I Thessalonians




Now follows a series of short admonitions. The Thessalonians were to love

and honor their ministers, to live in peace among themselves, to admonish

the disorderly, to encourage the faint-hearted, to support the weak, and to

exercise forbearance toward all men. They were to be on their guard

against revenge, to preserve Christian joyfulness, to be constant in prayer,

and to maintain a thankful disposition. They were not to quench the Spirit,

nor despise prophesyings, but were to test all things, retaining the good

and rejecting the evil. And it was his earnest prayer for them that God

would so completely sanctify them that they might be blameless at the

advent of the Lord Jesus. After requesting an interest in their prayers, and

solemnly charging them to read this Epistle to the assembled Church, the

apostle concludes with his apostolic benediction.


vs. 12-13 – God’s appointed leaders in churches are to be appreciated

                    and  esteemed highly because of the labors they do and on

                    account of the dignity of their office, for their work is of

                    the Lord God.  They are to be loved and respected because

                    of their authority from God.


The work of the pastorate is hard, exhausting service, with heavy

responsibilities and many cares.  It is a labor of preaching “rightly

dividing the Word of truth” – II Timothy 2:15 – giving to each of

the household of faith “a portion of meat in due season”  - Luke 12:42 –

meat, not “sawdust” as Moody puts it!  They are laborers together in

God’s vineyard – I Corinthians 3:9 – they are not “lords over God’s

heritage” – I Peter 5:3 – they are spiritual guides to “admonish”,

(a difficult and painful duty) - “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all

long-suffering and doctrine”  - II Timothy 4:2 – they have “to watch

for your souls as they must give account” – Hebrews 13:17, they

are to “warn every man,and teach every man in all wisdom, that they

may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” – Colossians 1:28 –

they are to warn against sins committed and urge to duties that are









The obligation of the membership of the church is to give the pastors

due recognition, they must “know them” – make themselves better

acquainted with the pastor so that the pastor might be able to be more

familiar with the state of their souls.  The church must acknowledge the

pastor’s position as one of “steward of the mysteries of God” and

submit to his ministry.  It is not just an official relationship but

a relationship of love and affection.  A due respect for the ministry

is an important element in its efficiency and success.  The member-

ship is to be at peace among themselves and a faithful pastorate

tends to unity and peace.


The pastors are  not only to be esteemed but “to esteem them very

highly” for their work’s sake.  While they are to be esteemed, they

are also to be loved.  Love is to be the element in which the esteem

is to have its subsistence and nourishment.  They are not to be

judged harshly, but, in love, a kindly view is to be taken of them,

and their defects overlooked.


be at peace among yourselves” – one of the causes of ecclesiastical

friction “is fondness for power or honor. It was when the twelve had

disputed one with another who was the greatest (Mark 9:34), and had

turned against one who used Christ’s Name, yet followed not them

(Mark 9:38), that they were exhorted to be at peace one with another

(Mark 9:50). John refers to a certain Diotrephes, (III John v. 9) in a Church

to which he wrote, who loved to have the pre-eminence among them.

There are those who are more concerned to advance themselves, or their

family connection, or their party, than the common ends for which the

society exists. A co-operating cause is prejudice. There are those who are

more attached to opinions hastily formed, or traditionally received, or to

which they are constitutionally inclined as more liberal or more

conservative, than to the truth honestly inquired into. When, with this,

there conspires worldly motive, leading to worldly policy, the result, on

occasion or, it may be, on little occasion, is dispeace. One cure for

dispeace is respect for the properly constituted authorities, or good feeling

toward the leaders.  This wilt often carry a society through a difficult

trial. A more effective cure is abundance of Christian work. It was when

the twelve were in the way (unemployed so far) that they disputed who

was the greatest. When afterward they were in the midst of their work, the

question would not be who was the greatest, but who could do the most

work for Christ. For a Church to be actively engaged in real work for the

Master is to be in the best position for its own peace. Pray, then, for the

peace of Jerusalem, and for its orderliness and holy activity, as conducive

to peace.




