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1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Context
The Day of the Lord

5:1 Now on the topic of times and seasons, 1  brothers and sisters, 2  you have no need for anything to be written to you. 5:2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord 3  will come in the same way as a thief in the night. 4  5:3 Now when 5  they are saying, “There is peace and security,” 6  then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains 7  on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. 5:4 But you, brothers and sisters, 8  are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. 5:5 For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. 5:6 So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. 5:7 For those who sleep, sleep at night and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 5:8 But since we are of the day, we must stay sober by putting on the breastplate 9  of faith and love and as a helmet our hope for salvation. 10  5:9 For God did not destine us for wrath 11  but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 5:10 He died 12  for us so that whether we are alert or asleep 13  we will come to life together with him. 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing.

1 tn Grk “concerning the times and the seasons,” a reference to future periods of eschatological fulfillment (cf. Acts 1:7).

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

3 sn The day of the Lord is the period of time in the future when the Lord will intervene in the events of this earth to consummate his redemption and his judgment (Isa 2:11-12; 13:6-13; Ezek 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:32; 3:18; Amos 5:18-20; Obad 15-17; Zeph 1:7-18; 2:2-3; Zech 14:1, 13, 20-21; Mal 4:1, 5; 1 Cor 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; 2 Thess 2:2; 2 Pet 3:10). It includes both blessings and curses, though the latter is emphasized here.

4 sn Jesus used a thief coming at night as an illustration of the unexpected and hostile nature of the coming of God’s judgment in the future. This is repeated in various ways in v. 4; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15.

5 tcδέ (de, “now”) is found in א2 B D 0226 6 1505 1739 1881 al, but lacking in א* A F G 33 it. γάρ (gar, “for”) is the reading of the Byzantine text and a few other witnesses (Ψ 0278 Ï). Although normally the shorter reading is to be preferred, the external evidence is superior for δέ (being found in the somewhat better Alexandrian and Western witnesses). What, then, is to explain the γάρ? Scribes were prone to replace δέ with γάρ, especially in sentences suggesting a causal or explanatory idea, thus making the point more explicit. Internally, the omission of δέ looks unintentional, a case of homoioarcton (otandelegwsin). Although a decision is difficult, in this instance δέ has the best credentials for authenticity.

6 tn Grk “peace and security,” with “there is” understood in the Greek construction.

7 tn Grk a singular “birth pain.”

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

9 sn An allusion to Isa 59:17.

10 tn Grk “hope of salvation” (“a helmet…for salvation” is an allusion to Isa 59:17).

11 sn God did not destine us for wrath. In context this refers to the outpouring of God’s wrath on the earth in the day of the Lord (1 Thess 5:2-4).

12 tn Grk “the one who died,” describing Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:9). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started at the beginning of v. 10 in the translation.

13 sn The phrases alert or asleep may be understood (1) of moral alertness (living in faith, love, and hope as vv. 6, 8 call for, versus being unresponsive to God) or (2) of physical life and death (whether alive or dead). The first fits better with the context of 5:1-9, while the second returns to the point Paul started with in 4:13-18 (no disadvantage for the believing dead).



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