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Chapter 5

5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons [peri de tōn chronōn kai tōn kairōn]. See both words used also in Tit 1:2f. [Chronos] is rather an extended period and [kairos] a definite space of time.

5:2 Know perfectly [akribōs oidate]. Accurately know, not “the times and the seasons,” but their own ignorance. As a thief in the night [hōs kleptēs en nukti]. As a thief at night, suddenly and unexpectedly. Reminiscence of the word of Jesus (Mt 24:43; Lu 12:39), used also in 2Pe 3:10; Re 3:3; 16:15. Cometh [erchetai]. Prophetic or futuristic present tense.

5:3 When they are saying [hotan legōsin]. Present active subjunctive picturing these false prophets of peace and safety like Eze 13:10 (Peace, and there is no peace). [Asphaleia] only in N.T. in Lu 1:4 (which see); Ac 5:23 and here. Sudden destruction [aiphnidios olethros]. [Olethros] old word from [ollumi], to destroy. See also 2Th 1:9. [Aiphnidios], old adjective akin to [aphnō] and in N.T. only here and Lu 21:34 where Westcott and Hort spell it [ephnidios]. Cometh upon them [autois epistatai]. Unaspirated form instead of the usual [ephistatai] (present middle indicative) from [ephistēmi] perhaps due to confusion with [epistamai]. As travail upon a woman with child [hōsper hē ōdin tēi en gastri echousēi]. Earlier form [ōdis] for birth-pang used also by Jesus (Mr 13:8; Mt 24:8). Technical phrase for pregnancy, to the one who has it in belly (cf. Mt 1:18 of Mary). They shall in no wise escape [ou mē ekphugōsin]. Strong negative like that in 4:15 [ou mē] (double negative) and the second aorist active subjunctive.

5:4 As a thief [hōs kleptēs]. As in verse 2, but A B Bohairic have [kleptas] (thieves), turning the metaphor round.

5:5 Sons of light [huioi phōtos], sons of day [huioi hēmeras]. Chiefly a translation Hebraism (Deissmann, Bible Studies, pp. 161ff.). Cf. words of Jesus in Lu 16:8 and Paul in Eph 5:9. He repeats the same idea in turning from “ye” to “we” and using [nuktos] (night) and [skotous] (darkness), predicate genitives.

5:6 So then [ara oun]. Two inferential particles, accordingly therefore, as in 2Th 2:15 and only in Paul in N.T. Let us not sleep [mē katheudōmen]. Present active subjunctive (volitive), let us not go on sleeping. Let us watch [grēgorōmen]. Present active subj. (volitive) again, let us keep awake (late verb [grēgoreō] from perfect [egrēgora]. Be sober [nēphōmen]. Present active subjunctive (volitive). Old verb not to be drunk. In N.T. only in figurative sense, to be calm, sober-minded. Also in verse 8 with the metaphor of drunkenness in contrast.

5:7 They that be drunken are drunken in the night [hoi methuskomenoi nuktos methuousin]. No need of “be” here, they that are drunken. No real difference in meaning between [methuskō] and [methuō], to be drunk, except that [methuskō] (inceptive verb in [-skō] means to get drunk. Night [nuktos], genitive by night) is the favourite time for drunken revelries.

5:8 Putting on the breastplate of faith and love [endusamenoi thōraka pisteōs kai agapēs]. First aorist (ingressive) middle participle of [enduō]. The same figure of breastplate in Eph 6:14, only there “of righteousness.” The idea of watchfulness brings the figure of a sentry on guard and armed to Paul’s mind as in Ro 13:12 “the weapons of light.” The word [thōrax] (breastplate) is common in the LXX. For a helmet, the hope of salvation [perikephalaian elpida sōtērias]. Same figure in Eph 6:17 and both like Isa 59:17. Late word meaning around [peri] the head [kephalē] and in Polybius, LXX, and in the papyri. [Sōtērias] is objective genitive.

5:9 But unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ [alla eis peripoiēsin sōtērias dia tou Kuriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou]. The difficult word here is [peripoiēsin] which may be passive, God’s possession as in 1Pe 2:9, or active, obtaining, as in 2Th 2:14. The latter is probably the idea here. We are to keep awake so as to fulfil God’s purpose [etheto], appointed, second aorist middle indicative of [tithēmi] in calling us. That is our hope of final victory (salvation in this sense).