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Ver. 14. Now we exhort you, brethren; an exhortation also addressed

to all. Warn them that are unruly; or, as in the margin, disorderly

(R.V.). Different modes of treatment have to be adapted to different

classes; the unruly have to be warned. The word here rendered “unruly” or

disorderly” was originally a military term expressing the character of those

soldiers who would not keep their ranks — out of the ranks. It would seem

from this and other intimations that disorders existed among the

Thessalonians; and that, especially being impressed by a belief in the near

approach of the advent, several of them neglected the common duties of

life, and abstained from working. Comfort the feebleminded. By “the

feeble-minded” are meant the desponding or faint-hearted; those who were

agitated about the fate of their deceased friends, or those who despaired of

the grace of God by reason of their sins. These were not to be

reprimanded, but comforted and exhorted, lovingly in the truth.  It is the

Lord’s way “to raise them that are bowed down” and to comfort them which

be in any trouble.  II Corinthians 1:4 – There is “consolation in Christ  -

Support the weak. By “the weak” are not meant those who are physically

weak — the sick; but those who are spiritually weak, whose faith was

feeble — those who were afraid of persecution, or were troubled with vain

scruples. These were to be supported — confirmed in the faith, We are to

bear the infirmities of the weak”, be “eyes to the blind; be feet to the lame”

and “lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” –

Hebrews 12:12-13 -  There would be those among the Thessalonians who

felt the weakening influence of the heathenism out of which they had come.

Heathen habits could not be laid aside in a day. So there are those in our

Churches who are anxious to do well, but are apt to stumble from the strength

of evil habit. The command of Christ, laid on all, is that such are not to be left to

stand or fall by themselves; but they are to be supported by sympathy and counsel

and. example until they attain to greater moral strength — as infants, or those

weakened by disease, need to be supported, until they can go about freely.

 be patient toward all men; all men in general, whether believers or unbelievers;

toward them patience and forbearance were to be exercised.  Patience or

long-suffering, in view of the perverseness, or defects, or follies, or sins of men.

It points to a temper not easily moved or offended, to a disposition to bear and

forbear after the example of that Father who“is long-suffering to us-ward, not

willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

This disposition greatly promotes the comfort and usefulness of life.  (Peace)


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All Christians must take their part in the great work of saving souls;

all are responsible, in a greater or less degree, for the welfare of the

souls that come within their influence. All true Christians must

admonish when admonition is needed; all must comfort those who

stand in need of comfort. All must support the weak, and all must

practice patience towards all men, unbelievers as well as believers.

For these duties are so many different phases of Christian love, and

Christian love is the highest of all graces. The love of the brethren is

the proof that we have passed from death unto life. Then the Christian

who is living in that life, which is hid with Christ in God, must take a deep

and holy interest in the souls around him. The nearer he lives to God the

better he will be able to admonish, to comfort, to support; and the more

willing he will be to labor in the cause of Christ.


v. 15 – “See that none render evil for evil” – a prohibition against revenge –

            Strictly from Christ as neither heathenism, nor Judaism taught this.


Retaliation is condemned both by the Old and the New Testaments.

(Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:19.)  It is condemned by Christs

beautiful example of forbearance. (1 Peter 2:23.) “Who, when

He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not.”

It is expressly rebuked by Christ in the case of the disciples James and

John. (Luke 9:54, 55.)  It springs from a spiteful heart. (Ezekiel 25:15.)

It indicates a want of trust in God. (Proverbs 20:22.)


ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men” –

to your fellow-Christians and to all men in general.


The good to be done is after the example of Christ, who “went about

every day doing good”.


v. 16 – “Rejoice evermore  - I remember as a child, that this was one of

            the favorite verses of my paternal grandmother, Clara Moreland

            Simpson Yahnig – an invalid of sixteen years – when people came

            to cheer her up, when they left, they were the ones cheered.


Rejoice evermore; or, rejoice always (R.V.). Joy is that feeling of delight which

arises from the possession of present good, or from the anticipation of future

happiness; and in both respects the believer has abundant reason for constant joy.

He possesses the blessedness of forgiveness and the sure prospect of eternal life,

and he has the consciousness that all things work together for good to them that

love God (Romans 8:28). God wishes his people to be happy, and does not

suffer them to be indifferent to their own peace. He commands them to

rejoice, yea, to rejoice evermore. “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I

say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4).



