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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:4

 

 

But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

Adam Clarke Commentary

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness - Probably St. Paul refers to a notion that was very prevalent among the Jews, viz.: that God would judge the Gentiles in the night time, when utterly secure and careless; but he would judge the Jews in the day time, when employed in reading and performing the words of the law. The words in Midrash Tehillim, on Psalm 9:8, are the following: When the holy blessed God shall judge the Gentiles, it shall be in the night season, in which they shall be asleep in their transgressions; but when he shall judge the Israelites, it shall be in the day time, when they are occupied in the study of the law. This maxim the apostle appears to have in view in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8;)


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief - The allusion here is to the manner in which a thief or robber accomplishes his purpose. He comes in the night, when people are asleep. So, says the apostle, the Lord will come to the wicked. They are like those who are asleep when the thief comes upon them. But it is not so with Christians. They are, in relation to the coming of the day of the Lord, as people are who are awake when the robber comes. They could see his approach, and could prepare for it, so that it would not take them by surprise.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Thessalonians 5:4

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness

Responsibility for religious privileges

It is universally admitted that the extent of our responsibility is to be measured by the amount of our privilege.
Hence our Lord said, “To whom men have committed much, of him will they ask more.” It is in harmony with this that the apostle makes the appeal in our text.

I. Our privileges as a Christian Church. “Not in darkness,” but in light as regards--

1. A knowledge of the true God. This lies at the foundation of religion. It is only by knowing God that we come to know ourselves. Had we no perfect standard of what is pure and lovely, were we allowed to frame some model of perfection, each would select that character for imitation, which reflected least discredit on his own. But tell us what God is, and you tell us what God loves; and what He loves man should love also. But the Thessalonians not only enjoyed through the gospel light a correct doctrine of God: they, as are all true Christians, were brought into an experimental knowledge through peace with Him.

2. The Word and ordinances of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:12).

3. We can understand now the propriety of this appeal. “Once ye had no knowledge of God and Divine flyings. This darkness has passed. Yours must be the fault, therefore, if the day should overtake you as a thief.”

II. The motives which should urge us to the right improvement of Christian privileges.

1. Their tendency to promote personal religion.

2. The danger that we may suddenly lose them. The “day” here is the day of judgment, but practically for us that is the day of death. When that will come we know not; but lest it should find as slumbering, let us be on our guard always, and not flatter ourselves with a false peace. (D. Moore, M. A.)

Two views of death

“I am taking a fearful leap in the dark,” said the dying infidel, Hobbes. “This is heaven begun, I have done with darkness forever, nothing remains but light and joy,” said the dying believer, Thomas Scott. (Sunday at Home.)

Ready to die

When Gordon Pasha was taken prisoner by the Abyssinians he completely checkmated King John. The King received his prisoner sitting on his throne, or whatever piece of furniture did duty for that exalted seat, a chair being placed for the prisoner considerably lower than the seat on which the King sat. The first thing the Pasha did was to seize this chair, place it alongside of his Majesty, and sit down on it: the next to inform him that he met him as an equal and would only treat him as such. This somewhat disconcerted his sable majesty, but on recovering himself he said, “Do you know, Gordon Pasha, that I could kill you on the spot if I liked?” “I am perfectly well aware of it, your Majesty,” said the Pasha. “Do so at once if it is your Royal pleasure. I am ready.” This disconcerted the King still mores and he exclaimed, “What I ready to be killed?” “Certainly,” replied the Pasha, “I am always ready to die, and so far from fearing your putting me to death, you would confer a favour on me by so doing, for you would be doing for me that which I am precluded by my religious scruples from doing for myself--you would relieve me from all the troubles and misfortunes which the future may have in store for me.” This completely staggered King John, who gasped out in despair, “Then my power has no terrors for you?” “None whatever,” was the Pasha’s laconic reply. His Majesty, it is needless to add, instantly collapsed.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Thessalonians 5:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that day should overtake you as a thief:

Darkness is used here as antithetical to light, and very similarly to the writings of John; these passages refer not to literal darkness and light, but to the state of rebellion against God (darkness) and to the state of obedience (light). Wesley's paraphrase of this is:

But ye members of the church, living in the light, expecting the coming of your Lord (Matthew 25:10) cannot be surprised. Your knowledge and faith lead you to be always ready.[11]

The ASV in this place follows the rendition in KJV and this is good. As Morris said, "The KJV has better manuscript attestation ... the sense of KJV is better."[12]

As a thief ... The Lord himself used this figure; a thief gives no warning of his coming.

