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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Thessalonians: Chapter 4)

4:1 {Finally} (\loipon\). Accusative of general reference of
\loipos\, as for the rest. It does not mean actual conclusion,
but merely a colloquial expression pointing towards the end
(Milligan) as in 2Co 13:11; 2Ti 4:8. So \to loipon\ in 2Th
3:1; Php 3:1; 4:8. {We beseech} (\erōtōmen\). Not "question" as
in ancient Greek, but as often in N.T. (1Th 5:12; 2Th 2:1; Php
and also in papyri to make urgent request of one. {How ye
(\to pōs dei humās\). Literally, explanatory articular
indirect question (\to pōs\) after \parelabēte\ according to
common classic idiom in Luke (Lu 1:62; 22:2,4,23,24) and Paul
(Ro 8:26). {That ye abound} (\hina perisseuēte\). Loose
construction of the \hina\ clause with present subjunctive after
two subordinate clauses with \kathōs\ (as, even as) to be
connected with "beseech and exhort." {More and more} (\mallon\).
Simply {more}, but added to same idea in \perisseuēte\. See also
verse 11.

4:2 {What charge} (\tinas paraggelias\). Plural, charges or
precepts, command (Ac 16:24), prohibition (Ac 5:28), right
living (1Ti 1:5). Military term in Xenophon and Polybius.

4:3 {Your sanctification} (\ho hagiasmos humōn\). Found only in
the Greek Bible and ecclesiastical writers from \hagiazō\ and
both to take the place of the old words \hagizō, hagismos\ with
their technical ideas of consecration to a god or goddess that
did not include holiness in life. So Paul makes a sharp and
pointed stand here for the Christian idea of sanctification as
being "the will of God" (apposition) and as further explained by
the epexegetic infinitive {that ye abstain from fornication}
(\apechesthai humas apo tēs porneias\). Pagan religion did not
demand sexual purity of its devotees, the gods and goddesses
being grossly immoral. Priestesses were in the temples for the
service of the men who came.

4:4 {That each one of you know how} (\eidenai hekaston humōn\).
Further epexegetic infinitive (second perfect active), learn how
and so know how (learn the habit of purity). {To possess himself
of his own vessel}
(\to heautou skeuos ktasthai\). Present middle
infinitive of \ktaomai\, to acquire, not \kektēsthai\, to
possess. But what does Paul mean by "his own vessel"? It can only
mean his own body or his own wife. Objections are raised against
either view, but perhaps he means that the man shall acquire his
own wife "in sanctification and honour," words that elevate the
wife and make it plain that Paul demands sexual purity on the
part of men (married as well as unmarried). There is no double
standard here. When the husband comes to the marriage bed, he
should come as a chaste man to a chaste wife.

4:5 {Not in the passion of lust} (\mē en pathei epithumias\).
Plain picture of the wrong way for the husband to come to
marriage. {That know not God} (\ta mē eidota ton theon\). Second
perfect participle of \oida\. The heathen knew gods as licentious
as they are themselves, but not God. One of the reasons for the
revival of paganism in modern life is professedly this very thing
that men wish to get rid of the inhibitions against
licentiousness by God.

4:6 {That no man transgress} (\to mē huperbainein\). Old verb to
go beyond. Final use of \to\ (accusative of general reference)
and the infinitive (negative \mē\), parallel to \apechesthai\ and
\eidenai ktasthai\ above. {And wrong his brother} (\kai
pleonektein ton adelphon autou\)
. To take more, to overreach, to
take advantage of, to defraud. {In the matter} (\en tōi
. The delicacy of Paul makes him refrain from plainer
terms and the context makes it clear enough as in 2Co 7:11
(\tōi pragmati\). {An avenger} (\ekdikos\). Regular term in the
papyri for legal avenger. Modern men and women need to remember
that God is the avenger for sexual wrongs both in this life and
the next.

