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An Argument Of First Thessalonians

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Message Statement:

The Missionary Team Of Paul, Silvanus, And Timothy Urge The Thessalonians On The Basis Of Their Former Walk Of Faith, And God’s Faithfulness To Them To Endure Persecution With A Vital Love For One Another And For God

I. Introduction: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy open their letter to the Thessalonians affirming their position in God, and praying for God’s grace and peace in their lives 1:1

A. Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy are those who send the letter (“the team”, henceforth) 1:1a

B. The team has sent the letter to the Thessalonians who are in relationship with the Father and Son, praying for their experience of grace and peace 1:1b-d

1. The letter is sent to the Thessalonians 1:1b

2. The Thessalonians are in a relationship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 1:1c

3. The team prays for the Thessalonians to experience grace and peace 1:1d

II. The Paste Work of Faith*Encouragement in their Faith: Paul reminds the Thessalonians of their walk of faith with God and his ministry with them in order to defend the Gospel he taught them and in order to encourage them to persevere despite persecution 1:2--3:13

A. Thanksgiving for the Effect of the Gospel: The missionary team constantly thank God for the Thessalonians through prayer as they remember the perseverance of the Thessalonians, and the evidences of their election 1:2-10

1. Thanks Through Prayer: The team constantly gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians by praying for them 1:2

2. Thanks Remembering Perseverance: The team gives thanksgiving to God as they remember the persevering nature of the believing Thessalonians 1:3

a. Work of Faith: In their thanksgiving the team constantly remembers the Thessalonians’ work of faith 1:3a

b. Labor of Love: In their thanksgiving the team constantly remembers the Thessalonians’ work of love 1:3b

c. Hope of Tomorrow: In their thanksgiving the team constantly remembers the Thessalonians’ steady hope in the Lord Jesus who is presently with the Father 1:3c

3. Thanks Because Of Evident Election: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through the divinely enabled presentation of the Gospel among them, and through their imitation of both the team and the Lord during persecution resulting in a witness to others throughout Macedonia, Achaia, and beyond 1:5-10

a. Election: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through the divinely enabled presentation of the Gospel among them 1:4-5

1) Chosen: The team gives thanks to God knowing that the Thessalonians are chosen of God 1:4

2) Power of Gospel: The reason the team knows of the election of the Thessalonians is because their Gospel came to the Thessalonians in more than empty words, but in power from God through them 1:5

b. Imitation: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through their imitation of both the team and the Lord during persecution resulting in a witness to others throughout Macedonia, Achaia, and beyond 1:6-10

1) Imitators of the Team: The Thessalonians became imitators of the team and of the Lord 1:6a

2) Imitators of the Lord: The Thessalonians imitated the team and the Lord by willfully, and under divine enablement experiencing persecution for receiving the word of the Gospel 1:6b

3) Examples: The result of being imitators of the suffering team and the Lord was that the Thessalonians became examples to other believers in Macedonia and Achaia 1:7

4) Thanks Because of the Spread of the Gospel: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through their spread of the gospel to other peoples 1:8-10

a) Missionary Church: The Thessalonians have been a missionary church not only to Macedonia and Achaia, but beyond so as to precede the team’s appearance 1:8

b) Reports from Others: The reason the team speaks of the missionary nature of the Thessalonians is because when they go to a new people, they hear back from this new people reports about God’s work in Thessalonica 1:9-10

(1) Team Hears of Ministry: The reason the team speaks of the missionary nature of the Thessalonians is because the team hears back about their ministry among the Thessalonians from those they go to 1:9a

(2) Repentance from Idolatry: The team specifically hears back about the Thessalonians' repentance from idolatry to serve the living and true God 1:9b

(3) Expectation of Christ's Return: The team specifically hears back about the Thessalonians' expectation of the return of the risen Christ to deliver them from the coming judgment of the wicked (the tribulation) 1:10

B. The Proclaimers of the Gospel: In view of what the Thessalonians are themselves proclaiming about the missionary team (1:9), they are reminded that the team spoke with a bold witness in spite of persecution, and that their motives in that presentation were good, as parents desiring the best for their children 2:1-12

