Paul always gives thanks for God's work in the lives of others. Here he uses the plural pronoun—we always thank God . . . when we pray for you—in order to emphasize the corporate nature of his ministry. The prayers he regularly shares with others, such as Timothy (1:1) and Epaphras (1:7-8; see also 4:12), seek to benefit others spiritually without assuming any special status for himself. Further, Paul's prayer is centered on God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Worship never congratulates people or focuses on their material needs; rather, Christian worship is rooted in our singular devotion to God, from whom and to whom our salvation is directed.
Paul's frequent use of Father alludes to an important Old Testament metaphor for God's covenantal relationship with Israel. Thanksgiving is given to God, then, within the framework of a covenant of mutual fidelity. Thus, to express thanks to God as our Father not only acknowledges God's faithfulness to us but also assumes our covenantal obligation to obey God in return, even as the child is responsible to bring honor to his or her father. So thanksgiving anticipates our own faithfulness to a faithful God, which is made possible by God's grace through faith in Christ (see Eph 2:8-10).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll gain access to a vast digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads to minimize distractions from God's Word. Try it free for 30 days!