4:7 {Not for uncleanness, but in sanctification} (\epi
akatharsiāi all' en hagiasmōi\)
. Sharp contrast made still
sharper by the two prepositions \epi\ (on the basis of) and \en\
(in the sphere of). God has "called" us all for a decent sex life
consonant with his aims and purposes. It was necessary for Paul
to place this lofty ideal before the Thessalonian Christians
living in a pagan world. It is equally important now.

4:8 {Therefore} (\toigaroun\). This old triple compound particle
(\toi, gar, oun\) is in the N.T. only here and Heb 12:1. Paul
applies the logic of the case. {He that rejecteth} (\ho
. This late verb (Polybius and LXX) is from \a-thetos\
(\a\ privative and verbal of \tithēmi\, to proscribe a thing, to
annul it.)
{But God} (\alla ton theon\). Paul sees this clearly
and modern atheists see it also. In order to justify their
licentiousness they do not hesitate to set aside God.

4:9 {Concerning love of the brethren} (\peri tēs philadelphias\).
Late word, love of brothers or sisters. In profane Greek (one
papyrus example)
and LXX the word means love of those actually
kin by blood, but in the N.T. it is the kinship in the love of
Christ as here. {Are taught by God} (\theodidaktoi este\). Only
here and ecclesiastical writers. Passive verbal adjective in
\-tos\ from \didaskō\ as if \theo-\ in ablative case like
\didaktoi theou\ (Joh 6:45). {To love one another} (\eis to
agapāin allēlous\)
. Another example of \eis to\ and the
infinitive. Only those taught of God keep on loving one another,
love neighbours and even enemies as Jesus taught (Mt 5:44).
Note the use of \agapaō\, not \phileō\.

4:10 {Ye do it} (\poieite auto\). The \auto\ refers to \to
agapāin allēlous\ (to love one another). Delicate praise.

4:11 {That ye study to be quiet} (\philotimeisthai hēsuchazein\).
First infinitive dependent on \parakaloumen\ (verse 10, we
exhort you)
, the second on \philotimeisthai\ (old verb from
\philotimos\, fond of honour, \philos, timē\)
. The notion of
ambition appears in each of the three N.T. examples (1Th 4:11;
2Co 5:9; Ro 5:20)
, but it is ambition to do good, not evil. The
word ambition is Latin (_ambitio_ from _ambo, ire_), to go on
both sides to accomplish one's aims and often evil). A preacher
devoid of ambition lacks power. There was a restless spirit in
Thessalonica because of the misapprehension of the second coming.
So Paul urges an ambition to be quiet or calm, to lead a quiet
life, including silence (Ac 11:18). {To do your own business}
(\prassein ta idia\). Present infinitive like the others, to have
the habit of attending to their own affairs (\ta idia\). This
restless meddlesomeness here condemned Paul alludes to again in
2Th 3:11 in plainer terms. It is amazing how much wisdom people
have about other people's affairs and so little interest in their
own. {To work with your own hands} (\ergazesthai tais chersin
. Instrumental case (\chersin\). Paul gave a new dignity
to manual labour by precept and example. There were "pious"
idlers in the church in Thessalonica who were promoting trouble.
He had commanded them when with them.

4:12 {That ye may walk honestly} (\hina peripatēte euschēmonōs\).
Present subjunctive (linear action). Old adverb from \euschēmōn\
(\eu, schēma\, Latin _habitus_, graceful figure), becomingly,
decently. In N.T. only here and Ro 13:13. This idea includes
honest financial transactions, but a good deal more. People
outside the churches have a right to watch the conduct of
professing Christians in business, domestic life, social life,

4:13 {We would not have} (\ou thelomen\). We do not wish. {You
(\humas agnoein\). Old word, not to know (\a\
privative, \gno-\, root of \ginōskō\)
. No advantage in ignorance
of itself. {Concerning them that fall asleep} (\peri tōn
. Present passive (or middle) participle (Aleph B)
rather than the perfect passive \kekoimēmenōn\ of many later MSS.
From old \koimaō\, to put to sleep. Present tense gives idea of
repetition, from time to time fall asleep. Greeks and Romans used
this figure of sleep for death as Jesus does (Joh 11:11) and
N.T. generally (cf. our word _cemetery_). Somehow the
Thessalonians had a false notion about the dead in relation to
the second coming. {Even as the rest which have no hope} (\kathōs
hoi loipoi hoi mē echontes elpida\)
. This picture of the
hopelessness of the pagan world about the future life is amply
illustrated in ancient writings and particularly by inscriptions
on tombs (Milligan). Some few pagans clung to this hope, but most
had none.

