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1:1-10 Introduction and ThanksgivingDetailed Outline1 Epistolatory introductionPaul opens the letter with a normal introduction of author and recipients, followed by a peace wish and thanksgiving1a Author: Paul, Silas and TimothyAll three of them were there at the founding visit to Thessalonika
All three are listed as authors and authority
It is very likely that Paul was the primary author and authority1b Recipients: to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ1c Greeting: Grace and peace to you2-10 Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians' faithIn this first major section, Paul is responding to Timothy's news concerning the Thessalonians
He rejoices in their faithfulness - they are doing well under suffering
He also apparently reacts to the pressure coming from them because of Paul leaving town in a hurry
Paul does not necessarily defend Himself against the persecutors - Paul does not necessarily care what they think about Him
Paul is not protecting his own reputation - Paul does not necessarily care for his own reputation
But as much as Paul's reputation is tied up with the Gospel and the life of the Thessalonians, he has to say something to commend the Gospel and encourage them
In doing so, we not only learn how Paul defends himself in the 1st century
We also get a close up view of faithful Gospel ministry that can and should inform and impact our ministries in the 21st.2-3 Thanksgiving/Prayer report:2a Thanksgiving: We always give thanks to God concerning all of you2b-3 Elaborating the manner in which we give thanks:2b Making mention/recollection [of you] in our prayers3 We remember your deeds:We unceasingly remember before our God and FatherWhat we remember/mentionYour work that comes from faithLiterally "work of faith" etc.
The relationship between work and faith must be interpreted from the context and the meaning of the two terms in order to determine how they are connected
NIV is good, seeing them connected as root and fruitYour toil that comes from loveAnd your patience that comes from the hope in our Lord Jesus ChristFaith-Hope-Love changes us so that we labor and persevere4-10 Reason:4-5b We know God has chosen you4 Knowing, brothers beloved by God, your election/special choice5a-b Reason: the Gospel was effective in your midst5a Neg: because our Gospel did not come about to you in word only5b Pos: but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much full assurance/convictionPaul bases his confidence in God's election of the Thessalonians on the evident power and working of the Holy Spirit
Paul's description of the power of the Holy Spirit may refer to miraculous demonstrations in their midst
This is certainly possible, however, there is no evidence in 1 or 2 Thessalonians or in Acts to prove that this is the case
More likely, when Paul refers to the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, he is referring to the convincing and convicting work in the lives of the Thessalonians, so that they believed the Gospel
v. 6, vv. 9-10 and Acts 17:2-4 seem to argue for this second option5c-10 You know how we lived and your response5c Just as you know what sort of people we were among you because of you6-10 And you imitated us6 You imitated us6a You became imitators of us and of the Lord6b Receiving the word [even] in much tribulation with joy from the Holy Spirit7-10 The result is that you became a model for others7 You became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia8-10 Specific Elaboration:8 The Word and news about you went out8a The Word of the Lord was sounded out from youNot only in Macedonia and in AchaiaBut also in every place8b-c News about your faith went out successfully8b [News about] your faith toward God went out8c So that we did not have need to tell something [about it]9-10 For they heard these things about you9a These announced concerning you9b-10 What they announced:9b First: What sort of welcome/reception we had concerning you9c-10 Second: You turned to God from idols9c And how you turned to God from the idols9d-10 The purpose of the turning:9d to serve the living and true God10 and to expectantly wait for His Son from heavenHis Son Who rescued us from the coming wrathThis is a great way to measure the effectiveness of a church/mission/event/etc.
Changed lives and smashed idols and groundswell buzz about God's working
Without the need of resorting to PR and promotion
True renewal draws attention to God and raises esteem for Jesus, and does not primarily draw attention to the ministry or ministry leaderSummary:The thanksgiving is thanks for God's working in the lives of the Thessalonians through the ministry of Paul
Which resulted in changed lives and model faith.
This passage serves both as a thanksgiving and a reminder/rehearsal of their past and their relationship with Paul.
