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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5


I. The Second Coming continued: 5:1-11

A. Knowing the date is not the key to being prepared: 5:1-3

B. Christians can be prepared: 5:4-11

II. Practical Exhortations: 5:12-22

A. Respect and appreciation for the elders: 5:12-13

B. Pursue those who need help: 5:14

C. Overcome evil with good: 5:15

D. Be joyful and grateful: 5:16-18

E. Heed inspired words: 5:19-20

F. Do not be gullible: 5:20-21

III. Final Exhortations: 5:23-28

I think that Stott makes an insightful observation when he observes, “It is evident that the Thessalonians were worried about their friends who had died, and whether they would suffer any disadvantages at the Parousia; and they were worried about themselves , and whether they were ready to stand before Christ at His coming. Both are modern anxieties too . The Thessalonians were asking Paul about times and dates. Not, it seems, out of idle curiosity, but rather for a very practical reason: they wanted to make suitable preparations. They thought they could most easily get ready for Christ's coming in judgment if they could know when He would arrive. Paul responds, however, that the solution to their problem does not lie in knowing the date” (pp. 107,108).

Verse 1

1Th_5:1 “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that aught be written unto you”

“But concerning”: Suggesting that Paul might be responding to a question that they had either sent him via Timothy or that was being hotly debated among some of them. “Times”: The set or proper time. “Seasons”: “Time measured by duration” (Vincent p. 43). “Karios (above) a definite space of time, 'chronos' (here) an extended period” (Robertson p. 34). “As for times and dates” (Wey). “The combination of the two is a way of bringing before the mind both the duration of the time that must elapse before the coming of the Lord, and also the nature of the events that will characterize the end time” (Morris p. 150). “Chronological periods--significant moments”. Thus Paul is saying, “In reference to the exact time of the Lord's return and even the more general period in which He will come, there is no revelation from God”. “The periods of time and the exact character of the epochs to intervene before the return of Christ” (Erdman p. 62). Thus Paul is saying that not only is the exact day kept secret, but God has not even given us the week, year, decade or century in which His Son will return. Thus people who set more general dates for the Lord's return (such as, probably before the end of this century, within a generation, somewhere around) are just as wrong as those people who set specific dates.

“Ye have no need that aught be written unto you”: “That anything be written to you” (Mon). God does not even give us a hint. This means that the New Testament does not contain some mysterious code for the Second Coming. Notice carefully what Paul said. Nothing would be "written" concerning the date. That means, that nothing would even be written in figurative language as well. Nothing written period. From this statement some conclusions are demanded: Nothing has been previously written to this letter. Therefore, Mat_24:1-34 , is not talking about the signs that will point us toward the date for Christ's return, rather the signs for Christians to flee from the destruction that Jerusalem experienced, and which it did in A.D. 70. Nothing would be revealed later . Therefore the Book of Revelation is not a code book about what will happen right before the end.

Fields notes that “God changes the times and seasons, Dan_2:21” (p. 129). In addition, in relation to His physical judgments, God has changed His mind concerning "when" ( Jon_3:10 ; Jer_18:1 ff). I guess we usually assume that a definite, fixed date has been set for this event, from long ago. Could it be that other factors ( 2Pe_3:9 ) might make the date somewhat flexible?

Verse 2

1Th_5:2 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night”

“For yourselves know”: They already knew the answer to their own question, and they knew it, because Paul had previously taught them about the subject, while with them. “Perfectly”: “Exactly”. Paul knows that he had taught them well. They could not plea ignorance or lack of clarity on this issue. Hendriksen notes, “Sometimes men wonder about facts which, deep down in their hearts, they really know accurately!” (p. 122). “The day of the Lord”:

Premillennialists try to separate the "day of the Lord" from the events previously mentioned in 4:13-18. They claim that the "day of the Lord" comes some seven years after 4:16-17. Yet the reader can see that Paul has not started a new topic in this chapter, for the first verse begins with, “Now as to the times and the epochs” (NASV), the times for what? Obviously, what has been previously mentioned in the last chapter, the Second Coming. In other passages the "day of the Lord" is viewed as the time when Christians are rewarded and not merely a time when destruction comes upon the wicked ( Php_1:6 ; Php_1:10 ; Php_2:16 ; 1Co_1:8 ). This same expression is used in referring to the final destruction of the physical universe ( 2Pe_3:10 ; 2Pe_3:12 ), yet some Premillennial views have that day being 1000 years from the "day of the Lord" mentioned in 1Th_5:2 ! Fields is right when he notes, “If one did not have a certain theory about what will happen when Christ returns, he would never from this Scripture itself (4:13-5:11) get the idea that two different events were being described” (p. 130).

Thus in the Scriptures we find that the "day of the Lord" will include:

· The resurrection of all in the grave ( Joh_5:28-29 ).

· The transformation of all living Christians ( 1Th_4:17 ; 1Co_15:52 ).

· The complete removal of the physical heavens and earth ( 2Pe_3:10 ).

· The judgment of all who have lived ( Mat_25:31 ff).

· A day that will be viewed as the "last" day ( Joh_6:39 ).


“So cometh”: “Will come” (NASV) ( 2Pe_3:10 ). Whatever time lapses between now and that day, should never be viewed as lack of determination or inability on the part of God, rather it should be viewed as God's merciful patience in giving sinners the chance to repent ( 2Pe_3:9 ).

“As a thief in the night”: ( 2Pe_3:10 ). Fields makes an excellent point when he notes, “It is difficult to imagine how the day of the Lord could come as a thief if only seven years before that day all the saints had been taken out of the earth and a period of great tribulation had followed” (p. 131). This point should not be overlooked, for if the Premillennialists are right, then seven years separates the events of 4:13-18, from 5:1-3. Now everyone on the earth would know when all Christians are removed. Therefore anyone wishing to read the material left behind by the popular Premillennial writers, would know exactly when the Lord would return. Thus Premillennialism is found guilty of setting a precise date about when the “day of the Lord will come”. And they cannot argue, “But we haven't set a date for the rapture, because by their own admission they claim that 1Th_5:1 does not apply to the rapture, but an event exactly seven years down the road!

