Salutation

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you, and peace.

A Thriving Church, a Grateful Apostle

We always thank God for each one of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers as we remember1 your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfast hope in2 our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of3 our God and Father. For we know, brothers, that you are dearly loved by God, and chosen by him,4 for our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance.5 And you in turn know what kind of men we proved to be when, for your sake, we lived among you.

Moreover, you became imitators of us, and of the Lord, when, in the midst of great affliction, you received the word of God with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example6 to all the believers living in Macedonia and Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord resounded from you into all Macedonia and Achaia, but the news of your faith in God has spread into every region, with the result that we ourselves needn’t say a thing. For in speaking about us,7 the people themselves describe how you welcomed us,8 and how you turned from idols to God, in order to serve the true and living God, 10 and to wait for his Son to return from heaven, whom he raised from the dead: Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Notes

  1. Or mentioning you in our prayers as we constantly remember
  2. Lit. steadfastness of hope of
  3. Lit. before
  4. Lit. brothers loved by God, your election
  5. Or deep conviction
  6. Or model
  7. Lit. concerning us
  8. Lit. what kind of entrance we had to you

 

A Defense of the Apostle’s Conduct

For you yourselves know, brothers, that the time we spent among you was not in vain. For though we previously suffered and were mistreated in Philippi (as you well know), we found confidence in our God to proclaim his gospel1 to you in the midst of intense opposition. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity, nor is it made in deceit. Rather, just as God has approved us to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak: not as pleasing men, but as pleasing God, who examines2 our hearts.

For at no time did we ever appear among you with flattering words (as you well know), or with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men—either from you or anyone else—when, as apostles of Christ, we might well have made demands3 on you. 7 On the contrary, we were gentle4 among you, like a nursing mother who tenderly cares for her own children. 8 And so, having such an affection for you,5 we were well pleased not only to impart the gospel of God to you, but also our very selves, for you had become dear to us.

9 For you remember, brothers, all our toil and hardship, and how, laboring night and day so as not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses—and so is God—how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we conducted ourselves among you who believe; 11 for you well know6 how we treated you just as a father treats his own children, 12 exhorting, encouraging, and charging each one of you to walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

The Good Fruit of Their Labors

13 And we thank God for this as well: that when you received the word of God, which you heard through us, you welcomed it, not as the word of men, but for what it truly is: the word of God, which also performs its work in7 you who believe. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea. For you also suffered from your own countrymen the same things that they themselves did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and who drove us out as well. They are not pleasing God, but stand opposed to all men, 16 hindering8 us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus, they are constantly filling up the measure of their sins; but now God’s wrath9 has come upon them to the uttermost.10  

A Forced Absence

17 But as for us, brothers, when we were torn11 from you for a little while (our faces were gone, but not our hearts12), we tried all the harder, and with intense desire, to see you face to face. 18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once13—but Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope, or joy, or crown in which to boast? Is it not you yourselves in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

Notes

  1. Lit. the good news of God
  2. Or tests, approves
  3. Lit. imposed burdens
  4. Many mss babes, infants, little children
  5. Lit. longing for you in this way
  6. Lit. just as you know
  7. Or among
  8. Or preventing, forbidding
  9. Lit. the wrath
  10. Or continually, at last; lit. to the end, limit
  11. Lit. bereaved
  12. Lit. in face, not in heart
  13. Lit. both once and twice, an idiom for several times

 

So when we could bear it no longer, we thought it best to be left in Athens alone; and we sent Timothy—our brother and God’s fellow worker1 in the gospel of Christ—to establish and strengthen2 you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this very thing; for even when we were there with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we would suffer tribulation; and so it has come to pass, as you well know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I myself sent Timothy so that I might know the state of your faith, fearing that somehow the tempter might have tempted you, and that our labor had been in vain.

