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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:18

in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Adam Clarke Commentary

In every thing give thanks - For this reason, that all things work together for good to them that love God; therefore, every occurrence may be a subject of gratitude and thankfulness. While ye live to God, prosperity and adversity will be equally helpful to you.

For this is the will of God - That ye should be always happy; that ye should ever be in the spirit of prayer; and that ye should profit by every occurrence in life, and be continually grateful and obedient; for gratitude and obedience are inseparably connected.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

In every thing give thanks - See the Ephesians 5:20 note; Philemon 4:6 note. We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning. Chrysostom, once the archbishop of Constantinople, and then driven into exile, persecuted, and despised, died far away form all the splendors of the capital, and all the comforts and honors which he had enjoyed, uttering his favorite motto - δόξα τῷ Θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκεν doxa tō Theō pantōn heneken- “glory to God for all things.” Bibliotheca Sacra, 1:700. So we may praise God for everything that happens to us under his government. A man owes a debt of obligation to him for anything which will recall him from his wanderings, and which will prepare him for heaven. Are there any dealings of God toward people which do not contemplate such an end? Is a man ever made to drink the cup of affliction when no drop of mercy is intermingled? Is he ever visited with calamity which does not in some way contemplate his own temporal or eternal good! Could we see all, we should see that we are never placed in circumstances in which there is not much for which we should thank God. And when, in his dealings, a cloud seems to cover his face, let us remember the good things without number which we have received, and especially remember that we are in the world of redeeming love, and we shall find enough for which to be thankful.

For this is the will of God - That is, that you should be grateful. This is what God is pleased to require you to perform in the name of the Lord Jesus. In the gift of that Saviour he has laid the foundation for that claim, and he requires that you should not be unmindful of the obligation; see the notes, Hebrews 13:15.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you


The duty and privilege of praise are not appreciated.
Worship--ascribing worth to God and describing His worth--is in His Word the leading feature, as in modern days it is the least feature of the assemblies of saints. Worship implies a thankful frame. Nothing left outside of the range of this injunction, because to a true believer all things work together for good. Compare
Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17.

I. It is the fruit of faith. Natural gratitude is the natural pleasure felt in prosperity; gracious gratitude blesses God, like Job in adversity, because of faith in His wisdom and goodness.

II. It is one of the foremost of blessings, and parent of all other graces. So says Cicero. It disposes to contentment in all conditions, and puts a bridle on desire.

III. It finds blessings as a magnet finds steel.

IV. It fits for greater blessings. God gives more abundantly where previous gifts are properly valued (Psalms 50:23). Chrysostom said “There is but one calamity--sin”; and after many sorrows died, exclaiming, “God be praised for everything!” (A. T. Pierson, D. D.)


I. To whom must we give thanks? Only to God: because (Psalms 100:4)--

1. It is only by Him we are preserved from evil (Psalms 121:7).

2. It is only from Him that we have anything that is good (James 1:17).

3. He only is good in Himself (Psalms 107:1; Psalms 136:1; Luke 18:19).

II. How should we give thanks to Him?

1. By a humble confession of our own unworthiness (Genesis 32:10; Ephesians 3:8), through sin (Psalms 51:5; 1 Corinthians 15:9), and our abuse of God’s mercies (Jude 1:4).

2. By a humble acknowledgment of Him in all we have (Proverbs 3:6). His power (Psalms 135:1; Psalms 135:6); goodness (Psalms 145:1-2; Psalms 145:9); mercy (Psalms 136:1-3).

3. By admiring Him in all we have, and praising (1 Chronicles 29:12-13).

4. By improving all for His glory (Proverbs 3:9).

5. By walking before Him in all well pleasing (2 Timothy 1:3).

III. What must we thank Him for? For all things (Ephesians 5:20).

1. Our mercies.

(a) His sending Christ to die for us. (Luke 2:14).

(b) His quickening Spirit (2 Corinthians 9:15).

(c) His gospel (Matthew 11:25)

(d) His restraining grace (1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 7:25).

(e) His renewing and sanctifying grace.

(f) His comforts (Psalms 147:1-3).

(g) His ordinances.

(a) Creation (Psalms 95:6; Psalms 100:1-3).

(b) Preservation (Acts 17:28)

(c) Provision (Psalms 147:7-9, 1 Timothy 6:17).

(d) Health and strength (Psalms 18:32).

(e) Gifts and parts (1 Corinthians 14:18).

(f) Life and liberty.

(g) Protection.

2. Our afflictions (Job 1:21).

(a) Not spiritual (Psalms 147:20).

(b) Not eternal (Lamentations 3:39).

(a) For the deadening of our sins (Job 36:8-10).

(b) For the quickening of our graces (Psalms 119:67).


1. Reproof.

2. Exhortation. Be thankful. Consider--

The duty of thankfulness

I. Some Christians are not eminent for thankfulness.

1. Some are very selfish. Unless the blessing alight on their actual self it matters not where it comes down. They cannot joy in the graces of their brethren. There are some so grievously selfish that they take as matters of right and of course every good and perfect gift, and regard the withholding of them as a personal injury.