5:10 For us [peri hēmōn]. Around us. So Westcott and Hort, but [huper] (over, in behalf of) as in many MSS. These prepositions often interchanged in N.T. MSS. Whether we wake or sleep [eite grēgorōmen eite katheudōmen]. Alternative condition of third class with present subjunctive, though [eante—eante] more usual conjunction (Robertson, Grammar, P. 1017). Used here of life and death, not as metaphor. That we should live together with him [hina hama sun autōi zēsōmen]. First aorist active subjunctive constative aorist covering all life (now and hereafter) together with [hama sun] as in 5:17) Jesus.

5:11 Build each other up [oikodomeite heis ton hena]. Literally, build ye, one the one [heis] nominative in partitive apposition with unexpressed [humeis] subject of [oikodomeite].) Then [ton hena] the accusative in partitive apposition with the unexpressed [heautous] or [allēlous]. See the same idiom in 1Co 4:6 one in behalf of the one, [heis huper tou henos]. Build is a favourite Pauline metaphor.

5:12 Them that labour among you [tous kopiōntas en humin]. Old word for toil even if weary. And are over you in the Lord [kai proistamenous humōn en Kuriōi]. Same article with this participle. Literally, those who stand in front of you, your leaders in the Lord, the presbyters or bishops and deacons. Get acquainted with them and follow them. And admonish you [kai nouthetountas humas]. Old verb from [nouthetēs] and this from [nous] (mind) and [tithēmi], to put. Putting sense into the heads of people. A thankless, but a necessary, task. The same article connects all three participles, different functions of the same leaders in the church.

5:13 And to esteem them [kai hēgeisthai]. Get acquainted with them and esteem the leaders. The idlers in Thessalonica had evidently refused to follow their leaders in church activities. We need wise leadership today, but still more wise following. An army of captains and colonels never won a battle.

5:14 Admonish the disorderly [noutheteite tous ataktous]. Put sense into the unruly mob who break ranks [a] privative and [taktos], verbal adjective of [tassō], to keep military order). Recall the idlers from the market-place used against Paul (Ac 17:5). This is a challenging task for any leader. Encourage the fainthearted [paramutheisthe tous oligopsuchous]. Old verb to encourage or console as in Joh 11:31, though not so common in N.T. as [parakaleō], the compound adjective [oligos], little or small, [psuchē], soul), small-souled, little-souled, late word in LXX. The verb [oligopsucheō] occurs in the papyri. Local conditions often cause some to lose heart and wish to drop out, be quitters. These must be held in line. Support the weak [antechesthe tōn asthenōn]. Middle voice with genitive of [antechō], old verb, in N.T. only in middle, to cling to, to hold on to (with genitive). The weak are those tempted to sin (immorality, for instance). Be long-suffering toward all [makrothumeite pros pantas]. These disorderly elements try the patience of the leaders. Hold out with them. What a wonderful ideal Paul here holds up for church leaders!

5:15 See to it that no one render unto any one evil for evil [horate mē tis kakon anti kakou apodōi]. Note [] with the aorist subjunctive (negative purpose) [apodōi] from [apodidōmi], to give back. Retaliation, condemned by Jesus (Mt 5:38-42) and by Paul in Ro 12:17, usually takes the form of “evil for evil,” rather than “good for good” [kalon anti kalou]. Note idea of exchange in [anti]. Follow after [diōkete]. Keep up the chase [diōkō] after the good.

5:18 In everything give thanks [en panti eucharisteite]. There is a silver lining to every cloud. God is with us whatever befalls us. It is God’s will that we find joy in prayer in Christ Jesus in every condition of life.

5:19 Quench not the spirit [to pneuma mē sbennute]. [] with the present imperative means to stop doing it or not to have the habit of doing it. It is a bold figure. Some of them were trying to put out the fire of the Holy Spirit, probably the special gifts of the Holy Spirit as verse 20 means. But even so the exercise of these special gifts (1Co 12-14; 2Co 12:2-4; Ro 12:6-9) was to be decently [euschēmonōs], 1Th 4:12) and in order [kata taxin], 1Co 14:40) and for edification [pros oikodomēn], 1Co 14:26). Today, as then, there are two extremes about spiritual gifts (cold indifference or wild excess). It is not hard to put out the fire of spiritual fervor and power.

5:20 Despise not prophesyings [prophēteias mē exoutheneite]. Same construction, stop counting as nothing [exoutheneō], [outhen = ouden], late form in LXX. Plutarch has [exoudenizō]. Plural form [prophēteias] (accusative). Word means forth-telling [pro-phēmi] rather than fore-telling and is the chief of the spiritual gifts (1Co 14) and evidently depreciated in Thessalonica as in Corinth later.