The coming of Jesus is likened to that of a thief. Stott notes, “The trouble with burglars is that they do not tell us when they are coming. It is not their habit to send a warning postcard. The same unexpectedness will characterize the day of the Lord’ (p. 109). Hendriksen notes, “He does not send a warning letter to this effect, ‘Tomorrow, at such and such a time, I'll pay you a visit. Be sure to hide all your valuables’” (p. 122). Carefully note that Jesus is not likened to a thief in this passage, rather His coming will be unexpected as that of a thief. The phrase "in the night", does not mean that Jesus will necessarily come "when it is night" (I think many make this assumption). "In the night" is an expression that completes the imagery of the thief. If Jesus came at noon on a sunny day, that would surprise people just as much as during any evening or early morning hour.

Verse 3

1Th_5:3 “When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape”

“When”: Which connects 5:3 with everything that has proceeded, all the way back to 4:13. "When" Jesus comes and Christians are raised and changed (4:16-17), the unbelievers will have been saying "peace and safety", therefore we do not have two or three comings of Jesus involving different groups of people. Instead one coming in which both the righteous and the wicked are involved ( Joh_5:28-29 ; 2Th_1:7-9 ). “They are saying”: The unbelievers are saying this in the time period before Jesus arrives. “Peace and safety”: “All is quiet and safe” (TCNT). “Present active” (Robertson p. 34). “Safety”: A word that means security, certainty and safety. “It is an unusual word with a basic meaning like ‘that cannot be shaken’” (Morris p. 153). “They will be rejoicing in a fancied security right up to the very moment of the disaster. Moffatt brings this out by rendering, ‘when all's well' and 'all is safe' are on the lips of men” (Morris p. 153).

Various contributing factors to this false security are noted in the Scriptures: Religious teachers who tell people that they do not have to worry ( Jer_6:14 ). The passage of time ( 2Pe_3:8-9 ). A materialistic view of life, that is, nothing supernatural has ever happened on this planet ( 2Pe_3:4 ). Preoccupation with the physical things of life ( Mat_24:37-39 ). The same people who just never seem to have the "time" to serve God are the same people who will not be prepared when Jesus does come. Consider that a supposed coming of Jesus following 7 years of all out world war (the great tribulation) does not fit this context for the people on this planet are saying, "peace and safety" right before Jesus comes!

“Then sudden destruction cometh upon them”: “Destruction shall come upon them in a moment” (Con). Groups like the Jehovah Witnesses are always trying to get the idea of annihilation into the word "destruction", that is, hell for the wicked is complete annihilation, yet the same groups also believe that one ceases to exist at death. So what can God do to a person that man cannot? If someone kills you, then they have completely ended your existence (according to their doctrine) ( Mat_10:28 ), seeing that death and hell are both non-existence. “As travail”: A pang or throe, especially of childbirth. “As birth pangs of a pregnant woman” (Phi). “And they shall in no wise escape”: “When the time has come, what is in the womb must come forth. The travail cannot be avoided. It will be completely impossible for men to escape, and Paul does not leave this to be inferred, but states it categorically. It still needs emphasis that there are no other alternatives than life with the Lord or eternal loss. One or the other is inevitable” (Morris p. 154). “So, putting the two metaphors together, we may say that Christ's coming will be (1) sudden and unexpected and (2) sudden and unavoidable . In the first case there will be no warning, and in the second no escape” (Stott p. 109) . Obviously then, everyone will not be right with God when Jesus comes, therefore the idea that God will end up saving everyone is false ( Mat_7:13-14 ; Mat_21:1-46 ; Mat_22:1-46 ; Mat_23:1-39 ).

Verse 4

1Th_5:4 “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief”

“But yet”: In contrast to the unbelievers. “Are not in darkness”: The Christian is no longer in spiritual darkness and separated from God ( Col_1:12-14 ; Act_26:18 ; Eph_5:8 ). In addition, we have the light of God's word, so that we are not in ignorance either ( Psa_119:105 ). We are right with God and we know Jesus could come at any time. Hence there is no good reason why Christ's appearing should catch up unprepared. “That day”: The same day mentioned in 5:3. Again, the Premillennial viewpoint is failing to fit these clear passages. If all Christians have been removed from the earth prior to 1Th_5:3 , then how could "that day" find these Christians or any Christians unprepared? According to the Premillennial theory, all Christians have been removed from this world prior to the Lord coming in judgment upon the unbelievers.

It is clear that Paul believes that the events of 4:13-18 happen at the same time as the events of 5:1-3, seeing that Paul still has Christians on this earth when the Lord comes to judge and condemn the unrighteous.

“Overtake”: To take eagerly, seize, possess, thus overtake. “As a thief”: “Unpredictable events have different effects on those who are unprepared for them and those who are ready for them” (Marshall p. 136). Stott notes, “The apostle explains that there is no need for us to be alarmed by the prospect of the Lord's coming, because there is no need for it to take us by surprise. Christ's coming is definitely going to be unexpected. The solution to our problem lies not in knowing when He will come, but in staying awake and alert” (p. 110). The point that Paul will be making is that if we live in the "light", we are always prepared, but if we live in the "darkness" we will be always unprepared.

Verse 5

1Th_5:5 “for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness”

“For”: The reason why it should not "overtake" us. “All”: The same level of morality is demanded of all believers. “Sons of light”: “In the Semitic languages generally to be a ‘son’ of something means to be characterized by that thing” (Morris p. 156). See Eph_5:8 ; Luk_16:8 ). Christians need to be characterized by a life that walks in the light of God's truth ( Joh_3:20-21 ; Rom_13:12 ), and one that refuses to participate in the unfruitful works of darkness ( Eph_5:11 ). “Sons of the day”: The same as "sons of light", and in contrast to unbelievers who are said to be of the night and of darkness. Carefully note that Paul only saw two groups in the world, the saved and the unsaved. Stott notes, “In other words, if we belong to the day our behavior must be daytime behavior. Let's not sleep or even yawn our way through life, or live in our pajamas. Let's stay awake and alert” (p. 112).

Verse 6

1Th_5:6 “so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober”

“So then”: Since we live in the light ( Joh_8:12 ). “Let us not sleep”: “Sleep in a figurative or spiritual and moral sense. 'Asleep about spiritual things ( Rom_13:11 )’” (Fields p. 134). This “means to live as if there will never be a judgment day. Spiritual and moral laxity is indicated” (Hendriksen p. 125). Compare with Mat_24:42-44 ; Mat_25:13 .

