This is the page for all my resources and documents for the book of First Thessalonians. The first section contains documents that survey the entire book. The next section is broken down by each passage. Click the label of any passage to expand for access to documents and information about each individual passage. In each section, you can also click to see a detailed, annotated outline of that section. Feel free to use and distribute any information you find helpful as long as you give credit where appropriate.
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Individual Passages
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1:1-3:13 Thanksgiving
  • 1:1-10 Introduction and Thanksgiving
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1 Epistolatory introduction
    Paul opens the letter with a normal introduction of author and recipients, followed by a peace wish and thanksgiving
    1a Author: Paul, Silas and Timothy
    All 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 authority
    1b Recipients: to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
    1c Greeting: Grace and peace to you
    2-10 Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians' faith
    In 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 you
    2b-3 Elaborating the manner in which we give thanks:
    2b Making mention/recollection [of you] in our prayers
    3 We remember your deeds:
    We unceasingly remember before our God and Father
    What we remember/mention
    Your work that comes from faith
    Literally "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 fruit
    Your toil that comes from love
    And your patience that comes from the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
    Faith-Hope-Love changes us so that we labor and persevere
    4-10 Reason:
    4-5b We know God has chosen you
    4 Knowing, brothers beloved by God, your election/special choice
    5a-b Reason: the Gospel was effective in your midst
    5a Neg: because our Gospel did not come about to you in word only
    5b Pos: but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much full assurance/conviction
    Paul 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 option
    5c-10 You know how we lived and your response
    5c Just as you know what sort of people we were among you because of you
    6-10 And you imitated us
    6 You imitated us
    6a You became imitators of us and of the Lord
    6b Receiving the word [even] in much tribulation with joy from the Holy Spirit
    7-10 The result is that you became a model for others
    7 You became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia
    8-10 Specific Elaboration:
    8 The Word and news about you went out
    8a The Word of the Lord was sounded out from you
    Not only in Macedonia and in Achaia
    But also in every place
    8b-c News about your faith went out successfully
    8b [News about] your faith toward God went out
    8c So that we did not have need to tell something [about it]
    9-10 For they heard these things about you
    9a These announced concerning you
    9b-10 What they announced:
    9b First: What sort of welcome/reception we had concerning you
    9c-10 Second: You turned to God from idols
    9c And how you turned to God from the idols
    9d-10 The purpose of the turning:
    9d to serve the living and true God
    10 and to expectantly wait for His Son from heaven
    His Son Who rescued us from the coming wrath
    This 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 leader
    Summary:
    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 Thessalonika
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    Intro:
    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 section
    1-8 Paul was empowered to speak the Gospel freely in the midst of persecution
    1a Intro Formula: You yourselves, brothers know about our coming to you
    See Acts ch. 17 for the narrative of Paul's time in Thessalonika
    1b-8 Specifically: What it was not, and what it was
    1b-2 Our coming to you was powerful by God
    1b Neg: Our coming to you was NOT in vain
    2 Pos: BUT we were emboldened to speak the Gospel of God
    2a-c Even though we suffered in Philippi
    2a-b Even though we were suffering and being mistreated in Philippi
    2a We were suffering
    2b We were being treated insolently
    See Acts ch. 16 for the narrative of Paul's time in Philippi
    2c Like you already know
    2d We were emboldened by our God to speak the Gospel of God to you in much opposition
    3-8 Reason: God entrusted us with the Gospel task
    3-4 Reason: Our exhortation comes from God's call
    3 Neg: Our exhortation does not come from error or from impure motive or from deceit
    Paul 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/scheming
    4 Pos: BUT by contrast, we speak from God
    4a-b We speak in this way:
    4a Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel
    4b 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 ministry
    4c-d The manner in which we speak:
    4c Neg: Not as attempting to please men
    4d Pos: BUT attempting to please God Who is testing our hearts
    Same word as "approved" earlier
    But present tense - continually testing here, tested and approved there
    5-8 The Evidence: We displayed God's character and ways
    5-7b Neg: We were not seeking to take from you
    5 Our methods were not bad
    5a-b We did not flatter
    5a We did not act with a word of flattery nor in a pretense for greed
    5b Just like you know!