2. Others are remarkable for peevishness. There is an ingenious fretfulness, dexterous in detecting flaws, industrious in embittering its own comfort, and wearisome by its pertinacious fault finding. If the house be commodious, the situation is bad: if a friend be kind, he doesn’t see you often enough; if a book be otherwise good, there is a word or two you don’t like.

3. Many are unthankful from inadvertency. They are surrounded with blessings, but from pure heedlessness they do not perceive from whom they have issued. Gratitude does not depend on the amount of mercies received, but on the amount known and prized.

II. Materials for thankfulness.

1. Personal salvation. We have all felt the glow of returning health; but what is this compared to the joy of salvation.

2. The Bible. How thankful the Psalmists were for the scanty portion of the Word of God possessed by them: how much more grateful should we be for a completed revelation.

3. Devout and congenial society. Who can estimate the blessings of friendship; and if your friend has gone to God, few mercies call for more thankfulness than a friend in heaven.

4. Mercies in the disguise of affliction. These are topics which give scope for the holy ingenuity of loyal saints. “In everything,” because “all things are working together for good.”

III. Appropriate expressions of Christian gratitude.

1. It should occupy a prominent place in devotion whether secret or social.

2. Recount God’s mercies to others. In this way you will quicken your own soul to increasing fervour, and kindle the gratitude of others.

3. Sing praises. Few things are better fitted to dispel the evil spirit of censoriousness, selfishness, and sullenness than heart-sung hymns of thanksgiving.

4. Embody your gratitude in offerings of thankfulness. These are the only oblations for which room is left in our new economy. (J. Hamilton, D. D.)

The habit of thankfulness

We hear a great deal of the power of habit. I know there is power in good habits. Is there any in evil habits? Are good habits the greatest blessing in our life? One half of the best work performed by us is done largely through sheer force of habit. When a person is learning to play the piano, he or she goes over the keys awkwardly, and with difficulty, but soon becomes a good player through the force of habit. A man doing something that he is accustomed to will stand well the cares and anxieties which daily burden his mind. But put him at something which he knows nothing about, and they would kill him. Good habits enable one to resist temptation. The only way to conquer evil habits is to put good ones in their place. How often men discard their evil habits, but put nothing in place of them! The bad habits soon return like the unclean spirits of the parable. I wish to speak of the habit of thankfulness.

I. The value of such habit. It helps us to quell the repining over the ills of life. There is an old story of a young man who was walking along a road, full of life, but very poor, when, observing a carriage driven by containing an old man, he began to repine, saying; “Oh, what a life I lead! Just look at the genuine, quiet comfort enjoyed by that old man; Oh, that I were in his place!” The old man looked out of the window at the same time and sighed: “Oh, that I had the youth and strength of that man with all his splendid possibilities, I would give everything that I possess.” Now the habit of thankfulness secures us against all this. A child will give thanks to anyone who may make her a present of any kind, and shall we not return thanks to God for what He has given us? Some of us may have sore troubles; but when you remember the Lord’s goodness and His consolations, you are able to bear them. Paul and Silas sang praises in prison. That’s the way to do. Sing praises under all the ills of life. The Christian idea is to charge upon these ills.

II. The habit of thankfulness leads to deeper penitence. Repentance is the soundest, truest, and most acceptable thing in the eyes of God. All true penitence takes account of God’s goodness, and incites cheerfulness and thankfulness to God.

III. We ought to be thankful for everything painful as well as pleasant. “In all things.” We can always be thankful that a thing is not worse. If it were worse it would be no more so than our sins make us deserve. When trouble comes over us, we learn to appreciate that as a blessing which is gone. A man does not know the blessing of good health until he loses it. (J. A. Broadus, D. D.)

Thanksgiving to God

I. The duty enjoined. Give thanks--

1. With the soul (Psalms 103:1-2).

2. With the voice: otherwise thanks will be buried. How many aids and witnesses did David summon to assist him in this duty; the mountains to leap, the floods to make a noise, etc. Nature and art have found out many helps and signs--bells, musical instruments, feasting, etc. Yet these are but poor and senseless sacrifices performed by unreasoning deputies, if thanks have no more significant expression; and cheer of the countenance, bodily gestures, dancing, are dumb shows. But by speech one man’s heart conveys to another the cheery conceptions and passions of the soul, and so multiplies praise and sets on others to bless God with him.

3. With obedience, which God prefers to all our sacrifices. He that in the way of thankfulness bows and performs the mortification of one sin, the addition of one duty, pleases God better than Solomon with all his beeves and sheep. The life of thankfulness consists in the lives of the thankful; otherwise it is but as one who should sing a good song with his voice and play a bad one with his instrument.

II. The extent of the matter.

1. God will be praised in all His creatures whereof we have the sight or the use; for every one of us have no less benefit by the sun and air, than if we saw or breathed alone.

2. In all the works of His provident administration--public blessings--our country’s good.

3. In all personal favours. Every man that sees another stricken and himself spared is to keep passover for himself.

4. In all crosses, counting it an honour to suffer for Christ’s sake.

5. In all gifts: temporal or spiritual, and, above all, for Him who is all in all.

6. In all times and places.

III. The supreme motive. “This is the will of God.” A sufficient answer to the foolish question “What addition shall I make to His honour who is self-sufficient?” God’s will has binding authority enough, but the winning word is added, “In Christ.” “I have so loved you as to give My Son; the return I expect and will is your thanks.” An ingenuous child desires to know only what his father loves, and a grateful courtier only the pleasure of his sovereign. (S. Ward.)

