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.
Imitators of the Lord
2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 continually remembering1 your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in2 our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of3 our God and Father, 4 knowing, brothers beloved of God, His choice of you. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance—just as you know what kind of men we became for your sake when we were among you.
6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation, along with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example4 to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For not only in Macedonia and Achaia has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you, but also in every place your faith towards God has gone forth, so that we need not say a thing. 9 For they themselves report concerning us what kind of reception we had among you,5 and how you turned to God from idols, in order to serve the living and true God, 10 and to await His Son’s return from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.
- Or bearing in mind
- Lit. of
- Lit. before
- Or model
- Lit. what kind of entrance we had to you
A Reminder of the Apostle’s Conduct
2 For you yourselves know, brothers, that when we came among you our work was not in vain. 2 For though we had previously suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you well know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amidst great opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impurity, nor does it come in deceit; 4 but seeing that we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, we speak in this way: not as pleasing men, but as pleasing God, who examines1 our hearts. 5 For at no time did we ever appear among you with flattering words, as you yourselves know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others when, as apostles of Christ, we might have made demands2 upon you. 7 Rather, we became gentle3 among you, like a nursing mother who tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Longing for you in this way,4 we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; and how—laboring night and day so as not to burden any of you—we preached to you the gospel of God.
10 You are witnesses—and so is God—as to how devoutly, righteously, and blamelessly we behaved among you who believe; 11 just as you also know how, like a father with his own children, we kept exhorting, encouraging, and testifying to each one of you, 12 so that you might walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
Gratitude for Their Conversion
13 And for this reason we also thank God without ceasing, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which also performs its work in5 you who believe. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Judea, which are also in Christ Jesus. For you suffered from your own countrymen the same things that they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and who drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but stand opposed to all men, 16 hindering6 us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved. As a result, they always fill up the measure of their sins; but the wrath of God has come upon them to the utmost.7
17 But we, brothers, having been torn8 from you for a little while—only in presence, not in heart—endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face. 18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once9—but Satan hindered us. 19 For who is our hope, or joy, or a 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.
- Or tests, approves
- Lit. imposed burdens
- Many mss babes, infants, little children
- Lit. longing for you in this way
- Or among
- Or preventing, forbidding
- Or forever; lit. to the end, limit
- Lit. bereaved
- Lit. both once and twice, an idiom for several times
Concern and Relief
3 Therefore, when we could bear it no longer, we thought it best to be left alone in Athens; 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow-worker1 in the gospel of Christ, to establish and strengthen2 you with respect to your faith, 3 so that that no one would be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been appointed to this. 4 For when we were with you we told you in advance that we were about to suffer tribulation, and so it has come to pass, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I also sent Timothy to learn of your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you, and that our labor had been in vain.
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and has told us that you always remember us with affection, greatly desiring to see us (as we also desire to see you)—7 therefore, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted concerning you, because of your faith. 8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.
9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God for your sake, 10 night and day praying most earnestly that we may see your face and complete what is lacking in your faith?
11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow in love towards one another, and towards all men, just as we ourselves do towards you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His holy ones.3
- Some mss brother and fellow-worker; others, brother and God’s servant
- Or encourage
- Or saints
Principles of Christian Conduct
4 Finally then, brothers, we urge and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that just as you learned1 from us how you ought to walk and please God (as indeed you are walking), so also you should increase in this more and more; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; and in particular, that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that in this matter no man should overstep the bounds of what is proper, and so defraud his brother, because the Lord is the avenger of all such things, as indeed we told you earlier, and of which we solemnly testified. 7 For God did not call us to live in impurity,2 but in holiness. 8 Consequently, he who rejects this instruction is not rejecting man, but God, who also gives His Holy Spirit to you.3
9 But concerning brotherly love, you have no need that anyone should write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed, you show such love to4 all the brothers in all of Macedonia! Nevertheless, brothers, we urge you to show it still more; 11 and also to make it your aim to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your own hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you may walk properly before the outsiders, and also be in need of nothing.
The Comfort of His Coming
13 But I do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you should grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so too we also believe that God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep 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,5 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 shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and as such we shall ever be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
- Lit. received
- Lit. for the purpose of impurity (or uncleanness)
- Or man, but the God who also gives
- Lit. you practice (or do) this unto
- Or cry of command
The Day of the Lord
5 Now as to the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that anything should be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 When they are saying, “Peace and safety!” sudden destruction will then come upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman; and they shall not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so that the Day should seize you like a thief. 5 You all are sons of light and sons of the day. We are neither of the night nor of the darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night; and those who get 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 for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we wake or sleep, we may live together with Him.
11 Therefore encourage one another, and build each other up, just as you also are doing.
12 Now we ask, brothers, that you recognize those who toil among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you; 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
14 And we urge brothers, that you admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, uphold the weak, and be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Do not quench the fire of the Spirit;1 20 do not scorn prophetic utterances, 21 but2 test3 all things; hold on to what is good, 22 hold off from every form4 of evil!
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through; and may your spirit, soul, and body be kept wholly blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, who 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, that you have this letter read to all the brothers. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
- The Greek for “quench” connotes extinguishing a fire
- Some mss omit but
- Or examine
- Or appearance