    5c God is witness
    6-7b Our motivations were not bad
    6 We did not seek praise/glory from men, either from you or from others
    7a-b Even though, as apostles of Christ, we were able to be a burden
    7a Even though we were able to be a burden to you
    7b Because we are apostles of Christ
    7c-8 Pos: But rather we were seeking to give to you
    7c But we were innocent in your midst
    Our 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 you
    Our motives were good
    7d-8b We gave ourselves for you
    7d Just like a nursing mother cherishes her own children
    8a-b So also we gave ourselves for you
    8a Having a similar strong yearning for you
    8b We gave you the Gospel and ourselves
    We were pleased to give you not only the Gospel of God
    But also ourselves as well
    8c Because we cherished you
    9 Paul worked hard to preach the Gospel without being a burden
    9a Intro Formula: You, brothers, remember our work and labor (hardship)
    9b-d Specifically: how I worked and preached
    9b-c The manner in which we lived while preaching
    9b 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 you
    9d We preached to you the Gospel of God
    10 Paul was blameless and holy in their midst
    10a Intro Formula: You and God are witnesses
    Notice how Paul calls God as his witness
    But he also calls on the Thessalonians to acknowledge the truth for themselves
    10b Specifically: We were holy, righteous and blameless to you who believed
    "holy" = morally upright, devout, pure
    "righteous" = upright, just, correct
    "blameless" = innocent, without fault
    11-12 Paul encouraged and urged them to walk worthy of God
    11a Intro Formula: You know
    11b-12 Specifically: How we dealt with you
    11b-c I dealt with you as a Father
    11b I dealt with each one of you
    11c As a father deals with his own children
    Notice 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 Thessalonians
    12 Manner that he dealt with them
    12a-c What Paul did:
    12a Urging/exhorting you
    12b And consoling/comforting you
    12c 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 impossible
    Worthy of the God who called you into His own Kingdom and Glory
  • 2:13-16 Thanksgiving for their response
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    13a Because of this, we give thanks to God continuously
    13b-16 Reason: You accepted the Word of God and bore suffering for it
    13b-f You received and accepted the Word of God
    13b Means: by receiving the Word of the message of God from us
    13c-13f You did not accept the word of man, but the Word of God
    13c Neg: You did not accept/receive the word of man
    13d-f Pos: But the Word of God, which it truly is
    13d But, just as it truly is
    13e-f The Word of God
    13e You accepted/received the Word of God
    13f Which is active and effective in the midst of you who believe
    14-16 Reason: You suffered from your countrymen, just like them
    14a You became imitators of the churches of God in Judea in Christ Jesus
    14b-16 Reason: You suffered in the same kind of circumstances
    14b You suffered the same things under your own countrymen
    14c-16 Just as these Jewish believers suffered under the Jews
    14c Just as these [suffered] under the Jews
    15-16 Specific description of the Jews
    15-16d the Jews have been opposing Christ and the Gospel
    15a They killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets
    15b And they pursued/harassed/persecuted us/drove us out
    15c And they were not pleasing to God
    15d And they were being hostile to all people
    16a-d Worst of all, they tried to prevent us from preaching to the Gentiles
    16a-c They tried to prevent us from speaking salvation to the Gentiles
    16a They prevented/hindered us
    16b-c What they tried to prevent us from doing
    16b to speak to the Gentiles/nations
    16c Purpose: So that they may be saved
    16d Result: They always fill up/complete their sins
    16e The wrath has arrived upon them to the full
  • 2:17-20 Description of Paul's longing for them
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    17-18 We desired and tried hard to come see you again
    17 Even though we were apart, we did all that we could to be with you again
    17a Being separated from you for a time
    Lit. "orphaned from you"
    -cf. the "mother" and "father" illustrations used in ch. 1
    For a short time
    In personal presence
    Not in heart
    17b-c Response: We did all that we could to be with you again
    17b We made excessive effort with much desire
    17c Purpose: to see your face
    i.e. to be with you and experience your presence
    18 Therefore: We (unsuccessfully) tried to come back to see you
    18a-b Pos: We tried to come to you more than once
    18a We desired to come to you
    18b I myself [tried] once and twice (time and again)
    18c Neg: but satan (the accuser) hindered us
    19-20 Reason: You are important to us!
