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The First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians

  • Author: Paul
  • Place Written: Corinth
  • Writing Completed: c. 50 C.E.

Greeting

Paul and Silvanus[1] and Timothy,

To the congregation[2] of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

Thanks for the Thessalonians’ Faith

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers; continually remembering your work of faith[3] and labor of love[4] and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brothers beloved by God, his choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

Their Faith In Christ Is Known Everywhere

For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, the one rescuing us from the wrath to come.

Paul’s Ministry In Thessalonica

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much conflict. For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines[5] our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery,[6] as you know, nor with a pretext for greed; God is witness. nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, whether from you or from others, though we could have asserted our authority as apostles of Christ. But we became gentle[7] in the midst of you, as a nursing mother tenderly care for[8] her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own souls,[9] because you became beloved to us.

Paul Labored, encouraged and comforted the Thessalonians

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and righteous and blameless we became to the ones believing. 11 You well know that we kept exhorting and consoling you and testifying to each one of you, just as a father does his children, 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Thessalonians Accepted God’s Word

13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also is at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the congregations[10] of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us. And they are not pleasing to God, and are against all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the end.[11]

Paul Longs to See the Thessalonians

17 But when we were separated from you, brothers, for just a short time,[12] in person, not in heart, we endeavored far more than is usual to see your faces with great desire. 18 Because we wanted to come to you, I, Paul, both once and twice;[13] and Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming?[14] 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Paul’s Anxious Wait in Athens

Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you concerning your faith, so that no one would be swayed[15] by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed for this. For indeed when we were with you we told you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, and just as it has come to pass, and as you know. For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.

Timothy’s Comforting Report

But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always remember us kindly, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, for this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; For now we live, if you are standing firm in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God concerning you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice on your account before our God, 10 night and day praying most earnestly that we may see your face and complete what is lacking in your faith?

Prayer for the Thessalonians

11 Now may our God and Father himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; 12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all, just as we also do for you; 13 so that he may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming[16] of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.

Warning Against Sexual Immorality

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;[17] that each of you know how to possess his own vessel[18] in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, just as also the Gentiles who do not know God; that no man transgress and wrong his brother in the matter because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in sanctification. Therefore the one who rejects this is not rejecting man, but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Love One Another In Fuller Measure

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; 10 and, in fact, you are doing so toward all the brothers in all of Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this in fuller measure, 11 and to make it your aim to live quietly and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly toward outsiders and have need of nothing.

Those Who Died in Christ

13 But we do not want you to be ignorant,[19] brothers, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through[20] Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain until the coming[21] of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The Day of the Lord

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in the darkness, so that the day should overtake you like a thief, for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of the night nor of darkness;

Stay Awake, keep your Awareness and Control

so then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.[22] For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober,[23] having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live at the same time with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

Exhortations and Blessings

12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and rule over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, console the discouraged,[24] support the weak, be patient toward all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always pursue what is good toward one another and to all others. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not treat prophecies as nothing. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, blameless[25] at the coming[26] of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who is calling you is faithful, and he will surely do so.

Final greetings

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27 I adjure you by the Lord, have this letter read aloud to all the brothers.

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

[1] Or Silas

[2] Gr ekklesia (“assembly;” “congregation, i.e., of Christians”)

[3] I.e., faithful work or work due to faith

[4] I.e. labor due to love

[5] Or test or prove

[6] Or with a flattering speech

[7] Some MSS read babes

[8] Or cherishes

[9] Or lives

[10] Gr ekklesia (“assembly;” “congregation, i.e., of Christians”)

[11] Or to the utmost or at last

[12] Lit toward season of an hour

[13] Or not just once but twice

[14] Presence; Coming: (Gr. parousia) The Greek word literally means,” which is derived from para, meaning “with,” and ousia, meaning “being.” It denotes both an “arrival” and a consequent “presence with.” Depending on the context, it can mean “presence,” “arrival,” “appearance,” or “coming.” In some contexts this word is describing the presence of Jesus Christ in the last days, i.e., from his ascension in 33 C.E. up unto his second coming, with the emphasis being on his second coming, the end of the age of Satan’s reign of terror over the earth. We do not know the day nor the hours of this second coming. (Matt 24:36) It covers a marked period of time with the focus on the end of that period.–Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor. 15:23; 16:17; 2 Cor. 7:6-7; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:2.

[15] Or shaken

[16] See note on 3:19.

[17] Gr porneia, fornication

[18] I.e. body

[19] Or uninformed

[20] Or in

[21] Presence; Coming: (Gr. parousia) The Greek word literally means,” which is derived from para, meaning “with,” and ousia, meaning “being.” It denotes both an “arrival” and a consequent “presence with.” Depending on the context, it can mean “presence,” “arrival,” “appearance,” or “coming.” In some contexts this word is describing the presence of Jesus Christ in the last days, i.e., from his ascension in 33 C.E. up unto his second coming, with the emphasis being on his second coming, the end of the age of Satan’s reign of terror over the earth. We do not know the day nor the hours of this second coming. (Matt 24:36) It covers a marked period of time with the focus on the end of that period.–Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor. 15:23; 16:17; 2 Cor. 7:6-7; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:2.

[22] Sober Minded: (Gr. nepho) This denotes being sound in mind, to be in control of one’s thought processes and thus not be in danger of irrational thinking, ‘to be sober-minded, to be well composed in mind.’–1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8

[23] Sober Minded: (Gr. nepho) This denotes being sound in mind, to be in control of one’s thought processes and thus not be in danger of irrational thinking, ‘to be sober-minded, to be well composed in mind.’–1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8

[24] Or the depressed; Lit ones of little soul

[25] Blameless: (Heb. tam, tamim; Gr. amomos, amometos) means, “perfect, blameless, sincerity, entire, whole, complete, and full.” Of course, Noah, Jacob, and Job were not literally perfect. When used of imperfect humans, the terms are relative, not absolute. However, if we are fully committed to following, a life course based on God’s will and purposes, fully living by his laws, repent when we fall short, he will credit us righteousness.–Gen. 6:6; 25:27; Job 9:20-22l Ps. 119:1; Pro. 11:20; Phil 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:23.

[26] Presence; Coming: (Gr. parousia) The Greek word literally means,” which is derived from para, meaning “with,” and ousia, meaning “being.” It denotes both an “arrival” and a consequent “presence with.” Depending on the context, it can mean “presence,” “arrival,” “appearance,” or “coming.” In some contexts this word is describing the presence of Jesus Christ in the last days, i.e., from his ascension in 33 C.E. up unto his second coming, with the emphasis being on his second coming, the end of the age of Satan’s reign of terror over the earth. We do not know the day nor the hours of this second coming. (Matt 24:36) It covers a marked period of time with the focus on the end of that period.–Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor. 15:23; 16:17; 2 Cor. 7:6-7; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:2.