3 When we could bear it no longer, we decided that we would remain in Athens 2 and send Timothy in our place.[a]He is our beloved brother and coworker with God[b] in preaching the gospel. We knew he would strengthen your faith and encourage your hearts 3 so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions, for you know that we are destined for this.[c] 4 In fact, when we were with you we forewarned you: “Suffering and persecution is coming.” And so it has happened, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I sent our brother to find out if your faith was still strong, for I was concerned that the tempter[d] had somehow enticed you and our labor would have been in vain.
6 But now, Timothy has just returned to us and brought us the terrific news of your faith and love. He informed us that you still hold us dear in your hearts and that you long to see us as much as we long to see you. 7 So, our dear brothers and sisters, in the midst of all our distress and difficulties, your steadfastness of faith has greatly encouraged our hearts. 8 We feel alive again as long as we know that you are standing firm in the Lord.
9 How could we ever thank God enough for all the wonderful joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10 Every night and day we sincerely and fervently pray that we may see you face-to-face and furnish you with whatever may be lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our Father God and our precious Lord Jesus[e]guide our steps on a path straight back to you. 12 And may the Lord increase your love until it overflows[f] toward one another and for all people, just as our love overflows toward you. 13 Then your hearts will be strengthened[g] in holiness so that you may be flawless and pure before the face of our God and Father at the appearing of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.[h] Amen!