The earliest writings of the apostle Paul. The only epistles addressed to a specific, physical church.

We are introduced to the word "parousia" ("coming") as the connecting link which makes the 2 epistles inseparable.

              1Th 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23    (4 occurrences)  # the earth, creation 

                   2Th 2:1,8,9                      + (3 occurrences)  # Divine completeness

                                      =  7 # of spiritual perfection

The beautiful, flawless, infallible structure of the Word warns us to be wary of doctrine based solely on 1 Thessalonians.

The word "parousia" is not a "New Testament word." Its usage has been documented as far back as the Ptolemaic Era (approx. 332-30 B.C.) signifying the arrival of  some person(s) of authority such as an emperor, king, or in some cases, the arrival of troops. There are 24 occurrences of "parousia" in Scripture ((12 (#of governmental order) x 2 (higher level)) as follows:

Mt 24:3,27,37,39   1Co 15:23;16:17   2Co 7:6,7;10:10  Phil 1:26;2:12   1Th 2:19;3:13;4:15;5:23   2Th 2:1,8,9   Jas 5:7,8   2Pe 1:16;3:4,12   1Jn 2:28

INTRODUCTION

1 & 2 Thessalonians are the last of the doctrinal/instructional epistles though written before Romans and Ephesians. The arrangement in the Bible gives us ascending levels of truth:

                              ROMANS - Justified in Christ

                        EPHESIANS - Sanctified in Christ

                THESSALONIANS - Glorified in Christ

Thessalonians is the culmination of "all truth" (Jn 16:12-14) and LOGICALLY comes last.

IMPORTANT: It is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that students  understand that 2 Thessalonians was written very shortly after 1 Thessalonians to correct misunderstandings instigated by false teachings concerning the return of Christ. It remains prudent to consider the totality of BOTH epistles in order to rightly divide the Word of God. 1 Thessalonians MUST be reconciled against 2 Thessalonians.

BACKGROUND

1 & 2 Thessalonians are the only epistles addressed to a specific physical church, emphasizing the status of the church at Thessalonica as a typical (model) church. The epistles are full of praise and thanksgiving and devoid of reproof (Corinthians,Phillipians) and correction (Galatians,Colossians). Paul had just received a good report from Timothy (1Th 3:6) and the epistle is written with a spirit of joy and commendation. Paul viewed the Thessalonians as examples for other believers.

Note: Only in Thessalonians, Philippians and Philemon does Paul not refer to himself as an apostle. The authoritative tone used in Galatians is not necessary here. 

HISTORY

1 & 2 Thessalonians are the earliest of Paul's writings, written from Corinth, 52-53 A.D., in the company of Silas and Timothy. The planting of the church is detailed in Ac 17:1-9. Although the city had a large Jewish population, the church was composed primarily of Gentiles. Thessalonica's status as a busy port city on the Aegean bay facilitated the church's extensive missionary activities. It's location at the intersection of two major Roman roads leading east from Italy (Ignatia Way) and from the Danube to the Aegean made it a logical place for Paul to stop on his 2nd missionary journey, from Phillipi, after stopping in Amphipolis and Apollonia. He preached in the synagogue for at least 3 weeks before being forced to flee to Berea to escape a mob (Ac 17:5-10).

Ch 1:1 - Paul joins the names of Silvanus and Timotheus to his own because they were with him in Corinth when the letter was written (Ac 18:1-5, 2Co 1:19) and, more importantly, they were co-founders of the church at Thessalonica (Ac 16:1-3, 17:4,10,14). For this reason Paul uses the plural "we" (4:1,13 (where text reads "we", not "I")). Contrast 1Co 1:1 where Sosthenes was with Paul but held no position of authority and Paul immediately returns to "I" (1Co 1:4).

              - Silvanus is listed before Timotheus because he was a leader among the brethren (Ac 15:22) and Timotheus was a young disciple (Ac 16:1-3). He also took a more prominent role in founding the Macedonian churches (Ac 16:19,25; 17:4,10)

NOTE: Any traditional idea that Silvanus and Silas are not the same person is dispelled by this epistle. The Silas in the Book of Acts must be the Silvanus referenced here. "Silas" is actually a common contraction of "Silvanus" and Luke used the contracted name, Paul used the full name. The idea that two individuals could be in identical circumstances over such an extended period of time and never referenced together is silly.

         - Timotheus (Timothy) - Appears in 10 of Paul's epistles, joining him about a year before Thessalonians was written.

         - "church of the Thessalonians" - Unique to these two epistles.

               "saints" - Romans, Ephesians,Colossians,Phillipians

               "church of God at Corinth" - 1,2 Corinthians

               "churches of Galatia" - Galatians

          Sets the personal, familial tone of Thessalonians

         - "Grace...and peace" - The familiar pairing found 7 times in Ephesians.

                  Grace - the source of blessings

                  Peace - the end and resulting issues 

         - "from..." - Omit

2 - Compare Eph 6:18        Note Jas 5:16

3 - FAITH, LOVE, HOPE - A trio of graces often referenced by Paul in his epistles.

       Col 1:4,5 and Gal 5:5,6 (in the Greek) have the same sequence.

