View 1st Thessalonians 5 in the note window.
1: But of the precise times when this shall be.
2: For this in general ye do know; and ye can and need
know no more.
3: When they - The men of the world say.
4: Ye are not in darkness - Sleeping secure in sin.
6: Awake, and keep awake - Being awakened, let us have all
our spiritual senses about us.
7: They usually sleep and are drunken in the night - These
things do not love the light.
9: God hath not appointed us to wrath - As he hath the
10: Whether we wake or sleep - Be alive or dead at his
12: Know them that,
Know - See, mark, take knowledge of them and their work. Sometimes
the same person may both labour, that is, preach; be over, or
govern; and admonish the flock by particular application to
each: sometimes two or more different persons, according as God
variously dispenses his gifts. But O, what a misery is it when
a man undertakes this whole work without either gifts or graces
for any part of it! Why, then, will he undertake it? for pay?
What! will he sell both his own soul and all the souls of the
flock? What words can describe such a wretch as this? And yet
even this may be "an honourable man!"
- Labour among you:
- Are over you in the Lord:
- Admonish you.
13: Esteem them very highly - Literally, more than
abundantly, in love - The inexpressible sympathy that is
between true pastors and their flock is intimated, not
only here, but also in divers other places of this epistle.
See (1Th 2:7,8).
For their work's sake - The principal ground of their vast regard
for them. But how are we to esteem them who do not work at all?
14: Warn the disorderly - Them that stand, as it were,
out of their rank in the spiritual warfare. Some such were
even in that church. The feeble - minded - Literally, them of
little soul; such as have no spiritual courage.
15: See that none - Watch over both yourselves and each other.
Follow that which is good - Do it resolutely and perseveringly.
16: Rejoice evermore - In uninterrupted happiness in God.
Pray without ceasing - Which is the fruit of always rejoicing in
the Lord. In everything give thanks - Which is the fruit of both
the former. This is Christian perfection. Farther than this we
cannot go; and we need not stop short of it. Our Lord has
purchased joy, as well as righteousness, for us. It is the very
design of the gospel that, being saved from guilt, we should be
happy in the love of Christ. Prayer may be said to be the
breath of our spiritual life. He that lives cannot possibly
cease breathing. So much as we really enjoy of the presence of
God, so much prayer and praise do we offer up without ceasing;
else our rejoicing is but delusion. Thanksgiving is inseparable
from true prayer: it is almost essentially connected with it.
He that always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or
pain, both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity. He
blesses God for all things, looks on them as coming from him,
and receives them only for his sake; not choosing nor refusing,
liking nor disliking, anything, but only as it is agreeable or
disagreeable to his perfect will.
18: For this - That you should thus rejoice, pray, give
thanks. Is the will of God - Always good, always pointing at
19: Quench not the Spirit - Wherever it is, it burns; it
flames in holy love, in joy, prayer, thanksgiving. O quench
it not, damp it not in yourself or others, either by neglecting
to do good, or by doing evil!
20: Despise not prophesyings - That is, preaching; for
the apostle is not here speaking of extraordinary gifts. It
seems, one means of grace is put for all; and whoever despises
any of these, under whatever pretence, will surely (though
perhaps gradually and almost insensibly) quench the Spirit.
21: Meantime, prove all things - Which any preacher
recommends. (He speaks of practice, not of doctrines.) Try
every advice by the touchstone of scripture, and hold fast
that which is good - Zealously, resolutely, diligently practise
it, in spite of all opposition.
22: And be equally zealous and careful to abstain from
all appearance of evil - Observe, those who "heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears," under pretence of proving all
things, have no countenance or excuse from this scripture.
23: And may the God of peace sanctify you - By the peace
he works in you, which is a great means of sanctification.
Wholly - The word signifies wholly and perfectly; every part and
all that concerns you; all that is of or about you. And may the
whole of you, the spirit and the soul and the body - Just before
he said you; now he denominates them from their spiritual state.
The spirit -(Ga 6:8);
wishing that it may be preserved whole and entire: then from
their natural state, the soul and the body; (for these two make
up the whole nature of man, (Mt 10:28);) wishing it
may be preserved blameless till the coming of Christ.
To explain this a little further: of the three here mentioned,
only the two last are the natural constituent parts of man. The
first is adventitious, and the supernatural gift of God, to be
found in Christians only. That man cannot possibly consist of
three parts, appears hence: The soul is either matter or not
matter: there is no medium. But if it is matter, it is part of
the body: if not matter, it coincides with the Spirit.
24: Who also will do it - Unless you quench the Spirit.
27: I charge you by the Lord - Christ, to whom proper
divine worship is here paid. That this epistle - The first he
wrote. Be read to all the brethren - That is, in all the
churches. They might have concealed it out of modesty, had not
this been so solemnly enjoined: but what Paul commands under so
strong an adjuration, Rome forbids under pain of excommunication.