The perpetual thanksgiving of a Christian life

These words form the last of a series of apparently impossible precepts--perpetual joy, perpetual prayer, united in a life of perpetual thanksgiving. Of course these do not refer to acts, but to a state of heart. Yet even then the difficulty is not removed, for toll and rest, success and failure, events that cheer or overshadow, are all to be received not only submissively but thankfully, and so are the tremendous sorrows which shatter the human heart. How can this precept be obeyed?

I. Its difficulty. Why do we not trust God sufficiently to thank Him in every lot in life?

1. One source of the difficulty lies in the constant changes in the soul’s life produced by temperament and circumstances. There are periods when it is comparatively easy to be thankful--days of sunshine when bare existence is a joy--times of sorrow, too, when we can trace the hand of love--hours of meditation when we get some deeper vision into the Divine meaning of life. But there are other periods when thanksgiving is the hardest task--days of dreariness, coldness of spirit, doubt.

2. But apart from this there are two sources of difficulty which are permanent.

(a) We are afraid to recognize His presence everywhere, acting through every little force in nature and through every trifling change in our careers.

(b) When we do discern the hand of God we are afraid to trust Him perfectly. In our submission we are tempted to bow to a kind of awful will that must have its way, rather than to believe that what God has chosen for us is most wise, just, and kind.

II. The motive. God’s will is so revealed in Christ that, believing in it, we can give thanks in all things. Christ showed--

1. That life was the perpetual providence of the Father. “Not a sparrow falleth.” “Behold the lilies.” His life was a ceaseless illustration of this. He went through the world whether men took up stones to stone him or shouted their hallelujahs, equally fearless as though He was sublimely safe, till His work was done. Realize that as true of your life, and if every moment and trifle of our history are under the Father’s providence, for what shall we refuse to be thankful!

2. That that providence is a discipline of human character. Christ’s teaching and life show us that not getting more, but being greater; not pleasure, but holiness; not success, but heaven is God’s purpose in disciplining the life of men. The learning “obedience by the things which He suffered” was the end for which the Father’s providence led the Divine man. And so with us.

3. That the discipline of life is explained by eternity alone. The life of Jesus, apart from the eternal glory which crowned it, seems only a failure and a mystery; and the Father, who ordained for Christ His strange dark way, is leading us by a way that must be dark till death lift the veil. We know not what we need for heaven’s splendour, but know this that “the great multitude” have come out of great tribulation.

III. The method of its attainment.

1. It is not to be reached by a single resolution, or in a day by an outburst of excited feeling. We may say sincerely, henceforth I resolve to trust God in everything. But little vexations soon shake our trust; greater troubles break down our resolution; the emotion has declined, and we say, “No man can be always thankful.”

2. It is the gradual result of a life of earnest fellowship with God--a life that in daily meditation realizes the presence of the Father; that by prayer feels the reality of God’s love--that comes at length to walk through all toils and temptations under a deep sense of the all-surrounding God. (E. L. Hull, B. A.)

The faculty of thankfulness

If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how it would draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction! The unthankful heart, like my fingers in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find in every hour some heavenly blessings; only the iron in God’s sand is gold. (H. W. Beecher.)

Thanksgiving with prayer

A child knelt at the accustomed time to thank God for the mercies of the day, and pray for His care during the coming night. Then, as usual, came the “God bless mother and--” But the prayer was stilled, the little hands unclasped, and a look of sadness and wonder met the mother’s eye, as the words of helpless sorrow came from the lips of the kneeling child, “I cannot pray for father any more.” Since her lips had been able to form the dear name, she had prayed for a blessing upon it. It had followed close after her mother’s name. But now he was dead. I waited for some moments, and then urged her to go on. Her pleading eyes met mine, and with a voice that faltered, she said, “Oh, mother, I cannot leave him out all at once; let me say, ‘Thank God that I had a dear father once,’ so I can still go on and keep him in my prayers.” And so she still continues to do, and my heart learned a lesson from the loving ingenuity of my child. Remember to thank God for mercies past as well as to ask blessings for the future. (The Christian.)

Thankfulness and unthankfulness

At the dinner table in the cabin of a steamboat there sat a conceited young man, who thought he displayed his own importance by abusing everything placed before him. A clergyman present, remonstrated with him, but in vain. Even on deck he continued his complaints of the ill-cooked, unsavoury fare, until the clergyman thoroughly disgusted, turned away, and, walking toward the steerage, noticed an old man, in his home-spun and well-worn shepherd’s plaid, crouching behind the paddle box, where he thought himself unobserved. He took from his pocket a piece of dry bread and cheese, and laying them down before him, reverently took off his blue bonnet, his thin white hairs streaming in the wind, clasped his hands together and blessed God for his mercy. In the great Giver’s hands lie gifts of many kinds, and to the scantiest dole of this world’s fare we oftentimes see added that richer boon--a grateful heart. (Christian Age.)