       1Co 13:13 - LOVE appears last because it will abide when faith is eclipsed by sight and hope turns into fulfillment.

The order in 1Th 1:3 has its own natural sequence.

1. FAITH is the source of Christian attributes

2. LOVE is the sustaining, ongoing basis of Christian life.

3. HOPE is the guiding light for the life to come. 

This progression outlines this epistle's message.

    - "without ceasing" = "without omission"

    - "work...hope" = "faithful work, loving labour, and hopeful patience"

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "work" (Gr."ergon") AND "labour" (Gr."kopas")?

We find the same thing in Rev 2:2.

The words are aligned as two specific terms as measures of self-sacrfifice. "Work" is simple activity. "Labour" is a higher level of work implying fatigue, suffering, indignity, and often, frustration. It is, therefore, frequently used with "patience" and "endurance".

 IT IS EVIDENCE AND FRUIT OF FAITH. See Gal 5:6 and Jas 2:18.

All churches do "work". God's churches labour, endure and overcome. REST is provided by God.  Mt 11:28-30  Heb 4:1-11

     - "in our Lord..." = "pertaining to our Lord"  This narrows the meaning to ministry and service within the bounds of Eph 4:1-3.

     - "in the sight of..." - Under the supervision/guidance and covering of God, not man. See Mt 6:1-8.

     - "and" = "even"

4,5 - Here through v.10 paul gives the reason for the thanksgiving of v.2 in light of the circumstances in v.3.

      - "For we know that you are beloved by God, knowing the manner of your election, how that..."

      - "election"=Gr."ekloge"="Divine selection" - This is election for church membership, not final salvation. The word "eklektos" is used for the "inner circle" as in Mt 22:14 ("chosen") where the verse may be likened to an audition - Many called, few chosen.

See also Mk 13:20,22,27   Lk 18:7    Mt 24:22,24,31

      - "the gospel we preach exhibited itself not in word only..."

       - "word"="logos" (spoken word)    "power"="dunamis"

     - "...but with the earnestness and inspiration of the Holy Spirit with deep conviction and perfect assurance..."

  NOTE: This refers to the character of the message, not its acceptance.

     - "were" should be "became" - Paul puts forth himself, Silas and Timothy as examples of the transforming power of Christ, not as super-saints.

      - "for your sake" - The apostles were employed by the Holy Spirit to benefit the church. UNDERSTAND 1Co 12:7.

6 - "followers"=Gr."mimetes"="imitators" - This leads to Paul referencing both father and mother in his relationship to this church. Compare 1Co 4:14-16

    - "and of the Lord" - Eph 5:1. If we are children and imitators of God, those who imitate us will be imitating God. Understand 2Co 3:1-3. We are walking epistles. We are ambassadors (2Co 5:20  Eph 6:20)

    - "received" - the acceptance of the gospel described in v.5.

    - "affliction"=Gr."thlipsis"="tribulation" - Here paired with "joy" looking to the return of Christ, agreeing with the relationship between suffering and glory in Scripture. This is described by Jesus in Jn 16:20-22.

Note Heb 12:2-13   2Co 4:15-18; 8:1,2   1Pe 5:8-10   Heb 10:32-36   Jas 1:2-4   Ac 5:40-42    1Pe 1:6-9   1Pe 4:12-14

        1Th 2:14 shows that both Jews and Gentiles attacked the church. Following Christ makes us enemies to the world (Jas 4:4) and can create allegiance between those who otherwise have differences (See Lk 23:1-12).

7 - Paul pays the church the highest compliment. They are a model church in activity and experience. "ensamples" is singular and refers to the church as a model Christian community, not to the individual members.

8 - Paul praises the evangelistic strength of the church.

      - "sounded out"=Gr."execheomai" Only occ.- A very strong word meaning "to resound like thunder" (See Ac 4:29-32). The faith of this church was known beyond the local area.

9 - "shew" = "report"    "of themselves" = "without being asked"

    The church had a testimony. Its story was known and told by others.

    - "...from idols" - The majority of the church converts were Gentiles.

Note the lack of O.T. references in Thessalonians. It was unfamiliar to non-Jews.

    - "true" = "real", "genuine"

10 - With v.9, we receive the bottom-line responsibility of the church:

"to serve...and to wait"

      - "wait for"=Gr."anameno" Only occ.="to await after preparation"

      - "delivered" = "rescued"

      - "us" - Paul, Silas and Timothy

      - "wrath..." = "the even now approaching wrath"

Ch 2:1 - In Chapter 1, Paul referenced the preachers (v.5), then the hearers (vv. 6-10). He now does the same in Ch. 2, preachers (1-12) and hearers (13-14). As in Ch. 1, Paul speaks to the preaching first, not its reception.

       - "was not in vain" should read "has proved not to be fruitless"

2 - Paul speaks of the circumstances as evidence of their sincerity. he refers to both physical harm and indignity. See Ac 14:5 where "use...despitefully"="insult" and especially, Ac 16:35-39.

       - "bold" refers to boldness of speech. See 2Co 4:1-10

3 - "deceit" = "error"  NOTE: False teachers are deceived and deceivers

       - "uncleanness" = "personal impurity" (defilement)

       - "guile"=Gr."dolos"="craftiness"

4 - "allowed"=Gr."dokimazo"=approved after being tested. The test is referenced at the end of the verse.

