1 Thessalonians v.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Of the times and moments. That is, of the day of judgment, of the end of the world, of the destruction of Jerusalem. It is enough to know the time is uncertain, and that death cometh as a thief in the night. (Witham) — When the judgment shall take place the Angels themselves do not know. Perhaps St. Paul, when wrapt up to the third heaven, may have learnt something on this subject; for he was told many things which he could not announce to man; therefore, he says, I need not write to you: it is unnecessary for us to know it. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Overtake you. It is a subject of astonishment, that some people are so childishly afraid of the last day, that they cannot think of it without consternation, lest it should happen in their time. Weak souls! Do they not recollect that death will certainly overtake them, and that will be to them individually the end of the world, and the last day. The whole world then does perish as far as regards them. (Haydock)

Ver. 5. You are the children of light. That is, there is little danger of thieves in the day time, when it is light. Also watch and have arms to defend you, the coat of mail of faith; the helmet of hope: you are under the protection of Christ, who died for you, and for your salvation. See St. Chrysostom, p. 293, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 8. The Christian’s panoply is not faith alone, but faith, hope and charity, as we see here.

Ver. 10. Whether we wake or sleep. That is, whether we be of the number of those whom Jesus Christ shall find still upon earth, when he shall come to judgment, or among those who have slept and returned to dust, it is his will that we should be his. (Theodoret)

Ver. 14. Rebuke, or correct the unquiet.[1] By the Greek, it signifies the disorderly, or those that keep no order. (Witham)

Ver. 16. Always rejoice. It is usual for St. Paul to recommend joy to the faithful. Cheerfulness is indeed the characteristic of true virtue, which by no means consists in, nor encourages, sourness or moroseness, as some mistaken people imagine. God loves a cheerful giver. Sorrow, which is of this world, killeth. (Haydock)

Ver. 19. Do not oppose either the interior gifts of the holy Spirit, which are his graces, nor his exterior gifts of prophecy, &c. Take the regular precautions of prudence, that you be not deceived by those who pretend to be inspired; but when satisfied that the inspiration comes from heaven, do not despise it. Be like good bankers, take the good coin, and reject the counterfeit. (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

Ver. 21. Prove all things. That is, examine prophecies whether they be true, and the doctrine which you hear from new preachers, and refrain yourselves not only from evil, but from every thing that hath the appearance of evil, and which may disedify and scandalize others. (Witham) — Hold that which is good. This we can best learn from the doctrine of the apostles, and the spirit of the Catholic Church. Men can deceive and be deceived, but the Spirit of God, speaking to us by his Church, can neither deceive us nor be deceived.

Ver. 23. Spirit, and soul. The former marks the understanding, the latter the will: hence these two terms give the two principal faculties of the soul. (Bible de Vence)


[1] Ver. 14. The unquiet: inquietos, ataktous, inordinatos, sine ordine et regula viventes.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The day of the Lord shall come, when least expected. Exhortations to several duties.

1 But of the times and moments, brethren, you need not that we should write to you.

2 *For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, peace and security, then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape.

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief:

5 For all you are the children of light, and children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do: but let us watch and be sober.

7 For they who sleep, sleep in the night: and they who are drunk, are drunk in the night.

8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, *having on the breastplate of faith and charity, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation:

9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to the purchasing of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us: that whether we watch or sleep, we may live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort one another: and edify one another, as you also do.

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you,

13 That you esteem them more abundantly in charity for their work: have peace with them.

14 And we beseech you, brethren, rebuke the unquiet, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men.

15 *See that none render evil for evil to any one: but always follow that which is good towards each other, and towards all men.

16 Always rejoice.

17 *Pray without ceasing.

18 In all things give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.

19 Extinguish not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophecies.

21 But prove all things: hold that which is good.

22 From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves.

23 And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things: that your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 *He is faithful who hath called you: who will also perform.

25 Brethren, pray for us.

26 Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss.

27 I charge you, by the Lord, that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren:

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.



2: 2 Peter iii. 10.; Apocalypse iii. 3. and xvi. 15.

8: Isaias lix. 17.; Ephesians vi. 14. and 17.

15: Proverbs xvii. 13. and xx. 22.; Romans xii. 17.; 1 Peter iii. 9.

17: Ecclesiasticus xviii. 22.; Luke xviii. 1.; Colossians iv. 2.

24: 1 Corinthians i. 9.