1 Thessalonians 3-5 The Voice (VOICE)
3 But after all our attempts to come to you were frustrated, we decided it was best for Silvanus[a] and me to stay behind in Athens by ourselves 2 and to send Timothy (our dear brother [and servant of God],[b] our partner in the good news of the Anointed One) to strengthen, comfort, and encourage you in your faith 3 so that you won’t be shaken by the sufferings and wither under this stress that we know lies ahead. 4 Certainly you remember that when we were with you, we warned you of the suffering we would have to endure; now, as you well know, it has happened. 5 This is why I couldn’t stand it anymore and sent Timothy to report on the state of your faith: because I was worried the tempter had tested you and, if so, all of our hard work would have come to nothing.
6 You can imagine my relief and joy when Timothy returned to us with such good news about you, about your faith and love for us, about how you have such good memories of us and long to see us as much as we long to see you. 7 Hearing this about your faith, brothers and sisters, brought comfort to us in our stress-filled days of trouble and suffering. 8 For if you are set firmly in the Lord, then we can truly live. 9 What thanks would ever be enough to offer God about you for all the jubilant celebration we’ll feel before our God because of you? 10 We remain vigilant in our prayers, night and day praying to once again see your faces and to help complete whatever may be lacking in your faith.
It is obvious Paul loves Jesus, and His Spirit reinforces Paul in every way. How else is he able to walk away from beating after beating or endure trials of the heart and mind? He must constantly be praying for those he can and can’t reach, for those he is with and for those he has to leave behind. Paul loves Jesus, and so he cannot help but embrace the world as passionately as he does.
11 May God Himself, our Father, along with our Lord Jesus, [the Anointed One,][c] navigate our way to you. 12 May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you, 13 so that your hearts will be reinforced with His strength, held blameless and holy before God, our Father, when our Lord Jesus, [the Anointed, the Liberating King,][d] appears along with all His holy ones. [Amen.][e]
4 So finally, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus, we ask you, we beg you to remember what we have taught you: live a life that is pleasing to God as you are already doing. Yes, we urge you to keep living and thriving in that life! 2 For you know the instructions we gave you, instructions that came through the Lord Jesus. 3 Now this is God’s will for you: set yourselves apart and live holy lives; avoid polluting yourselves with sexual defilement. 4 Learn how to take charge over your own body, maintaining purity and honor. 5 Don’t let the swells of lustful passion run your life as they do the outsiders who don’t know God. 6 Don’t violate or take advantage of a fellow believer in such matters. As we told you before and warned you: the Lord will settle the score with anyone who does these things. 7 Here’s why: God does not call us to live impure, adulterous, scandalous lives, but to seek holiness and purity. 8 If you ignore this message, then you’re not only rejecting us but you’re rejecting God, the One who has given His Holy Spirit to live in you.
Paul uses the language of a loving faith family reaching out to others.
9 Now there’s no need for us to send you instructions on caring for your faith family because God Himself has already taught you how to love outside yourselves. 10 And it’s evident you learned that lesson well by the way you love all the people of Macedonia. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to love even more 11 and make it your goal to lead a peaceful life, mind your own business, and keep your hands busy in your work, as we have instructed you. 12 That way you will live peacefully with those on the outside, and all your needs will be met without depending on others.
What a beautiful, dramatic transformation! This is Paul’s progression from spoon-feeding people better moral choices to trusting them to live by love according to the conviction of the Spirit, their guide to becoming active participants in the kingdom of God. Paul is acknowledging that there is a power at work that is much greater than his pen. In fact, the same Spirit that inspires Paul’s words in these letters is teaching the believers in Thessalonica to live as true believers and teaches us still today.
13 Brothers and sisters, we want you to be fully informed about those who have fallen asleep in death so that you will not be overwhelmed with grief like those who live outside of the true hope. 14 Here’s what we believe: since Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, God will bring with Jesus all who have died through Him. 15 For we can say all this to you confidently because it is the word of the Lord: we who are still alive and left behind when the Lord comes will not precede those who have fallen asleep in death. 16 On that day, with a command that thunders into the world, with a voice of a chief heavenly messenger, and with a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven; and all those who died in the Anointed One, our Liberating King, will rise from the dead first. 17 Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever. 18 So comfort one another with this hope, and encourage one another with these words.
Many people fear death; perhaps it’s the idea of the unknown that stirs the imagination. Death is the great enemy that stands before believers; but through Jesus’ own death and resurrection, the power of death is broken. Paul uses the gentle image of the faithful being asleep as a new perspective on the finality of death. One minute you close your eyes to this world; the next you are celebrating with Jesus and experiencing the resurrection of the body. Those sleeping will not even miss a moment; it will all happen in the blink of an eye.
5 Now, brothers and sisters, you don’t need further instruction from us or anyone else for that matter regarding how the seasons and times will play out. 2 That’s because you know the truth well enough. The day of the Lord will race onto the scene and surprise us like a thief in the night. 3 People will be going about their business chanting, “All is well! All is at peace!” and in the next moment, ruin and destruction will suddenly seize them as labor pains grip a woman about to give birth; for them there will be no escape. 4 My brothers and sisters, it will be different for you. You do not dwell in the darkness, so that day will not surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light. You are sons and daughters of the day. We are not created of night, nor are we owned by darkness. 6 So then let’s not give in to sleep or wander around in a stupor as some do, but let’s stay awake and in control. 7 You see, sleepers sleep through the night, and drunkards drink the night away; 8 but since we belong to the day, we should stay sober and in control, covered with a breastplate of faith and love and a helmet of the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us, His chosen, to face His wrath but to be the heirs of salvation through our Lord Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, 10 who died for us. So regardless of whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing.
12 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to show appreciation to those who are working hard among you and those who are your leaders as they guide and instruct you in the Lord—they are priceless. 13 When you think about them, let it be with great love in your heart because of all the work they have done. Let peace live and reign among you.
14 Brothers and sisters, we strongly advise you to scold the rebels who devote their lives to wreaking havoc, to encourage the downcast, to help the sick and weak, and to be patient with all of them. 15 Make sure no one returns evil for evil, but always pursue what is good as it affects one another in the church but also all people. 16 Celebrate always, 17 pray constantly, and 18 give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t downplay prophecies. 21 Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good. 22 Put away every form of evil.
23 So now, may the God of peace make you His own completely and set you apart from the rest. May your spirit, soul, and body be preserved, kept intact and wholly free from any sort of blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed. 24 For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so.
25 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. 26 Greet one another warmly with a holy kiss. 27 Here is my charge to you before the Lord: have this letter read to all our brothers and sisters [in the faith].[f] 28 May the grace of our Lord Jesus, God’s Anointed, be with all of you.
Paul knows the healing power of touch. When members of a loving community embrace, the hardest days are easier and no one feels alone.
2 Thessalonians 1 The Voice (VOICE)
1 Paul, Silvanus,[a] and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians that gathers in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus the Anointed. 2 May grace and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus the Anointed be with you.
3 Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. 4 So, of course, we’ve proudly bragged about you within circles of God’s people at other churches near and far because, even in the grip of much persecution and affliction, you’ve stood firm in your faith and have persevered. 5 Your sufferings prove that God’s judgment is right! The result: your sufferings have made you worthy—worthy of the kingdom of God, which is the very reason why you are suffering in the first place! 6 It is only right that God would repay with trouble those who have troubled you 7-8 and give relief to all of you still bandaging your wounds, as well as to all the rest of us. On that day—when the clouds draw back displaying His powerful heavenly messengers in a fiery blaze, Jesus the Lord will appear from heaven dealing out perfect justice to anyone who doesn’t know God and anyone who disobeys the good news of our Lord Jesus. 9 And what’s to become of them? They’ll pay for what they’ve done; their punishment will be eternal destruction. And what’s worse? They’ll be banished from the Lord’s presence and glorious power. 10 On that day when He comes, all the saints in heaven and on earth will celebrate the glory of His power, and all who believe will stand and be amazed—this includes you because you believed us when we testified on His behalf. 11 All this is why we are constantly praying for you, so God will make you worthy of the great calling you have received from Him and will give you the power to accomplish every good intention and work of faith. 12 Then the great name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified through your lives, and you will be glorified in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, our Liberating King.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.