1 Thessalonians 5

It’s suddenness (vv 1-11). Christ’s return is certain, but the day and the hour are not known, as Jesus said again and again (Matthew 24:36;42-43; 25:13; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:39, 46; 21:25-35). However, signs will precede His coming (Luke 21:25-35), so that patient believers may sense that it is near. But even those who are watching are warned to stay alert and self-controlled, lest they be caught off guard.

To scoffing unbelievers, Christ’s return will be sudden-as a thief in the night (v. 2) Their destruction will occur at a time when people are convinced that they are at peace and safe (v. 3). This most likely does not refer to complete separation from God. (See additional comments concerning the time of Him coming under 2 Thessalonians 2 and 2 Peter 3.)

Respect pastors (vv. 12-13). Since this was a very young church the pastors must have been largely novices themselves. Yet the people are urged to love them and to hold their office of ministry in high esteem. When church members love their pastor and his position as minister of the Gospel, and are at peace among themselves, other things being equal, the church is sure to grow.

Fifteen exhortations (vv. 14-22). These beautiful exhortations are so characteristic of Paul. He closes most of his epistles, however abstract argumentative, or abstruse, with exhortations, to peace, longsuffering joy, prayer, thankfulness, and every good.

Spirit, soul and body (v 23). “Spirit” and “soul” are often used synonymously, but here there seems to be a distinction. The soul is the principle of life, the spirit, the organ of communion with God. Christ redeems the entire human personality. The language certainly indicates the resurrection of the body.

Holy kiss (v. 26). The kiss on the cheek, between persons of the same sex, was a common mode of greeting in many ancient countries, as it still is in some countries today. It became a custom in the churches, but when it ceased to be a common form of greeting in society at large, its use in the churches also ceased.

Have this letter read to all the brothers (v. 27). This shows that Paul intended his epistles to be read in the churches. That is what the New Testament books were written for (Colossians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:13; Revelation 1:3).

As stated, the Thessalonian epistles are commonly regarded as the earliest written New Testament books. Both are about the Lord’s coming again. The last of the New Testament books to have been written is Revelation; its final words (except for the benediction) are” ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). Thus the New Testament begins and ends with the return of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5: 1-28

1. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

25 Brethren, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

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