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1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Context
A Life Pleasing to God

4:1 Finally then, brothers and sisters, 1  we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us about how 2  you must live and please God (as you are in fact living) 3  that you do so more and more. 4:2 For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 4:3 For this is God’s will: that you become holy, 4  that you keep away from sexual immorality, 4:4 that each of you know how to possess his own body 5  in holiness and honor, 4:5 not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God. 4:6 In this matter no one should violate the rights of his brother or take advantage of him, 6  because the Lord is the avenger in all these cases, 7  as we also told you earlier and warned you solemnly. 4:7 For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 4:8 Consequently the one who rejects this is not rejecting human authority 8  but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

4:9 Now on the topic of brotherly love 9  you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another. 4:10 And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters 10  in all of Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11  4:11 to aspire to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you. 4:12 In this way you will live 12  a decent life before outsiders and not be in need. 13 

1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:4.

2 sn As you received instruction from us about how (Grk “as you received from us how”). The Greek word translated received is used for accepting instructions passed on as fixed traditions from teacher to follower. Paul speaks in these terms about doctrinal traditions as well as ethical instruction that he passes on to his converts and expects them to keep (cf. 1 Cor 11:2, 23; 15:1-3; Gal 1:9; Phil 4:9; 2 Thess 2:15; 3:6).

3 tc This parenthetical clause is absent in several later witnesses (D2 Ψ Ï), but it may have been expunged for sounding redundant. The longer text, in this instance, is solidly supported by א A B D* F G 0183vid 0278 33 81 104 326 365 629 al co and should be unquestionably preferred.

4 tn Or “your sanctification.”

5 tn Grk “to gain [or possess] his own vessel.” “Vessel” is most likely used figuratively for “body” (cf. 2 Cor 4:7). Some take it to mean “wife” (thus, “to take a wife for himself” or “to live with his wife”), but this is less likely. See J. Smith, “1 Thess 4:4 – Breaking the Impasse,” BBR 10 (Fall 2000), who argues that “vessel” in this context is very likely a euphemism for the sexual organs.

6 tn Grk “not to transgress against or defraud his brother in the matter,” continuing the sentence of vv. 3-5.

7 tn Grk “concerning all these things.”

8 tn Grk “rejecting man.”

9 tn Grk “concerning brotherly love.”

10 tn Grk “brothers”; this applies to the second occurrence as well. See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 1:4.

11 sn To do so more and more. See 1 Thess 4:1.

12 tn Grk “that you may live,” continuing the sentence of 4:10b-11.

13 tn Or “not be dependent on anyone”; Grk “and have need of nothing,” “of no one.”



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