This section is obviously the first of the letter and is thus introductory/preparatory for what follows
It is a true thanksgiving, but it also serves as a reminder of God's work in their midst, and their own faithfulness.
With this reminder, Paul is preparing them to reaffirm his right to speak to them, and motivating them to continue in faithfulness and zealousness in the matters he is about to address.
2:1-12 Paul's Ministry in ThessalonikaDetailed OutlineIntro:Notice how Paul appeals to their knowledge/testimony and to God's testimony to the facts of what Paul says - he is confident in its truthfulness and public verifiability
Notice the introductory formulas = "you know...," "you remember...," "God is witness that...," etc.
This is a good model of what good ministry looks like
Success in ministry is when you can honestly say to people, "you know that these things are true, God is my witness" about the kind of things which Paul describes in the following section1-8 Paul was empowered to speak the Gospel freely in the midst of persecution1a Intro Formula: You yourselves, brothers know about our coming to youSee Acts ch. 17 for the narrative of Paul's time in Thessalonika1b-8 Specifically: What it was not, and what it was1b-2 Our coming to you was powerful by God1b Neg: Our coming to you was NOT in vain2 Pos: BUT we were emboldened to speak the Gospel of God2a-c Even though we suffered in Philippi2a-b Even though we were suffering and being mistreated in Philippi2a We were suffering2b We were being treated insolentlySee Acts ch. 16 for the narrative of Paul's time in Philippi2c Like you already know2d We were emboldened by our God to speak the Gospel of God to you in much opposition3-8 Reason: God entrusted us with the Gospel task3-4 Reason: Our exhortation comes from God's call3 Neg: Our exhortation does not come from error or from impure motive or from deceitPaul is defending himself in order to defend the Gospel and encourage the Thessalonians
This is a good safety check for our own ministries - don't be underhanded/scheming4 Pos: BUT by contrast, we speak from God4a-b We speak in this way:4a Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel4b We speak in this way [appropriate to that calling]The weight of our calling should have a strong impact on the way we approach any type of ministry - especially proclamation types of ministry4c-d The manner in which we speak:4c Neg: Not as attempting to please men4d Pos: BUT attempting to please God Who is testing our heartsSame word as "approved" earlier
But present tense - continually testing here, tested and approved there5-8 The Evidence: We displayed God's character and ways5-7b Neg: We were not seeking to take from you5 Our methods were not bad5a-b We did not flatter5a We did not act with a word of flattery nor in a pretense for greed5b Just like you know!5c God is witness6-7b Our motivations were not bad6 We did not seek praise/glory from men, either from you or from others7a-b Even though, as apostles of Christ, we were able to be a burden7a Even though we were able to be a burden to you7b Because we are apostles of Christ7c-8 Pos: But rather we were seeking to give to you7c But we were innocent in your midstOur methods were good
We were childlike/innocent
Textual issue, reading nepioi - "children" instead of epioi - "gentle"7d-8 Specifically: We gave ourselves because we cherish youOur motives were good7d-8b We gave ourselves for you7d Just like a nursing mother cherishes her own children8a-b So also we gave ourselves for you8a Having a similar strong yearning for you8b We gave you the Gospel and ourselvesWe were pleased to give you not only the Gospel of GodBut also ourselves as well8c Because we cherished you9 Paul worked hard to preach the Gospel without being a burden9a Intro Formula: You, brothers, remember our work and labor (hardship)9b-d Specifically: how I worked and preached9b-c The manner in which we lived while preaching9b Working night and day-cf. 3:10, 2 Thes. 3:8 on "night and day"9c Purpose: So that we would not be a burden to you9d We preached to you the Gospel of God10 Paul was blameless and holy in their midst10a Intro Formula: You and God are witnessesNotice how Paul calls God as his witness
But he also calls on the Thessalonians to acknowledge the truth for themselves10b Specifically: We were holy, righteous and blameless to you who believed"holy" = morally upright, devout, pure
"righteous" = upright, just, correct