1. Their Bold Witness: Picking up on what the Thessalonians proclaim about the team’s effect upon them (1:9, cf. 2:1 “γὰρ”), the missionary team reminds the Thessalonians of the effectiveness of their bold presentation of the gospel despite persecution 2:1-2

a. Not Without Result: The Thessalonians know that the coming of the missionary team was not without result 2:1

b. Bold Witness: The missionary team boldly witnessed to the Thessalonians in spite of past persecution in Philippi (Acts 16:19-40), and present resistance (by the Jews; cf. Acts 17:5) in Thessalonica 2:2

2. Their Pure Motives: The missionary team’s motives in appealing to the Thessalonians are not hurtful, but God pleasing just as their past conduct among the Thessalonians was to enable them, much like parents, toward a better walk with God 2:3-12

a. Not Covert Motives: The missionary team’s appeal to the Thessalonians does not come from covert motives of error, impurity, or trickery 2:3

b. Seeking to Please God: The missionary team appeals to the Thessalonians as those approved by God seeking to please God, rather than men 2:4

c. Support: Paul supports his affirmations about the missionary team’s good motives by their conduct among the Thessalonians as loving parents rather than self-serving tricksters 2:5-9

1) Negatively: As the Thessalonians and God both know, the missionary team did not come with speech which flattered men, or so that they might materially gain from them, or so that they might receive honor from anyone even though they had that right as sent ones of Christ 2:5-6

2) Positively: The Thessalonians know that the missionary team came to them as loving parents with the gospel and themselves so as to encourage them toward an appropriate walk with God 2:7-12

a) As a Gentile Mother: The missionary team was gentile among the Thessalonians as a mother who would care for her children 2:7

b) Giving of Lives: The missionary team’s affection for the Thessalonians was so great that they not only wished to give them the gospel, but they were willing to give of their innermost selves (ἐαυτῶν ψυζάς) for them 2:8-9

c) Integrity: The Thessalonians are witnesses that the missionary team acted in integrity before them only speaking to them so as to encourage them to walk in a more acceptable manner as of the God who called them 2:10-12

(1) Upright Behavior: The Thessalonians are witnesses of the missionary team's holy, upright, and unreproachable behavior towards them 2:10

(2) As a Father: The missionary team acted like a father toward children encouraging, comforting, and urging the Thessalonians 2:11

(3) Improve Their Walk: The purpose of the missionary team was to raise the Thessalonians' walk to a level which was worthy (ἀξίως) of God's high calling of the Thessalonians into the Kingdom and greatness 2:12

C. The Effect of the Gospel: The missionary team affirms the effect of the Gospel upon the Thessalonians in that they not only accepted it, but it has worked in them by enabling them to endure the persecution of the Jews 2:13-16

1. Thanks for Reception of Word: The missionary team thanks God for the way in which the Thessalonians received their gospel as God’s word which works within them 2:13

2. Endured Persecution: The reason Paul affirms that the Thessalonians received God’s word which works in them is because they, just like the Judean church, they have endured persecution from the Jews who are increasing their sin toward judgment 2:14-16

a. Endured Like Judean Church: The reason God’s word is seen to be working in the Thessalonians is because they have endured persecution like the churches of Judea 2:14a

b. Reason*Persecution from Jews: The reason Paul compares the Thessalonians with the churches of Judea is because they have endured persecution from the Jews just as they persecuted Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles being unpleasing to God as they heap sin upon sin for judgment 2:14b-16

1) Similar Persecution: The reason Paul compares the Thessalonians with the churches of Judea is because they have endured similar persecution from the Jews 2:14b

2) History of Persecution: The Jews not only persecuted the Judean churches but also killed Jesus and the prophets, and drove the apostles out of Jerusalem 2:15a

3) Sin towards Judgment: The persecuting Jews are not pleasing to God, but are increasing their sin toward judgment as they hinder the missionary team from speaking the gospel to the Gentiles 2:15b-16

D. The Concern and Confirmation of the Missionary Team: Being unable to come as a team to the Thessalonians because of Satan’s hindering of them, the missionary team sent Timothy to them to aid their thinking about the persecution, and were encouraged when he returned with good news about their spiritual state and about their love for them all 2:17--3:10