The true test is not the trial itself, but the response to the trial.

5 - "...as ye know" - What the church could assess externally

       - "...God is witness" - What God could assess internally

6 - "glory"  See 1Co 1:26-31

       - "burdensome" - Paul asserts the right of the apostle/teacher to receive compensation from those who hear.  2Co 11:5-9  Gal 6:6

7 - Here Paul inverts the metaphor of being dependent for support (as children) to parental and sibling references.

       - "gentle"=Gr."epios" Only here and 2Ti 2:24="showing fatherly kindness"

       - "among" - An expression of equality

       - "nurse"=Gr."trophos" Only occ.="A mother who suckles her own children ("her" should be "her own").

This verse illustrates the deep relationship between the church and the apostles.

8 - "affectionately desirous"=Gr."himeiromai" Only occ.="attached to" A slight allusion to the closeness of spouses.

       - "dear"=Gr."agapetos"="beloved" A term used of a parent for an only or favorite child. The term used by the Father in reference to Jesus Christ, to whom this verse applies.

9 - "labour and travail" - Gr. "kopos" and "mochtos"

      Combination found also in 2Th 3:8 and 2Co 11:27.

       - "labour" - Wear and tear, exhaustive work

       - "travail" - Struggle to overcome obstacles, difficulty

       - "because..." - Paul continued to practice his craft as a tentmaker to support himself financially.

10 - As in v.5, the external and internal. Duties toward man, and duties toward God. The combination of "holily and justly" reflects this responsibility. See Gal 6:10.

11 - Compare to Eph 6:4. By application, this verse is for fathers, pastors, bishops, etc. Anyone in a "covering" position. In v.7 Paul emphasizes the mother's role in tenderness and affection. Here, regarding teaching and advice, he uses fathers.

       - "exhorted"=Gr."parakaleo"="called aside for instruction, encouragement"

       - "comforted"=Gr."paramutheomai"="consoled"  See Jn 11:19

       - "charged"=Gr."narturomai"="testified to" - Provided instruction and example, that is, to witness by word and deed.

12 - See Eph 4:1  "His" should be "His own"

IMPORTANT: "kingdom"=Gr."basileia" - This is not a place. It refers to the presence and exercise of sovereignty - not territory. It therefore includes the presence of God and literally exists within true believers. See Lk 17:20,21. This is the present spiritual kingdom of believers, not what is to come. This present kingdom is also referenced in 2Th 1:4,5. The phrase "kingdom of God" means the everlasting, universal moral sovereignty of God which is over all, in all, around all.

13 - "word of men...word of God" - The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture. Man was the transcriber. See 2Ti 3:16, Gal 1:11,12

       - "effectually worketh" = "brought to life", "energized"

Paul expresses a sequence/cycle for ministry. All steps required.

               - Word is received in the ears

               - Word is retained in the heart

               - Word results in fruitful work.

See Mt 13:1-23 for "missing steps"

14 - Paul expresses admiration for the Jewish churches established by the other apostles, uses suffering as a demonstration of the active work of the Gospel enabling endurance, and mentions persecution by the Gentiles.

15 - "killed..." - refers to involvement, not total responsibility

       - "their own should be "the"

       - "persecuted" = Gr."ekdioko"="chased out"

       - "they please not...contrary..."  See Mt 23:13-15,29-35

16 - See Ac 13:48-50, and, in Thessalonica, Ac 17:1-10

       - "wrath" - The appointed wrath of Ro 1:18-23,28,32

17 - "being taken"=Gr."aporphanizomai" Only occ.="bereft of and separated from" Used of children deprived of parents (see v.7).

       - "more abundantly" - The separation increased their desire to see the church members beyond normal (as in "absence makes the heart grow fonder").

18 - "Wherefore" should be "Because" in explanation of the absence.

       - "we...I" - Paul says "in fact, I personally (aside from Silas and Timothy) wanted to come..."

       - "once and again" = "many times" NOT "twice"

       - "hindered"=Gr."enkopto"= literally, "cut into" = impeded,detained

NOTE: Speculation on specific "hindrances" is pointless. We don't know when, where, how many times, or if the occurrences are included in the Bible.

19,20 - Parent-to-child again. See Phil 4:1 for a similar outpouring of love. Question in 19, answer in 20.

       - "Are not even ye..." = "If you're not our joy, no one else is..."

       - "coming" = "parousia"  1st of the 7 occurrences in Thessalonians.   

Ch 3:1,2 -See Ac 17:14-16. Since Paul was in Athens alone, Silas must have gone elsewhere while Timothy went to Thessalonica.

       - "minister" = Gr."diakonos"

       - "comfort" = "parakleo" as v.11 for encouragement and counsel.

3 - "moved"=Gr."saino" Only occ.="wagged", "severely shaken" 

               See 1Pe 4:12-19; 5:6-9

    - "appointed" - See Phil 3:10, James 5:7-11

4 - "should suffer tribulation" = "were about to be afflicted"

5 - The certainty of adversity caused Paul to check on the church. Compare to 2:1. The ongoing responsibilities of pastoring. Churches, church members cannot be placed on autopilot.