“As do the rest”: The same is true to this day. Many in our society seem to have very little interest in spiritual things. They are too busy to investigate and read the Scriptures, and neither are they spiritually sensitive. They just go through life living on a very superficial level ( Mat_6:32 ). “Let us watch”: To keep awake, to be vigilant and wakeful. This does not mean that we should always be looking at the sky--to see if Jesus is coming, rather this "watchfulness" includes being watchful and vigilant concerning our own spirituality ( 1Co_16:13-14 ), nipping problems in the bud and repenting when we sin. Using the opportunities that we have to teach others ( Col_4:5 ). Alert and on guard against the Devil's temptations ( 1Pe_5:8 ; Act_20:31 ), and alert to the needs of other Christians ( Gal_6:1-2 ).

“Be sober”: To be discreet and watchful. Hendriksen notes, “The ‘sober’ person lives deeply. His pleasures are not primarily those of the senses, like the pleasures of the drunkard for instance, but those of the soul” (p. 125). In contrast to those who had quit working because they were all excited about the Lord's return, the Christian must keep their head on straight. Sober does not mean "stoic", but neither does it mean "out of control". I must remain calm, steady and sane ( 1Pe_5:8 ; 2Ti_4:5 ). This is “an exhortation to temperateness and balance. ‘A state untouched by any slumberous or beclouding influences’ (Thayer)” (Morris p. 157). “Calm, collected, circumspect” (Vincent p. 46). Christians must keep their composure. Being a Christian is fantastic and the thought of Jesus coming again is awesome. Yet we can never allow ourselves to become blind to the harsh realities of life: We can fall ( 1Co_10:12 ). We will be tempted (10:13). Others will need our help ( Gal_6:1-2 ). The vast majority of the world still remains lost ( Mat_7:13-14 ). False teachers abound ( 1Jn_4:1 ). We can never allow ourselves to think that we have "made it" ( Php_3:12 ), and that all we have to do is sit back and wait.

Verse 7

1Th_5:7 “For they that sleep, sleep in the night: and they that are drunken are drunken in the night”

“They that sleep”: The unbelievers. “Night is the sleeper's time for sleeping, the drunkard's time for drinking” (Knox). Paul's point in this verse may be that, “In contrast with this rightful attitude (5:6), men of the world are spending the night in two ways. Either they are asleep, utterly indifferent to the coming judgment, or they are indulging in drunken revelry, excited and interested indeed, but absorbed in what is base and unworthy” (Erdman p. 64) . Paul is not saying that sleeping at night is wrong, rather the "darkness”, “night" (spiritual darkness) is the wrong place for the Christian, for people in spiritual darkness are either indifferent to spiritual things or they are engaging in immoral activity.

Carefully note that not only will God condemn the immoral person (the drunkard, fornicator, and so on, Gal_5:21 ), but God will also condemn the person who just did not care ( 2Th_1:8 ; Rev_3:16 ).

Verse 8

1Th_5:8 “But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation”

“But”: In contrast to the indifference and immorality found among the unbelieving. “Let us”: We can do this. This is a matter of complete freewill. “Since we are of the day”: Hence a certain lifestyle is demanded. “Be sober”: Vigilant and not apathetic, self-controlled and not involved in immorality. No room here for spiritual "fuzziness" ( Heb_5:14 ) The Christian must always have their "wits" about them. In a sense they are always on "sentry duty". “Putting on”: Watchfulness means that one makes good use of the weaponry that God has provided. God often has Paul use a military or soldier illustration in reference to the Christian life ( Eph_6:13 ff; Rom_13:12 ; 2Co_6:7 ; 2Co_10:4 ; 2Ti_2:3-4 ).

“The breastplate of faith and love”: Compare with Eph_6:14 . The Breastplate for the ancient soldier protected the vital organs. A direct hit in this section usually was fatal, if one was unprotected. In like manner, faith and love are necessary to protect the most vital aspect of the Christian, that being his or her mind and heart ( Pro_4:23 ; Mar_7:20-23 ; Heb_3:12 ). Note how "active" faith and love is viewed as defensive armor. Faith is essential, because defeat for the Christian is certain, if one loses their conviction that God is good and that God can be trusted. Love is essential, because without love, even our best efforts will be nothing more than selfish attempts as self glory and manipulation ( 1Co_13:1-4 ). “And for a helmet, the hope of salvation”: “Paul may intend us top infer than nothing in the Christian's equipment surpasses faith, love, and hope” (Morris p. 159). Hope is so important because it enables us to see past the current, seemingly enticing pleasures of the world. Hope helps us look beyond this existence ( Rom_8:18 ). Hope enables us to put long term gain ahead of short term pleasures ( Heb_11:25-26 ). This verse should also remind the Christian that God has given us everything we need to end up saved, His word ( Rom_1:16 ); the sacrifice of His Son ( Joh_3:16 ); clear conditions of salvation ( Mar_16:16 ); access to forgiveness, even after we become Christians ( 1Jn_1:8 ); encouragement from other Christians ( Heb_10:24 ); and His monitoring of temptation ( 1Co_10:13 ).

Verse 9

1Th_5:9 “For God appointed us not into wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ”

“For God appointed us not into wrath”: The word "appointed" does not mean that God has "predestined" (against their freewill) the salvation of certain individuals. Obviously, these Christians could fail ( 1Th_4:6-8 ), and some of them did ( 2Th_3:14 ). If Calvinism is right, then God has appointed the vast majority for wrath--regardless of the choices of those people thus predestined. In contrast, this verse is teaching a wonderful truth. One writer notes, “God never intended for us humans to live out our lives on this earth only to be punished eternally in Hell. God does not wish anyone to be the recipient of His wrath ( 2Pe_3:9 )” (Denton Lectures p. 179). Here is great encouragement and incentive to prepare for "that day". God is not working against us, and God is not trying to trip us up, rather, God wants us saved ( 1Ti_2:4 ); and He is trying to do everything short of violating our freewill to see that we do end up saved ( 2Pe_1:3 ). God's call through the gospel ( 2Th_3:14 ) is intended to save people. “For God did not choose us to condemn us” (Phi). Marshall notes, “Paul's exhortations to vigilance would be nonsensical if vigilance was the product of some inward causation in the believer by God or if there was no possibility of disobeying the exhortation” (p. 140).

“But unto the obtaining of salvation through out Lord Jesus Christ”: Notice how "salvation" is still future in some sense. Clearly, then the "appointment" in the first part of the verse is not of the Calvinist brand, because if God predestined these people for salvation (regardless of their own freewill), then they would already have in their own possession salvation. In fact, they would have "obtained" such salvation the moment God selected them. “Through”: Jesus is the only way ( Joh_14:6 ; Act_4:12 ).

