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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5

Verses 1-11

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 . Paul’ s Warning to the Christians to be Prepared for the Parousia.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 . as a thief in the night: cf. the words of Jesus ( Matthew 24:43). Throughout this paragraph the suddenness of the Parousia is emphasized.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 . sons of light: a Hebraism, meaning those who have been enlightened.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 . breastplate: cf. with this passage the fuller description of the Christian’ s armour in Ephesians 6:13-20.

1 Thessalonians 5:10 . wake or sleep: i.e. whether we are alive or dead when the Parousia takes place.

Verses 12-22

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 . Sundry Counsels and Exhortations.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 . Christians are urged to respect their leaders. No officers and ministers are mentioned in this epistle, but this verse implies that the Church had leaders. The ministry at Thessalonica was a ministry of service. Those who laboured most were naturally regarded as being over the Church. They are entitled to esteem and love, not by reason of any official position but “ for their work’ s sake.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14 . admonish the disorderly: an insistence upon the maintenance of discipline. The disorderly are probably those who had abandoned their regular business under the excitement of the expected Parousia.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 . Rejoice always . . . give thanks. These injunctions receive illumination when read in the light of the condition of the Thessalonian Church. There was persecution— they had lost their leader— death had been active in their ranks— yet they are told to rejoice and give thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 . Quench not: the apostle is referring to those manifestations of the Spirit which were seen in preaching, speaking with tongues, healings, etc., in the early Church ( 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 *).

1 Thessalonians 5:20 . prove all things: i.e. discriminate between the true and the false. One of the difficulties of the early Church was to find some criterion to distinguish the genuine and spurious expressions of the spiritual life ( 1 Corinthians 12:3 *, 1 John 4:1-6, Revelation 22; cf. Didache, xi.ff.).

Verses 23-28

1 Thessalonians 5:23-28 . Conclusion.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 . The closing benediction commending the Thessalonian Christians to God.— spirit and soul and body: if we press the phrase, human nature is threefold, consisting of: ( a) a body, the physical organism; ( b) soul, the principle of life, the moral and intellectual side of man; ( c) spirit, the organ of communion with God. But whether this tripartite theory represents Paul’ s permanent view is open to doubt, as elsewhere he speaks in terms of duality as “ flesh and spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 5:26 . be read to all: a phrase which shows that Paul intended his epistles not merely for the leaders of the Church, but for the whole community, including the humblest and poorest.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.