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1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Context
The Lord Returns for Believers

4:13 Now we do not want you to be uninformed, 1  brothers and sisters, 2  about those who are asleep, 3  so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that 4  God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. 5  4:15 For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, 6  that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, 7  and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, 8  will be suddenly caught up 9  together 10  with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. 4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 tn Grk “ignorant.”

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

3 tn The verb κοιμάω (koimaw) literally means “sleep,” but it is often used in the Bible as a euphemism for death when speaking of believers. This metaphorical usage by its very nature emphasizes the hope of resurrection: Believers will one day “wake up” out of death. Here the term refers to death, but “sleep” was used in the translation to emphasize the metaphorical, rhetorical usage of the term. This word also occurs in vv. 14 and 15.

4 tn “we believe that” is understood from the first clause of the verse, which is parallel. Grk “so also God will bring.”

5 tn Grk “those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.” It is possible that “through Jesus” describes “bring,” but this gives the unlikely double reference, “through Jesus God will bring them with Jesus.” Instead it describes their “falling sleep,” since through him their death is only sleep and not the threat it once was. Also Christians are those whose total existence – life and death – is in and through and for Christ (1 Cor 8:6).

6 sn The word of the Lord is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rJhma tou kuriou; Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16, 1 Pet 1:25) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logo" tou kuriou; here and in Acts 8:25; 13:44, 48, 49; 15:35, 36; 16:32; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 1:8; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said.

7 tn Neither noun in this phrase (ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου, ejn fwnh ajrcangelou, “with the voice of the archangel”) has the article in keeping with Apollonius’ Canon. Since ἀρχάγγελος (ajrcangelo") is most likely monadic, both nouns are translated as definite in keeping with Apollonius’ Corollary (see ExSyn 250-51).

8 tc The words οἱ περιλειπόμενοι (Joi perileipomenoi, “[the ones] who are left”) are lacking in F G {0226vid} ar b as well as a few fathers, but the rest of the textual tradition has the words. Most likely, the Western mss omitted the words because of perceived redundancy with οἱ ζῶντες (Joi zwnte", “[the ones] who are alive”).

9 tn Or “snatched up.” The Greek verb ἁρπάζω implies that the action is quick or forceful, so the translation supplied the adverb “suddenly” to make this implicit notion clear.

10 tn Or “simultaneously,” but this meaning does not fit as well in the parallel in 5:10.



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