"blameless" = innocent, without fault11-12 Paul encouraged and urged them to walk worthy of God11a Intro Formula: You know11b-12 Specifically: How we dealt with you11b-c I dealt with you as a Father11b I dealt with each one of you11c As a father deals with his own childrenNotice that Paul has describe himself as exercising virtues of both parents
The mother in vv. 7-8 and the father here in v. 11
This demonstrates his genuine care for the Thessalonians12 Manner that he dealt with them12a-c What Paul did:12a Urging/exhorting you12b And consoling/comforting you12c And testifying/witnessing [to you]12d Purpose for all this:So that you may walk worthily"worthily" = appropriately, suitably for the circumstances
Not meritorious/measuring up to God, which is impossibleWorthy of the God who called you into His own Kingdom and Glory
2:13-16 Thanksgiving for their responseDetailed Outline13a Because of this, we give thanks to God continuously13b-16 Reason: You accepted the Word of God and bore suffering for it13b-f You received and accepted the Word of God13b Means: by receiving the Word of the message of God from us13c-13f You did not accept the word of man, but the Word of God13c Neg: You did not accept/receive the word of man13d-f Pos: But the Word of God, which it truly is13d But, just as it truly is13e-f The Word of God13e You accepted/received the Word of God13f Which is active and effective in the midst of you who believe14-16 Reason: You suffered from your countrymen, just like them14a You became imitators of the churches of God in Judea in Christ Jesus14b-16 Reason: You suffered in the same kind of circumstances14b You suffered the same things under your own countrymen14c-16 Just as these Jewish believers suffered under the Jews14c Just as these [suffered] under the Jews15-16 Specific description of the Jews15-16d the Jews have been opposing Christ and the Gospel15a They killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets15b And they pursued/harassed/persecuted us/drove us out15c And they were not pleasing to God15d And they were being hostile to all people16a-d Worst of all, they tried to prevent us from preaching to the Gentiles16a-c They tried to prevent us from speaking salvation to the Gentiles16a They prevented/hindered us16b-c What they tried to prevent us from doing16b to speak to the Gentiles/nations16c Purpose: So that they may be saved16d Result: They always fill up/complete their sins16e The wrath has arrived upon them to the full
2:17-20 Description of Paul's longing for themDetailed Outline17-18 We desired and tried hard to come see you again17 Even though we were apart, we did all that we could to be with you again17a Being separated from you for a timeLit. "orphaned from you"
-cf. the "mother" and "father" illustrations used in ch. 1
For a short timeIn personal presenceNot in heart17b-c Response: We did all that we could to be with you again17b We made excessive effort with much desire17c Purpose: to see your facei.e. to be with you and experience your presence18 Therefore: We (unsuccessfully) tried to come back to see you18a-b Pos: We tried to come to you more than once18a We desired to come to you18b I myself [tried] once and twice (time and again)18c Neg: but satan (the accuser) hindered us19-20 Reason: You are important to us!19 We have no joy and prize before Jesus at His coming except you19a Q: Who is our prize?Who is our hope?Our joy?The crown of our boasting?Before our Lord Jesus in His advent19b A: Except you20 Reason: Because you are our glory and joy
3:1-5 Explanation of Timothy's visitDetailed Outline1-4 We sent Timothy to help you stand up against troubles1-2a We sent Timothy to answer our anxiety1a Because we could no longer bear it1b-2a Result: We sent Timothy and were left alone in Athens1b We thought it good to remain behind in Athens alone2a And we sent Timothy - our brother and God's fellow worker in the Gospel of Christ2b-4 Purpose: To help you bear up under troubles2b-3a to reinforce you against the pressure of your troubles2b-c To strengthen and encourage you2b To strengthen you2c And to encourage [you] concerning your faith3a Purpose: So that no one would be shaken by these troublesTimothy would remind them of the things they already knew (see below)
And their faith would be strengthened in order to endure any trials that might come their way
Because they had been warned that trials would come
And they were taught that trials would be temporary