            Read and understand Jn 21:15-17 (lambs, adult sheep, entire herd).

6- 8 - "brought us good tidings"=Gr."euangelizo" Only here and Lk 1:19 is the word used other than meaning the Gospel, but v.7 expresses the principle of "the Good News" - Comfort by faith in affliction and distress.

       - "see us...see you" - See v.2 for the cycle of "comfort" and understand Gal 6:7,8 and 2Co 9:6,10

     (8) - "For now we live"="We live once more" See 1Co 15:31 where the trials caused Paul to "die daily."  See Lam 3:1-26 

          - "if" - The church's faith was not complete (v.10) and Paul indicates some concern. Compare Gal 1:6 

9 - "What sufficient thanks could we repay?"

       - "for your sakes" - The pastoral/Godly/Christian attitude

               Lk 15:3-10     Jn 17:11-23      Phil 2:1-4

10 - "Perfect"=Gr."katartizo"=Literally, "to fit together"

Used technically as follows: Surgically - "setting bones"

                                         Politically - "reconciling factions"

                                         Military - "supplying provisions"

     - "that which is lacking"=Gr."husterema"="shortcomings"

Even the model church is not perfect, it will contain both wheat and tares. Mt 13:24-30

11-13 - Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians

       (11) - "direct"=Gr."kateuthuno"="to fully straighten"  Isa 40:3-5

Satan's obstructions are removed or levelled by God. See 2:18.

       (12) - "increase...abound"="increase to overflowing"  NOT "increase numerically"   See 2Pe 1:1-8

       (13) - "all His saints" - This includes the angels who will be present at the returning of Christ.      Mk 8:38   Lk 9:26

Ch 4 - Paul moves from their mutual relationship to a discussion of precepts. The remainder of the epistle is exhortation and instruction.

1 - "Furthermore" should be "Finally"

       - "...beseech..." - as friends      "...exhort..." - by the Lord's authority

       - "walk..." - We are to advance along the path of Godliness

               Note Jn 15:1-5 ("fruit","more fruit","much fruit")

                       Heb 5:12 - 6:3

2 - "commandments"=Gr."parangelia"="practical precepts" NOT doctrinal laws/tenets.

       - "by the Lord Jesus"="We didn't come up with these; they come from God"

3 - "sanctification" - Christians are to be set apart/different. See "holiness" in Ro 6:19. Understand James 1:27.

       - "fornication" - Meant generally, as a precept, but more specifically pointed to its presence in religious worship as Paul referenced in 2:3.

4 - "know"=Gr."oida"="come to understand" - Purity is not born of impulse. It is learned as a lesson. It evolves into a habit.

NOTE: - "vessel"=Gr."skeuos" - Used sometimes of "the body", but here, it refers to "wife" and is preceded by "his own" as in Eph 5:22,24 and 28 (where "own" is omitted twice). Also compare 1Pe 3:7 for this usage based on Gen 2:24.

       - "honour" - Also 1Pe 3:7.

5,6 - "lust"=Gr."pathos"="passion"    "concupiscence"="lust"

        Though viewed as a temptation, lust is a passion which is an inward habit

and a part of one's nature.

       - "...know not God" - Thus exhibiting the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21).

Unlike the world, Paul does not separate, nor distinguish between, the knowledge (recognition) of God and morality.

       (6) - IMPORTANT - "in any matter" should be "in the matter", locking this verse to the specific subject here of adultery/fornication/uncleanness.

       - "go beyond"=Gr."huperbaino"Only occ.="overreach",i.e., trespass limits. Combined with "defraud" (Gr."pleonekteo") Paul gives us to understand that not only is purity violated, but adultery breaches honesty by robbing our brother (neighbor) of what is rightfully theirs. See Mal 3:8 where "rob"="defraud".

As always, covetousness is idolatry (Col 3:5,6 and Ex 20:14,15,17)

       - "avenger"=Gr."ekdikos"="one who elicits justice or satisfaction"

                               See Ro 12:17-19

       - "of all such"="concerning all such sins"

       -"forewarned also"=Gr."proeipo"="earnestly protested" - Not a warning of danger, but a call to cease and desist.

7,8 - The reason for the "forewarning." We are called to sanctification and given spiritual gifts. Those who "despiseth' (Gr."atheteo"="count as nothing") God's grace, must answer to Him.  See Ps 51:1-4 and Jn 13:34,35

9 - "brotherly love"=Gr."philadelphia"="love of the brethren"

       -  "taught of God"=Gr."theodidaktos"Only occ.

See 1Jn 2:20-27 on this topic. See Jer 31:31-34. This is a reference to the spiritual teaching of the heart, not the spoken or written word of teaching. Isa 54:13.

10 - "You are not only taught the lesson, you practice the lesson."

                   Jas 1:17-25; 2:14-18

       - Good works=fruit leading to more fruit leading to much fruit

                          Phil 3:13-17

11 - "study to be quiet" = "strive to rest from labor"  Not a contradiction or oxymoron. Christians labor to enter rest. See Heb 4:1-11

      See 2Th 3:10-12 for the context of this verse.