Verse 10

1Th_5:10 “Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him”

“Who died for us”: That is why salvation is "through Him". There is not any reason why the Christian should be discouraged or think that "it's no use". Jesus died for us! God wants us saved ( 2Pe_3:9 ). God is not working against us, in fact, He is watching everything that happens to us, promising that we will never be put in a no-win situation ( 1Co_10:13 ). The root cause of those who end up lost will never be “I couldn’t”, but rather, “I wouldn’t”. “Whether we wake our sleep”: Are living or dead (4:13). “We should”: “First aorist active subjunctive-- covering all life (now and hereafter )” (Robertson p. 36). Rom_14:8 “whether we live or die, we are the Lord's”.

Death does not separate the Christian from God ( Luk_16:19 ff; Php_1:21-23 ). The Christian lives together with Christ right now ( Gal_2:20 ). But if death is a cessation of existence, then how do the Christian dead "live together with Him?" How can a non-existent person have a current relationship with God?

Death holds absolutely no victory over the believer. Death only improves ones relationship with God ( Php_1:21-23 ). It only moves one closer and not farther away. In no sense is it a disadvantage for the Christian.

Verse 11

1Th_5:11 “Wherefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as also ye do.”

“Wherefore”: Because of all the encouraging truths just mentioned! “Exhort”: Comfort, exhort, entreat, encourage, implore. “Build”: Confirm, edify, embolden. “Even as also ye do”: Credit where credit is due, and again we find Paul always encouraging God's people to do more, or to do it today.

God wishes that we look out for each other ( Rom_14:19 ; Rom_15:1-3 ; 1Co_10:23-24 ; Php_2:3-4 ). We often forget what being a "brother" really means, it includes the idea of looking out for your fellow brothers and sisters. God expects Christians to act like a loving family, because that it what we are supposed to be ( 1Ti_3:15 ). “We are not to leave it to an elite of professional comforters or counselors” (Stott p. 115). “The tense of the imperatives is the present continuous, and it conveys the thought that this is something that they should do habitually” (Morris p. 162). The word "build up" suggests that the Christian life is not supposed to be static. Christianity should be much more than merely hanging on , it is supposed to be a life of continual growth, success and victory ( 2Pe_1:5-11 ), and who else is going to exhort and build us up? Stott reminds us, “The world can be a tough and unfriendly place, as we all know to our cost” (p. 114).

Closing Observation

“It is worth observing that Paul's teaching underlines the importance of moral and spiritual preparedness. There is a final wrath from which people need to be saved, and there is the implication that those who are unprepared will miss out on final salvation. Right and wrong matter in the end . Many people fight shy of this, adopting a relativistic view of morality and an ultimate universalism that claims that all mankind will finally be saved, no matter how they may have lived. So far, then, from this passage being time bound and no longer tenable in a Christian understanding of life, it has in fact a vital contribution to make to it” (Marshall p. 144).

Verse 12

1Th_5:12 “But we beseech you, brethren, to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you”

John Stott entitles this section, “How to be a gospel church”. In reading this portion of Scripture it seems that evidently there were some problems at Thessalonica, or members who needed particular instruction and encouragement (5:14).

“To know them”: “Recognize them for what they are” (Vincent p. 47). “The idea of knowing fully, appreciating at their true worth. It indicates that they had not realized as they should the rightful position of the people in question, and they are called upon to learn the true situation” (Morris p. 165). “Knowing the worth of a person and hence showing them appropriate respect, 1Co_16:18” (Marshall pp. 146-147). “That labor”: “Normally refers to manual occupations. It means to 'toil, strive, struggle and to grow weary in doing so'” (Stott p. 119). The word "labor" is often applied to the work engaged by evangelists and elders ( Php_1:22 ; Col_1:29 ). This should remind us that these fields of service are not for the lazy and unmotivated. Fulfilling the task of an evangelist or elder, doing the job right, will involve hard work. “Among you”: Elders oversee the congregation in which they are members ( 1Pe_5:2 ; Act_14:23 ). “Are over you”: To stand before, to preside, or be over, rule. “Lit., those who stand in front of you” (Robertson p. 36). “Lit., who are placed before you” (Vincent p. 47). “Originally to ‘put oneself at the head’ or ‘go first’. Then metaphorically it came to mean ‘protect’ or ‘care for’, the notions of ‘leading’ and ‘caring’ seem to be combined” (Stott p. 120). See 1Ti_3:4-5 ; 1Ti_3:12 ; 1Ti_5:17 and Heb_13:17 .

“In the Lord”: It is God's desire that they shepherd the flock ( Act_20:28 ; 1Pe_5:2-3 ), they are to rule in a way that pleases the Lord ( Eph_6:4 ). They derive their authority from God, and it is their task to see that our lives remain in harmony with the Lord.

“It is sometimes argued that elders do not have any authority in the church because the word ‘authority’ is not used of elders. With that logic parents would have no authority over their children because ‘authority’ is not used of parents!” (Denton Lectures p. 186). The phrase "in the Lord" informs us that elders have the right to admonish or encourage us anytime our attitude or conduct becomes inconsistent with the Lord's will, or when it prevents us from doing His will.

“And admonish you”: To put in mind, (by implication) to caution or reprove gently: -admonish, warn. “Putting sense into the heads of people” (Robertson p. 36). This word is often associated with teaching ( Col_1:28 ; Col_3:16 ). Morris notes, “While its tone is brotherly, it is big-brotherly” (p. 166). This admits that situations will arise in which the elders need to admonish various members. Those “over us in the Lord” are the elders ( 1Ti_5:17 ), and we always find a plurality of elders in New Testament congregations which had them ( Act_14:23 ; Act_20:17 ; Php_1:1 ). They are the same group of men also known as bishops or overseers and pastors or shepherds ( Act_20:17 ; Act_20:28 ; Tit_1:5-6 ; 1Pe_5:1-3 ). Definite qualifications for this work are outlined in the New Testament ( 1Ti_3:1 ff; Tit_1:5 ff). It is a sign of health in a congregation when elders admonish when needed and when the members appreciate such loving and diligent oversight of their souls.

