1 Thessalonians iv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. In this chapter the apostle begins to remind them of their obligation of always striving to increase in virtue. Though he praises them through the whole epistle, he still thinks it necessary to warn them not to be surprised in uncleanness. He repeats what he had taught them before; first, that there is vengeance awaiting the workers of evil; and secondly, that the favour of God is the reward of those who deal with the brethren in simplicity, and preserve themselves from the defilements of the Gentiles. (St. Ambrose, Comment., on this place)

Ver. 4. His vessel. That is, his own body. See 1 Kings xxi. 5. (Witham)

Ver. 6. That no man overreach, nor deceive his brother in business.[1] The Protestant and Mr. N. even in their translations, add, in any matter, because some expound it of frauds and circumventions in any kind of business. But this addition of any, should be left out, seeing the best interpreters expound it of a prohibition of adultery, and the injury thereby done to another, and of sins of that kind only, which is confirmed by what follows and what goes before. See St. Jerome in chap. iv. ad Ephes. tom. 4. p. 369.; St. Chrysostom serm. 3 on this place. Here, says he, he speaks of adultery, as before of fornication, &c. See Theodoret, Theophylactus, Estius, Menochius, Cornelius a Lapide, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 11. And that you want nothing of any man’s.[2] This is the sense by the Greek, nor does the Latin here signify to desire, but to want them that are without; i.e. infidels out of the pale of the Church. (Witham) — In regard of brotherly love, he advises them to remain quiet, at peace with every one, troubling nobody, nor interfering with the concerns of others, but each one minding his own work. It had been reported to the apostle that there were some at Thessalonica who made religion a pretest for idleness. It is to reprove such persons as these, that we are given to understand in this place that religion will never excuse the neglect of relative duties, either to our neighbours or to ourselves. It is the duty of all to labour, in order to prevent the evils of poverty; for involuntary poverty is a great snare, and a dangerous temptation against salvation. It exposes to ignorance, to meanness, and low actions; it conducts to fraud, to falsities, to impudence, and forgetfulness of God. Happy are the poor in spirit, but miserable they who are involuntarily so: miserable, not for the wants, the humiliations, or inconveniences of their state, but for the irregularities and disorders of conduct to which they are exposed. It is therefore wise of man to pray, Give me not riches nor poverty, but give me only what is sufficient, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. With commandment.[3] God’s command will in a moment raise and bring all to judgment. — And the dead, who are in Christ, in the grace of Christ, shall rise first, not as to time, but in dignity. (Witham) — Shall rise first. Not in order of time, for all shall rise in the twinkling of an eye, but first in order of dignity. St. Chrysostom, however, thinks that the elect rise before the reprobate, to go before the Lord; whereas the latter shall come behind him, only to appear before the tribunal of justice. (St. Chrysostom)


[1] Ver. 6. Ne quis supergrediatur, neque circumveniat in negotio fratrem, en to pragmati. See St. Jerome: diligenter observa, quia ad castitatem nos provocans, et volens uxoribus tantùm esse contentos, dixerit, ne quis supergrediatur, &c. St. Chrysostom, (log. e. p. 186.) entautha peri moicheias phesin, anotero de peri porneias pases.

[2] Ver. 11. Nullius aliquid desideretis, medenos chreian echete. i.e. nullius opus habeatis.

[3] Ver. 15. In jussu, en keleusmati, from keleuo, in celeusmate, in voce simul clamantium.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

He exhorts them to purity and mutual charity: he treats of the resurrection of the dead.

1 For the rest therefore, brethren, we pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received from us, how you ought to walk, and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more.

2 For you know what commandments I have given to you by the Lord Jesus.

3 *For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour:

5 Not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles, who know not God:

6 And that no man overreach, nor deceive his brother in business: because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified.

7 For God hath not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness.

8 He, therefore, that despiseth these things, despiseth not man, but God: who also hath given his holy spirit in us.

9 But concerning the love of brotherhood, we have no need to write to you: *for yourselves have learned of God to love one another.

10 For indeed you do it towards all the brethren in all Macedonia. But we entreat you, brethren, that you abound more.

11 And that you use your endeavour to be quiet, and that you do your own business, and work with your own hands, as we commanded you: and that you walk honestly towards them that are without: and that you want nothing of any man’s.

12 And we will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope.

13 For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them who have slept through Jesus, God will bring with him.

14 For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, *that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them, who have slept.

15 For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an Archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead, who are in Christ, shall rise first.

16 Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds, to meet Christ in the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord.

17 Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words.



3: Romans xii. 2.; Ephesians v. 17.

9: John iii. 34. and xv. 12. and 17.; 1 John ii. 10. and iv. 12.

14: 1 Corinthians xv. 23.