5:21 Prove all things [panta [de] dokimazete]. Probably [de] (but) is genuine. Even the gift of prophecy has to be tested (1Co 12:10; 14:29) to avoid error. Paul shows fine balance here. Hold fast that which is good [to kalon katechete]. Keep on holding down the beautiful (noble, morally beautiful). Present imperative [kat-echō] (perfective use of [kata-] here).

5:22 Abstain from every form of evil [apo pantos eidous ponērou apechesthe]. Present middle (direct) imperative of [ap-echō] (contrast with [kat-echō] and preposition [apo] repeated with ablative as in 1Th 4:3. Note use of [ponērou] here for evil without the article, common enough idiom. [Eidos] (from [eidon] naturally means look or appearance as in Lu 3:23; 9:29; Joh 5:37; 2Co 5:7. But, if so taken, it is not semblance as opposed to reality (Milligan). The papyri give several examples of [eidos] in the sense of class or kind and that idea suits best here. Evil had a way of showing itself even in the spiritual gifts including prophecy.

5:23 The God of peace [ho theos tēs eirēnēs]. The God characterized by peace in his nature, who gladly bestows it also. Common phrase (Milligan) at close of Paul’s Epistles (2Co 13:11; Ro 15:33; 16:20; Php 4:9) and the Lord of peace in 2Th 3:6. Sanctify you [hagiasai humās]. First aorist active optative in a wish for the future. New verb in LXX and N.T. for the old [hagizō], to render or to declare holy [hagios], to consecrate, to separate from things profane. Wholly [holoteleis]. Predicate adjective in plural [holos], whole, [telos], end), not adverb [holotelōs]. Late word in Plutarch, Hexapla, and in inscription A.D. 67 (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). Here alone in N.T. Here it means the whole of each of you, every part of each of you, “through and through” (Luther), qualitatively rather than quantitatively. Your spirit and soul and body [humōn to pneuma kai hē psuchē kai to sōma]. Not necessarily trichotomy as opposed to dichotomy as elsewhere in Paul’s Epistles. Both believers and unbelievers have an inner man (soul [psuchē], mind [nous], heart [kardia], the inward man [ho esō anthrōpos] and the outer man [sōma, ho exō anthrōpos]. But the believer has the Holy Spirit of God, the renewed spirit of man (1Co 2:11; Ro 8:9-11). Be preserved entire [holoklēron tērētheiē]. First aorist passive optative in wish for the future. Note singular verb and singular adjective (neuter) showing that Paul conceives of the man as “an undivided whole” (Frame), prayer for the consecration of both body and soul (cf. 1Co 6). The adjective [holoklēron] is in predicate and is an old form and means complete in all its parts [holos], whole, [klēros], lot or part). There is to be no deficiency in any part. [Teleios] (from [telos], end) means final perfection. Without blame [amemptōs]. Old adverb [a] privative, [memptos], verbal of [memphomai], to blame) only in I Thess. in N.T. (2:10; 3:13; 5:23). Milligan notes it in certain sepulchral inscriptions discovered in Thessalonica. At the coming [en tēi parousiāi]. The Second Coming which was a sustaining hope to Paul as it should be to us and mentioned often in this Epistle (see on 2:19).

5:24 Faithful [pistos]. God, he means, who calls and will carry through (Php 1:6).

5:25 Pray for us [proseuchesthe [kai] peri hēmōn]. He has made his prayer for them. He adds this “human touch” (Frame) and pleads for the prayers of his converts (2Th 3:1; Col 4:2f.). Probably [kai] also is genuine (B D).

5:26 With a holy kiss [en philēmati hagiōi]. With a kiss that is holy (Milligan) a token of friendship and brotherly love (1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; Ro 16:16). In 1Pe 5:14 it is “with a kiss of love.” This was the customary salutation for rabbis.

5:27 I adjure you by the Lord [enorkizō humas ton Kurion]. Late compound for old [horkizō] (Mr 5:7), to put one on oath, with two accusatives (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 483f.). Occurs in inscriptions. That this epistle be read unto all the brethren [anagnōsthēnai tēn epistolēn pasin tois adelphois]. First aorist passive infinitive of [anaginōskō] with accusative of general reference in an indirect command. Clearly Paul wrote for the church as a whole and wished the epistles read aloud at a public meeting. In this first epistle we see the importance that he attaches to his epistles.

5:28 The grace [hē charis]. Paul prefers this noble word to the customary [errōsthe] (Farewell, Be strong). See 2Th 3:18 for identical close save added [pantōn] (all). A bit shorter form in 1Co 16:23; Ro 16:20 and still shorter in Col 4:18; 1Ti 6:21; Tit 3:15; 2Ti 4:22. The full Trinitarian benediction we find in 2Co 13:13.

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