God designs us to be happy like Himself, even here on this earth and not

just when “we all get to heaven”.  (serenity of a sound mind, a pure heart,

a quiet conscience, a sure hope, the promises of God, all these are conducive

to happiness).


Ver. 17. Pray without ceasing. The means of promoting religious joy

is prayer. This prayer is to be “without ceasing,” implying constancy

(Colossians 4:2) and perseverance (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18:1).

This is not a mere precept “capable of fulfillment in idea, rather than in fact”

(Jowett); but it is an exhortation to live in a devotional frame of mind. It is

impossible to be always on our bended knees, but we may be in the spirit of

prayer when engaged in the duties of our earthly calling. Prayer may be

without ceasing in the heart which is full of the presence of God, and evermore communing with him.


We certainly needed regular times of prayer but with a devotional

spirit,  we can talk to God at any time, over any subject, no

matter how great or how trivial.  The heart may rise to a throne

of grace in inward prayer when the hands are busy with the duties

of life.


No emergency is so great as to keep the faithful Christian from his

God, none of or little difficulties is so small as to make it needless

or unseemly to consult the Lord in prayer.


“Never think that anything is too little for your Heavenly Father’s

love to think upon” – Charles Spurgeon





Jesus said “men ought always to pray and not to faint” -  Luke 18:1


Ver. 18. In everything give thanks. In every circumstance — in joy

and in sorrow; for everything — for prosperity and for adversity; in every

place — in the house of God and on the bed of sickness; Christians should

not only be engaged in constant prayer, but in constant thanksgiving;

indeed, their prayers should partake largely of the nature of thanksgiving.

For this; this thankful spirit.  Is the will of God; His desire. In Christ

Jesus; the sphere in which this will of God is displayed.   All God’s

mercies reach us through the channel of Christ’s mediation.  Therefore we

are to give thanks unto God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17);

therefore “by him let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually”

(Hebrews 13:15).  Concerning you.  God by the gift of his Son has laid us

under the obligation of perpetual thanksgiving. Our whole life ought to be

one continued thank-offering for all the blessings of redemption.


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We thank God for our creation, for our preservation and all the

blessings of this life!  Thank Him for the great things, for the small

things, for rare things, for common things, for past things, for present

things, for future things, thank Him for prosperous things, thank

Him for adverse things, thank Him for things that affect our bodies,

and for things that affect the soul.


It is the will of God in Christ Jesus that we do this and how fitting that

we, through Christ Jesus “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,

the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” – Hebrews 13:15


Thanksgiving is a natural accompaniment of prayer.  It is a mark of

the wicked that they have no thankfulness. They who glorified not God

neither were thankful” (Romans 1:21). It is a sign of the antichristian

apostasy that men “shall he unthankful” (2 Timothy 3:2). Since “every

good gift and every perfect gift” comes from the Father of Lights, the

guilt of such ingratitude is great.


v. 19 – “Quench not the Spirit  - the Spirit here is considered as a

            flame which can be extinguished – in fact the Holy Spirit came

            down on the Day of Pentecost as “cloven tongues like as of fire”.


The Spirit acts upon the believers nature like a fire, warming, purifying,

refining.  The fire may be quenched by neglecting it quite as much as by

casting water upon it. This is the tendency of neglect.  Sin has a tendency

to quench the Spirit, as water quenches fire. We ought to stir up our gifts

and graces that they may shine the brighter, and give both light and heat

around us. (Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount “Let your light so

shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your

Father which is in heaven” – Matthew 5:16)  Yet provision is made in the

covenant of grace that the fire once kindled will never be quenched.


Here we are instructed not to hinder, nor check the Holy Spirit –

the supreme hindrance is “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” –

Matthew 12:31-32


grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the

  day of redemption” – Ephesians 4:30




It is our part to stir up the gift of God that is in us; to watch very

carefully lest, through sin or carelessness or indifference, the holy

fire lose its brightness and its power. The foolish virgins were suddenly

aroused to the consciousness that their lamps were going out. The Lord

was come; they had no oil, they were not ready. It was too late.  