[11] John Wesley, One Volume New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1972), in loco.

[12] Leon Morris, Tyndale Commentary, 1,2Thessalonians (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), p. 92.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-thessalonians-5.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness,.... In a state of unregeneracy, which is a state of darkness, blindness, and ignorance, and which is the condition of all men by nature; they are born in darkness, and are brought up in it, and willingly, walk in it; they are covered with it, as the earth was covered with darkness in its first creation; and dwell in it, as the Egyptians did for some days, in thick darkness, darkness which might be felt; their understandings are darkened with respect to the true knowledge of God, the nature of sin, the way of salvation by Christ, the work of the spirit of God upon the soul, and the necessity of it, the Scriptures of truth, and the mysteries of the Gospel; and which is the case of God's elect themselves, while unregenerate: but now these persons were called out of darkness, turned from it, and delivered from the power of it; and therefore knew that the day of the Lord comes as above described, by the metaphors of a thief in the night, and a woman with child, and needed not to be informed about that matter: or

that that day should overtake you as a thief; or seize and lay hold upon you as a thief who comes in the dark, and lays hold upon a person suddenly; but these saints were not in the dark, but in the light, and so could see when the day of the Lord came; and would not be surprised with it, as a man is seized with terror and fright, when laid hold on by a thief; since they would be, or at least should be on their watch, and be looking out for, and hasting to the coming of the day of God.


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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

2 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

(2) Returning to exhortations, he warns us who are enlightened with the knowledge of God, that it is our duty not to live securely in pleasures, lest we be suddenly taken in a dead sleep in pleasures. But contrary to this we are to have an eye to the Lord, and not allow ourselves to be oppressed with the cares of this world, for pleasures are fitting for the darkness of the night, and having an eye to the Lord is fitting for the light.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

not in darkness — not in darkness of understanding (that is, spiritual ignorance) or of the moral nature (that is, a state of sin), Ephesians 4:18.

thatGreek, “in order that”; with God results are all purposed.

that dayGreek, “THE day”; the day of the Lord (Hebrews 10:25, “the day”), in contrast to “darkness.”

overtake — unexpectedly (compare John 12:35).

as a thief — The two oldest manuscripts read, “as (the daylight overtakes) thieves” (Job 24:17). Old manuscripts and Vulgate read as English Version.


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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.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

As a thief (ως κλεπτηςhōs kleptēs). As in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, but A B Bohairic have κλεπταςkleptas (thieves), turning the metaphor round.


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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)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-thessalonians-5.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Overtake ( καταλάβῃ )

See on comprehended, John 1:5.

A thief ( κλέπτης )

Tischendorf, Weiss, and Rev. T. retain this reading. Westcott and Hort read κλέπτας thievesbut with κλέπτης in margin. The weight of textual evidence is in favor of the singular.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-thessalonians-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ye are not in darkness - Sleeping secure in sin.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4But ye, brethren. He now admonishes them as to what is the duty of believers, that they look forward in hope to that day, though it be remote. And this is what is intended in the metaphor of day and light. The coming of Christ will take by surprise those that are carelessly giving way to indulgence, because, being enveloped in darkness, they see nothing, for no darkness is more dense than ignorance of God. We, on the other hand, on whom Christ has shone by the faith of his gospel, differ much from them, for that saying of Isaiah is truly accomplished in us, that

while darkness covers the earth, the Lord arises upon us, and his glory is seen in us. (Isaiah 60:2)