12 - Paul stresses the need for the church to observe their occupations/manual labor for supplying their necessities and not appearing to be idlers or vagabonds. Brotherly love is addressed in vv. 9,10. Those outside of the church in 11,12.

13 - Connected to the previous verses because some were neglecting the responsibilities of daily life being convinced that Jesus' return was imminent.

     - " I would...ignorant" - A phrase often used by Paul when correcting false impressions.

     - "asleep" = "falling asleep",i.e., dying

     - "sorrow not...hope" - Paul contrasts the blessed assurance of resurrection for the believer with the finality of death for the heathen.

14 - CRITICAL - Here and v.16 - "in"=Gr."dia"="through" NOT "in"  

This error is found also in Mt 26:61, Mk 14:58 (within), 1Ti 2:15, 2Ti 2:2 (among), and Heb 7:9,13:22 

Read: "...God will through Jesus bring with Him" as shown by Jn 5:25, 11:25 and Phil 3:21.

WE DO NOT SLEEP (DIE) THROUGH JESUS!

 Through Him we have:

Peace with God - Ro 5:1               Reconciliation - Ro 5:10 (by=dia)

Victory - Ro 8:37, 1Co 15:57              Sonship - Eph 1:5

Regeneration and Renewal - Tit 3:5    AND MUCH, MUCH MORE.

WE LIVE (NOT SLEEP) THROUGH CHRIST (1Jn 4:9)

15 - "prevent" = "to go or come before". Paul had not yet written 2Co 5:6-10 so the church was not aware that those who died were already present with the Lord. Remember the words of Jesus on the cross, "...To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise." Lk 23:43

16 - "For"=Gr."Hoti"="Because" - Paul adds detail to explain the single event introduced in v.15

     - "the Lord Himself" = the Lord in His Own person

         See Ac 1:1-11  Christ in person for redemption of mankind. Now for judgment - Rev 19:11-16

     - "shout"=Gr."keleusma"="a word of command for the purpose of gathering together", "a summons"

           Compare Joshua 6:14-16,20

     - "the archangel" = Michael   Compare Ex 23:20-23 where Michael, the archangel, escorts God's people to the promised land. See Jude 9 and Dan 12:1-3

            See Dan 10:13; Rev 12:7 for examples of Michael in battle.

     - "trump of God" - See 1Co 15:52, Mt 24:31

            Note Ex 19:16-19 re: the giving of the Law

CRITICAL - "the dead"=Gr."hoi nekroi"="dead bodies", "carcasses", i.e., apart from the souls they once housed. Without the article, "nekroi" denotes dead persons as distinct from dead bodies. With a preposition, without the article, "ek nekron" denotes out from among dead people as referenced later in this section.

       See Mt 22:31,32 and Eze 37:1-14. The O.T. "ruach" (spirit,breath,etc.) must be distinguished from "nephesh" (soul - our individual personality). It is our soul which belongs to God (Eze 18:4) and returns at death. Spirit is imparted by God at His will. Note Mt 27:51-53 and rightly understand Ro 1:4 and the literal truth of Lk 19:40. This bodily resurrection is referenced by Paul in Phil 3:10-14 (where "of the dead" should be "from the dead"=Gr."ek nekron") and is NOT the resurrection of Rev 20 which is for all - the just to life, the unjust to judgment. Here we have a resurrection of saints ("in Christ") to correspond to His redemption triumph in Mt 27. The true power of Christ is not His own resurrection, but ours. In a moment, Christ will "trump" the false Christ with undeniable evidence of His Lordship (Lk 23:30). His return is immediate after Rev 11:3-13 where, by the two witnesses, "the dead in Christ" rise first.

     - "shall"="must" - Required for fulfillment

17 - "Then"=Gr."Epeita"="Thereafter","Subsequently", i.e., as part of a continuous action, NOT a later, separate occurrence.

     - "caught up"=Gr."harpazo"="seized","appropriated" - taken to oneself for oneself; in this case, God.  See Rev 12:5.

     - "them" = the dead in Christ from v.16.

     - "the clouds" = "clouds" = the angelic host in attendance. See Ac 1:9, Rev 1:7;11:12   Mt 24:30,31

IMPORTANT: "air"=Gr."aer"="breath" - The change from the flesh (corruptible) body to the spiritual (incorruptible) body is coincident with the rising. See 1Co 15:52. It is the spiritual body which will "meet" (Gr."apanantesis"="to meet a second party from an opposite direction and return with them"  See Mt 25:1) God.

    - "so" = "accordingly" - As spiritual beings either by translation or resurrection as demonstrated by Jesus through Elijah (translation) and Moses (resurrection) in Mk 9:1-10.

     - "ever"=Gr."pantote"="always"

Ch 5:1 - "times"=Gr."kairos"= period before consummation of an event, i.e, date.

     - "seasons" (included in "kairos")= occurrences or signs to mark the occasion/event. See Dan 2:21, Ac 1:7

     - "no need" - The Lord's return was not imminent. Not applicable to today's Christians, hence the Book of Revelation.

2 - Compare Mt 24:42-44, Luke 12:39,40

     - "thief in the night" - Indication of unexpectedness, not an indication of a "late-night" return of the Lord.