1. Their Concern: The missionary team wished to come to the Thessalonians more than once because they valued them so highly, but Satan held them, especially Paul, back 2:17-20

a. Eager to Come: The missionary team has missed the Thessalonians and was eager to come to them again 2:17

b. Held Back by Satan: The missionary team wanted to come, especially Paul more than once, but was held back by the working of Satan 2:18

c. Importance of Thessalonians: The reason the missionary team wanted to come to the Thessalonians was because they are the most important part of life to them for which God will one day honor them 2:19-20

2. Their Confirmation: Out of concern for the state of the Thessalonians after the persecution, Timothy was sent to them, and returned with a good report that greatly encouraged the missionary team about the continuance of their work in Thessalonica 3:1-10

a. The Sending of Timothy: Out of concern for the Thessalonians, Paul sent Timothy in order to encourage them about the persecution, and in order to learn about the state of their faith because of the persecution 3:1-5

1) Decision to Send Timothy: When the missionary team could endure their separation from the Thessalonians no longer, they decided to send Timothy from where they were in Athens in order to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith 3:1-2

2) Purpose in Sending Timothy: The purpose behind the sending of Timothy was so that the Thessalonians would not loose their balance (go back and forth, τὸ σαίνεσθαι) due to the persecutions 3:3a

3) Design of Suffering: The reason the Thessalonians were not to loose their spiritual balance was because they understood that this was part of God’s design for the missionary team (Acts 9:15-16) just as they said it would come to pass 3:3-4

4) Risk of Satan: Because of the risk that Satan could have upset the faith of the Thessalonians through the persecutions, Paul sent Timothy to find out about their welfare 3:5

b. The Report from Timothy: When Timothy returned with a good report concerning the spiritual state of the Thessalonians, and about their love for the missionary team, the team was very encouraged, and could not thank God enough 3:6-10

1) Timothy’s Return with Good News: Timothy returned with good news about the spiritual state of the Thessalonians, and about their love for the missionary team 3:6

2) Comfort for Team: Because of the good report from Timothy about the Thessalonians, the missionary team was comforted in the midst of their continuing persecution because their work among the Thessalonians lives on 3:7-8

3) Thanks to God: The missionary team can hardly thank God enough for His good work among them when they were not able to return to complete their work 3:9-10

E. Prayer for the Thessalonians’ Endurance: The missionary team prays that God might grant them the ability to come to the Thessalonians, but also that God would increase their love for men so that they might not sin due to the persecution, but receive reward for holy living when Jesus returns 3:11-13

1. Enablement to Return: The missionary team prays that God the Father and Son may enable the missionary team to come to the Thessalonians 3:11

2. Increase in Love: The missionary team prays that the Thessalonians may increase to an overflowing state in their love for each other and all men just as the missionary team loves them 3:12

3. Reason for The Prayer*Reward: reason the missionary team prays that the Thessalonians would abound in love is so that they will be honored by the Lord at His coming for them (at the rapture with the dead saints to receive their bodies; cf. 4:14), rather than lose it (due to sinful responses to persecution) 3:13

III. The Present*Exhortations to Live Their Faith: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to exceed in their sanctification, have a patient hope for the future, remain spiritually alert, honor their leaders, and to keep a vital walk with God knowing that God will enable them 4:1--5:24

A. With Respect to Love: Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to exceed in what he taught them in order that they might be sanctified in their relationship with God and love men 4:1-12

1. Concerning Their Love for God: Beginning the final section of the letter, the missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to continue in their walk with God by abstaining from all sexual immorality by controlling their bodies because this is a sin against God 4:1-8

a. Introduction: Paul introduces the final, paraenetic division of this letter with the phrase, “Finally then” (Λοιπὸν ον); cf. Phil. 3:1) 4:1a

b. Excel Even More: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to excel even more in their God-pleasing Christian life (walk) 4:1b

c. Reminder of Commandments: The missionary team reminds the Thessalonians of the commandments which they gave to them in accordance with God’s will for their sanctification (ἁγιασμὸς) unto God which include abstaining from all sexual immorality 4:2-6