He admonishes us, therefore, that it were an unseemly thing that we should be caught by Christ asleep, as it were, or seeing nothing, while the full blaze of light is shining forth upon us. He calls them children of light, in accordance with the Hebrew idiom, as meaning — furnished with light; as also children of the day, meaning — those who enjoy the light of day. (594) And this he again confirms, when he says that we are not of the night nor of darkness, because the Lord has rescued us from it. For it is as though he had said, that we have not been enlightened by the Lord with a view to our walking in darkness.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Ver. 4. Should overtake you as a thief] Though it come upon you as a thief in a time uncertain. Free you are from the destruction of that day, though not altogether free from the distraction of it, till somewhat recollected you remember that now your redemption draweth nigh. Hence the saints love Christ’s appearing, 2 Timothy 4:8; look for it with outstretched necks, and long after it, Revelation 22:20.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Note here, the wisdom and holy caution of our apostle in his application to the Thessalonians; he had in the foregoing verses asserted the certainty and suddenness of Christ's coming, namely, to destroy Jerusalem, and to judge the world. Now, lest these Christians should be terrified in their minds, and shaken with apprehensions of fear from that sudden destruction he had mentioned, he casts in a seasonable word of comfort here in the words before us, assuring them that were sincere Christians amongst them, that how sudden soever the coming and appearance of Christ might be, yet it should not find them unready and unprepared for it, because they were not in darkness, but in the light, and were not children of the night, but of the day; that is, they were not now in a state of heathenism, but Christianity; they were not any longer in their gross and natural ignorance of God, as they were before conversion, but they were the children of the light and of the day; living and walking in the light of the gospel, and in all holiness of conversation.

Learn hence, that as sincere Christians are freed from the gross darkness of their natural state, from the darkness and ignorance of sin, and do walk in the light of a holy conversation, so their knowledge and practical holiness will be a good security against the terror of surprising afflictions, and particularly against the dread and terror of the day of judgment: Ye are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

4.] ἐν σκότει refers back to ἐν νυκτὶ above—in the ignorance and moral slumber of the world which knows not God. τῷ παραβολικῷ ἐπέμεινε σχήματι, κ. σκότος μὲν καλεῖ τὴν ἄγνοιαν, ἡμέραν δὲ τὴν γνῶσιν, Thdrt. τὸν σκοτεινὸν κ. ἀκάθαρτον βίον φησί, Chrys. Both combined give the right meaning.

ἵνα] not ‘so that,’ here or any where else: but that,—in order that: it gives the purpose in the divine arrangement: for with God all results are purposed.

ἡ ἡμέρα] not, ‘that day,’ but the DAY—the meaning of ἡμέρα as distinguished from σκότος being brought out, and ἡ ἡμέρα being put in the place of emphasis accordingly. This not having been seen, its situation was altered, to throw the first stress on ὑμᾶς, which properly has the second. That this is so, is plain from what follows, 1 Thessalonians 5:5.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1863-1878.

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

1 Thessalonians 5:4. ὑμεῖς δέ] but ye, in contrast to the unbelieving and worldly-minded described in 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

ἐστέ] indicative, not imperative; for otherwise μὴ ἔστε would require to be written instead of οὐκ ἐστέ (see Schmalfeld, Syntax des Griech. Verb. p. 143), not to mention that, according to the Pauline view, Christians as such, i.e. in their ideas and principles, are no more σκότος, but φῶς ἐν κυρίῳ; comp. Ephesians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Colossians 1:12. The expression σκότος, darkness, here occasioned by the comparison ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτί, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, is a designation of the ruined condition of the sinful and unredeemed world, which in its estrangement from God is neither enlightened concerning the divine will, nor possesses power to fulfil it.