3 - Omit "For" and "shall"

     - "peace and safety" - Understand Dan 8:23-25;11:21-24 AND Rev 13:4.

     - "sudden"=Gr."aiphnidios" Only here and Lk 21:34 where it is translated "unawares".

     - "they...them...they" = those referenced in 2Th 2:12.

4 - Those living in the daylight should not be caught by surprise at the Lord's return.

     - "overtake"=Gr."katalambano"="to seize eagerly and render powerless" (See Jn 1:5 "comprehended").

5 - God's children: have been enlightened - Eph 1:17,18

                           have light - Mt 5:14-16

                           live and walk in the light - Eph 5:8

6,7 - "others" - Those of v.3

     - "watch"=Gr."gregoreuo"="to stay awake"

     Paul uses "sleep" for the careless, "drunken" for the reckless

        See 2Ti 4:5    1Pe 1:13; 4:7; 5:8

8 - See Eph 6:14,17 - The connection between heart and head is emphasized.

             See gal 5:6 and Mt 22:34-40

9,10 - A concise declaration of the two-step doctrine of Redemption. The act of Christ and the union of the believer with Christ.

     - "wake or sleep" - Paul again addresses the issue of 4:13.

11 - Paul sums up the section which began at 4:13 and refers back to 4:18.

     - "edify"="to build up"  See Eph 2:19-22

     - "do" = "are doing" - Words of encouragement and praise from Paul.

12-15 - After encouraging the members to edify one another, Paul focuses on the responsibility of the body toward its teachers.

NOTE: "...and...and..." - The Greek structure connects these to a single function in the church, hence instructors.

     - "know"=Gr."eido"="to recognize, appreciate the value of"

     - "among you" - Within the local body, not remote officials.

     - "in the Lord" - Spiritual, not governmental or political

     - "admonish" = "to put in mind"  See "warn" in v.14

     - "esteem...sake" - A high value should be placed on the works wrought by these individuals (see 1Co 3:4-8). For example, the brain and heart serve critical bodily functions, but have little value apart from the service performed. Read Jas 2:9.

    - "be at peace..." = 'live peaceably" - Without unresolved strife or difference; As good family and neighbors. Commanded here, conditional in Ro 12:18.

14,15 - Same as v.12, addressed to entire membership. Six points (#of man) of human interaction. 3 of action (internal), 3 of attitude (general).

       a. "warn" (admonish) - "unruly"(Gr."ataktos" Only occ.) = A military term meaning "one who leaves his rank". (Used in another form in 2Th 3:6,11 translated "disorderly")   See Gal 2:11-16

       b. "comfort" - "feebleminded"=Gr."oligopsuchos" Only occ.="fainthearted", "discouraged".    See Ro 12:15   Heb 3:13

       c. "support"=Gr."antechomai"="to adhere to".  See "hold fast" in Titus 1:9. - "weak" = spiritually weak - The mature members of the body have a responsibility for the newer members. This is not left only to deacons or others as an exclusive function. NO LOST OR UNACCOUNTED FOR SHEEP!

       d. "be patient" - "all men" - Patience is a measure of Christian maturity. Note its place in the progression of 2Pe 1:5-7, and its function in Jas 1:2-4, and its role in overcoming evil in Jas 5:7-11. (connects to v.15).

       e."See" - Internal watching and vigilance (Ro 12:17-19, 1Pe 3:8,9, Jas 3:16) as necessary as guarding against evil from without (Rev 2:12-16).

       f."ever" = "always", "at all times"

        - "good" - NOT morally good (Gr."kalos"), but that which is beneficial (Gr."agathos"). this is in contrast to the heathenistic system of retaliation which brings harm to both, or all, parties involved.

        - "both" - All three of the attitudinal points are directed to mankind in general being crucial to "children of light" (v.5).  Lk 11:33-36

Verses 16-18 are a separate paragraph from vv. 19-22.

16-18: Duties of those walking in the Spirit

19-22: Obligations to the Spirit

16 - "evermore" -Same as 3:6 "always"=Gr."pantote" (all times)

     - "Rejoice"=Gr."Chairo"=Literally, "To be cheer" - To be calmly happy with a spirit of well-being. Because it is commanded, it is necessarily distinct from emotions (flesh) which cannot be commanded and it cannot require outward display or celebration. See Phil 3:1-3; 4:4)

NOTE: As disciples and imitators of Jesus Christ (Read Isa 53:3), as recipients of persecution, victims of suffering, and labourers, how can we be told to "Rejoice at all times?" If we are soldiers involved in spiritual warfare, how can we always have a sense of well-being? We are told how in Phil 4:6-8. We have testimony from David (Ps 23:4).

           We must walk in the Spirit to partake of its fruit (Gal 5:22-24). Spirit and flesh coexist. Suffering and glory coexist. Joy and sorrow coexist. The Christian must be able to see the evidence of God's goodness in all things. The discerning Christian can experience sorrow at man's condition and the state of our world, but simultaneously has the comfort and joy in knowing the outcome (1Co 15:54,55).

            What the natural man/mind finds illogical (1Co 2:12-14), those in the Spirit believe and embody.

