1 Thessalonians 4
Exhortation to a Godly Life.
Brotherly Love Required.
Each Should Quietly Follow His Own Business.
Not to Sorrow Without Hope for the Dead.
They, as well as the Living Saints, shall Meet the Lord at His Coming.
1, 2. Furthermore then. In all Paul's letters to Gentile
churches there is a closing exhortation to purity of life and against
such sins as Gentiles especially needed to guard against. These
exhortations to the Thessalonians begin with the fourth chapter.
How ye ought to walk. He reminds them that he had instructed
them how to live to please God.
2. What commandments. What commands had been given as coming
from the Lord Jesus.
3-8. This is the will of God. What he had taught them was the
will of God and needful to their
sanctification, or holiness of life.
That ye abstain from fornication. The student of the Epistles
will note how often this command is repeated to Gentile churches, a
fact easily explained when we remember that fornication was considered
no sin among the heathen.
4. That every one of you should . . . possess his
vessel. Should restrain his bodily desires, and make even his
5. Even as the Gentiles which know not God. Even the greatest of
Socrates, instructed a harlot how she should conduct her shameful
business. The heathen moralists condemned unchastity only in the case
of a child-bearing wife, as it would wrong her husband not to know the
paternity of her children.
6. That no man go beyond. Beyond the bounds of purity, so as to
wrong his brother. In our age, to assail the purity of wife or daughter
is counted as a fearful crime against the family.
The Lord is the avenger. He will punish the adulterer, or
7. Unto holiness. The Christian calling demands purity of life.
8. He that despiseth. Who considers not the rights and welfare
of his fellow-beings, and invades the purity of the home, let him know
that it is God he despises, not man. God has required of him holiness
instead of uncleanness.
Giveth his Holy Spirit.
The temple of the Holy Spirit must be holy. To defile it, that is
ourselves, is to insult God.
9-12. As touching brotherly love. This subject springs out of
Taught of God. The whole gospel teaches you to love one another.
When you are born of God, you are his children and all brethren. As
Christ loved the brethren, so must you if you follow him.
10. And indeed ye do. Their conduct showed their brotherly
11. Study to be quiet. The Greeks were naturally a restless
people, often given to intermeddling in the business of other people.
Work with your own hands. A Christian must not be an idler. A
"loafer" cannot show forth the life of Christ. We gather, elsewhere,
that some brethren at Thessalonica thought the time so short until the
Lord would come that work was unnecessary.
12. That ye may walk honestly. Becomingly in the sight of those
without. It would be a reproach if the heathen could say, "This new
religion makes men idle and brings them to beggary."
Lack of nothing. The necessaries supplied by labor are
13-18. But we would not have you ignorant. It seems that the
Thessalonian brethren, expecting the speedy coming of the Lord, mourned
over some of their number who had died, counting it a great loss that
they did not live to meet Jesus.
Them which are asleep. What we call death is only falling asleep
in the arms of our Lord.
14. If we believe, etc. If we believe in the death and
resurrection of Christ, we must believe also that all who sleep in him
will be raised with him.
15. For this we say.
He now explains how it will be at the Lord's coming.
We which are alive. We who are on the earth when the Lord comes,
will not precede those who died in the Lord to meet him.
16. For the Lord himself. They seemed to have thought that the
living saints would hurry to meet the Lord, and that the dead would be
powerless to follow. On the contrary, Christ comes to them. He will
With a shout. The voice of an archangel. The voice of command.
With the trump of God. The trumpet blast as a signal and a
The dead in Christ shall rise first. Before the living are gathered,
all the saints who slept in Christ shall be gathered around him. In the
final day, the first act is the gathering of the departed saints; the
next, the gathering of the living saints.
17. Then we, etc. All the church, the saints of past ages, and
the saints of the last age, shall ascend together to meet the Lord.
So shall we ever be with the Lord. That glorious meeting shall
18. Wherefore, comfort one another. Cheer each other with these
assurances. Tell the mourning ones that when they are called to meet
the Lord they will find their own sleeping ones in the glorious