ἵνα ὑμᾶς ἡμέρα κ. τ. λ.] By ὑμᾶς placed first the readers are fittingly and emphatically brought forward in opposition to those described in 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

ἵνα is not ἐκβατικῶς in the sense of so that (Flatt, Pelt, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, and others), but τελικῶς: that, or in order that. But the design contained in ἵνα is to be referred to God. Paul intends to say: Ye are not among the unbelieving world alienated from God, and thus the design which God has in view in reference to that unbelieving and alienated world, namely, to surprise them by the day of the Lord, can have no application to you. Why this design of God can have no application to the readers, the apostle accordingly states—


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Lest these believing Thessalonians should be terrified in their minds by this discourse, he adds this by way of comfort to them, that they shall not be surprised as others; though they did not know the particular time of Christ’s coming, yet it would not find them unprepared for it as the world would be; and the reason he gives is, because they are not in darkness.

Darkness is to be taken metaphorically; and so in Scripture it is taken either for sin, ignorance, or misery. The two former are here meant, especially ignorance. These Thessalonians were brought into the light of the gospel; they had the knowledge of Christ, and the way of salvation by him; particularly they knew of his coming, and the manner and ends of his coming, which the infidel world did not; and though Christ’s coming would be to others as a thief in the night, yet not to them.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Ye; Christians.

Not in darkness; the darkness of ignorance and sin. They had been enlightened by the reception of the truth.

Should overtake you; surprise you in an unprepared state, as a thief does.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Family Bible New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-thessalonians-5.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

4. ὑμεῖς δὲ, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σκότει, ἵνα ἡ ἡμέρα κ.τ.λ. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as thieves (or as a thief). With the opening ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ cf. Ephesians 4:20; and for ἐν σκότει, see 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:12 f. In the last of the above passages also “darkness” and “light” are conceived as two opposite regions or realms, dividing men between them; cf. John 3:19 ff.; 1 John 1:5 ff. “In darkness” one may be “surprised”—one is sure to be so if asleep, or ἐν μέθῃ (1 Thessalonians 5:7)—by the breaking in of “the day.” Ἡ ἡμέρα is “the day” whose coming was described in 1 Thessalonians 5:2; for this emphatic breviloquence, cf. Romans 13:12, 1 Corinthians 3:13, Hebrews 10:25; similarly “the wrath” in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 above.

We have preferred in the Textual Note the Received reading κλέπτης to κλέπτας, which is adopted by WH and Lightfoot. The inversion involved in κλέπτας, transforming the “thief” from the cause of the surprise (1 Thessalonians 5:2) into its object, abrupt as it is, one might admit as possible in St Paul; but it seems incongruous here, and such incongruity is un-Pauline: the subsequent context describes the “sons of night” as sleeping or drunken, quite otherwise than as thieves, who are alert and careful. Moreover, καταλάβῃ bears a stress which should have fallen upon ὡς κλέπτας in the ordo verborum, if the metaphor had been turned about and a new bearing unexpectedly given to it. It is a thief-like surprise that “the day” brings with it; not such a surprise as falls upon thieves at their night’s work. For καταλαμβάνω in this hostile sense, cf. John 12:35, Mark 9:18; in its good sense, Philippians 3:12. With the reading ὡς κλέπτας, the verb would have a shade of detection in it; cf. [Jo.] John 8:3.

The strict telic force of ἵνα might be maintained by conceiving the clause as a statement of God’s purpose “in His merciful dispensation implied in οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σκότει” (Ellicott); or better, according to Bornemann, as the purpose of God for the opposite class of men who are ἐν σκότει, as though the Apostle meant, “You are not in darkness,—not so placed that the day may surprise you.” “But the word is better taken here as simply expressing the result or consequence [of being in darkness], a meaning which, in the decline of the Greek language, gradually displaced the original signification of ἵνα” (Lightfoot); cf. Galatians 5:17. This conjunction in the κοινή was slipping down from the final (telic), through the eventual (ecbatic), sense into the use assigned to it in Byzantine and Modern Greek, where, in the form νά, it serves as a bare infinitive particle. See Winer-Moulton, pp. 572 ff.; A. Buttmann, pp. 235 ff. The ἵνα after παρακαλοῦμεν (1 Thessalonians 4:1) is somewhat different (see note).


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Bibliography
"Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1896.