Exemplary thanksgiving

Objects seem large or little according to the medium through which they are viewed. In the microscope, what a remarkable change they undergo! The humble moss rises into a graceful tree; the beetle, armed for battle, flashes in golden or silver mail; a grain of sand swells into a mass of rock; and, on the other hand, a mountain looked at through the wrong end of a telescope sinks into a molehill, and the broad lake contracts into a tiny pool. Even so, according as we look at them, with the eyes of self-condemning humility, or of self-righteous pride, God’s mercies seem great or little. For example, a minister of the gospel, passing one day near a cottage, was attracted to its door by the sound of a loud and earnest voice. It was a bare and lonely dwelling; the home of a woman who was childless, old, and poor. Drawing near this mean and humble cabin, the stranger at length made out these words: “All this, and Jesus too! All this, and Jesus too!” as they were repeated over and over in tones of deep emotion, of wonder, gratitude, and praise. His curiosity was roused to see what that could be which called forth such fervent, overflowing thanks. Stealing near, he looked in at the patched and broken window; and there in the form of a gray, bent, worn-out daughter of toil, at a rude table, with hands raised to God, and her eyes fixed on some crusts of bread and water, sat piety, peace, humility, contentment, exclaiming, “All this, and Jesus too!”

Grounds for thankfulness

I cannot enumerate all the sweet mercies for which you should be thankful--the personal mercies, a sound mind and a healthy body; restorations from sickness; preservations in imminent peril; a good education, abundance of books, and, perhaps, some leisure to read them; a competent share of the good things of this life, a home, food, raiment, occasional rest and recreation, the enlivening of a journey, and the enlightenment of travel. Family mercies: parents that were kind when you were helpless, and wise when you were foolish; the endearing associations of early days; the gentleness of kindred, who, if a little more remote, were scarce less tender than father or mother were; the amenities and joys of your present home; the household lamp and the household hearth, with all the fond familiar faces on which they shine; the voices which make blythe music in your dwelling; the lives which you have got back from the gates of the grave, and those glorified ones whom you would not wish to bring back; with all those numberless indoor delights, those visits of kindness, and advents of gladness, and solacements of sympathy which He, whose home was heaven, loved to witness or create in the homes of earth. Spiritual mercies: the Bible, the Sabbath, the house of prayer, the closet, the family altar, the great congregation, prayer meetings, communion seasons, psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, Christian friends; perhaps a conscience void of offence towards man, and at peace with God through Jesus Christ; perhaps a victory over some temptation; perhaps progress in some grace; perhaps answers to prayer; along with what may either already be your own, or may as assuredly be made your own, as the Bible is already yours--the Comforter, peace in believing, hope in dying, a joyful resurrection, a home in heaven, a blood-bought harp, the inheritance of all things. These are a few of His mercies; but oh! how great is the sum of them! (J. Hamilton, D. D.)

Reasons for thankfulness

King George, at the close of the Revolutionary War, in which he had lost thirty colonies, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving because of the return of peace. His chaplain said to him, “For what would your majesty have us give thanks? for the fact that you have lost thirteen of the brightest jewels of your crown?” “No, not for that,” said the king. “Because we have added millions to our national debt?” “No, not for that,” said the king. “Because tens of thousands of people of the same race and religion have been destroyed?” “No, not for that,” said the king. “Why, then,” insisted the chaplain, “and for what shall we give thanks?” “Thank God,” said the king, with great vehemence--“Thank God, because matters are no worse.” (J. L. Nye.)


Like the Caspian Sea, which has some unseen way of disposing of its waters, so that whatever rains come down, and whatever rivers flow in, its great gulf never fills, and never a rill runs out from it again; so there is a greedy, all-devouring selfishness, which, whatever rivers of pleasure flow into it, and whatever mighty bursts of heaven-descended bounty exhaust their fulness over it, always contrives to dispose of the whole in the caverns and subterraneous passages of its capacious egotism--the vast mare iternum of self, without one drop of overflowing in kindness to man or gratitude to God. (J. Hamilton, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Thessalonians 5:18". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

In everything give thanks,.... That is, to God the Father, in the name of Christ; see Ephesians 5:20 thanks are to be given to him for all things, as the Ethiopic version renders it; for all temporal good things; for our beings, the preservation of them; for food and raiment, and all the mercies of life; for the means of grace, the word and ordinances, and the ministers of the Gospel; for spiritual blessings, for electing, redeeming, regenerating, adopting, pardoning, justifying, and persevering grace: for a meetness for heaven, a right unto it, and a good hope of it; and especially for Jesus Christ, for such an husband, such an head, such a surety and Saviour, and advocate with the Father, as he is; and for life, peace, joy, comfort, righteousness, and salvation in him: and thanks should be given to God in every circumstance of life; in adversity, as Job did; when not in so comfortable and agreeable a frame of soul as to be wished for, since it might be worse, and is not black despair; even under the temptations of Satan, since they might be greater and heavier, and since the grace of God is sufficient to bear up under them, and deliver out of them, and since there is such a sympathizing high priest and Saviour; and in afflictions of every kind, since they are all for good, temporal, or spiritual, or eternal.