And they were taught that the coming vindication and reward would be worth it3b-4 Reason: You know that troubles are a part of the Christian life3b-c For we were destined for this3b For you yourselves know:3c That we were destined/appointed for this4 And we predicted that we would experience troubles4a-b We predicted this when we were with you4a When we were with you4b We told you ahead of time4c-e That we would experience affliction/persecution/tribulation4c That we are about to be afflicted/troubled4d-e Just as you know it actually happened4d Just as it happened4e And you know [and acknowledge, from personal experience]5 I also sent to find out about your faith5a-b I also sent to you5a Because of this, I could no longer bear it-cf. v. 1a
Paul repeats this for emphasis - to show his care and passion for the Thessalonians5b Result: I also sent5c-e Purpose: To find out if you are standing firm in faith5c In order to know your faith5d-e Specifically: that you did not give in to temptation5d That the tempter did not somehow tempt you5e And our labor would turn out to be in vain
3:6-10 Paul's Joy in Timothy's ReportDetailed Outline6 Timothy told us the good news that you are remaining faithful6a When Timothy came to me from you6b-e And he told me the good news about you6b And he told me the good news about your faith and loveusing the same word "good news" usually used for preaching the Gospel6c-e [And he told me] that you miss us and long to see us6c That you always have good memory of us6d-e Specifically: You long to see us6d You are longing to see us6e Just as we [are longing to see] you7-10 Result: We are celebrating as if we had come back to life7 Brothers, we were encouragedBecause of this, we were encouraged, brothersAbout youIn all our distress and troubleBecause of your faith8-10 Explanation: We have figuratively come back to life at the news8 We now live since you are standing firm8a Because we now liveThis shows Paul's heart
That he cared so much for the young church
That he was so relieved that they are standing firm8b Condition: Since you are standing firm in the Lord9-10 Explanation: We are celebrating the news and praying for you9 We are able to give back thanksgiving to GodConcerning youUpon all joyWith which we are rejoicing before our God because of you10 By praying that we might see and help you10a Praying night and day to an extraordinary degree-cf. 2:9 Paul worked night and day, here he prays night and day10b-c Purpose: that we might see and help you10b In order to see your face10c And in order to fix any deficiency or shortcoming of your faithRemember, this is a very young church
3:11-13 Prayer report for the ThessaloniansDetailed Outline11 May God direct our way toward youOur God and Father, HimselfAnd our Lord Jesus Christ12-13 May God bring you to full Christian maturity/perfection12 May the Lord grow you and your love12a May the Lord cause you to increaseMay the Lord 'superabound' you12b-c And may the Lord cause your love to abound12b And may the Lord cuase you to abound in love to one another and to allMay the Lord overflow you with love toward all12c Just as we [abound in love] to you13 Purpose: to establish/strengthen your heartsPurpose: to be blamelessin holinessbefore our God and Fatherin the coming of our Lord Jesus-cf. 2:19 - Paul will rejoice over the Thessalonians at the coming of Christwith all His saints
4:1-5:24 Instructions for Some Problem Issues
4:1-8 Walk in SanctificationDetailed Outline1 Continue to grow in your Christian lifestyle pleasing to God1a-b We are asking and encouraging you1a Therefore, finally, we are asking you1b And we are encouraging [you] in the Lord Jesus1c-e Purpose: that you would live a Christian lifestyle to a greater degree1c-d Just as you know how you should live, and are already doing1c Just as you received from us how it is necessary1d And just as you are [already] walking1e That you may abound/do so to a greater degree2-8 Continue to live in God's will by being sanctified in sexual purity2 For you know which commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus3-8 Specifically: Regarding God's will for you3a For this is the will of God:Many people - us included - wish to know God's will for our life
We cannot expect to know or claim to seek God's will if we ignore passage like this which clearly state His revealed will
Pursue this aspect of His will which is clearly taught, and all the other necessary guidance and direction will be given