1) Sanctification: The missionary team gave the Thessalonians commandments from the Lord for their sanctification 4:2-3a

2) Abstain from Sexual Immorality: The commandments which the missionary team gave to the Thessalonians were that they should abstain from sexual immorality with temple prostitutes, or through adultery by controlling their own bodies because God will avenge these things 4:3b-6

a) Generally: The Thessalonians are warned to abstain from sexual immorality (προνείας) 4:3b

b) Specifically (Love God): Each one of the Thessalonians should know how to gain control of (κτᾶσθαι) his own body (ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος, cf. 2 Cor. 4:7; 1 Pet. 3:7) in a way which is holy (ἁγιασμῷ; cf. 4:3), and honorable (Τιμῇ; cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; Rom. 1:24), rather than in lustful passions as the Gentiles do (perhaps through temple prostitution) 4:4-5

c) Specifically (Love Your Neighbor): The Thessalonians were instructed to abstain from sexual immorality through adultery with one’s neighbor because the Lord will avenge these things 4:6

d. Reason for God’s Calling: The reason the Thessalonians should abstain from sexual immorality is because God has not called them to be impure, but to be set apart (ἁγιασμῷ) to Him 4:7

e. Rejection of Teaching: Therefore (τοιγαροῦν, emphatic), the missionary team affirms that to reject this teaching about immorality is not to reject man, but to reject God who gives the Holy Spirit to you (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9; it is a sin against God!) 4:8

2. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) their Love for the Brethren: Even though the Thessalonians already know the instruction from the Lord and are practicing brotherly love toward all in Macedonia, the missionary team exhorts them to excel even more in their brotherly love 4:9-10

a. Love for the Brethren: The missionary team now writes concerning (περὶ δὲ) love for the brethren (φιλαδελφίας) 4:9a

b. Already Taught: The missionary team does not consider this topic of brotherly love as necessary to write about since God has already taught them (through he commandments of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) to love one another 4:9b

c. Increase in Love: The missionary team acknowledges that the Thessalonians are already loving those in Macedonia, but urges them to increase in their brotherly love 4:10

3. Concerning their Love for the Lost: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to live in a moral and industrious way toward those outside of the community so that they might continue in their jobs 4:11-12

a. Live in a Peaceful Way: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to be energetic about living in a morally, and ethically peaceful way1 4:11a

b. Continue at Work: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to continue at their work as they were commanded to 4:11b

c. Reason for Testimony: The reason the moral and industrial charges are given to the Thessalonians is so that they may conduct themselves well with those outside of the church and not be in need (because they had lost their jobs) 4:12

B. With Respect to the Future: Paul instructs the Thessalonians about the Future so that they might presently have a patient hope 4:13-18

1. The Resurrection of Sleeping Saints2: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to not grieve over the dead as unbelievers do, but to be comforted by a revelation from the Lord that the dead in Christ will be raised first at the Lord’s return, and then the living church will be caught up together with them to meet and be with the Lord in the air 4:13-18

a. Resurrection of the Dead: The missionary team writes about the resurrection of sleeping (κοιμωμὲνων; cf. 1 Ki. 2:10) saints because they do not want the Thessalonians to be uninformed (ἀγνοωεῖν), and thus excessively grieving like unbelievers, about those believers who had died before the Lord returned 4:13

b. Assurance through Christ: The first reason Christians should not grieve as unbelievers is because Jesus’ death and resurrection is assurance that God will bring believing Christians who have died with Jesus when he returns 4:14

c. The second reason Christians should not grieve as unbelievers is because of a revelation which Paul (and the team?) received from the Lord about what will occur when the Lord returns 4:15-17

1) Word from the Lord: The missionary team has a word from the Lord about what will occur when the Lord returns 4:15a

2) Those Alive: Those who are alive and are on earth until the Lord comes (παρουσίαν) will not possibly (οὐ μὴ) precede those who have died 4:15b

3) First the Dead, Then the Living: The reason the living will not precede the dead in Christ is because (τι) the Lord will descend with a significant life-quickening command, and the dead in Christ shall rise first (πρῶτον) and then (πειτα) those who are alive and remain on earth will be caught up3 together with the dead in Christ in the Clouds to meet the Lord in the air and to remain forever with the Lord 4:16-17

