1 Thessalonians 5J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
We must keep awake for his sudden coming
5 1-3 But as far as times and seasons go, my brothers, you don’t need written instructions. You are well aware that the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a burglary to a householder. When men are saying “Peace and security” catastrophe will sweep down upon them as suddenly and inescapably as birth-pangs to a pregnant woman.
4-11 But because you, my brothers, are not living in darkness the day cannot take you completely by surprise. After all, burglary only takes place at night! You are all sons of light, sons of the day, and none of us belongs to darkness or the night. Let us then never fall into the sleep that stupefies the rest of the world: let us keep awake, with our wits about us. Night is the time for sleep and the time when men get drunk, but we men of the daylight should be alert, with faith and love as our breastplate and the hope of our salvation as our helmet. For God did not choose us to condemn us, but that we might secure his salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. He died for us, so that whether we are “awake” or “asleep” we share his life. So go on cheering and strengthening each other with thoughts like these, as I have no doubt you have been doing.
Reverence your ministers: regulate the conduct of church members
12-13a We ask you too, my brothers, to get to know those who work so hard among you. They are your spiritual leaders to keep you on the right path. Because of this high task of theirs, hold them in highest honour.
13b-18 Live together in peace, and our instruction to this end is to reprimand the unruly, encourage the timid, help the weak and be very patient with all men. Be sure that no one repays a bad turn by a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large. Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ.
Final advice and farewell
19-22 Never damp the fire of the Spirit, and never despise what is spoken in the name of the Lord. By all means use your judgement, and hold on to whatever is really good, Steer clear of evil in any form.
23-24 May the God of peace make you holy through and through. May you be kept in soul and mind and body in spotless integrity until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is utterly faithful and he will finish what he has set out to do.
25-27 Pray for us, my brothers. Give a handshake all round among the brotherhood. God’s command, which I give you now, is that this letter should be read to all the brothers.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.