Verse 13

1Th_5:13 “and to esteem them exceeding highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves”

“Esteem:”: “To think, to estimate” (Vincent p. 48). “Hold them in special esteem and affection” (Mof). “Exceedingly highly in love”: “Inserted to show that this should be done without stint” (Morris p. 167). “Those who are recognized as leaders must be given appropriate respect. Paul emphasizes that such respect must be shown in full measure and it must not be grudging or partial” (Marshall p. 148). “He wants them to be loved, and not thought simply as the cold voice of authority. Love is the characteristic Christian attitude to man, and this should be shown within the church. Especially is this so in relationships like those between rulers and the ruled, which in other groups of men are apt to be formal and distant” (Morris p. 167). “What attitude should the local congregation adopt towards its elders? They are neither to despise them, as if they were dispensable, nor to flatter or fawn on them as if they were popes or princes, but rather to respect them” (Stott p. 121) . “For their works sake”: “For the sake of their work” (Mof). The reason of the respect is the work they are doing. It is not a question of personal prestige” (Barclay p. 239). See 1Ti_5:17 and Heb_13:17 . “It is not a matter of personalities. It is the good of the church that is the important thing” (Morris p. 167). Marshall notes, “Paul adds that such respect is to be shown in love. It does not spring from fear, from an unwilling submission but from love and gratitude for their service in the gospel” (p. 149).

Erdman notes, “ It is not enough to respect those who are leaders in the church, to refrain from criticizing them, or to honor them for the work they are called to do. All Christians must help them and share in their labors” (p. 67). See 1Th_5:14 ). “It is a matter of fact that we are often slow to realize to this day that effective leadership in the church of Christ demands effective following . If we are continually critical of them that are set over us, small wonder if they are unable to perform the ‘miracles’ that we demand of them” (Morris p. 167). We must never downplay the importance of the work they perform ( Heb_13:17 ). Such “esteem” also includes speaking respectfully about the elders in front of others and especially our children.

“Be at peace among yourselves”: This seems to be connected with what Paul has just previously stated. Stott notes, “This combination of appreciation and affection will enable elders and people to ‘live in peace with each other’” (p. 121). Some suggest that those who were not working (4:11-12; 2Th_3:6 ff), were failing to listen to the admonitions being given by the elders of this congregation. The phrase "among yourselves" means that the imperative "be at peace", applies equally to all members, including the elders. Elders and members are both responsible for keeping the peace. God puts a high priority on peace in the local congregation ( Rom_14:17 ; Rom_14:19 ; Eph_4:3 ; 2Ti_2:22 ; Jam_3:18 ; Rom_12:18 ; Heb_12:14 ). Obviously the gospel that can bring about reconciliation between God and man should be preached by people who are at peace with each other.

Verse 14

1Th_5:14 “And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be longsuffering toward all”

“And we exhort you”: Three distinct groups in this congregation needed specific attention. This is another way to keep peace in a congregation. Problems usually only grow worse if they are not confronted. “Brethren”: Notice that all Christians have an obligation to the elders. “Disorderly”: “Those who are out of line, probably referring to the idlers and busybodies” (Vincent p. 49). Compare with 1Th_4:11 ; 2Th_3:6 ; 2Th_3:11 . “Originally referred to the soldier who is out of step or out of rank, or to the army moving in disarray. Frame adds the point that it is not idleness in the sense of legitimate leisure that is meant, but loafing. The use of this word makes it quite clear that there were some at Thessalonica who had ceased to work and were imposing on the generosity of others” (Morris p. 168). “Who were playing truant from work” (Stott p. 122). God knows that at times we might have to be stern with another Christian ( 2Ti_4:2 ; Act_8:20-24 ). Notice that God is very fair. The disorderly man is given a warning, and it is not until the second letter, in which we find that such warning has not been heeded, that disfellowship then takes place ( 2Th_3:14 ). Compare with Mat_18:15-17 .

“Encourage”: Which includes the ideas of console and comfort as well. “The fainthearted”: “The timid” (Con). “Those of little heart” (Vincent p. 49). “In every community there is the faint-hearted brother who instinctively fears the worst, help others to be brave” (Barclay p. 240). “Despondent or worried or sad, it is broad enough to cover those who were lacking in strength to face up to persecution and those who were saddened or worried by the death of their relatives or friends” (Marshall p. 151). This could also include people that were also anxious in reference to their own salvation. “There are those who are temporarily overwhelmed by the stress of things. Such should not be condemned but consoled and encouraged, so that they may be fitted for the battle once more” (Morris p. 169).

“Support”: To hold oneself opposite another, to care for, hold up. “Weak”: One without strength. “The primary sense is, keeping one's self directly opposite to another so as to sustain him” (Vincent p. 49). The weak may include members weak in knowledge, or members who have conscience problems with things even in the realm of moral neutrality ( 1Co_8:7 ). Some writers feel that in this context the weak might include members who still felt the strong pull of worldly temptations ( 1Th_4:1 ff). “The law of the jungle says that the weak shall perish and only the fittest survive. The law of Christ is that the strong shall support the weak. ( Rom_15:1 )” (Fields p. 143). Notice that the weak and faint-hearted are not despised, yet neither are they pitied. We should not offer excuses for their lack of faith or courage, rather we are to help them grow. Implied in this verse is that the various groups being exhorted are expected to receive and embrace such encouragement and admonition. If we are to support the weak, that necessitates the weak accepting our help. If I am to hold on to the weak, then the weak must be willing to let me hold on to them ( Heb_12:12-13 ). The thought is that it is good for weak souls to know that there are others who are with them, who will cleave to them in the difficult moment, who will not forsake them (Morris p. 169). Notice that God knows that the local congregation is fully equipped to support its own members. Paul is saying that we need to make it hard for people to fall away. That if a Christian is going to forfeit their salvation, then they must deliberately resist all our efforts, they must turn their back on God and us.

“Be longsuffering toward all”: This does not mean that we are to allow people to do anything they like, or remain in their sins ( Mat_18:15 ff). It does mean that patience is a greatly needed quality in dealing with brethren in the above groups and just brethren in general ( 2Ti_2:24 ff). “Christians are not to be of hasty temper ( 1Co_13:7 )” (Erdman p. 68). We must always remember that we are trying to win souls, and not just an argument. People, even fellow Christians can try our patience. Hendriksen notes, “Thus instead of quickly rejecting anyone, patience should be shown” (p. 136).

