Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray that the word of the Lord would “spread rapidly.” The phrase "spread rapidly" is the translation of the Greek word treche that literally means “run.” Or, it could be translated literally: “Pray that the word of the Lord may run.” The rapid advance of the Word of God is an ongoing process that has been occurring since the days of the Old Testament and will continue until it has the full victory.
Psalm 147:15 – “He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly."
The prayer for the rapid advance of the word of God also includes a request that the word would also be “honored.” This word speaks of triumph and can be translated “glorified,” which would result from a positive reception of the message of truth. This is exactly what happened when the Gentiles heard Paul teach the word of God in a synagogue at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:48)…they “honored the word of the Lord.”
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord.” – Acts 13:48
When the Word of God was honored in Pisidian Antioch the result was that it spread to the whole region around Antioch:
“The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.” – Acts 13:49
This is what Paul is asking the Thessalonians to pray happens in Thessalonica:
“Pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Paul’s strategy always seems to be built on the principle of establishing a powerful base of operation in an area by teaching them the Word of God and from there the believers reach into the whole of the region. This strategy is seen working:
- Pisidian Antioch in Galatia (Acts 13:49)
- Ephesus in Asia (Acts 19:9-10)
- Thessalonica to reach Macedonia (1 Thessalonians 1:7)
- Corinth to reach Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1)