For this is the will of God; which may refer either to all that is said from 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to this passage, or particularly to this of giving thanks; which is the revealed and declared will of God, is a part of that good, perfect, and acceptable will of his, and what is well pleasing in his sight, and grateful to him; see Psalm 69:30 and is

in Christ Jesus concerning you; either declared in and by him, who has made known the whole of the will of God, and so the Arabic version, "which he wills of you by Jesus Christ"; or which is exemplified in Christ, who for, and in all things, gave thanks to God, and had his will resigned to his in every circumstance of life; or, which being done, is acceptable to God through Christ. The Alexandrian copy reads, "for this is the will of God towards you in Christ Jesus"; that is, with respect to you who are in Christ secretly by election, and openly by the effectual calling; and who, of all men in the world, have reason to be thankful for everything, and in every circumstance.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

In every thing give thanks: for this is the f will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

(f) An acceptable thing to God, and such as he approves well of.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

In every thing — even what seems adverse: for nothing is really so (compare Romans 8:28; Ephesians 5:20). See Christ‘s example (Matthew 15:36; Matthew 26:27; Luke 10:21; John 11:41).

this — That ye should “rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, (and) in every thing give thanks,” “is the will of God in Christ Jesus (as the Mediator and Revealer of that will, observed by those who are in Christ by faith, compare Philemon 3:14) concerning you.” God‘s will is the believer‘s law. Lachmann rightly reads commas at the end of the three precepts (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), making “this” refer to all three.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

In everything give thanks (εν παντι ευχαριστειτεen panti eucharisteite). There is a silver lining to every cloud. God is with us whatever befalls us. It is God‘s will that we find joy in prayer in Christ Jesus in every condition of life.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Will ( θέλημα )

In the sense of requirement. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:3.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

For this — That you should thus rejoice, pray, give thanks.

Is the will of God — Always good, always pointing at our salvation.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

18For this is the will of God — that is, according to Chrysostom’s opinion — that we give thanks. As for myself, I am of opinion that a more ample meaning is included under these terms — that God has such a disposition towards us in Christ, that even in our afflictions we have large occasion of thanksgiving. For what is fitter or more suitable for pacifying us, than when we learn that God embraces us in Christ so tenderly, that he turns to our advantage and welfare everything that befalls us? Let us, therefore, bear in mind, that this is a special remedy for correcting our impatience — to turn away our eyes from beholding present evils that torment us, and to direct our views to a consideration of a different nature — how God stands affected towards us in Christ.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Ver. 18. In everything give thanks] If God give prosperity, praise him, and it shall be increased, saith Augustine. If adversity, praise him, and it shall be removed, or at least sanctified. Job blessed God as well for taking as giving, Job 1:20-22. He knew that God afflicted him, non ad exitium, sed ad exercitium, to refine him, not to ruin him. But this is Christianorum propria virtus, saith Jerome, a practice proper to Christians, to be heartily thankful for crosses. Basil spends all his sermon upon this text in this theme. Every bird can sing in a summer’s day, and it is easy to swim in a warm bath; but in deep affliction to cover God’s altar, not with our tears, as Malachi 2:13, but with the calves of our lips, Hosea 14:2, this none can do but the truly religious.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The duty required, and that is, thanksgiving.

2. The extent of the duty, In every thing give thanks, that is be thankful in every condition, and for every providential dispensation, both prosperous and adverse.

Quest. "Should Christians be thankful for afflictions?"

Yes, because they are fruits of fatherly love, because they conform us unto Christ, because they prevent sin, and purge out sin, because they fit us for glory, and will add to our crown of glory at the great day.

Quest. "But should Christians be thankful for sin, or when they fall into sin?"

By no means. Rule, What we must not pray for, we may not give thanks for: we must pray to be kept from sin, therefore may not give thanks when we fall into sin; sin dishonours God, disrobes ourselves, exposes to God's wrath and curse, is the ground of our just detestation, therefore cannot be the ground of thanksgiving; yet when we obtain pardon of sin, or get any good by sin we may and ought to rejoice at it.

Observe, 3. The grounds and reasons of the duty.

1. It is the will of God, his revealed will; this the law of nature directs to, and the light of scripture calls for; and he that performs it spiritually, glorifies God abundantly.

2. It is the will of God in Christ Jesus, that is, this part of Gods's will is especially revealed to you by the doctrine of Christ Jesus, and by the example of Christ Jesus: Christ was both a great pattern and precedent of thankfulness all his life long: he thanked God frequently and fervently, and has made thankfulness a considerable part of our gospel service, Hebrews 13:15.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

18. ἐν παντί] in every thing,—every circumstance: see reff., and cf. ὑπὲρ πάντων, Ephesians 5:20; κατὰ πάντα, Colossians 3:22-23. Chrys., al., explain it ‘on every occasion’ ( καιρῷ); but 2 Corinthians 9:8, ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε, precludes this. τοῦτο perhaps refers back to the three— χαίρ., προσεύχ., εὐχαρ., or perhaps, as Ellic. and most modern expositors, to εὐχαρ. alone.

After γάρ, supply ἐστίν, and understand θέλημα, not ‘decree,’ but will, in its practical reference to your conduct.

ἐν χρ. ἰησ.] in, as its medium; Christ being the Mediator.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https: 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:18. Christians ought not only to pray to God, but also to give thanks to Him, and that ἐν παντί] in everything, i.e. under every circumstance, in joy as well as in sorrow; which is different only in form, but not in meaning, from περὶ παντός, for everything. Incorrectly Estius: in omnibus sc. bonis; and Flatt: ἐν παντί, sc. καιρῷ.