Read  Heb 12:2  Ro 14:17-19  Phil 2:14-18  Jas 1:2-4  1Pe 4:12-16

            When we read 2Ti 1:6-10 we can see that the spirit of fear indicates a separation from God. Note that the first human emotion in Scripture is Adam's fear in Gen 3:10. Those walking according to flesh will be controlled by emotions, feelings and circumstances.

Those in the Spirit have a Comforter. Jn 14:25-28

The sin which separates us from God (not from His love - Ro 8:35-39) also separates us from His peace. To understand the relationship between righteousness and peace, consider: Ps 85:10-13  Pr 28:1  Is 48:22,57:1-2,20. We operate under the totality of the Trinity as individuals, and as a body, when we are "in the Spirit."

 We have the peace of: God (Phil 4:7)

                                      Jesus (Jn 14:27)

                                      Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22)

17 - "without ceasing"=Gr."adialeiptos"="without omission", "permanent", "without interruption." Used only by Paul in the N.T. also used in 1Th 1:3, 2:13 and Ro 1:9. Used in adjective form in Ro 9:2 and 2Ti 1:3.

     - "Pray"=Gr."proseuchomai" - Restricted to prayer to God.

NOTE: We obviously cannot physically be in continual prayer. It is only in the Spirit that we can "pray without ceasing." Prayer must necessarily not be mere utterance of words. It cannot be limited by timing, location, position or circumstance. Prayer consists of connection to and through the Holy Spirit to elevate our hearts and minds to a communal state with God. It is thus possible for us to be engaged in prayer while carrying out our daily activities and obligations. Prayer is an attitude. It is a necessary part of our Christian walk to express ourselves to God in words, but we must not think of it as the fulfillment of this verse. What we receive from God and how we receive it is the essence of the heart to Heart communion. Not only are words not required for prayer (Ro 8:26,27), excessive output from us may limit Divine input. God's ministry to our spirit makes prayer a privilege afforded by Grace. We are allowed to be in God's presence, not forced. We must therefore achieve some standard of acceptability to be allowed in His presence. Anything which hinders our prayer is a sign of trouble for our spiritual walk, our righteousness, and our peace. We cannot "pray without ceasing" under any of the following conditions:

         1. Unforgiveness   Mk 11:24-26

         2. Doubt   Jas 1:5-7

         3. Lack of faith   Heb 11:6

         4. Disobedience   Pr 28:9

         5. Carnality   Jas 4:1-3

         6. Marital Discord   1Pe 3:7

         7. Insincerity   Mal 1:7-9

         8. Inhumanity   Pr 21:13

         9. Iniquity Ps 66:18

Prayer, as an offering to God, must be unblemished, and therefore, must be completely truthful (Jas 3:13-18; Ps 145:18).

     - Prayer includes thanksgiving and praise (Ps 100:4). The heart and mind, as well as the tongue, can give praise (See Ps 30:12a; 138:1). In fact, our very lives can/should constitute praise to God (the true meaning of Ro 12:1,2). We are completely able to "pray without ceasing" IF we walk (abide) by/in the Spirit as faithful servants and children.

18 - "In every thing..." = "In the midst of every circumstance..." i.e., not after the fact, but during the situation.

     - Thanksgiving is recognition of God's sovereignty, Divine power and love. There is no event, circumstance or situation devoid of reason to thank God. Note the words of a man (Joseph) appointed for murder and sold into slavery by his own family, then falsely accused and imprisoned for a total of 22 years (Gen 50:15-20). His attitude during the 22 years allowed the fulfillment of God's purpose ("...for this is the will..."). Paul is stating a principle and practice of referring to all that we do and think, all that God allows, as pointed to God's glory. Paul was well acquainted with hard times (2 Co 11:23-31) and was not writing theoretically, but through experience and knowledge of the Holy Spirit (Read 1 Co 10:31; Eph 1:5-6,12,14) and recognition of being in the service of Almighty God ( 2 Co 4; 9:11-15).

     - The role of thanksgiving, as attitude as well as action, is set forth in Phil 4:6-20. Rejoicing, prayer and thanksgiving are presented in this 3 verse paragraph as elements of peace. With God, as always, duty turns to blessing.

What is God's will (desire, not resolve/determination) concerning us?

     In addition to giving thanks to show our awareness and appreciation, our Father desires:

       Peace - Jer 29:11

       Salvation - 2Pe 3:9

       Obedience - 1Sa 15:22

       Orderly Conduct - 1Pe 2:11-16

       Sanctification - 1Th 4:3-8

       Good Works - Eph 2:10

       Prayer - 1Ti 2:1-3

       Knowledge of the truth - 1Ti 2:4

       Faith - Heb 11:6

       Spirit-led lives - Ro 8:5-9

       Praise - Heb 13:15,16; Ps 51:15-17

       Fellowship - Jas 4:8; 2Chr 7:14

       Patience - Lam 3:25,26

       Righteousness - Pr 21:3

       Commitment - Jas 1:5-8; Rev 3:15,16

       Mercy - Isa 58:3-11

Verses 19-22 concern our obligations to Holy Spirit.

19 - "Quench"=Gr."abennumi" (Same as Eph 6:16)="To extinguish, to smother" - Used in reference to fire, not thirst.