This passage and other verses inform us that we are not allowed to quickly write people off, including those in sin ( Mat_18:15 ), even a factious man is given some patience ( Tit_3:10 ). Patience can be learned and appreciated, when we remember how patient God is with us ( Eph_4:2 ; Col_3:13 ). Sometimes we are too easily discouraged when dealing with people. Jesus pointed out that people do not always make a clean break with habitual sin on the first attempt ( Luk_17:3-4 ). As long as people are willing to repent, then they are to be given another chance. We must be willing to work hard with every convert, because we do not always initially know who has the real good and honest heart.

Verse 15

1Th_5:15 “See that none render unto any one evil for evil; but always follow after that which is good, one toward another, and toward all”

“See that”: “Take care” (TCNT). “Be sure” (Phi). “Make sure” (Stott p. 123). This admonition is addressed to all members of the Church, we are are indeed our brother's keeper! God expects a tremendous amount of maturity out of these new converts. “Many of these people had freshly emerged from paganism and this instruction was most appropriate, for the Greeks were remarkable for their undying feuds” (Denton Lectureship p. 190). “None”: Such behavior is inexcusable for any Christian, young or old, new convert or elder. “Unto any one”: Christian or non-Christian. “Evil for evil”: “Wrong for wrong” (TCNT). This is why God is against the individual taking vengeance. Retaliation usually results in another "evil". Government is given the "right" to avenge wrongs and punish the evildoer, but not the individual (Compare Mat_5:38-44 ; Rom_13:1-4 ). Morris notes, “Subject to constant harassing from both Jew and Gentile it would have been easy for them to become embittered. But it was just in this situation that they were called upon to render to no man evil for evil. The great precepts of the Christian faith are not addressed only to those who find them easy to keep, but to all” (p. 170). See Rom_12:17-21 ; 1Pe_3:9 . Fields notes the four ways to react: (a) The cruel or Communist way, return evil for good. (b) The common way, return evil for evil. (c) The courteous or civil way, return good for good. (d) The Christian way, return good for evil. ' (p. 144)

“Always follow after”: “Keep up the chase after the good” (Robertson p. 37). This needs to be the common and habitual reaction for the Christian, and not the exception. “That which is good”: “Strive to do good always” (Con). “You must aim always at what is best” (Knox).

“That which is good” does not include supporting someone in their sin(s). We must always let God define the "good".

We need to remember that this specific verse is talking about returning "good" in the face of hostility. '..requires that we do to others what we would wish them to do to us, regardless of whether or not they actually do their part ( Mat_7:12 ; Luk_6:31 ).' (Marshall p. 153)

“One toward another, and toward all”: Christians and non-Christians. Therefore, Christians do have the right to become involved in wronging people in business and so on. God does care concerning how we treat the non-Christian.

Verse 16

1Th_5:16 “Rejoice always”

The fact that we are saved (1:10), should always be at least one major source of continual joy for the Christian ( Php_4:4 ). ‘Be happy in your faith at all times” (Phi). This admonition was addressed to Christians who were suffering. The Christian can rejoice despite and because of hardship, because he or she knows that when hardship is met with the proper attitude, the end result will be great improvement in one’s character ( Jam_1:2-4 ; 1Pe_4:13 ). “If our Christian experience does not lead to joy, we do well to ask whether it is genuine” (Marshall p. 154). Fields notes, “The secret to true joy is to avoid trying to be happy, chasing happiness itself is like chasing rainbows. It is always just beyond reach” (p. 144). We should note that happiness is a result of unselfish service (5:14-15), rather than the end all. This verse seems to be linked with the context: We cannot rejoice if we are nursing or holding on to grudges (5:15). There should be rejoicing even when we forgive. We should be glad when someone repents and they allow us to embrace them back into fellowship. Forgiveness should be a happy thing to do ( Luk_15:7 ). Stott notes, “Many church services are unforgivably gloomy. Although, to be sure, it is always appropriate to worship Almighty God with awe and humility, yet every service should also be a celebration, a joyful rehearsal of what God has done and given through Christ” (p. 125). Compare with Psa_95:1-2 ; Psa_100:1-2 .

Verse 17

1Th_5:17 “pray without ceasing”

This is common theme in Paul’s letter (5:25; 2Th_3:1 ; Rom_12:12 ; Eph_6:18 ; Col_4:2 ). This reveals that the Christian is not confined by "set hours" to pray. “The Christian should live in such communion with God that prayer is always easy and natural” (Marshall p. 155 ). In view of reality within any congregation (5:14), there are and will be always those who need our prayers. Effective prayer is linked with "rejoicing". Morris notes, “Christianity is a religion which turns men's thoughts away from themselves and their puny deeds to the great God who has wrought a stupendous salvation for them, the Christian man is ever conscious of his dependence upon God” (pp. 172-173).

It is easy to forget that there is always something we can do--even in face of the most perplexing and stubborn of problems. We can always pray! ( Jam_5:17-18 )

Verse 18

1Th_5:18 “in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward”

“In everything give thanks”: Yes even be grateful for the hard times ( Rom_5:3-5 ). “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” ( Psa_103:2 ). Barclay notes, “We must always remember that if we face the sun the shadows will fall behind us, but if we turn our backs on the sun all the shadows will be in front” (p. 240). Even if terrible things happen, we need to be thankful that God was faithful, it could have been worse ( 1Co_10:13 ). God exists, therefore something beneficial can be gained ( Jam_1:2-4 ), that is, suffering for the faithful Christian is never meaningless or pointless. We have been delivered from eternal suffering! Unfortunately, many people need almost ideal circumstances to be thankful or happy. What a miserable existence! The word "thankful" should always remind the Christian that the world does not "owe" us anything. We are the debtors ( Rom_1:14 ). No circumstances, should ever move the Christian into thinking that God is now indebted to them, that is, that God owes them ( Luk_17:10 ).

“For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward”: This is the response to those who might say to themselves, “But I don't feel like being grateful to God right now”. God wants His people to be thankful and joyful. The Bible was not written to make our lives miserable, rather God wants us saved and happy.

Verse 19

1Th_5:19 “Quench not the Spirit”

“Quench”: To extinguish. “Do not stifle the utterances of the Spirit” (TCNT). “Do not stifle inspiration” (NEB). “The Spirit”: That is, the Holy Spirit. In view of verse 20, we find that the Thessalonians possessed various spiritual gifts, including prophecy. During the time when spiritual gifts were operational, they were to be used and encouraged. This also suggests that the prophet did have control over whether or not he spoke. Those who were inspired were not to become fearful or timid in preaching the gospel.

