A thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2)

“You yourselves

Know very well

That the day of the Lord

Will come

Like a thief

In the night.”

αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκριβῶς οἴδατε ὅτι ἡμέρα Κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτὶ οὕτως ἔρχεται.

Paul said, “You yourselves know very well (αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκριβῶς οἴδατε) that the day of the Lord (ὅτι ἡμέρα Κυρίου) will come like (οὕτως ἔρχεται) a thief (ὡς κλέπτης) in the night (ἐν νυκτὶ).”  Paul explained that they knew full well that the day of the Lord would come like a thief in the night, when no one was expecting him.  The day of the Lord was the common apocalyptic Jewish term for the wrath of God on those who had oppressed Israel.  The Hebrew prophets had said that the day of the Lord would be the reestablishment of Israel with the coming of a Messiah or a Davidic king.  Paul and the Christians turned this day of the Lord into the Parousia or the ends times with the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Do you expect the end times to come when you least expect it, like a night robber?

Nothing written (1 Thess. 5:1)


Concerning the times

And the seasons,

You do not need

To have anything written

To you.”

Περὶ δὲ τῶν χρόνων καὶ τῶν καιρῶν, ἀδελφοί, οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε ὑμῖν γράφεσθαι

Paul said, “Brothers (ἀδελφοί)!  Concerning the times (Περὶ δὲ τῶν χρόνων) and the seasons (αὶ τῶν καιρῶν), you do not need to have (οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε) anything written to you (ὑμῖν γράφεσθαι).”  Paul explained to the Christian Thessalonians that he did not have to write anything to them about the end times or the day of the Lord, the Parousia.  There was no need to say what time or when this would occur.  This was common Hebrew bible terminology about times and seasons.  It would be useless to speculate about the end times since only God knew when it would happen.  Thus, Paul was not going to write about it.  Do you speculate when the end times will come?

Encourage one another (1 Thess. 4:18)


Encourage one another

With these words.”

Ὥστε παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις.

Paul said, “Therefore (Ὥστε), encourage one another (παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους) with these words (ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις).”  Paul indicated that they should use Paul’s words to encourage each other.  Paul was trying to explain what would happen at the end times, the second coming of Jesus Christ, his Parousia.  In the meantime, they should help each other by using these encouraging words.  Do you encourage others about the end times?

We will meet the Lord (1 Thess. 4:17)

“Then we who are alive,

Who are left,

Will be caught up

In the clouds

Together with them

To meet the Lord

In the air.


We will be

With the Lord forever.”

ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ Κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν Κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα.

Paul said, “Then we who are alive (ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες), who are left (οἱ περιλειπόμενοι), will be caught up (ἁρπαγησόμεθα) in the clouds (ἐν νεφέλαις) together with them (ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς) to meet (εἰς ἀπάντησιν) the Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου) in the air (εἰς ἀέρα).  Thus, we will be with the Lord forever (καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν Κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα).”  Only this letter to the Thessalonians used this unique word περιλειπόμενοι, that means to be left remaining, leave behind, or surviving.  Paul explained that those who were living at the time of Jesus’ Parousia, the left behind ones, would be caught up in the clouds like a rapture.  The “left behind ones” would be taken into heaven.  They would meet the Christians who had died or fallen asleep.  They all would meet in mid-air.  Then they would be with the Lord God for eternity.  The end times would bring on the new eternal rest with God.  Have you ever heard of the concept of “left behind”?

The Lord will descend from heaven (1 Thess. 4:16)

“The Lord himself,

With a command cry,

With the archangel’s call,

And with the sound

Of God’s trumpet,

Will descend from heaven.

The dead

In Christ

Will rise first.”

ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ Κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον,

Paul said, “The Lord himself (ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ Κύριος), with a command cry (ἐν κελεύσματι), with the archangel’s call or voice (ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου), and with the sound of God’s trumpet (καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι Θεοῦ), will descend (καταβήσεται) from heaven (ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ).  The dead (καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ) in Christ (ἐν Χριστῷ) will rise first (ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον).”  Only this letter to the Thessalonians used this unique word κελεύσματι, that means a shout of command, a call, or an arousing outcry.  Paul said that Jesus’s second coming or Parousia would be spectacular, much like in Jewish apocalyptic literature.  The Lord Jesus Christ would descend from heaven.  He himself would give a great outcry.  They would hear the call or the voice of the archangel, whether Michael or Gabriel is not clear.  God would sound his trumpet.  We would hear and see all of his on earth coming from the high heavens.  Then the dead would rise up just like Christ had.  There would be no doubt about what was happening.  What do you think that the Second Coming of Jesus will be like?

The coming of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15)

“This we declare

To you

By the word of the Lord,

That we who are alive,

Who are left

Until the coming

Of the Lord,

Will not precede those

Who have died.”

Τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ Κυρίου, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ Κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας·

Paul said, “This we declare to you (Τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν) by the word (ἐν λόγῳ) of the Lord (Κυρίου), that we who are alive (ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες), who are left (οἱ περιλειπόμενοι) until the coming (εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν) of the Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου), will not precede (οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν) those who have died (τοὺς κοιμηθέντας).”  Only this letter to the Thessalonians used this unique word περιλειπόμενοι, that means to be left remaining, leave behind, or surviving.  Paul indicated that the word of the Lord had declared that the living ones, Paul included, would be left behind until the coming or the Parousia of the Lord.  The word of the Lord does not refer to a written text, but the command of the Lord.  Both the living and the dead would be joined together at the second coming of Jesus Christ.  The dead would precede the living.  During the last two centuries, there has been a movement among some Christians to see this passage as the root of the “rapture” theology.  God would come and leave some non-believers behind, but take up the living with him at this Parousia rapture time.  Most of these predictions have fallen short of their expectations.  However, the early Christians were expecting the second coming of Christ soon.  When do you expect the second coming of Jesus Christ to take place?

God will bring those who died (1 Thess. 4:14)

“Since we believe

That Jesus died

And rose again,

Even so,

Through Jesus,

God will bring

With him

Those who have died.”

εἰ γὰρ πιστεύομεν ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἀπέθανεν καὶ ἀνέστη, οὕτως καὶ ὁ Θεὸς τοὺς κοιμηθέντας διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἄξει σὺν αὐτῷ.

Paul said, “Since we believe (εἰ γὰρ πιστεύομεν) that Jesus (ὅτι Ἰησοῦς) died (ἀπέθανεν) and rose again (καὶ ἀνέστη), even so (οὕτως καὶ), through Jesus (διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ), God (ὁ Θεὸς) will bring with him (ἄξει σὺν αὐτῷ) those who have died (τοὺς κοιμηθέντας).”  Paul told the Thessalonian Christians that their belief in Jesus Christ was important.  They believed that Jesus had died and rose from the dead.  Christ was the pattern for our own death and resurrection to come.  Thus, God, through Jesus Christ, would bring with him all those who had died or fallen asleep, since death was a temporary state before they rose or woke up from their deadly sleep.  They did not have to worry.  Belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection would save those who had died or fallen asleep, since this was just a stepping stone on the way to eternity.  Do you believe in eternal life?

Those who have died (1 Thess. 4:13)


We do not want you

To be uniformed

About those who have died,

So that you may not grieve

As others do,

Who have no hope.”

Οὐ θέλομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, περὶ τῶν κοιμωμένων, ἵνα μὴ λυπῆσθε καθὼς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα.

Paul said, “Brothers (ἀδελφοί)!  We do not want you (Οὐ θέλομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς) to be uniformed (ἀγνοεῖν) about those who have died (περὶ τῶν κοιμωμένων), so that you may not grieve (ἵνα μὴ λυπῆσθε) as others do (καθὼς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ) who have no hope (οἱ μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα).”  Apparently, some of the Thessalonian Christians were worried about the people who had died or fallen asleep, a euphemism for death.  Death was only a temporary state for Christians.  Paul responded by telling them that they should not be ill informed or not know what was going on.  He did not want them to grieve for those who had died.  Others in Thessalonica had grieved for their beloved dead family members.  Paul explained those were the people without hope in their lives.  The followers of Jesus Christ had hope.  Paul would explain or inform them about what was happening.  Do you have hope for eternal life?

Behave properly to outsiders (1 Thess. 4:12)


You may behave


Toward outsiders.

Be dependent

On no one.”

ἵνα περιπατῆτε εὐσχημόνως πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω καὶ μηδενὸς χρείαν ἔχητε.

Paul said, “Thus, you may behave properly (ἵνα περιπατῆτε εὐσχημόνως) toward outsiders (πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω).  Be dependent on no one (καὶ μηδενὸς χρείαν ἔχητε).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word εὐσχημόνως, that means becomingly, decorously, or decently.  Paul reemphasized the importance of proper behavior for the Thessalonian Christians.  They should be proper and correct with the other people who were not followers of Jesus Christ in Thessalonica, the so-called outsiders.  He then pointed out that they should not depend on anyone but be self-sufficient.  They should be friendly good neighbors to all.  Are you a self-sufficient good neighbor?

Mind your own affairs (1 Thess. 4:11)

“Aspire to live quietly.

Mind your own affairs.

Work with your hands,

As we directed you.”

καὶ φιλοτιμεῖσθαι ἡσυχάζειν καὶ πράσσειν τὰ ἴδια καὶ ἐργάζεσθαι ταῖς χερσὶν ὑμῶν, καθὼς ὑμῖν παρηγγείλαμεν,

Paul said, “Aspire (καὶ φιλοτιμεῖσθαι) to live quietly (ἡσυχάζειν).  Mind your own affairs (καὶ πράσσειν τὰ ἴδια).  Work (καὶ ἐργάζεσθαι) with your hands (ταῖς χερσὶν ὑμῶν), as we directed you (καθὼς ὑμῖν παρηγγείλαμεν).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word φιλοτιμεῖσθαι, that means to love or seek after honor, zealous, or strive eagerly.  Paul wanted the Christian Thessalonians not to stand out, but be humble.  They were to live earnest quiet lives.  They were not to be ostentatious, so that they would only mind their own affairs.  He had told them to work with their hands and be self-sufficient, not depending on other people.  He wanted nice normal Thessalonians without any showy theatrics.  Do you live a quiet life minding your own affairs?