Ignore this and you shouldn't expect guidance in other things - God will direct you back here3b-8 Specifically: Be sanctified in your lifestyle3b Your sanctification [is the will of God]Both the process and the resulting reality of sanctification3c-8 Specifically: Be holy in all sexual matters3c-6b Refrain from sexual immorality which harms your brother3c That you would refrain from sexual immorality of any kindThen, as now, sexual sin is a common hindrance to sanctification
This is defined generically, not precisely, with a broad term for sexual sin
Therefore, there are no loopholes - we are to refrain from ALL types of sexual sin4-6b the way to keep from sexual immorality:4-5 That you would master your desires like a Christian4 Pos: That each of you would know to gain possession of his own vessel with sanctification and honorThis is often translated "control/gain full possession over one's own body/desires" - of course, we should do this
It could also be translated "acquire your own spouse" -cf. Prov. ch. 5 - the solution to chasing the 'foreign' woman is to be enraptured with your own wife
Guys should get a wife - not as a sex toy to solve your lust problems, but as a life partner to love and cherish, and who will fight your lust problem with you
This will help, but not solve your lust problem
Positive holiness is the only true solution to the negative problem of lust
"In holiness" (same word as v. 3) "and honor" - Positive virtues to combat negative vices5 Neg: Not in lusts characteristic of the unregenerate5a Not in strong desire of lusts5b Just as the Gentiles who do not know GodKnowing God is not compatible with passionate lusts
If you pursue/allow room for passionate lusts, God will be squeezed out over time
If you pursue/allow room for god, passionate lusts will be squeezed out over time
-cf. "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection" by Thomas Chalmers
Notice that this is primarily connected with God, not ourselves and our desires
What are you looking at? Looking at your lust will never cure it, only grow it. Looking at God will solve your lust issue6a-b That you would not wrong your brother by this6a That [each of you] would not transgress6b And take advantage of his brother in this matterHow is this connected?
How would you feel if your spouse cheats on you? How can you expect to be faithful/self-controlled after marriage if you cannot exercise self-control before marriage?
If you are fooling around with some girl before marriage, you are training her to be unfaithful. this is someone's daughter and possibly someone's future wife. You are wronging them (not to mention her)
Make sure you see that connection - it is not just about you and your desires, other people are involved and ultimately hurt
And make sure you also see the connection with what follows6c-8 Reason: God's design for humanity is not sexual immorality, but holiness6c-7 God holds you to this standard because He has designed you for it6c-e We warned you that the Lord exercises justice in these matters6c Because the Lord is the One who punishes concerning all these thingsIf the girl's Green-beret, black-belt father walked in, your sex drive would shut off like a light - because of a stronger desire (self-preservation)
If we keep God and the Gospel in view, our sex drive can be controlled - because of a stronger desireThe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdomBut also the blessedness of seeing God's face should motivate us toward purity of heart (see Matt. 5:8)
"The primary question for sex ethics, or any ethical question taking the Scriptures seriously, must not be simply, 'What must/ought/should/may I do?' but rather 'To whom am I accountable, and for what?'" Robert Yarbrough6d-e Just as we told and swore to you beforehand6d Just as we told you beforehand6e And we made a solemn declaration7 Reason: God's destiny for you is sanctification, not uncleanness7a Neg: For God did not call you into uncleanness7b Pos: but [He called you] into sanctificationBy faith, with need to concentrate on our goal and better reward
We need to love holiness more than sex
We need to see Jesus as more desirable than Miss October
Connect this with God's character, the cross and our eschatological inheritance
"Be killing sin or it will be killing you" - John Owen8 Therefore: Whoever rejects this standard rejects God8a Neg: For this reason, the one rejecting [this standard] is not rejecting man8b Pos: But [he is rejecting] God, Who gave His Holy Spirit to usAgain, notice the close connection to God and the Gospel
Why does Paul bring up the Holy Spirit here?