τοῦτο] sc. τὸ ἐν παντὶ εὐχαριστεῖν. This is the most natural meaning. Yet it were not incorrect, with Grotius, Scholt, and Bloomfield, to refer τοῦτο to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, as prayer and thanksgiving form a closely connected unity; comp. Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2. Also to refer it even to 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (Cornelius a Lapide, Alford) may be justified from the same reason. On the contrary, there is no reason to refer it to the whole passage from 1 Thessalonians 5:14 onwards (Musculus, Calovius, and others), as then ταῦτα would require to have been written.

θέλημα] (sc. ἐστίν) denotes will, requirement, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 : the article is here wanting, because the will of God comprehends more than εὐχαριστεῖν: this is only one requirement among many. Otherwise Schott, who finds in θέλημα θεοῦ the divine decree of salvation indicated. According to him, the meaning is: “Huc pertinet sive hoc secum fert decretum divinum (de vobis captum, itemque in Christo positum), ut gratias deo pro omnibus agere debeatis. Vos enim, huic servatori addictos, latere amplius non potest, quaecunque Christianis acciderint, deo volente, eorum saluti consulere aeternae, Romans 8:28 ff.” But (1) the ἐστίν to be supplied cannot denote: huc pertinet or hoc secum fert; (2) the article τό would not be wanting either before θέλημα or before ἐν χριστῷ; (3) the reason alleged is introduced contrary to the context, and so much the more arbitrarily, as τοῦτο γὰρ θέλημα κ. τ. λ. is a dependent clause which is founded on the preceding, not an independent point which requires a reason of its own. Storr also takes θέλημα as the decree of redemption, but he understands τοῦτο in the sense of τοιοῦτο, which is contrary to the Greek.

ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ] Christ is, as it were, the vehicle of this requirement, inasmuch as it is made known through Him.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:18. ἐν παντὶ, in every thing) although it may seem adverse; [and that, too, not only generally, but, like David, in particular cases.—V. g.]— τοῦτο, this) that ye should give thanks.— θέλημα, will) which is always good, always keeping in view your salvation in Christ Jesus.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In every thing give thanks: when we have obtained mercy by prayer, then we are to give thanks, and whatever we may pray for, that we ought to give thanks for. And so by that understand and limit the general expression in the text. We are not to give thanks when we fall into sin, for that we ought not to pray for; yet if we have the pardon of it, or get any good by it, we should then give thanks: and so may be said concerning affliction; we are to give thanks in every condition, either of prosperity or adversity. And with all our supplications, we are to join thanksgivings, Philippians 4:6 Colossians 4:2; and thanksgiving properly refers to some mercy received, whether privative or positive, temporal or spiritual, private or public, and we are in all these to give thanks. Though praising God may reach further, which is to adore the excellencies of his being as they are glorious in themselves, or the excellencies of his works as they are in themselves praiseworthy. And thanksgiving for mercy received is:

1. A taking notice of it as coming from God.

2. Setting a due value upon it.

3. A sense of God’s goodness and our own unworthiness.

4. Praising him for it.

For this is the will of God: some carry this as a motive to all the preceding duties; but rather to this last mentioned: as if this was in special the will of God, being a duty so much to his own glory and our good; and by will we must by a metonymy understand the thing willed, Ephesians 6:6 Colossians 4:12. It is required by the law of nature not written, which is part of God’s will. The heathen are reproved for not being thankful, Romans 1:21; and they made laws to punish it, and accounted it the greatest reproach, ingratum si dixeris omnia dixeris. And it is required by the law of God that is written. The moral law requires it; and the ceremonial law required offerings by way of thanksgiving, which we call gratulatory. And the gospel requires it, it being one of the gospel sacrifices, Hebrews 13:15, and pleaseth the Lord better than the greatest of the legal sacrifices, Psalms 69:30,31: and it being said to be the will of God in the text, it must needs be pleasing to him.

In Christ Jesus; either meant as this will of his is signified to us by him, not only by the law of nature, of Moses, but by Christ Jesus; and so it may be of greater force upon Christians, and hereby it is to be looked upon as one of the commandments of Christ also. Or we may understand it, upon the attempt of Christ, and the great love of God in him. Though thanksgiving is due for the least mercy, yet God’s will especially requires it with respect to Christ. And so especially of Christians who partake of Christ, and the love of God in him; as the apostle here adds, eiv umav.

Concerning you; or towards you in special: the heathens were obliged to thankfulness for rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, these common blessings; much more are Christians for the special blessings they receive by Christ Jesus.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

A dependent, grateful, and benevolent spirit, manifested in habitual thanksgiving and in supplication for ourselves and our fellow-men, is peculiarly pleasing to God.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

18. ἐν παντὶ εὐχαριστεῖτε contains the same paradox, for the Thessalonians, as πάντοτε χαίρετε (see note above). “In everything,”—even in persecution and shame; cf. again Philippians 1:29, 2 Corinthians 12:9 f., &c. This too St Paul taught by example: see 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 3:9 f.; Acts 16:25. Ἐν παντί differs from περὶ παντός (1 Thessalonians 1:2, &c.) as denoting the circumstances, not the object, nor the occasion (ἐπί), of thanksgiving. For the phrase ἐν παντί (not to be limited by καιρῷ), cf. 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 7:16; Philippians 4:6; Philippians 4:12. On εὐχαριστέω, see note to 1 Thessalonians 1:2. Chrysostom’s comment, τὸ ἀεὶ δηλονότι εὐχαριστεῖν, τοῦτο φιλοσόφου ψυχῆς, is very characteristic; to the Greek Christian, an intelligent piety was the true φιλοσοφία.