George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians

4. ὑμεῖς δέ κτλ.] ὑμεῖς emphatic, and conjoined with the following ἀδελφοί suggesting a direct contrast to the unbelieving men of v. 3: cf. Ephesians 4:20. Whatever the past state of the Thessalonians may have been, in the eyes of the Apostles they are no longer ( οὐκ ἐστέ) in darkness, the reference being not merely to mental ignorance (Thdt. τὴν ἄγνοιαν), but, as the sequel shows, including also the thought of moral estrangement from God (Chrys. τὸν σκοτεινὸν καὶ ἀκάθαρτον βίον). For the general thought cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 5:8, Colossians 1:12. τὸ (for ) σκότος, rare in good Attic writers, is the regular form in the N.T.: cf. LXX. Isaiah 42:16.

ἵνα ἡ ἡμέρα κτλ.] It is possible to give ἵνα here its full telic force (cf. 2:16) as indicating the Divine purpose for those who are still ἐν σκότει, but it is simpler to find another instance of its well-established late ecbatic use, ‘so that the day …’: see the note on 4:1. ἡ ἡμέρα can only be ‘the day’ already referred to (v. 2), the day par excellence, the day of judgment, while for καταλάβῃ (Vg. comprehendat, Beza deprehendat) of ‘overtake’ in a hostile sense cf. Mark 9:18, John 12:35, and the saying ascribed to the Lord ἐν οἷς ἂν ὑμᾶς, καταλάβω, ἐν τούτοις καὶ κρινῶ (Just. M. Dial. 47).

ὡς κλέπτας] By an inversion of metaphor by no means uncommon in the Pauline writings (cf. 2:7b note), the figure of the ‘thief’ is now transferred from the cause of the surprise (v. 2) to its object, the idea being that as the ‘day’ unpleasantly surprises the thief who has failed in carrying through his operations, so ‘the day’ will ‘overtake’ those who are not prepared for it. The reading however, though well-attested, is by no means certain, and the dependence of the whole passage on Matthew 24:43 (Luke 12:39) may be taken as supporting the easier κλέπτης (WH. mg). Weiss (Textkritik p. 17) regards ὑμᾶς ὡς κλέπτας as a ‘purely mechanical conformation.’


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Bibliography
Milligan, George. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gmt/1-thessalonians-5.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.’

The day overtakes these people because they are in darkness. They are asleep in the wrong sense. But Christians, who are no longer under the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13), nor walking in darkness (John 8:12; 1 John 1:6) should be watching, that is living their lives in the light of His coming, and therefore will not be caught out.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-thessalonians-5.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. From the physical darkness of the advent night St. Paul passes allusively to the deeper mental darkness wrapping the souls of the careless in regard to that event. Ye are not in that deeper darkness of spirit, and so, however dark the physical night of the advent, it is all clear to your mind’s eye.

That—Greek, in order that; for infidel unbelief is by God’s purpose predestined to this sudden destruction.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. There is nothing appalling to the Christian, in the suddenness of the Lord’s coming, for to those who are waiting and longing for Him, He cannot come as a thief and find them unprepared. The full light of day is no surprise to those who have been eagerly watching for the morning. It is anticipated, longed for, welcome. Those are ‘in darkness’ who have not accepted what Christ, the Light of the world, taught; who do not accept His life as their example, nor believe in those principles which it exemplifies; who do not think of God as holy, loving, and near; but who have desires to fulfil, which for their fulfilment require that the knowledge of God and of ourselves which Christ brought into the world be held in abeyance. He who feels he can get on better without those ideas and principles and that connection with God which Christ has brought to light, he who feels that all he is most concerned about would thrive much better in a world that shut out Christ, this man is ‘in darkness.’ And as be needs and counts on this darkness for the fulfilment of all his schemes and hopes, the return of Christ to enforce the principles He revealed in His first coming is distasteful, unreckoned on, destructive. With Christians it is not so, because they are ‘not in darkness;’ what they are, Paul proceeds to state.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:4. From the sudden and unexpected nature of the Last Day, Paul passes, by a characteristic inversion of metaphor in κλέπτας, to a play of thought upon the day as light. A double symbolism of ἡμέρα, as of κοιμᾶσθαι, thus pervades 4–8. Lightfoot cites a very striking parallel from Eur., Iph. Taur., 1025–1026.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Overtake you. It is a subject of astonishment, that some people are so childishly afraid of the last day, that they cannot think of it without consternation, lest it should happen in their time. Weak souls! Do they not recollect that death will certainly overtake them, and that will be to them individually the end of the world, and the last day. The whole world then does perish as far as regards them. (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:4 “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief”

“But yet”: In contrast to the unbelievers. “Are not in darkness”: The Christian is no longer in spiritual darkness and separated from God (Colossians 1:12-14; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:8). In addition, we have the light of God"s word, so that we are not in ignorance either (Psalms 119:105). We are right with God and we know Jesus could come at any time. Hence there is no good reason why Christ"s appearing should catch up unprepared. “That day”: The same day mentioned in 5:3. Again, the Premillennial viewpoint is failing to fit these clear passages. If all Christians have been removed from the earth prior to 1 Thessalonians 5:3, then how could "that day" find these Christians or any Christians unprepared? According to the Premillennial theory, all Christians have been removed from this world prior to the Lord coming in judgment upon the unbelievers.

It is clear that Paul believes that the events of happen at the same time as the events of 5:1-3, seeing that Paul still has Christians on this earth when the Lord comes to judge and condemn the unrighteous.

“Overtake”: To take eagerly, seize, possess, thus overtake. “As a thief”: “Unpredictable events have different effects on those who are unprepared for them and those who are ready for them” (Marshall p. 136). Stott notes, “The apostle explains that there is no need for us to be alarmed by the prospect of the Lord"s coming, because there is no need for it to take us by surprise. Christ"s coming is definitely going to be unexpected. The solution to our problem lies not in knowing when He will come, but in staying awake and alert” (p. 110). The point that Paul will be making is that if we live in the "light", we are always prepared, but if we live in the "darkness" we will be always unprepared.


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

that = in order that. Greek. hina.

overtake. Greek. katalambano. See John 1:5.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Not in darkness - of understanding (i:e., spiritual ignorance), or of the moral nature (i:e., sin) (Ephesians 4:18; 1 John 2:9).

That , [ hina (Greek #2443)] - 'in order that:' with God results are all purposed.

That day - Greek, 'THE day:' the day of the Lord (Hebrews 10:25), in contrast to "darkness."

Overtake - unexpectedly (cf. John 12:35). As a thief. So 'Aleph (') Delta f g, Vulgate. But A B, kleptas for kleptees (Greek #2812). 'As (the daylight overtakes) thieves' (Job 24:17).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

The Day should not take you by surprise. Darkness is symbolic of ignorance. Christians are instructed in truth, and will not be caught unprepared. [If they obey Hebrews 6:1-3. ]


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-thessalonians-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) But ye.—“Though the world (which lieth in darkness) may be surprised at the coming of the Day, you, members of the Church, living in the light, cannot be surprised.” The words “in darkness” seem to be suggested by the mention of “night” in 1 Thessalonians 5:2; and the chief thought (as the succeeding verses show) is that of supineness, inattention, torpor, not so much either ignorance or sin.

That day.—Literally, the day: so that it does not mean the Judgment Day simply as a point of time, but brings out its characteristic of being a day indeed. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:13.)

As a thief.—There is another reading which has two of the best MSS. and he Coptic version in its favour, and the judgment of Lachmann and Dr. Lightfoot,” As thieves.” But not only is the evidence from the MSS. strongly in favour of the Received text, but the whole context shows that St. Paul was not thinking of the day as catching them at evil practices, but as catching them in inadvertence.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
are
Romans 13:11-13; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9,10; 1 John 2:8
overtake
Deuteronomy 19:6; 28:15,45; Jeremiah 42:16; Hosea 10:9; Zechariah 1:6

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-thessalonians-5.html.


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Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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