The emphasis in the way Paul says it (in the original language) is on the word "Holy" - literally, "His Spirit, the Holy One"
God's nature and character is holiness
God's will for us is holiness
God's Holy Spirit works in us toward holiness
What a great idea, what a great thing to have in our lives!
What could be worth going in the other direction?
Actively, strongly, passionately pursue holiness and lust problems will be conquered
4:9-12 Grow in love and right livingDetailed Outline9-10a You have brotherly love taught by God9a You do not have a need for me to write to you concerning brotherly love9b-10a Reason: You have already been taught by God and you love9b For you yourselves are taught by GodThis is true not only of the Thessalonians, but also of every genuine Christian9c-10a Result: you love one another and all the brothers9c So that you love one another10a Reason: For you are doing the same thing to all the brothers in the whole of Macedonia10b-12 We encourage you to love more and be peaceful, productive people10b We are encouraging/exhorting you, brothers10c-12 Specifically: What we are encouraging you to do10c To abound/excel to a greater degreeIn context, this refers to brotherly love
-cf. v. 1 where this same word refers to excelling in Christian lifestyle11a-12b To aspire to be peaceful productive members of society11a And to aspire, have ambition11b-12 Specifically: what they should aspire to:11b To not disturb the peace11c And to mind your own thingsAttend to your own affairs
Don't be a busybody
But the emphasis is not on avoiding others' affairs
The emphasis is on tending your own affairs well11d-12 And to work with your hands to provide needs and protect reputation11d-e And to work with your hands like we told you11d And to work with your own hands11e Just as we have commanded you12a-b Purpose: to provide needs and protect the reputation12a So that you would conduct your life becomingly toward those outside12b And so that no one would have needNot only take care of your own needs, but supply the needs of others
This issue will continue to be a problem in Thessalonika, and Paul will have to address it again in his next letter to them
4:13-18 The Manner of the ParousiaDetailed OutlineIntro:Paul clears up some misconceptions the Thessalonians had about the afterlife and coming of the Lord
From this passage we can infer that they may have worried that their departed loved ones would not experience the second coming and vindication of Christ which Paul preached about,
Or that they would miss out on something significant by not being alive when Jesus returned13-17 What Paul wants them to know13 Paul wants them to not be discouraged on account of their ignorance13a I want you to know about those who have fallen asleepLiterally, "I want you to not be ignorant" suggesting that they were ignorant and probably believing mistaken implications and conclusions because of their ignorance
Sleep is a euphemism for death - cf. Jn. 11:1113b-c Why I want you to know this13b So that you will not be sorrowful and depressed13c like those who have no hopeThe Greek view of the afterlife was different
The Jewish view of the afterlife developed over time
We are not sure what the Thessalonians believed about the afterlife.
Many world-views offer nothing to look forward to after this life
There is no hope to be had outside of Christ.14-17 the things Paul wants them to know14 Your departed loved ones will take part in the resurrection14a-c If we believe that God has raised up JesusPaul is not using this section as a condition for what follows, as if God will not raise the dead unless we believe
Rather, He is assuming belief in these things and saying that what follows is true because these things (which we believe) are true
The emphasis is not on our belief, but on the reality of the things which we believe14a If we believe:14b-c Content of our belief - What God has done:14b Jesus died14c And He rose-cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4
Christ died and rose is a very succinct summary of the Gospel14d In the very same way, because of Jesus, God will also raise with Him those who are sleepingAgain, sleeping is a euphemism for death, cf. v. 13
Paul here directly states that the dead in Christ will be raised in the same way that Christ was raised15-17 Your departed loved ones will not take a secondary role when it comes to the final events15a I have a word of the Lord to tell youWe cannot be certain what "word of the Lord" refers to -
Possibly a private revelation to Paul.
Possibly a saying of Jesus not recorded anywhere else
Possibly a loose expanded paraphrase of some things Jesus said:-cf. Matt. 24:30-31 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, for one end of the heavens to the other."15b-17 They will take part equally with us in these events15b We who are living will certainly not have priority over those who are asleepthe Thessalonians thought the dead would miss out on something, but Paul refers to those living as the ones left behind16-17 Paul elaborates on the coming events to show that this is so16-17a Christ will come to take us to Him16 First, those who are dead16a The Lord will come down from heavenWith a shout of commandJn. 5:28 "...for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out."
