1 Thessalonians 5
New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Vigilance. 1 Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you.(A) 2 For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.(B) 3 When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief.(C) 5 For all of you are children of the light[a] and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. 6 Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.(D) 7 Those who sleep go to sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet that is hope for salvation.(E) 9 For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.[b] 11 Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.(F)
Church Order. 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, 13 and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
14 We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all.(G) 16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.(H) 19 [c]Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 Test everything; retain what is good. 22 Refrain from every kind of evil.
Concluding Prayer. 23 [d]May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.(I) 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it. 25 Brothers, pray for us [too].
IV. Final Greeting
26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.[e] 27 I adjure you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
- 5:5 Children of the light: that is, belonging to the daylight of God’s personal revelation and expected to achieve it (an analogous development of imagery that appears in Jn 12:36).
- 5:10 Characteristically, Paul plays on words suggesting ultimate and anticipated death and life. Union with the crucified and risen Lord at his parousia is anticipated in some measure in contrasted states of our temporal life. The essential element he urges is our indestructible personal union in Christ’s own life (see Rom 5:1–10).
- 5:19–21 Paul’s buoyant encouragement of charismatic freedom sometimes occasioned excesses that he or others had to remedy (see 1 Cor 14; 2 Thes 2:1–15; 2 Pt 3:1–16).
- 5:23 Another possible translation is, “May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and sanctify your spirit fully, and may both soul and body be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In either case, Paul is not offering an anthropological or philosophical analysis of human nature. Rather, he looks to the wholeness of what may be called the supernatural and natural aspects of a person’s service of God.
- 5:26 Kiss: the holy embrace (see Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Pt 5:14) was a greeting of respect and affection, perhaps given during a liturgy at which Paul’s letter would have been read.