    19 We have no joy and prize before Jesus at His coming except you
    19a Q: Who is our prize?
    Who is our hope?
    Our joy?
    The crown of our boasting?
    Before our Lord Jesus in His advent
    19b A: Except you
    20 Reason: Because you are our glory and joy
  • 3:1-5 Explanation of Timothy's visit
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-4 We sent Timothy to help you stand up against troubles
    1-2a We sent Timothy to answer our anxiety
    1a Because we could no longer bear it
    1b-2a Result: We sent Timothy and were left alone in Athens
    1b We thought it good to remain behind in Athens alone
    2a And we sent Timothy - our brother and God's fellow worker in the Gospel of Christ
    2b-4 Purpose: To help you bear up under troubles
    2b-3a to reinforce you against the pressure of your troubles
    2b-c To strengthen and encourage you
    2b To strengthen you
    2c And to encourage [you] concerning your faith
    3a Purpose: So that no one would be shaken by these troubles
    Timothy 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 it
    3b-4 Reason: You know that troubles are a part of the Christian life
    3b-c For we were destined for this
    3b For you yourselves know:
    3c That we were destined/appointed for this
    4 And we predicted that we would experience troubles
    4a-b We predicted this when we were with you
    4a When we were with you
    4b We told you ahead of time
    4c-e That we would experience affliction/persecution/tribulation
    4c That we are about to be afflicted/troubled
    4d-e Just as you know it actually happened
    4d Just as it happened
    4e And you know [and acknowledge, from personal experience]
    5 I also sent to find out about your faith
    5a-b I also sent to you
    5a 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 Thessalonians
    5b Result: I also sent
    5c-e Purpose: To find out if you are standing firm in faith
    5c In order to know your faith
    5d-e Specifically: that you did not give in to temptation
    5d That the tempter did not somehow tempt you
    5e And our labor would turn out to be in vain
  • 3:6-10 Paul's Joy in Timothy's Report
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    6 Timothy told us the good news that you are remaining faithful
    6a When Timothy came to me from you
    6b-e And he told me the good news about you
    6b And he told me the good news about your faith and love
    using the same word "good news" usually used for preaching the Gospel
    6c-e [And he told me] that you miss us and long to see us
    6c That you always have good memory of us
    6d-e Specifically: You long to see us
    6d You are longing to see us
    6e Just as we [are longing to see] you
    7-10 Result: We are celebrating as if we had come back to life
    7 Brothers, we were encouraged
    Because of this, we were encouraged, brothers
    About you
    In all our distress and trouble
    Because of your faith
    8-10 Explanation: We have figuratively come back to life at the news
    8 We now live since you are standing firm
    8a Because we now live
    This shows Paul's heart
    That he cared so much for the young church
    That he was so relieved that they are standing firm
    8b Condition: Since you are standing firm in the Lord
    9-10 Explanation: We are celebrating the news and praying for you
    9 We are able to give back thanksgiving to God
    Concerning you
    Upon all joy
    With which we are rejoicing before our God because of you
    10 By praying that we might see and help you
    10a Praying night and day to an extraordinary degree
    -cf. 2:9 Paul worked night and day, here he prays night and day
    10b-c Purpose: that we might see and help you
    10b In order to see your face
    10c And in order to fix any deficiency or shortcoming of your faith
    Remember, this is a very young church
  • 3:11-13 Prayer report for the Thessalonians
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    11 May God direct our way toward you
    Our God and Father, Himself
    And our Lord Jesus Christ
    12-13 May God bring you to full Christian maturity/perfection
    12 May the Lord grow you and your love
    12a May the Lord cause you to increase
    May the Lord 'superabound' you
    12b-c And may the Lord cause your love to abound
    12b And may the Lord cuase you to abound in love to one another and to all
    May the Lord overflow you with love toward all
    12c Just as we [abound in love] to you
    13 Purpose: to establish/strengthen your hearts
    Purpose: to be blameless
    in holiness
    before our God and Father
    in the coming of our Lord Jesus
    -cf. 2:19 - Paul will rejoice over the Thessalonians at the coming of Christ
    with all His saints
4:1-5:24 Instructions for Some Problem Issues
  • 4:1-8 Walk in Sanctification
