1. Exposition

What impurity is in view?

1 Thessalonians 2:3 (ESV)

3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,

Although some commentators interpret this as a reference to sexual impurity, there is no indication in Paul’s letters that he was ever charged with such behaviour. Rather, the context indicates a more general kind of impurity that includes possible greed and other selfish motives (1 Thessalonians 2:5–6).1,2,3 Such motives and behaviour were well known among the travelling philosophers and orators of Paul’s day. Such people would enter a city hoping to gain a reputation as powerful speakers. In addition to winning prestige, they could create an income for themselves as teachers of elite young men, or as orators who would represent citizens in their court cases (Tertullus in Acts 24:2–8).4 It may well be that the persecutors of the believers in Thessalonica were accusing Paul of such an approach, and thus challenging the faith of the new Christians. In any event, Paul wanted to distinguish himself from these orators and their methods.5