1 Thessalonians 4
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider
1. What is the purpose of the book of 1 Thessalonians? Which genre(s) of biblical literature (prophecy, epistle, narrative, wisdom, etc.) is the book of 1 Thessalonians? What is the historical backdrop for this book?
2. In your own words, what is Paul saying to the Believers in 1-2? Imagine you’re a member of the church at Thessalonica. How might hearing this encourage you?
3. A question many Christians ask at some point in their walk with the Lord is, “What is God’s will for my life?”. Read the first half of verse 3 (3a). What does it say God’s will for you is? What is “sanctification”? (Hints: a- Use your cross-references and footnotes. b- Look at the last word of verse 7. c- If you still aren’t sure, click here.)
Notice the colon (:) after the word “sanctification” in verse 3. This indicates that Paul is going to expound on what he means by “sanctification” in the case of the Thessalonian Believers. Examine verses 3b-6. What was the primary or most urgent issue in which the Thessalonians needed to grow in Christ and obey His Word? Examine your heart and life. What is the primary or most urgent issue in which you need to grow in Christ and obey His Word?
How do verses 7-8 help explain and clarify verse 3a?
4. In verses 3-6, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in an area in which they need to improve. In verses 9-12, he encourages them in an area in which they are doing well. What are they doing well? What does Paul urge them to do? Why? Is this an area in which you’re doing pretty well, or in which you need a lot of improvement? Which area of your walk with the Lord can you look back on and see the most growth or improvement?
5. Explain, in your own words, the sequence of events laid out in verses 13-18. What does “fallen asleep” (14, 15) mean? According to verse 18, what is the purpose of verses 13-18? How would this passage have brought hope (13) to the Thessalonian Believers who were concerned about the eternities of fellow Believers who had died before the Lord’s return? How can this passage bring hope to Believers today?