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1 Continue to grow in your Christian lifestyle pleasing to God
    1a-b We are asking and encouraging you
    1a Therefore, finally, we are asking you
    1b And we are encouraging [you] in the Lord Jesus
    1c-e Purpose: that you would live a Christian lifestyle to a greater degree
    1c-d Just as you know how you should live, and are already doing
    1c Just as you received from us how it is necessary
    1d And just as you are [already] walking
    1e That you may abound/do so to a greater degree
    2-8 Continue to live in God's will by being sanctified in sexual purity
    2 For you know which commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus
    3-8 Specifically: Regarding God's will for you
    3a 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 here
    3b-8 Specifically: Be sanctified in your lifestyle
    3b Your sanctification [is the will of God]
    Both the process and the resulting reality of sanctification
    3c-8 Specifically: Be holy in all sexual matters
    3c-6b Refrain from sexual immorality which harms your brother
    3c That you would refrain from sexual immorality of any kind
    Then, 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 sin
    4-6b the way to keep from sexual immorality:
    4-5 That you would master your desires like a Christian
    4 Pos: That each of you would know to gain possession of his own vessel with sanctification and honor
    This 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 vices
    5 Neg: Not in lusts characteristic of the unregenerate
    5a Not in strong desire of lusts
    5b Just as the Gentiles who do not know God
    Knowing 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 issue
    6a-b That you would not wrong your brother by this
    6a That [each of you] would not transgress
    6b And take advantage of his brother in this matter
    How 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 follows
    6c-8 Reason: God's design for humanity is not sexual immorality, but holiness
    6c-7 God holds you to this standard because He has designed you for it
    6c-e We warned you that the Lord exercises justice in these matters
    6c Because the Lord is the One who punishes concerning all these things
    If 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 desire
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom
    "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 Yarbrough
    But also the blessedness of seeing God's face should motivate us toward purity of heart (see Matt. 5:8)
    6d-e Just as we told and swore to you beforehand
    6d Just as we told you beforehand
    6e And we made a solemn declaration
    7 Reason: God's destiny for you is sanctification, not uncleanness
    7a Neg: For God did not call you into uncleanness
    7b Pos: but [He called you] into sanctification
    By 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 Owen
    8 Therefore: Whoever rejects this standard rejects God
    8a Neg: For this reason, the one rejecting [this standard] is not rejecting man
    8b Pos: But [he is rejecting] God, Who gave His Holy Spirit to us
    Again, 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 living
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    9-10a You have brotherly love taught by God
    9a You do not have a need for me to write to you concerning brotherly love
    9b-10a Reason: You have already been taught by God and you love
    9b For you yourselves are taught by God
    This is true not only of the Thessalonians, but also of every genuine Christian
    9c-10a Result: you love one another and all the brothers
    9c So that you love one another
    10a Reason: For you are doing the same thing to all the brothers in the whole of Macedonia
    10b-12 We encourage you to love more and be peaceful, productive people
    10b We are encouraging/exhorting you, brothers
    10c-12 Specifically: What we are encouraging you to do
    10c To abound/excel to a greater degree
    In context, this refers to brotherly love
    -cf. v. 1 where this same word refers to excelling in Christian lifestyle
    11a-12b To aspire to be peaceful productive members of society
    11a And to aspire, have ambition
    11b-12 Specifically: what they should aspire to:
    11b To not disturb the peace
    11c And to mind your own things
    Attend 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 well
    11d-12 And to work with your hands to provide needs and protect reputation
    11d-e And to work with your hands like we told you
    11d And to work with your own hands
    11e Just as we have commanded you
    12a-b Purpose: to provide needs and protect the reputation
    12a So that you would conduct your life becomingly toward those outside
    12b And so that no one would have need
    Not 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 Parousia
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    Intro:
    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 returned
    13-17 What Paul wants them to know
    13 Paul wants them to not be discouraged on account of their ignorance
    13a I want you to know about those who have fallen asleep
    Literally, "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. 11:11
    13b-c Why I want you to know this
    13b So that you will not be sorrowful and depressed
    13c like those who have no hope
    The 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 know
    14 Your departed loved ones will take part in the resurrection
    14a-c If we believe that God has raised up Jesus
    Paul 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 believe
    14a If we believe:
    14b-c Content of our belief - What God has done:
    14b Jesus died
    14c And He rose
    -cf. 1 Cor. 15:3-4
    Christ died and rose is a very succinct summary of the Gospel
    14d In the very same way, because of Jesus, God will also raise with Him those who are sleeping
    Again, 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 raised
    15-17 Your departed loved ones will not take a secondary role when it comes to the final events
    15a I have a word of the Lord to tell you
    We 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 events
    15b We who are living will certainly not have priority over those who are asleep
    the Thessalonians thought the dead would miss out on something, but Paul refers to those living as the ones left behind
    16-17 Paul elaborates on the coming events to show that this is so
    16-17a Christ will come to take us to Him
    16 First, those who are dead
    16a The Lord will come down from heaven
    With a shout of command
    Jn. 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 conqueror
    With the voice of the archangel
    With the trumpet of God
    -cf. 1 Cor. 15:51-53
    16b the dead in Christ will be raised first
    17a then [at virtually the same time] we will be caught up with them
    We who are living and remaining
    Those still alive at the time of the Lord's return
    Still alive, still around
    Caught 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 way
    In 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 Paul
    in the air
    17b The Result: We will always be with the Lord
    Paul's desire as well as ours is to be with Him
    -cf. Phil. 1:23, Col. 3:4
    18 Resulting command: Encourage one another with these words
    How can we encourage one another?
    Regarding the dead in Christ:
    Jesus is coming soon
    They won't miss it and they will be with Him
    Regarding one another:
    Jesus 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 Parousia
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    1-10 His coming will be a joy, so live in light of His coming
    What Paul wants them to know:
    1-7 The timing of His coming is unexpected, but you will not be surprised
    1-3 Don't worry about the timing of His coming, because it will be unexpected
    1 Brothers, you have no need for me to write to you concerning the times and the seasons
    2-3 Reason: The coming will be unexpected and they will not escape
    2 You know that the coming will be unexpected
    2 For you yourselves know accurately:
    2b-c The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly
    2b As a thief [comes] in the night
    2c In this way the day of the Lord will come
    Jesus Himself taught this in Matt. 24:43
    3 Destruction will come unexpectedly and they will not escape
    Destruction will come unexpectedly and they will not escape
    3a-c Destruction will come on them unexpectedly like labor pains
    3a-b Destruction will come suddenly when they feel secure
    3a When they are saying "peace and security"
    3b Destruction will come upon them then suddenly
    3c Just as the labor pain to the pregnant woman
    3d And they will certainly not escape
    4-7 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 unprepared
    4 You won't be caught by surprise
    4a But you, brothers, are not in darkness
    4b-c Result: That you would be surprised by the day
    4b As a thief [catches you bu surprise]
    4c That the day would catch you by surprise
    5 Reason: You/We are of the day, not the night
    5a Pos: For all of you are sons of light and sons of day
    5b-c Neg: We are not of the night or of the darkness
    5b We are not of night
    5c Neither [are we] of darkness
    6-7 Therefore, let us live as the "day people" that we are
    6 Therefore: Let's have a watchful lifestyle as appropriate for the day
    6a-b Neg: Let us not be asleep
    6a Therefore, let us not sleep
    6b Like the rest [give in to sleep]
    6c-d Pos: Let's be awake and sober
    6c But let us be awake/aware
    6d And let us be sober/self-controlled
    -cf. 1 Pet. 4:7-8