Prayer and Thanksgiving are companions in the language of Scripture and counterparts, as the two wings of the soul by which it rises toward God. The latter, however, may be tacitly included in προσεύχομαι,—a comprehensive term for devout address to God: see Philippians 4:6, “In everything by prayer and by supplication, along with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,” where δέησις (cf. δέομαι, 1 Thessalonians 3:10 above) is distinguished from προσευχή as the “petition” for some specific boon, while “thanksgiving” for past blessings and for promised good accompanies both.

τοῦτο γὰρ θέλημα θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς ὑμᾶς, for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus with regard to you. The three foregoing precepts are thus linked together; they constitute one habit and temper, the spirit of a true devotion to God, so that τοῦτο includes them collectively. Τοῦτο γὰρ θέλημα κ.τ.λ. adduces not so much a reason for obedience to Divine commands, as an assurance of their practicability; the argument is not, “You must do it, for God so wills,” but “Knowing that it is God’s will, you can do it”: cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 below; also 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (see note), of which this sentence is a repetition; and Philippians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 3:5, &c. As though the Apostles said: “You Thessalonian believers, so greatly afflicted and tempted to murmuring and despondence, are the objects of a special and gracious purpose on God’s part. God intends your life to be one of constant prayer, constant joy and thanksgiving; and this is made possible for you in Christ.” In Christ Jesus (the living, reigning Saviour: cf. note on this locution in 1 Thessalonians 2:14) the basis is laid and the sphere is found of all saving purpose and action on God’s side (see e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 1:30), and of all experience and attainment of Divine grace on man’s side (Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 2:13, &c.). This θέλημα is not a mere “resolve of God” made known through Christ, but a “volition” operative and effective “in” Him, like “all the promises of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Εἰς ὑμᾶς, “(going out) unto you,” “(directed) towards you”: for εἰς denoting the direction of mind or moral activity, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, Philippians 1:23, Acts 26:6, &c.; and see Winer-Moulton, p. 495.

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"Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https: 1896.

George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians

18. ἐν παντὶ εὐχαριστεῖτε] Vg. in omnibus gratias agiteἐν παντί not being ‘on every occasion’ (Chrys.: ἀεί), but ‘in all circumstances,’ even in persecutions and trials. Thdt.: μὴ μόνον ἐν τοῖς θυμήρεσιν, ἀλλὰ κᾀν τοῖς ἐναντίοις. οἶδε γὰρ τὸ συμφέρον ὁ μεγαλόδωρος. For a similar stress laid by St Paul on universal thanksgiving cf. Ephesians 5:20, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 3:17.

For εὐχαριστεῖν see 1:2 note, and add the late use of the verb by which it is practically = εὔχεσθαι, as in the interesting Christian amulet (6./a.d.?) reproduced by Wilcken (Archiv 1. p. 431 ff.) where after an invocation to God and Christ and the holy Serenus the writer proceeds εὐχαριστῶ ... καὶ κλίνω τὴν κεφαλήν [μο]υ ... ὅπως διώξῃς ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ ... τὸν δαίμονα προβασκανίας. May we not have an earlier trace of this usage in P.Tebt. 56, 9 (late 2./a.d.) where the rendering ‘pray’ seems to suit the context better than the editors’ ‘give thanks’?

τοῦτο γάρ κτλ.] τοῦτο, collective with reference to the foregoing precepts, while the θέλημα θεοῦ (4:3 note) regarding them is specially defined as resting ἐν χρ. ἰης. not only as their supreme manifestation, but also as the means through whom alone they can be made effective.

For the absence of the art. before εἰς ὑμᾶς ‘with regard to you’ as well as for the hyperbaton cf. Luke 7:30 τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ἠθέτησαν εἰς ἑαυτούς (Field Notes p. 60).

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Milligan, George. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians". https:

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

18. In every thing—In every condition, fact, and act. Let your rejoice, pray, and thanks, be simultaneous and ever instantaneous. Just because your loving God is always and everywhere.

Pessimism, the doctrine that we live in a scene of chance, where unintelligent causation rules, and remediless misery is predominant, teaches a different doctrine. This pessimism is the child of atheism and the mother of despair. The mental philosophy of Schopenhauer, and the physical philosophy of Tyndall, lead to the same sad deduction. So the founder of Buddhism was the preacher of misery and hopelessness, teaching that death was but a change and no relief, and that the only aim of man is to find the shortest route back to annihilation. But from Christ St. Paul learned and taught a different doctrine. He lays the foundation in God through Christ, he builds his structure of faith, hope, love; and its crowning minaret is pray, thanks, and rejoice evermore.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

We need to give thanks about everything knowing that God is working all things together for good for His people who love Him ( Romans 8:28). Paul said all of these commands are definitely God"s will for every believer.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:18. In every thing give thanks. ‘For example, (1) in the use of God’s gifts: Acts 27:35, He took bread and gave thanks to God in presence of them all (2) In the enjoyment of social converse: Acts 28:15, whom when Paul saw, he thanked God and took courage. (3) In acknowledgment of special blessings: 2 Corinthians 1:11, that for the gifts bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf (4) Generally in reference to God’s dealings with us both in providence and grace: Ephesians 5:20, giving thanks always for all things unto God’ (Vaughan).