(See " 7 Emblems Of The Holy Spirit" #4). This verse correlates to Lev 6:9-13. Compare Eph 4:30.

20 - The general reference of v.19 leads to the specific reference in v.20 and points to the manifestations and gifts of the Spirit but does not limit the scope of these 2 verses. The Spirit may be quenched through immorality, lack of diligence, hardness of heart, carnality, reception of false teaching, complacency, pride, etc.

Read Nu 11:24-30  2Ti 1:6  1Co 14:39,40  2Sa 6:12-23  Eph 4:1-13

To quench the Spirit, the Giver of gifts, would necessarily impede all functions of the Holy Spirit, including:

     Intercession - Ro 8:26,27

     Worship - Jn 4:23,24

     Teaching - Jn 14:26

     Discernment - 1Jn 4:1-6  1Co 2:9-16

     Anointing - 1Jn 2:20,27

     Guidance - Jn 16:13  Ro 8:14

     Comfort - Ac 9:31

     Renewal/Regeneration - Tit 3:5  Jn 3:3   When the Spirit is quenched, renewal becomes impossible. Read and understand Heb 6:4-6

     - "Despise"=Gr."exoutheneo"="treat with contempt" as in Ac 4:11 "set at nought", NOT Gr."atheteo"="set aside" as in 1Th 4:8 and NOT Gr."kataphroneo" = "think against" as in Mt 6:24. The use of this word indicates that the Thessalonians may have undervalued prophecy in favor of more visible gifts, as the Corinthiand did. See 1Co 14:1-5,22-25,39

     - Prophecy - NOT foretelling, but forth telling. Inspired revelation and utterance from God.    (See "prophet vs. seer" FAQ #54)

Read Deu 13:1-5; 18:15-22. Note that Paul's use of prophecy as a spiritual gift never alludes to prediction or anticipation of future events. Instead, 1Co 14 focuses on edification, exhortation and comfort. Verses 24 and 25 point to the work of the gift as conviction of sin and the manifestation of the secrets of the heart.

Note the order in 1Co 12:28 and understand the need for this verse, 2Ti 4:1-4, and Heb 6:1-3. Worship must nurture the Spirit, not cater to emotions and senses. Visibility does not equal anointing. Read and understand 1Ki 19:11-13.

21 - Connects to and qualifies v.20. There are demonic inspirations as well as Divine inspirations. The verse warns, "Do not be fooled or led astray by counterfeits." Discernment of spirits is no less a spiritual gift than is prophesying (1Co 12:10).

     - "Prove"=Gr."Dokimazo"="To test for conformance to preset standards." Used in reference to testing precious metals. This testing is not based on intellectual reasoning or weighing of evidence. SPIRITUAL THINGS ARE TRIED BY SPIRITUAL STANDARDS. Read 1Co 2:13 and Pr 3:5,6. 

     - "all things" - This verse applies as a universal concept from which spiritual things are not exempted. We are to test all things for approval. We must understand that the spiritual standard is God's Word and that Heb 11:1 tells us that our incontrovertible "evidence" is God's Word. (See Nu 23:19). We can know and prove what cannot be known or proven in the natural. See Gen 1:1.

Note the "proof" requested in Mt 27:41-43; proof not aligned with God's Word (Mt 16:21). Matthew 28:5-7 is valid "proof" in accordance with the Word. The standard is not logic, persuasion or reason. It is conformance to the Word of God.

"Quench not the Spirit. Do not despise prophesyings, but be careful not to follow what you receive without testing for conformance."

     - WHAT TO KEEP NEAR (to) - "that...good"="the good" - What is morally and intrinsically good irrespective of results. Gal 6:7-10  Tit 2:7,8  1Pe 2:11,12

22 - WHAT TO KEEP AWAY (from) - "abstain" same as 4:3, "to refrain", "hold oneself off"

     - "all"="every"

IMPORTANT: "appearance"=Gr."eidos'="form" (translated "shape" in Jn 5:37)

       Gal 5:9  Lev 11:45  2Co 6:14-18

Evil assumes many forms (2Co 11:13-15) and must be discerned (Heb 5:14).

23 - "wholly"=Gr."holoteles" Only occ.="absolutely perfect", "completely completed".

Peace is the fulfillment (end) of blessings and grace. God, as the God of peace, not only sanctifies us to make us whole; He keeps us so. God's work sanctifies us unto completion and preserves us without blemish through the coming of Jesus Christ.

NOTE: "whole" applies to "spirit", "soul" and "body".

     Read:"...your spirit and soul and body be kept entire"

     - "whole"=Gr."holokleros" Only here and Jas 1:4="complete in every part", "perfectly sound"

This verse points to God's complete love and care for every aspect of our existence. SPIRIT, SOUL, BODY  (Lk 12:4-7)

     - "unto"="at"

24 - Emphasizes that "your Caller" is also the "Doer" so we can have complete assurance.

25-28 - A postscript from Paul to the elders of the church to whom the epistle was delivered to be read (not summarized or paraphrased) to the entire membership. Paul requests prayer and an expression of his love "by proxy". 

     27 - Defines these verses as a postscript to the epistle and indicates Paul's concern that his views be known to all. (See 4:13a, 2Th 3:17)