Reason: The reason the living will not precede the dead in Christ is because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a life-quickening command4 4:16

d. Exhortation To Comfort One Another: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to comfort one another about the dead with this immediately preceding revelation from the Lord Himself (cf. 4:15) 4:18

C. The Coming Day of the Lord: Knowing that the coming day of wrath is not designed for the Thessalonians, the missionary team urges them to be spiritually alert 5:1-11

1. There is a Coming Day of Wrath: Paul affirms that the Thessalonians already know that a future time of wrath will come in a hostile, unexpected way upon the sons of darkness, but the Thessalonians will not be included in that judgment because they are sons of light 5:1-5

a. New Topic: A new topic is addressed concerning (περὶ δὲ) the coming events (times and seasons) of which the Thessalonians have already been informed (cf. 4:9) 5:1

b. Wrath Like a Thief: The Thessalonians know well that the Day of the Lord (a time of judging wrath; cf. Acts 2:20; 2 Pet. 3:10; 2 Thess. 2:2) will come in a hostile, unexpected way (like a thief) 5:2

c. Support of Coming Wrath: Support that the coming wrath will be hostile and unexpected is given through the future image of people proclaiming a time of security (Dan. 9:27) when sudden, unavoidable destruction will inescapably come upon them (αὐτοῖς, not “you”) 5:3

d. Thessalonians Will Not Be Overtaken: In contrast to those who will be overtaken by the coming day of wrath, Paul affirms that the Thessalonians will not be overtaken by the day of wrath because they are sons of light rather than sons of night and darkness 5:4-5

1) Not in Darkness: In contrast (δέ) to “those” who will experience the coming Day of the Lord, Paul affirms that the Thessalonians are not in darkness to be overtaken by the Day 5:4

2) Sons of Day: The reason the Thessalonians will not be overtaken by the day is because they are sons of the day (God) rather than night and darkness 5:5

2. Application of the Day of the Lord to Readers: Paul now applies the doctrine of the Day of the Lord to the conduct his readers by urging them to encourage one another to be spiritually alert, unlike the children of darkness, because Jesus died to deliver them from wrath to salvation 5:6-11

a. Don’t Be Careless, Be Alert: In view of the above doctrine on the Day of the Lord Paul concludes (ἄρα ον) that the Thessalonians should not be careless about their lives (“sleep”) as those who are sons of the darkness do, but rather be alert and sober as those expecting the Lord’s coming 5:6

b. Reason for Being Alert*Christ’s Death: Paul urges the Thessalonians to be spiritually alert, unlike the unsuspecting sons of darkness, because Christ has died for them so that they might not be subject to wrath, but to salvation 5:7-10

1) Reason for Imagery of Sleep: The reason Paul used the imagery of sleeping is because those who are not of God (the sons of darkness) are not spiritually alert: they sleep, and are under the influence of alcohol at night 5:7

2) Be Sober: In contrast (δὲ) to those who are not spiritually alert, the Thessalonians are urged to be spiritually prepared (sober) by having their spiritual armor on: their faith in God who loves them, and their hope of future salvation from wrath 5:8

3) Not Destined for Wrath: The reason the Thessalonians should, and can be spiritually prepared is because of the fact that God has not destined Christians for wrath, but for Salvation through the death of Jesus Christ regardless of our spiritual preparedness 5:9-10

a) Reason: The reason (τι) the Thessalonians should be spiritually prepared is because God has not destined Christians for wrath (εἰς ὀργὴν), but (ἀλλὰ) to obtain salvation 5:9a

b) Salvation through Christ: The salvation which God has destined Christians for it through (διὰ) the Lord Jesus Christ 5:9b

c) Death Is to Live: The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was in order that (να) all believers could live with Him whether they were spiritually alert or lethargic (“awake or asleep”, cf. 5:6-8) 5:10

c. Build Up One Another: As a consequence to the above discussion Paul urges the Thessalonians to build up (οἰκοδομεῖτε, encourage) one another 5:11