Verse 20

1Th_5:20 “Despise not prophesyings”

“Despise”: To set at nought or view as being contemptible.

“Do not make light of prophetic gifts” (TCNT). “do not hold prophecy in low esteem” (Knox). “Do not scoff at those who prophesy” (Tay). Paul faced people who did not appreciate the truth that was revealed through Him by the Holy Spirit ( 1Co_14:37 ). The various inspired teachers in Thessalonica may have faced the same attitude, especially as they tried to admonish the lazy among them. “The meddlers, and the loafers in Thessalonica may not have appreciated some of the utterances of the true prophets” (Hendriksen p. 140). From this and other passages it appears that spiritual gifts could not only be abused ( 1Co_14:1-40 ), but they could also fall into disuse ( 2Ti_1:6-7 ; cf. 1Co_14:32 ). When the New Testament was completely revealed, these gifts ceased ( 1Co_13:8-13 ). In addition, they could only be transferred through the laying on of the apostles hands ( Act_8:14 ff). People can still "despise" prophetic utterances, for the word of God is composed of one prophetic or inspired utterance after another ( 2Ti_3:16 ; 2Pe_1:20-21 ). When people claim that the Old Testament is a collection of myths they are despising the messages of the prophets. When people claim that the Bible has not been accurately transmitted they are despising the prophetic utterances of the apostles, and when people reject any teaching of Scripture they are despising or giving very little value to the fact that the Bible is inspired.

For those who contend for modern day inspiration; Stott notes: “If there were such inspired people in the church today, we would have to add their words to Scripture, and the whole church would have to listen and obey” (p. 127). That's an excellent point! Many people, afraid of offending someone or some group, will say something like, “Who is to say that they aren't speaking for God?” Yet if a person is speaking for God- then we must do what they say or perish! ( 1Th_4:8 )

Verse 21

1Th_5:21 “prove all things; hold fast that which is good”

“Prove”: To test, examine. “And yet you must scrutinize it all carefully” (Knox). The expression “all things” should remind us that we cannot just assume that something is right, neither can we accept the conclusions or majority opinions of secular society. The only means by which we can infallibly know if something is good or evil, is to test it by the word of God ( Heb_5:14 ; Act_17:11 ). God does not want us to be gullible. Genuine faith is not blind ( Mat_10:16 ). Certain people think it is really spiritual to just embrace and believe whatever religious leaders may say, yet false teachers do exist, and they exist in abundance ( 1Jn_4:1 ). Even more prevalent is the attitude that we will just know if something is right or wrong depending on the "vibes” or “feelings" we receive when it crosses our path ( Pro_16:25 ). In the context, "examine everything" would include an examination of the utterances being given by the prophets, because unfortunately, false prophets and pretenders have always existed. All teachers must be tested by previously revealed revelation ( 1Jn_4:1-3 ; Act_17:11 ; 2Jn_1:9-11 ).

Hendriksen notes, “’Test all things’ cannot mean ‘Try everything once’, or ‘Enter every place of wickedness and find out for yourselves what it is'” (p. 140). Good and evil are not always easy to distinguish at first sight ( Heb_5:12-14 ; Col_2:23 ). It is not being cruel or insensitive to ask someone to give a Biblical verse in defense of what they are teaching or practicing in the name of God.

“Hold fast”: “Cling” (TCNT). “Retaining only what is good” (Knox). “Keep on holding” (Robertson p. 38). “Denotes firm acceptance of the good. There must be no half measures” (Morris p. 178). We must do more than simply mentally "know" what is good, we must embrace it and practice it.

Verse 22

1Th_5:22 “abstain from every form of evil”

“Abstain”: To hold oneself off, that is refrain. “Every form”: The term “form” here means appearance, fashion or shape. This would include evil advice or false teachings. Every "form" of evil, whether that "form" takes the form of speech, attitude, conduct, example, and so on. “It signifies basically ‘that which meets the eye’, ‘the external appearance’. But from this it develops the secondary meaning of ‘kind’ or ‘species’. ‘Avoid every kind of evil’” (Morris pp. 178-179).

Verse 23

1Th_5:23 “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”

“And”: Notice the connection between this verse and the previous one. God does not cleanse or sanctify people apart from their cooperation. In order to end up pure and holy, we need to depart from evil and hold to that which is good ( 2Co_7:1 ). “The God of peace”: The God who enables us to be forgiven, so we can have peace with Him ( Col_1:21-22 ), and peace with others ( Eph_2:14-16 ). This is another way of saying that God is the only source of spiritual blessings for mankind ( Eph_1:3 ). Paul often calls God, the God of peace ( Rom_15:33 ; Rom_16:20 ; 2Co_13:11 ; 2Th_3:16 ). This expression should remind us that God is not the cause for the strife and unhappiness in the world. Too many people try to blame this world's problems on "Christianity". Man causes the problems, not God ( Rom_3:23 ).

“Sanctify”: “Render sacred, declare holy, consecrate, separate from things profane, dedicate to God, purify” (Fields p. 151). “You wholly”: Compete to the end. “Consecrate you through and through” (Mof).

Paul is not teaching the idea that God mysteriously or miraculously removes all desires to sin in the believer, because Paul himself, had to buffet his body ( 1Co_9:27 ; 1Jn_1:8-10 ). Instead Paul is describing the aim and goal of the Christian life, which is to be wholly pure, inside and outside, our conduct, speech, thoughts and attitude all directed towards glorifying God ( Rom_6:13 ; Rom_6:19 ; Mat_22:37 ). Here is great news for the Christian. Faithfulness to God, endeavoring to put on the new man completely, will result in our complete purity in eternity ( Rev_21:4 ).

“Spirit and soul and body”: Commentators speculate concerning if Paul here intends any distinction between the spirit and the soul. In other places, man is viewed as having a very definite dual nature ( Ecc_12:7 ; Mat_10:28 ; 2Co_4:16 ), yet the Hebrew writer seems to imply that there is a distinction between the soul and the spirit ( Heb_4:12 ). Up to this time I have personally been unable to find a satisfactory answer as to how the soul differs from the spirit. Heb_4:12 seems to imply that such a distinction is not readily or easily seen, and also that such a distinction might be a very fine line.