"Shout of command" - military word, Jesus returns as a conquerorWith the voice of the archangelWith the trumpet of God-cf. 1 Cor. 15:51-5316b the dead in Christ will be raised first17a then [at virtually the same time] we will be caught up with themWe who are living and remainingThose still alive at the time of the Lord's return
Still alive, still aroundCaught up with them"caught up" violent sudden action
like Phillip after he spoke with the Ethiopian or like Soldiers dragging Paul out of the hostile Jerusalem crowd.In the clouds-cf. Dan. 7:13, the transfiguration, the ascension - promise that Jesus would return in the same wayIn order to meet the Lord"to meet" is a technical term for the official public welcome of a newly arrived dignitary
"The ancient expression for the civic welcome of an important visitor or the triumphal entry of a new ruler into the capitol city and thus into his reign is applied to Christ."
-cf. Matt 25:6 - virgins meeting the Bridegroom
-cf. Acts 28:15 - Romans coming out to meet Paulin the air17b The Result: We will always be with the LordPaul's desire as well as ours is to be with Him
-cf. Phil. 1:23, Col. 3:418 Resulting command: Encourage one another with these wordsHow can we encourage one another?
Regarding the dead in Christ:Jesus is coming soonRegarding one another:
They won't miss it and they will be with HimJesus is coming soon
We won't miss it and we will be with Him
We will be with them and with one another forever
5:1-11 The timing of the ParousiaDetailed Outline1-10 His coming will be a joy, so live in light of His comingWhat Paul wants them to know:1-7 The timing of His coming is unexpected, but you will not be surprised1-3 Don't worry about the timing of His coming, because it will be unexpected1 Brothers, you have no need for me to write to you concerning the times and the seasons2-3 Reason: The coming will be unexpected and they will not escape2 You know that the coming will be unexpected2 For you yourselves know accurately:2b-c The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly2b As a thief [comes] in the night2c In this way the day of the Lord will comeJesus Himself taught this in Matt. 24:433 Destruction will come unexpectedly and they will not escapeDestruction will come unexpectedly and they will not escape3a-c Destruction will come on them unexpectedly like labor pains3a-b Destruction will come suddenly when they feel secure3a When they are saying "peace and security"3b Destruction will come upon them then suddenly3c Just as the labor pain to the pregnant woman3d And they will certainly not escape4-7 But you won't be surprised, so live as "day people"4-5 But you won't be surprised, because you are "day people"Christians are not unprepared4 You won't be caught by surprise4a But you, brothers, are not in darkness4b-c Result: That you would be surprised by the day4b As a thief [catches you bu surprise]4c That the day would catch you by surprise5 Reason: You/We are of the day, not the night5a Pos: For all of you are sons of light and sons of day5b-c Neg: We are not of the night or of the darkness5b We are not of night5c Neither [are we] of darkness6-7 Therefore, let us live as the "day people" that we are6 Therefore: Let's have a watchful lifestyle as appropriate for the day6a-b Neg: Let us not be asleep6a Therefore, let us not sleep6b Like the rest [give in to sleep]6c-d Pos: Let's be awake and sober6c But let us be awake/aware6d And let us be sober/self-controlled-cf. 1 Pet. 4:7-87 Reason: Night people do night things7a For those who sleep, sleep at night7b And those who get drunk, get drunk at night8-10 Therefore: Let us live the sanctified life Christ has given us8 Let us live a sanctified life according to God's character and resources8a-b Let us live decently in the light8a Being of the day8b Result: Let us be sober/self controlled8c-d by being clothed with God's armor/characteristics-cf. Eph. 6:12-18 Armor of God