For this is the will of God. It is doubtful whether these words refer to the three foregoing clauses or only to the last-mentioned. Nor is it obvious why Paul makes the remark. Had he meant that everything that happens to us is God’s will in Christ Jesus towards us, this would have been a good reason for our giving thanks for it. Could we learn to see in each hardship and disappointment another step towards the perfect fulfilment of God’s gracious purposes towards us, we could then give thanks for all that happens. But his words will hardly bear this meaning. Probably therefore he reminds his readers that it is God’s will they should be thankful because he was impressed both with the supreme importance of the duty and with the prevalent neglect of it. ‘If we had to name any one thing which seems unaccountably to have fallen out of most men’s practical religion altogether, it would be the duty of thanksgiving. It would not be easy to exaggerate the common neglect of this duty. . . .To most of us there is hardly a quarter of an hour in our lives more tedious, idle, aimless, unsatisfactory, than what we call our thanksgiving’ (Faber’s All for Jesus, pp. 216, 254).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:18. Chrysostom, who wrote: τὸ ἀεὶ δηλονότι εὐχαριστεῖν, τοῦτο φιλοσόφου ψυχῆς, gave a practical illustration of this heroic temper by repeating, as he died in the extreme hardships of an enforced and painful exile, δόξα τῷ θεῷ πάντων ἕνεκα. For thanksgiving even in bereavement, cf. Aug., Conf., ix. 12; and further, ibid., ix. 7 (tunc hymni et psalmi ut canerentur, secundum morem Orientalium partium, ne populus maeroris taedio contabesceret, institutum est).

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward”

“In everything give thanks”: Yes even be grateful for the hard times (Romans 5:3-5). “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits” (Psalms 103:2). Barclay notes, “We must always remember that if we face the sun the shadows will fall behind us, but if we turn our backs on the sun all the shadows will be in front” (p. 240). Even if terrible things happen, we need to be thankful that God was faithful, it could have been worse (1 Corinthians 10:13). God exists, therefore something beneficial can be gained (James 1:2-4), that is, suffering for the faithful Christian is never meaningless or pointless. We have been delivered from eternal suffering! Unfortunately, many people need almost ideal circumstances to be thankful or happy. What a miserable existence! The word "thankful" should always remind the Christian that the world does not "owe" us anything. We are the debtors (Romans 1:14). No circumstances, should ever move the Christian into thinking that God is now indebted to them, that is, that God owes them (Luke 17:10).

“For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward”: This is the response to those who might say to themselves, “But I don"t feel like being grateful to God right now”. God wants His people to be thankful and joyful. The Bible was not written to make our lives miserable, rather God wants us saved and happy.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https: 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

give thanks. Greek. eucharisteo. See 1 Thessalonians 1:2.

will. App-102.

Christ Jesus. App-98.

concerning = in regard to. Greek. eis. App-104.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. In everything - even what seems adverse; for nothing is really so (cf. Romans 8:28; Ephesians 5:20.) So Christ (Matthew 15:36; Matthew 26:27; Luke 10:21; John 11:41).

This - that ye should "in every thing give thanks," "is the will of God in Christ Jesus (the Mediator in whom that will is revealed: cf. Philippians 3:14) concerning [toward: eis (Greek #1519)] you." God's will is the believer's law. Put commas after each of the three precepts (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), making "this" refer to all three.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(18) In every thing give thanks.—To the Christian who really trusts his Father’s providence, and believes that his prayers are heard, every moment’s occurrence will be just that which he has prayed for—the fulfilment of our Father’s will. It is for this reason that thanksgiving is so inseparably joined with prayer. (See Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2.)

This is the will of God—i.e., that you should be always full of thanksgiving. This clause hardly enforces thanksgiving as a duty, “Give thanks always, for you recognise the duty of doing God’s will, and this is His will;” but rather encourages the Thessalonians to see that thankfulness is always possible. “Give thanks always, for God has no wish to give you cause for sorrow: His will towards you is to fill you with thankfulness.” “Towards you” seems here a more exact rendering than “concerning you.”

In Christ Jesus.—This kind and loving will of God for our good was most abundantly manifested in the life and death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, and even to this day it is chiefly manifested in what Christ Jesus still is for us (e.g. Hebrews 6:19-20).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 3:17; Job 1:21; Psalms 34:1; Hebrews 13:15
4:3; 1 Peter 2:15; 4:2; 1 John 2:17

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

The Bible Study New Testament

Be thankful in all circumstances. God gives "problem-opportunities." Every problem contains an opportunity; every opportunity contains a problem. Note this speaks to Christians (see Romans 8:28).

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:18". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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