(Matthew 25:1-13) - Arise and trim your lamps; take warning in time;

quench not the Spirit.   The lamp will not burn without the oil; the

daily renewal of the Holy Ghost, and He is necessary for the support of

the spiritual life within us. The Spirit of the Lord departed from

Saul; he may depart from us if we live, like Saul, in willfulness and

disobedience. It is a tearful thought that we have the awful power of

quenching that Spirit which is the very life of our souls. It should

stimulate us to constant, anxious watchfulness.


The Spirit is compared here, as in other places in Scripture, to fire. There is

the beginning of spiritual life in every man. There is the depraved nature, but

there is also the Spirit with his vital energy to be cherished or quenched. It

is especially in connection with the gospel that the Spirit is given to men. In

the gospel there is presented a Divine call to accept of Divine mercy, and

there is, in connection with it, a Divine warning against refusing Divine

mercy. “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth

not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The

Spirit, in the Word read or preached, brings the gospel call to bear upon

the conscience and heart. The feeling that we ought to accept of salvation

and not “throw away our existence”, the desire to give Christ our confidence

and not spurn his love, is the working of the Spirit. And, in providence

after providence, does the Spirit more gently whisper to us, or more loudly

rouse us up to the importance of the Divine call and warning. It is

suggested by the context, that what those who have felt the power of the

Spirit have to fear is the repression of enthusiasm. Let them give free outlet

to the working of the Spirit, and not be deterred by the conventionalities

even of religious society. If they feel prompted to pray, let them not

restrain prayer. If they feel prompted to study God’s Word, let them sit

down and pore over it. If they feel prompted to throw themselves into

Christian work, let them not hold back. It was by a strange perversity of

will on the part of Saul that he was deserted by the Spirit. David feared

that his outbreak of sin would drive away the Holy Spirit from him. What

prevents men feeling the power of the Spirit is especially an irregular life.

They turn away from good, and give the reins to their passions, and

another spirit than God’s takes possession of them. But there is not needed

outward irregularity to quench the Spirit. The essential thing is the

withdrawing of the mind from the range of the Divine revelation, the

paying no heed to the Divine voice, the smothering good feeling even

under the ordinary engagements of life, the neglecting to follow up good

impressions by a decisive step for Christ. The result in the following out of

trial is a state of mind in which there is an insensibility to the importance of

the Divine call and warning. Conviction of sin or uneasiness about it

ceases; interest in what is good dies out. The Spirit of God takes his

departure, and an evil spirit takes full possession. There is this encouraging

thought to those who have been resisting and grieving the Spirit, that while

there is the slightest thought of good remaining in their hearts, it may be

fanned into a flame. The Spirit, long slighted, at last cherished, will come,

and with his vital energy fill their whole being.


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v. 20 – “Despise not prophesyings” – (the explanation of Scripture by

            God’s ministers who are led by the Holy Spirit) – in I Corinthians

            14:1-3 – it seems as if the inferior miraculous gift of tongues

            was preferred before prophesyings.


vs. 21-22 – “Prove all things”  - prove here means to test, as metals are

            tested in fire – There was a special gift of discerning spirits

            in the early church – I Corinthians 12:10


We are to be careful in dealing with things in our lives that are

to be “chosen” and things that are to be “rejected”. With regard to

opinions which pass current in society, we are not to accept of them

because they are popular, because they are well-sounding, because

they are associated with particular names or parties; but we are to have a

Divine insight into them as true or false. With regard to what is presented

for the regulation of our conduct, there is evil as well as good presented

for our acceptance. And evil is not presented to us as evil; it takes specious

forms — even Satan puts on the garb of an angel of light. We have need,

therefore, to be on our guard; we have need to have our senses exercised

to discern good and evil. Let us inquire, regarding an action or course of

action, whether it is fitted to yield not simply a present but a solid and

lasting satisfaction, without regrets in the future; whether it is according to

right principle and conducive to strength of character, and fitted also to be

beneficial to others. “If we discerned ourselves,” says the apostle, “we

should not be judged.” Let us be just with ourselves, that we may escape

the consequences of a false judgment. Let us impartially apply the tests

now, as those to whom they are to be impartially and convincingly applied

at the day of judgment.






I John 4:1 tells us “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits

whether they are of God”


Having found it out to be evil in reality, let us not hesitate about our course,

let us abstain from it, let us refuse to taste it even as we would not take poison,

let us turn away from it as from that which is alien from our being and fitted

only to work our destruction.