“Be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus”: The Christian will not lose anything. He or she will not even lose their body ( Rom_8:23 ). If the soul is more of the personality of the inner man (as some suggest), this verse could be teaching that for the faithful Christian, heaven means a cleansed and pure mind, but a mind that still remembers the good memories of this life, that is, a purified memory. It could also suggest that we will retain somewhat distinctive personalities in eternity, which means we will not be robots, but it would be a personality cleansed of all the things that got us into trouble in this life. The expression “without blame” does not require perfection in this life, but it does require sincere repentance and forgiveness ( Rom_4:6-8 ). Carefully note that the Bible teaches a salvation of the entire person. We cannot separate our personal lives from our faith, neither can we say that whatever we do with our bodies or whatever we believe or think does not impact upon our relationship with God. God requires the complete loyalty of the individual.

Verse 24

1Th_5:24 “Faithful is He that calleth you, who will also do it”

“Faithful”: One who is trustworthy and dependable. “He who calls you will not fail you” (TCNT). See 2Ti_2:13 ; 1Co_10:13 ). God does not call people through the gospel ( 2Th_2:14 ), only to abandon them when they obey the gospel. “Perhaps we need to be reminded of the great truth that, since God is doing His part, we must do ours” (Denton Lectureship p. 213).

God can be depended upon ( 1Pe_2:6 ). The person who puts their complete trust in God, will not be disappointed. “But God, besides being a Caller, is a Doer. The God to whom Paul prays is not a God who is inactive or ineffective ( Num_23:19” (Morris p. 183). We also need to remember that part of God's "faithfulness" is a faithfulness to Himself. He cannot save the person who does not want to be saved, and He will not save those who are unfaithful (2 Timoty 2:11-13). That fact that God is "faithful", infers that God is not fickle, He does not keep changing His mind as to what constitutes right and wrong. God is dependable and constant ( Heb_13:8 ), and means that God cannot lie ( Tit_1:2 ). Which means that what God revealed in the Scriptures is exactly what He will do.

“Calleth”: “The calling to which Paul referred is not something difficult to comprehend. It is not the alleged ‘calling’ many religious people say they have received. The Christians in Thessalonica chose to hear, believe, accept and obey the Gospel. They chose to obey God. They chose to become New Testament Christians rather than remain lost and dead in sin” (Denton Lectureship p. 214).

Verse 25

1Th_5:25 “Brethren, pray for us”

“Pray”: The word “pray” here is in the continuous tense, that is, keep praying for us. Paul often asks for the prayers of those he had converted ( Eph_6:19 ; Col_3:3 ; 2Th_3:1 ). This infers that the prayers of "ordinary" Christians are just as effective as the prayers of an apostle. Those members in the first century who could not journey and spread the gospel, could perform a valuable service in praying for those who did. This is also a mark of Paul's humility. He realized that he needed the prayers of Christians, even new converts. He knew that he needed their prayers just as much as they needed his. “It is easy to picture for ourselves Paul as a very great Apostle ceaselessly occupied with his work of issuing directives to other people on how they should live out their faith, while he himself sits above the storm or calmly goes on his undisturbed way. Such, of course, is far from being a true picture. Paul was very much caught up in the hurly-burly. He was very conscious of his own limitations” (Morris p. 183).

Verse 26

1Th_5:26 “Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss”

“Salute”: Embrace, greet, welcome. “Holy kiss”: “Sacred kiss” (TCNT). Compare with Rom_16:16 ; 1Co_16:20 ; 2Co_13:12 ; 1Pe_5:14 .

Fields notes, “In this verse Paul did not say that we had to kiss every time we met or said ‘good-bye’. Neither was he instituting a new church custom or ordinance. Since kissing was a form of greeting common in the world of that time (and for centuries previous), he could not have meant to institute a new practice, but he is here purifying an old one, insisting that the greeting be holy . This instruction applies to all our greetings, whether they be by handshake, embrace, or kiss” (p. 155). “This kiss was given on the cheek, the forehead, the beard, the hands, the feet, but not (in Palestine) the lips. There is reason to believe that, as a rule, men only thus greeted men, and women greeted women” (Fields p. 154). Jesus placed this form of greeting in a context with other customs of the time ( Luk_7:45 ). This verse reminds us that all our brethren should be dear to us. Fields notes, “The people we associate with on Sunday ought to mean much more to us that the people with whom we mingle during the week. It is good to see churches where the members greet and talk freely to one another” (p. 154). “The custom among early Christians indicated their belief that the church of Christ formed a real brotherhood” (Erdman p. 72). This verse also tells us that there is no place in the church for insincere, cold, distant or unfriendly attitudes among faithful brethren.

Verse 27

1Th_5:27 “I adjure you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the brethren”

“Adjure”: To put on oath, make swear; by analogy, to solemnly enjoin, adjure, charge. “I give orders” (Bas). “This strong appeal may perhaps be explained by a suspicion on Paul's part that a wrong use might be made of his name and authority (see 2Th_2:2 ), so that it was important that his views should be made known to all” (Vincent p. 53). “He placed them under oath to do this. This certainly emphasized the importance that Paul attached to his writings” (Fields p. 156).

“Be read unto all the brethren”: Compare with Col_4:16 . “Paul evidently thought that his letter could be understood by the common people in the church. The Roman Catholic clergy has often held back the Bible from their people, saying that the laity cannot interpret correctly the Bible without an infallible guide. However, Lois, Eunice, the Bereans, the Ephesians, and many others all read and understood the Scriptures without any official interpreter to explain them ( 2Ti_1:5 ; 2Ti_3:15 ; Act_17:11 ; Eph_3:4 )” (Fields p. 155). God wants this letter read publicly to all the brethren, that is, when they are assembled. Hence preaching and bible reading were an essential aspect of the worship when the First Century churches assembled ( 1Ti_4:13 ).

“All”: “It is very well possible that some of the disorderly persons, upon hearing that a letter from the missionaries had arrived and suspecting that it contained some admonitions intended especially for them, might wish to be absent when it was read aloud to the congregation. So Paul stresses the fact that by all means every person in the church must hear the letter” (Hendriksen p. 144). Marshall observes, “It is interesting that he simply assumes that all the members of the church do gather together regularly” (p. 165).

Verse 28

1Th_5:28 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you”

Stott notes, “If a local church is to become a gospel church, it must not only receive the gospel and pass it on, but also embody it in a community life of mutual love” (p. 135).

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.