1 Thessalonians 5
SUMMARY.--The Time of the Lord's Coming Unknown.
Will Be Sudden.
Hence, Let Us Not Be Asleep.
Let Us Have Our Armor On.
Mutual Duties of Shepherds and Flock.
1-3. But of the times and the seasons. Especially the time of
the Lord's coming, which is the subject in the conclusion of
They had been instructed on this subject.
2. For yourselves know perfectly, etc. They had been fully
taught that the time of the Lord's coming was unrevealed, and that it
would be unexpected. Compare
2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Joel 1:15.
The day of the Lord. Not alone, the day of each individual's
death, nor of the destruction of Jerusalem, not of the final coming of
the Lord at the end of the world, but rather it may be applied to all
As a thief in the night. Without warning. Compare
Luke 12:39; Rev. 3:3.
3. When they shall say. When the thoughtless are persuading
themselves that there is no ground for apprehension, then destruction
shall come as suddenly as the pangs of childbirth.
4-7. Ye, brethren, are not in darkness. The Christian has been
fully instructed, is a child of
the light, and knows that he must always be ready. He follows the Light
of the World.
5. Ye are all the children of light. They are of the light, of
the day, because they have come to Christ for light, and are taught of
him. Hence on this subject they are fully informed. Those are of the
night, who turn away from the light and refuse to accept it.
6. Therefore let us not sleep. Since Christians are of the day,
they should be wide awake. Day is not the time for sleep. A sleep of
the spiritual faculties, which renders one insensible to danger, is
meant. Instead of sleeping, Christians should
watch and be sober. For a comment declaring how we should obey
this, turn to
Luke 21:34, 36:
"Take heed to yourselves, etc."
7. They that sleep, sleep in the night. Hence, Christians who are
of the day,
should be wakeful and watching.
They that be drunken, are drunken in the night. In most
countries they are ashamed to be seen intoxicated, and hence choose the
night. In the East it is so. Peter thought the fact that it was day,
and only nine o'clock, was proof that the scenes of Pentecost were not
due to wine
8-11. Putting on the breastplate of faith and love. The
exhortation to the soldierly duties of watchfulness and sobriety
suggests the thought of a sentinel and his armor. Compare
There the shield of faith is spoken of;
here the breastplate. Both were for the defense of the body. Nothing
will better protect the heart from evil thoughts and keep us watching
than faith and love.
And for an helmet, the hope of salvation. See notes on
What a power to protect, a blessed hope of salvation through Christ!
9. God hath not appointed us to wrath. Hence it is our privilege
to hope for salvation through Christ.
10. Who died for us. That we might secure salvation. Hence our
salvation is so assured that even death cannot rob us of it. Whether we
are alive, or sleep in death, we shall live together with Christ.
11. Wherefore. This assurance is ground for comfort, and
especially for comfort for mourners.
Edify one another. Build each other up; strengthen each
12, 13. Know them. Recognize and appreciate.
Which labor among you. Your preachers and elders. The three
duties of those over them are to labor among them, to rule over them,
and to admonish them.
13. Esteem them. This esteem is due them on account of their
Heb. 13:17, and Phil. 1:22.
Be at peace. Let there be no factious spirit.
14-16. Warn them that are unruly. The duties named in this
section are those of the elders especially, but in a lesser sense the
duty of all.
Unruly. Those who are wayward, inconsistent, and
disposed to follow their own will.
Feeble-minded. Timid ones, who are easily discouraged by
persecution, or cast down by trouble.
Support the weak. Those weak in the faith.
15. See that none render evil for evil. See note on
This doctrine was subversive of the practice of the whole world.
16. Rejoice evermore. Religion is not sullen and sour, but full
of joy; so full that the saint can even be joyous when all the world
seems to frown. He has a hidden source of joy, a present Savior, a
17-22. Pray without ceasing. See notes on
18. In everything give thanks. Always be thankful for God's
benefits, and always express your thanks. For scriptural examples, see
2 Cor. 1:11; Acts 28:15; Eph. 5:20.
This is the will of God. The three duties just named
are probably comprehended.
19. Quench not the Spirit. Do not resist it, or counteract its
influence by sensual lives. He does who disobeys the word of God, or
refuses to follow the exhortations of those led by the Spirit, or who
stifles his own conscience.
20. Despise not prophesyings. Inspired teachings. The prophets
were specially inspired men in the early church. They were needed,
because as yet it did not have the New Testament Scriptures for a
guide. This inspired preaching must not be despised.
21. Prove all things. What was spoken they must put to the test,
and all that stood the test,
they must hold fast to. There were those who could "discern spirits"
(1 Cor. 12:10).
There were also rules for testing
(1 John 4:1-8).
22. Abstain from all appearance of evil. The meaning is to avoid
evil in every form.
23-26. The God of peace. Who bestows peace of soul.
Sanctify you wholly. Make you holy in every respect.
Your whole spirit and soul and body. Let the whole man be
24. Faithful is he. He who has called you is faithful, and if
you trust him he will preserve you.
25. Pray for us. How often Paul requests this prayer! See
Col. 4:3, and 2 Thess. 3:1.
26. Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. See notes on
1 Cor. 16:20.
27, 28. I charge you by the Lord. His affectionate solicitude
impels this solemn charge. Otherwise those in charge of the new church
might think the letter was for them specially and that they were to
teach its spirit and thoughts to the people.
Read unto all. In the public assembly.
28. The grace of our Lord. The usual farewell benediction.