A right state of the heart is necessary to this power of insight.

Jesus said “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the

doctrine whether it be of God”  - John 7:17


The right of private judgment is the characteristic and privilege of

Protestantism.  We ought thoroughly to examine all doctrines by the

test of Scripture, and then, discerning their reasons, we shall be able

to take a firmer hold of them. At the same time, the fundamental

principle of rationalism, that reason as such is the judge of the doctrines

of revelation, is not contained in these words, and cannot be inferred

from them.


The truth of Scripture rests on Divine revelation.  The doctrines

from the revelation of God and His will are ABOVE REASON

and CAN NEVER BE PROVEN contrary to reason.


Dwight Moody said that to God’s revelation we should:  (1) admit,

(2) submit, (3) commit and (4) transmit  (see I Thessalonians 2 –

Moody Sermon – Pleasure and Profit in Bible Study)


Acts 16:11 gives a scriptural example of this – “These (the Bereans)

            were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they

            received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched

            the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”


Retain the good – reject the evil.


v. 23 – “the very God of peace sanctify you wholly” – the entireness

            of sanctification



A.   Prayer for Sanctification - It is the design of the God of peace to do this.

       Our Lord came to “save His people from their sins,” to “redeem them

       from all iniquity.”


B.  This Sanctification is to Extend to Body, Soul, and Spirit.




(1) The body is to be sanctified, for it is to become an “instrument of

righteousness,” a “temple of the Holy Ghost,” and eventually will receive

its “redemption” in the resurrection (Romans 8:23).


(2) The soul is to be sanctified. It is the principle of animal life. It is the

self. The individual life of man is to be fully sanctified.   Job said “And

though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I

see God” – Job 19:26


(3) The spirit points to the inner life as coming from God, as the soul is life

as constituted in man. The spirit is the higher aspect of self, the spiritual

man being man as grace has reconstructed him. Yet the two words are

parallel, though not equivalent; signifying not two separate natures in man,

but two separate functions of the same nature. Provision is made for the

sanctification of the whole man.


MAN IS NOT PERFECT IN THIS LIFE – the very prayer that

God might sanctify them wholly implies that it was an attainment

yet to be reached.


“I pray your whole spirit and soul and body”


Human nature is divided into three parts – spirit, soul and body.


The “spirit” is the highest part of man, that which assimilates him to God;

renders him capable of religion, and susceptible of being acted upon by

the Spirit of God. The “soul” is the inferior part of his mental nature, the

seat of the passions and desires, of the natural propensities. The “body”

is the corporeal frame.




1. The spirit. This is the highest part of our immaterial nature, the breath of

life, inbreathed by Almighty God. It is the part receptive of Divine

communications, which, in the regenerate, holds converse with God; which

is the sphere of the operations of God the Holy Ghost. That man is spiritual

in whom the spirit rules; he is natural (yuciko>v) in whom the soul (yuch>)

has usurped the place of the spirit. The evil spirit seeks to enslave the spirit

of man; he strives to enter in and dwell in the spirit which should be God’s.

The peace of God is the true garrison; it guards the heart and thoughts of

the faithful, leaving no ingress for the wicked one.






2. The soul. Each of the two words is sometimes used for our whole

invisible nature; but, when distinguished from the spirit, the soul is the

lower part of our immaterial being, which belongs in common to the whole

animal creation; the seat of the appetites, desires, affections. Those men in

whom the animal soul predominates are called by St. Jude “sensual, not

having the spirit” (yucikoi< pneu~ma mh<, e]contev). The soul is sanctified

when it submits itself to the divinely enlightened spirit, when all its

appetites, feelings, longings, are controlled and regulated by the sanctified



3. The body. The Christian body is a holy thing. It should be the temple of

the Holy Ghost; it should be presented unto God a living sacrifice. It is

sanctified when it is ruled by the spirit, when it is kept pure from the

defilements of sensual sin, when its members are made instruments of

righteousness unto God. The apostle prays that the whole man, spirit, soul,

and body, may be preserved in the whole sphere of its existence, so as to

be without blame in the great day.


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be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”


v. 24 – “Faithful is He that calleth you who also will do it”




vs. 25-28 – personal notes of Paul to the Thessalonians