Commentary: (First of Two)
To me, as a Christian who has been preaching since 1964, I have come to this verse often. In it I find several important things. First, Paul was used of God to bring the literal word of God to his readers and listeners. He knew the Holy Spirit was "breathing in and through him" (2 Timothy 3:16), that which was the actual words of God, Himself. Paul, along with the other Biblical authors, knew the truth of 2 Peter 1:20, 21 - "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." No preacher today can say his own words are inspired by God in the same manner! We all seek to preach "inspiring messages" but we know that our own words, whether they be a commentary on Scripture, or just explaining what the Scripture means, do not have the power of the written Word!
Second, Paul rejoiced because the Holy Spirit obviously led these people to understand that they were hearing God's Word! Even in their spiritual infancy they could feel the impact of these words because they were coming directly from God, Himself! Many of us have seen this in action. I remind you of the occasion of a nine year old boy's salvation a few weeks ago. When I asked him about his assurance of going to heaven he responded by saying, "I'm not bad" as his answer. I had him quote John 3:16, and as he did he got to the phrase, "for whoever believes in..." and he stopped in midsentence! He looked at me and said, "That's what I have to do! I have to believe in Jesus!" I witnessed the power of God's Word take hold of his heart and draw him to trust Christ for his salvation!
Every preacher longs for that power as he preaches the words of God to his listeners. And that is what happened to the people of Thessalonica - the Word of God went directly to their hearts and brought them to salvation. (More tomorrow).