ST. PAULíS First Epistle to the THESSALONIANS
Paul, and Sylvanus, and Timotheus, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We give thanks to God always for you all (making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of our God and Father,) knowing, beloved brethren, your election of God. For our gospel came not to you in word only, but also with power, and with the Holy Ghost, and with much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you, for your sake. And ye became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye became examples to all that believed in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith toward God went abroad in every place also, so that we need not speak any thing. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entrance to you we had, and how ye turned from idols to God, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he hath raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come.
For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance to you, that it was not in vain: But even after we had suffered before, and had been shamefully treated at Philippi, as ye know, we were bold through our God to speak to you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation is not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile. But as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, who trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness: God is witness: Nor sought we glory of men, neither from you, nor from others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle in the midst of you, even as a nurse cherisheth her own children. So loving you tenderly, we were ready to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but our own souls also, because ye were dear to us. For ye remember, brethren, our labor and toil: Working night and day, that we might not burden any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God, how holily, and justly, and unblamably we behaved among you that believe; as ye know how we exhorted and comforted every one of you, as a father his own children, and charged you to walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, even because when ye received the word of God which ye heard from us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, who likewise effectually worketh in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God in Christ Jesus, which are in Judea; for ye also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, as they likewise from the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men; forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved; to fill up their sins always; but wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, labored with great desire the more abundantly to see your face. Wherefore we would have come to you (even I Paul) once and again, but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not ye also before our Lord Jesus at his appearing? For ye are our glory and joy.
Therefore, when we could bear no longer we thought good to be left at Athens alone, and sent Timotheus our brother and a minister of God, and our fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and to comfort you concerning your faith; that no one might be moved by these afflictions; for ye yourselves know that we are appointed hereto: For when we were with you we told you before we should be afflicted; as it came to pass, and ye know. Therefore when I could bear no longer, I sent to know your faith, lest by any means the tempter should have tempted you, and our labor be in vain. But now when Timotheus was come to us from you, and had brought us the good tidings of your faith and love, and that ye have a good remembrance of us always, longing to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith. For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy wherewith we rejoice for your sake before our God? Night and day praying exceedingly, that we may see your face, and perfect that which is wanting in your faith. Now our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love toward one another, and toward all men, as we also do toward you. That he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness, (before our God and Father, at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,) with all his saints.
It remaineth, then, brethren, that we beseech and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, that ye abound therein more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication; that every one of you know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in passionate desire, as the Gentiles who know not God. That none circumvent or defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger of all these things, as we have also told you before and testified. For God hath not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God: Who hath also given you his Holy Spirit.
Touching brotherly love, we need not write to you: For ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia; but we exhort you, brethren, that ye increase more and more, and that ye study to be quiet and do your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk decently toward them that are without, and may want nothing.
Now we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others who have, no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so will God bring with him those also that sleep in Jesus. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the appearing of the Lord, shall not prevent them that are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive who are left, shall be caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; so shall we be ever with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write to you. For ye yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. When they say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all children of the light, and children of the day: We are not children of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as the others, but let us awake and keep awake. For they that sleep, sleep in the night, and they that are drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day keep awake, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we may live together with him. Wherefore comfort one another and edify one another, as also ye do.
Now we beseech you, brethren, to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you. And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake, and be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, warn the disorderly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be long-suffering toward all men. See that none render to any man evil for evil, but ever follow that which is good, both to one another and to all men. Rejoice evermore: Pray without ceasing: In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly: and may the whole of you, the spirit, and the soul, and the body, be preserved blameless unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss. I adjure you by the Lord, that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.