D. With Respect to the Church:5 The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to honor their leaders and keep their walk vital with God knowing that God will enable them in their sanctification 5:12-24

1. To the Congregation: The missionary team urges the congregation to not be a body in unrest, but to appreciate, highly esteem, and love their leaders because of their labor among them 5:12-13

a. Appreciate Church Leaders: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to appreciate the church leaders who labor among them, have charge over them, and instruct them 5:12

b. Hold Leaders in High Regard: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to hold the church leaders in the highest possible regard and to love them because of their work 5:13a-b

c. Be at Peace: The missionary team exhorts the congregation to be at peace among themselves (ἐν ἑαυτοῖς) [rather than anarchy] 5:13c

2. To the Congregation and It’s Leaders Concerning Personal Relationships: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to relate to one another, and to all men in sensitive love 5:14-15

a. Correct: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to correct (instruct) those who are loafing, and neglecting their daily duty (the disorderly) 5:14a

b. Encourage: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to comfort (encourage) those who are easily discouraged (the fainthearted) 5:14b

c. Support: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to help (support) the weak (in faith) 5:14c

d. Be Patient: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to be patient with all men (implying that some are not as strong as others) 5:14d

e. Seek after What Is Good: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to not seek retribution upon one another, but to seek after that which is good for one another and for all men 5:15

3. To the Congregation Concerning Personal Living: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to keep their walk with God vital 5:16-24

a. Rejoice: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to rejoice at all times 5:16

b. Pray Continually: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to pray continually (in perseverance) 5:17

c. Give Thanks: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to give thanksgiving to God in every situation because (γὰρ) this is God’s will 5:18

d. Do Not Quench the Spirit: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to not quench (σβέννυτε) the Spirit (who is working in you, or in others) 5:19

e. Do Not Despise Prophecies: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to not despise (depreciate) prophecies (this may be the area in which they were quenching the Spirit), but to examine everything (prophecy) carefully, and to hold fast to that which is good, while they abstain from that which is evil 5:20-22

4. To the Congregation Concerning God’s Enablement: The missionary team prays for God’s work of sanctification among the Thessalonians, and reminds them that He will be faithful to complete that work of sanctification 5:23-24

a. God May Sanctify the Thessalonians: The missionary team prays that the God who is characterized by peace may Himself set the Thessalonians entirely apart unto Himself in blamelessness until the Lord’s coming (cf. 3:11-13) 5:23

b. Trustworthiness of God: The missionary team reminds the Thessalonians that just as God’s calling of them was trustworthy, so will his completion of his call (their sanctification) be trustworthy 5:24

IV. Conclusion: The missionary team, and especially Paul, close their letter by requesting prayer, urging personal expressions of unity, exhorting the Thessalonians to read this letter to all the brethren, and praying that they would experience God’s grace 5:25-28

A. Pray for the Team: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to also pray for them, as they pray for the Thessalonians 5:25

B. Greet with Affection: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to greet one another with personal affection demonstrating their unity (a holy kiss) 5:26

C. Have This Letter Read: Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in a responsible oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all of the brethren 5:27

D. Prayer for Grace: Paul closes the letter praying that they might have (enjoy, experience) the grace (1:1) of their Lord Jesus Christ with them 5:28


1 The term is ἡσυχάξειν; cf. Louw and Nida, II:742,754.

2 This unit may well be a response to concern among the Thessalonians that the dead would not be raised until the end of the Tribulation with Jewish saints and thus would not be present at the rapture of living saints (Dan. 12:1-2). Perhaps they thought the rapture would happen before anybody died. Now they wonder -- will the dead be left out? They knew about the rapture, but not how it related to the resurrection of dead Christians.

3 The term is ἁρπαγησόμεθα; “rapture” comes from the Latin, “rapere.”

4 This may not be three different commands but one with significance for different people because of the ascensive use of καὶ (even). A “shout” (ἐν κελεύσματι, command) may have reference to the church. The voice of an archangel (ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου) may have reference to Israel (cf. Jude 9; 1 Enoch 20:1-7). And the Trumpet of God may have reference to Old Testament Gentile saints (1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 11:15).

5 The anticipation of the rapture seemd to lead people to live un-orderly lives.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines