· First Epistle to the Thessalonians ·

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CHAPTER 1
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1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy: to the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise and thanksgiving

2We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers, 3always remembering your work of faith, your labour of love and your patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father. 4Brethren beloved by God, we know that you are chosen 5and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance. You know how we lived among you for your sake 6You became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and this in spite of much affliction. 7And so, you became an example to all those who believe in Macedonia and Achaia. 8From you, the word of the Lord has been proclaimed, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith has been known in many other places, so that we have no need to say anything. 9Others have given us a report about how you received us and how you turned away from idols to God, to serve a living and true God 10and to wait for his Son from heaven. God has raised him from the dead – Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

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CHAPTER 2
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Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians

1You certainly know, brethren, that our visit to you was not in vain. 2Having suffered before and having been shamefully treated in Philippi, as you know, we became bold in our God to tell you the Good News of God in a context of much conflict. 3Certainly, our exhortation does not come from error, impurity, or deception. 4But since we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News, this is how we speak, not to please people but God who tests our hearts. 5We never used flattering words, as you know, and we never put a mask over greed, as God is witness. 6We did not seek glory from men, neither from you nor from others, even though we could have claimed authority as apostles of Christ. 7Instead, we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

8We became so devoted to you that we were pleased to share not only the Good News of God but also our very souls, because you had become very dear to us. 9Remember, brethren, our labour and hardship: we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to any of you as we preached to you the Good News of God. 10You are witnesses with God, how holy, righteously, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves towards you who believe. 11As you know, we exhorted, comforted, and implored every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12with the purpose that you should live worthily of God who calls you into his own Kingdom and glory. 13For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth: the word of God. And it is at work in you who believe. 14Indeed, brethren, you became imitators of the Churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judea, for you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews. 15They killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and they drove us out. Their conduct does not please God and makes them the enemies of the entire human race 16as they want to prevent us from speaking to the Gentiles, so that they may be saved. They are still bringing their sins to full measure, but the wrath is finally coming upon them.

Paul’s plans

17Brethren, although we were deprived of your presence for a short time, yet not in affection, we tried even harder to see you face to face with great eagerness, 18because we wanted to come to you. Certainly, I, Paul, wanted to come again and again – but Satan prevented us. 19For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not you, when our Lord Jesus Christ comes? 20Truly, you are our glory and our joy.

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CHAPTER 3
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1Therefore, when we could not stand it any longer, we thought that it would be good to be alone in Athens 2and to send Timothy, our brother and God’s minister in the Good News of Christ, so that he might confirm and comfort you in your faith, 3and that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you know that these must come our way. 4This is certain, and when we were with you, we told you in advance that we must suffer affliction. And this is what happened, as you know. 5For this reason, when I could not stand it any longer, I sent Timothy so that I might know your faith, fearing that in some way the tempter may have tempted you, so that our labour would have been in vain. 6But Timothy came back from his visit to you and brought us glad news of your faith and love. He mentioned your abiding good memories of us as well as your longing to see us just as we also long to see you. 7Through all this, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our distress and affliction through your faith. 8Now we have revived, since you stand fast in the Lord. 9What thanksgiving can we give back to God for you, for all the joy you give us to experience before our God? 10Yes, night and day, I pray intensely so that we may see you again and make perfect what is lacking in your faith. 11Now, may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12May the Lord grant you to increase and overflow in love one for each other and for everyone, even as we also do for you. 13And may the Lord establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father even to the end, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

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CHAPTER 4
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Exhortations – Brotherly love

1As for other matters, brethren, we beg and exhort you in the Lord Jesus: as you received from us how you should live to please God, do so even more. 2Certainly, you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3This is the will of God: your sanctification, and that you abstain from sexual immorality. 4Each one of you should know how to practice self-control of the body in sanctification and honour, 5not in lustful passions, as Gentiles who do not know God. 6No one should take advantage of or wrong a brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as also we warned you and testified to you. 7Truly, God did not call us for impurity but to sanctification. 8Therefore, whoever rejects this does not reject a human [command] but God, who has also given you his Holy Spirit.

9But concerning brotherly love, you have no need that anyone should write to you since you have learnt from God how to love one another, 10and this is what you do towards all the brethren who are throughout Macedonia. Yet, we exhort you, brethren, to overflow even more. 11Make it your goal to lead a quiet life, to take care of your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, even as we instructed you. 12Thus, you will live properly in the sight of those who are ‘outside’ and you will lack nothing.

Hope for Christians who have died

13We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like those have no hope do. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15We tell you the following by the word of the Lord: we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first, 17then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore, comfort one another with these words.

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CHAPTER 5
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The Lord comes like a thief in the night

1But concerning the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that anything be written to you. 2You know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. 3When people say, ‘Peace and safety’ then a sudden destruction will come upon them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape. 4As for you, brethren, you are not in darkness to allow the day to overtake you like a thief. 5You are all children of light, and children of the day. We do not belong to the night, or to the darkness. 6Therefore, let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch and be clear minded. 7Those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ 10who died for us, so that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, which is what you do.

Life in the Church

12Now, we beg you, brethren, to recognise those who work hard among you, who are set over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Respect and honour them in love because of their work.

Be at peace among yourselves. 14We exhort you, brethren, admonish the disorderly, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient towards all. 15See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good, both for one another and for all.

16Rejoice always. 17Pray without ceasing. 18Give thanks in everything because this is God’ will in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophesies. 21Test everything, and hold firmly to what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.

23May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24He who calls you is faithful and he will carry this out. 25Brethren, pray for us. 26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27I solemnly instruct you by the Lord that this letter should be read to all the holy brethren.

28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.