    7 Reason: Night people do night things
    7a For those who sleep, sleep at night
    7b And those who get drunk, get drunk at night
    8-10 Therefore: Let us live the sanctified life Christ has given us
    8 Let us live a sanctified life according to God's character and resources
    8a-b Let us live decently in the light
    8a Being of the day
    8b Result: Let us be sober/self controlled
    8c-d by being clothed with God's armor/characteristics
    -cf. Eph. 6:12-18 Armor of God
    -cf. Isa. 59:17 God's Armor
    8c Being clothed with the breastplate of faith and love
    8d And [being clothed with] the helmet of hope of salvation
    9-10 Reason: God's grace has rescued us for His sanctified life
    9a Neg: For God has not appointed us for wrath
    9b-10 Pos: But He has planned and purchased our salvation
    9b But [He has appointed us] into experience of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ
    "experience" could be translated "preservation" or "possession" of salvation
    10 Specifically: He died so that we may live with Him
    10a The One Who died on our behalf
    Who died in our place
    10b-d Purpose: So that the living and dead may live together with Him
    10b-c No matter if we are (physically) living or dead
    10b Whether we are awake
    Those living and watchful
    10c Or we are asleep
    Those who had already died
    10d So that we may live together with Him
    11 Therefore: Encourage and build up one another
    What Paul want them to do:
    11a Encourage one another
    11b-c And build up one another
    11b And one of you build up the other one
    11c Just as you are doing
  • 5:12-24 Miscellaneous Instruction
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    12-22 Practice Christian virtues in a variety of contexts
    12-13 Honor your leaders and live in peace
    12-13a We are asking you to honor your leaders
    12a Brothers, we are asking you:
    12b-13a Specifically: To respect and value your leaders
    12b 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 men
    Those working among you
    And those leading you in the Lord
    And those instructing/warning you
    13a To value them most highly in love, because of their work
    13b Live in peace among yourselves
    14 We are exhorting your to encourage and help one another
    14a Brothers, we are exhorting/encouraging you:
    14b-e Specifically: Encourage and help all
    14b Instruct/warn the unruly idle
    Same word "instruct" as v. 12
    On "unruly idle" see 2 Thes. 3:6, 11
    14c Strengthen the faint-hearted
    Literally, the "small in faith"
    14d Have a helpful concern for the weak and helpless
    Take a strong interest in them, in order to help them
    14e Be forbearing toward all
    15-18a Live Christianly in every situation
    15 Do good to others, not evil
    15a Neg: See to it that no one pays back to anyone evil in return for evil
    15b Pos: But always pursue the good toward one another and toward all
    16 Always rejoice
    17 Constantly pray
    18 Give thanks in everything
    18b-22 It is God's will that you be open to the work of the Spirit with discernment
    18b Reason: For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
    19-22 Be open to the work of the Spirit, but not to counterfeits
    19-20 Neg: Don't automatically reject the work of the Spirit
    19 Do not quench/suppress the Spirit
    i.e. don't resist the Spirit's work in prophecy
    Elaborated and explained by the next command
    20 do not disdainfully reject prophecy
    Not referring tot he general phenomenon of prophecy
    But specific examples purporting to be prophecy
    21-22 Pos: Test everything and respond accordingly
    21a But critically examine everything by testing
    Referring 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 find
    21b Hold fast to the good
    22 Keep away from every form of evil
    In 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 life
    Typical 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 pursue
    23 May God make you holy and blameless for Jesus' coming
    23a May this same God of peace sanctify you in every way/completely
    23b And may your spirit, soul and body be kept completely blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
    24 Reason: God is faithful both to call, and to complete
    24a The One Who is calling you is faithful
    On God's 'call' see 2:12 and 4:7
    24b Therefore: He will also do [it]
5:25-28 Conclusion
  • 5:25-28 Conclusion
    Detailed Outline Expand All + All Collapse All X All
    25-27 Greetings:
    25 Brothers, Pray for us
    26 Greet all the bothers with a holy kiss
    27 I command you to read this letter to all the brothers
    27a I put you under oath by the Lord
    27b Specifically: to read the epistle aloud to all the brothers
    28 Blessing: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you