-cf. Isa. 59:17 God's Armor8c Being clothed with the breastplate of faith and love8d And [being clothed with] the helmet of hope of salvation9-10 Reason: God's grace has rescued us for His sanctified life9a Neg: For God has not appointed us for wrath9b-10 Pos: But He has planned and purchased our salvation9b But [He has appointed us] into experience of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ"experience" could be translated "preservation" or "possession" of salvation10 Specifically: He died so that we may live with Him10a The One Who died on our behalfWho died in our place10b-d Purpose: So that the living and dead may live together with Him10b-c No matter if we are (physically) living or dead10b Whether we are awakeThose living and watchful10c Or we are asleepThose who had already died10d So that we may live together with Him11 Therefore: Encourage and build up one anotherWhat Paul want them to do:11a Encourage one another11b-c And build up one another11b And one of you build up the other one11c Just as you are doing
5:12-24 Miscellaneous InstructionDetailed Outline12-22 Practice Christian virtues in a variety of contexts12-13 Honor your leaders and live in peace12-13a We are asking you to honor your leaders12a Brothers, we are asking you:12b-13a Specifically: To respect and value your leaders12b To recognize/respect/show honor to:-cf. Rom. 14:6
Probably all referring to the same group of people - i.e. Christian leaders/pastors
Three different descriptions for the same group of menThose working among youAnd those leading you in the LordAnd those instructing/warning you13a To value them most highly in love, because of their work13b Live in peace among yourselves14 We are exhorting your to encourage and help one another14a Brothers, we are exhorting/encouraging you:14b-e Specifically: Encourage and help all14b Instruct/warn the unruly idleSame word "instruct" as v. 12
On "unruly idle" see 2 Thes. 3:6, 1114c Strengthen the faint-heartedLiterally, the "small in faith"14d Have a helpful concern for the weak and helplessTake a strong interest in them, in order to help them14e Be forbearing toward all15-18a Live Christianly in every situation15 Do good to others, not evil15a Neg: See to it that no one pays back to anyone evil in return for evil15b Pos: But always pursue the good toward one another and toward all16 Always rejoice17 Constantly pray18 Give thanks in everything18b-22 It is God's will that you be open to the work of the Spirit with discernment18b Reason: For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you19-22 Be open to the work of the Spirit, but not to counterfeits19-20 Neg: Don't automatically reject the work of the Spirit19 Do not quench/suppress the Spiriti.e. don't resist the Spirit's work in prophecy
Elaborated and explained by the next command20 do not disdainfully reject prophecyNot referring tot he general phenomenon of prophecy
But specific examples purporting to be prophecy21-22 Pos: Test everything and respond accordingly21a But critically examine everything by testingReferring to all prophecies
Test first and finally by Scripture
Test by whether the prophecy points you toward or away from the True God - Deut. 13:1-11
Test also by fulfillment - Deut. 18:18-22
Mature leaders should test by Wisdom and Spirit leading (informed by and submitted to Scripture)21b-22 Respond accordingly based on the value you find21b Hold fast to the good22 Keep away from every form of evilIn this context "every form of evil" = every bad/false/untrue prophecy
Not "appearance of evil" as in outward perception
But every example of evil
Same word "abstain" as in 4:3 "abstain from sexual sin"23-24 Therefore: May God make these things a reality in your lifeTypical prayer report
Notice that Paul is praying for God to give the Thessalonians the same things he just commanded the Thessalonians themselves to do and pursue23 May God make you holy and blameless for Jesus' coming23a May this same God of peace sanctify you in every way/completely23b And may your spirit, soul and body be kept completely blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ24 Reason: God is faithful both to call, and to complete24a The One Who is calling you is faithfulOn God's 'call' see 2:12 and 4:724b Therefore: He will also do [it]
5:25-28 ConclusionDetailed Outline25-27 Greetings:25 Brothers, Pray for us26 Greet all the bothers with a holy kiss27 I command you to read this letter to all the brothers27a I put you under oath by the Lord27b Specifically: to read the epistle aloud to all the brothers28 Blessing: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you