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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
1 Thessalonians 4

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-18

Exhortation to Purity and Brotherly Love. The Second Advent

1. ’You are already walking in the right path. I want you to advance in it more and more.’

3, 4. Translate, ’For this is a thing willed by God, even your sanctification, that ye shall abstain from fornication (cp. Acts 15:20), that each one of you should learn to win his body to a state of purity and honour.’ Vessel] i.e. body. Some think the word means ’wife,’ but this is not so likely.

5. Lust of concupiscence] RV ’passion of lust.’

6. Go beyond and defraud] RV ’overreach (mg.), and wrong’ (i.e. by his sin). Any] should certainly be ’this.’

7. Better, ’For God called us not for uncleanness, but to be in a state of purity.’

Who hath also given] better, ’who is ever giving’ (present tense).

This passage (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) contains in brief a statement of the Christian doctrine of purity. Impurity is, (1) (from the point of view of the man himself) a dishonouring of the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 3:16): since He takes up His abode in it, and since Christ has become incarnate, and the body is to rise again, we must honour the body, not defile it; (2) (from the point of view of our brothers and sisters) a violation of the law of love—a fraud and a cheat. Sins of the flesh were very lightly regarded by the heathen world.

9. Brotherly love] better, ’love of the brethren’; i.e. the special love to be shown towards all the members of the Church.

10. In all Macedonia] These words imply that there were other Churches there besides those of which we read in the Acts. They also show that these Churches were not isolated. The idea of a Catholic Church is growing.

11. Study] better, ’strive earnestly.’ Religious excitement, especially in view of the expected coming of Christ, was a danger to the Thessalonian Church (2 Thessalonians 3:12). It caused neglect of ’the duty of everyday.’

12. Work would give them, (1) respect in the eyes of their heathen neighbours (them that are without); (2) independence (Ephesians 4:28). Honestly] or, as we should now say, ’honourably.’

1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11. The Second Advent. The dead in Christ will rise before the living, and both alike will share in the life everlasting. But the time of the Advent is uncertain. Let us therefore watch and be sober.

13. Are asleep] better, ’are lying asleep.’ The Thessalonians were anxious as to the part which those who had died in the Faith would take in the Second Advent, which was believed to be near at hand. Others] better, ’all the rest,’ i.e. the heathen who, even if they believed in some sort of an existence after death, had no hope of immortality.

14. Which sleep in Jesus] better, ’that are fallen asleep through Jesus,’ i.e. in communion with Him.

15. Prevent] better, ’be before,’ i.e. the dead, about whom you are anxious, will be at no disadvantage at the Advent, so far as its blessedness is concerned.

16. Cp. Matthew 24:30, Matthew 24:31. At the Resurrection of the Just the dead will rise before the living: see 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 regarding the spiritual body.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 4". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-thessalonians-4.html. 1909.
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