4:14 {For if we believe} (\ei gar pisteuomen\). Condition of
first class, assuming the death and resurrection of Jesus to be
true. {In Jesus} (\dia tou Iēsou\). Literally, through or by
means of Jesus. It is amphibolous in position and can be taken
either with \tous koimēthentas\ (that are fallen asleep in or
through Jesus)
like \hoi koimēthentes en Christōi\ in 1Co 15:18
and probably correct or with \axei\ (through Jesus with God).
{With him} (\sun autōi\). Together with Jesus. Jesus is the
connecting link (\dia\) for those that sleep (\koimēthentas\
first aorist passive, but with middle sense)
and their

4:15 {By the word of the Lord} (\en logōi Kuriou\). We do not
know to what word of the Lord Jesus Paul refers, probably Paul
meaning only the point in the teaching of Christ rather than a
quotation. He may be claiming a direct revelation on this
important matter as about the Lord's Supper in 1Co 11:23. Jesus
may have spoken on this subject though it has not been preserved
to us (cf. Mr 9:1). {Ye that are alive} (\hēmeis hoi zōntes\).
Paul here includes himself, but this by no means shows that Paul
knew that he would be alive at the Parousia of Christ. He was
alive, not dead, when he wrote. {Shall in no wise precede} (\ou
mē phthasōmen\)
. Second aorist active subjunctive of \phthanō\,
to come before, to anticipate. This strong negative with \ou mē\
(double negative) and the subjunctive is the regular idiom
(Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 929). Hence there was no ground for
uneasiness about the dead in Christ.

4:16 {With a shout} (\en keleusmati\). Note this so-called
instrumental use of \en\. Old word, here only in N.T., from
\keleuō\, to order, command (military command). Christ will come
as Conqueror. {With the voice of the archangel} (\en phōnēi
. Further explanation of \keleusmati\ (command). The
only archangel mentioned in N.T. is Michael in Jude 1:9. But
note absence of article with both \phōnēi\ and \archaggelou\. The
reference may be thus indefinite. {With the trump of God} (\en
salpiggi theou\)
. Trumpet. See same figure in 1Co 15:52. {The
dead in Christ shall rise first}
(\hoi nekroi en Christōi
anastēsontai prōton\)
. {First} here refers plainly to the fact
that, so far from the dead in Christ having no share in the
Parousia, they will rise before those still alive are changed.

4:17 {Then} (\epeita\). The next step, not the identical time
(\tote\), but immediately afterwards. {Together with them} (\hama
sun autois\)
. Note both \hama\ (at the same time) and \sun\
(together with) with the associative instrumental case \autois\
(the risen saints). {Shall be caught up} (\harpagēsometha\).
Second future passive indicative of \harpazō\, old verb to seize,
to carry off like Latin _rapio_. {To meet the Lord in the air}
(\eis apantēsin tou Kuriou eis aera\). This special Greek idiom
is common in the LXX like the Hebrew, but Polybius has it also
and it occurs in the papyri (Moulton, _Proleg_., p. 14, n. 3).
This rapture of the saints (both risen and changed) is a glorious
climax to Paul's argument of consolation. {And so} (\kai
. This is the outcome, to be forever with the Lord,
whether with a return to earth or with an immediate departure for
heaven Paul does not say. To be with Christ is the chief hope of
Paul's life (1Th 5:10; Php 1:23; Col 3:4; 2Co 5:8).

4:18 {With these words} (\en tois logois toutois\). In these
words. They were a comfort to the Thessalonians as they still
comfort the people of God.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 Thessalonians: Chapter 4)