Reading through the Bible together
First Thessalonians 5:1-11 the Second Coming is still the primary theme, but
the focus shifts. Here Paul is not so much clarifying details about Jesus’
return as he is proclaiming the need for constant readiness in light of the
final judgment. Whenever God judges, there is both a
positive and a negative side to that judgment. The two sides of judgment are
evidenced in First Thessalonians 5 with a series of contrasts such as
darkness/light, night/day and drunk/sober (1 Thess 5:4-8).
for the Second Coming is about investing serious time in the Word of God
(5:1-5). There are many distractions in today’s world, from overwhelming jobs
to e-mail to entertainment to a cornucopia of mood enhancers. Paul’s appeal is
to put the Word of God first in our lives and we will not be overtaken by
events, no matter how surprising the timing.
concludes his first letter to the Thessalonians with a series of seventeen
admonitions (1 Thess. 5:12-22) followed by a closing prayer (5:23-28). The
seventeen admonitions in First Thessalonians 5:12-22 can be divided into two
groups, counsels on ministry in the local church (5:12-15), and counsels on
general Christian experience (5:16-22). This natural division is signaled in
the grammar of the text itself. The first nine admonitions (12-15) begin with a
verb and are ministry oriented. The last eight admonitions end with a verb and are
personal life oriented.
In the concluding prayer
(5:23-24) Paul summarizes a main theme of this letter: that believers in
Thessalonica and beyond would continue to grow in sanctification and holiness
all the way up to the Second Coming itself. This growth remains a crucial part
of what must continue to take place in local churches around the world today.
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