Paul’s Relief and Joy

6 But now Timothy has come to us from you, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He assures us that3 you always remember us with affection, and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 For this reason, brothers, despite4 all our distress and affliction, we are comforted5 over you because of your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9 For with what thanks6 could we ever repay God for you, in light of all the joy with which we rejoice before our God because of you, 10 even as we passionately pray, day and night, to see your face, and to finish supplying7 whatever may be lacking in your faith?

11 Now may our God and Father himself, and Jesus our Lord, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love for one another, and for all men (even as we ourselves overflow in love for you), 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless8 in holiness in the presence of9 our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his holy ones.10

Notes

  1. Or fellow-worker for God; some mss and God’s servant
  2. Or encourage
  3. Lit. love, and that
  4. Lit. in
  5. Or encouraged
  6. Or sort of thanks, amount of thanks
  7. Or and to restore
  8. Or flawless
  9. Or in the sight of; lit. before
  10. Or saints

 

Proper Christian Conduct

Finally then, brothers, just as you received instruction from us as to how you should live1 and please God (as indeed you are living), we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do so more and more.2 2 For you know very well what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is the will of God: your sanctification, and in particular3 that you abstain from sexual immorality. 4 He wills that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 and not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no man will overstep the bounds of propriety, thereby defrauding his brother. For in all such cases the Lord is the avenger, just as we told you earlier, and about which we solemnly testified. 7 For God has not called us to live in impurity,4 but in holiness. 8 Consequently, he who rejects this instruction is not rejecting a man, but the God who gives5 his Holy Spirit to you all.

9 But as for brotherly love, you have no need that anyone should write you, since God himself is teaching you6 to love one another; 10 for you are indeed showing just such love to7 all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Nevertheless, brothers, we urge you to do so more and more, 11 even as you make it8 your ambition to lead a quiet life, attend to your own business, and work with your own hands, just as we commanded you. 12 As a result of this, you will be conducting yourselves properly before outsiders, and will be able to meet your own needs as well.9

A Grand Reunion at the Coming of Christ

13 Now we want to inform you,10 brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest of the world, like those who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so too do we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep11 through Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout,12 with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and as a result of these things13 we shall forever be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Notes

  1. Lit. walk
  2. Lit. that you abound (increase) still more
  3. Or namely; lit. your sanctification: that you abstain
  4. Lit. for the purpose of impurity (uncleanness)
  5. Or but God, who gives
  6. Lit. yourselves are taught by God
  7. Lit. for indeed you do this to
  8. Lit. and to make it
  9. Lit. have no need whatsoever
  10. Lit. we do not you to be uninformed (ignorant)
  11. Or have (only) fallen asleep
  12. Or cry of command
  13. Or and in this state; lit. and thus

 

Of the Times and Seasons

Now regarding the times and seasons of his coming, brothers, there is no need for us to write you anything at all.1 2 For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. For when people are saying2 “Peace and safety”, just then sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman; and they will not escape.

4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, such that the Day will spring upon you like a thief. 5 All of you are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not a people of the night or of the darkness; 6 and so we must not sleep like the rest of the world, but must instead keep watch and stay sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us stay sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we’re awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, as indeed you are doing even now.

Sundry Exhortations

12 Now we ask, brothers, that you acknowledge those who labor among you, who are over you in the Lord, and who admonish you; 13 and we ask that you esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

14 We also urge you, brothers, to admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, uphold the weak, and show great patience to all. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone; rather, you must always strive to do good for one another and for all.

16 Rejoice at all times, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 and in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench3 the Spirit; 20 and do not scorn prophetic utterances, 21 but instead test4 all things. Cling to what is good; 22 steer clear of every form5 of evil.

Blessing and Charge

23 Now may the God of peace himself make you holy through and through; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept completely sound, blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he who calls you; he also will bring it to pass.

25 Brothers, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 27 I solemnly charge you in the Lord: Have this letter read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Notes

  1. Lit. you have no need that anything should be written to you
  2. Lit. But when they
  3. The Greek for “quench” connotes the extinguishing of a fire
  4. Or examine
  5. Or appearance