galatians 1:9, 12 [twice], Colossians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6). This first word stresses the act of prescribed listening to God’s Word as a student from a teacher.
“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:1).
Formal instruction comes before the appropriation of truth to experience.
The believer must understand the truth of God’s Word and value its content. If we do not first understand the Word, we will not be able to form principles for life. If we do not form principles for life, we will not be able to apply them to our experience.
“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).
“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God‘” (Matthew 4:4).
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1).
The pastor/teacher gift is the primary means whereby people formally learn God’s Word.