Love one another more and more, live respectable lives, and grieve in hope because the dead in Christ will meet him first.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-18
Now concerning v brotherly love w you have no need for anyone to write to you,
Changing the subject to "brotherly love".... I certainly don't need to say anything about it. You don't need the instruction
for you yourselves have been x taught by God y to love one another,
because God has taught each and every one of you to live lovingly together.
for that indeed is what z you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
It's apparent that God has taught you to love because you actually are loving! Your love is obvious both near and far.
But we urge you, brothers, to a do this more and more,
But , although I don't need to write, I want to say just this: Love one another more and more!
and to aspire b to live quietly,
Also , strive to make these things true of you: that your life doesn't cause a ruckus,
and [to aspire] c to mind your own affairs,
that you keep yourself busy with your own business,
and [to aspire] d to work with your hands,
and that you do good work using your own strength
as we instructed you,
( like we told you to do),
so that you may e walk properly before f outsiders
so that no unbeliever can impeach your lifestyle,
and be dependent on no one.
and so that you will not be a drain on others' resources.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,
Now, about the destiny of those believers who have died: We don't want you to be ignorant
g that you may not grieve as others do h who have no hope.
since remaining ignorant would cause you to grieve over their deaths like hopeless pagans.
For i since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
For because we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him j those who have fallen asleep.
therefore we also believe that God will similarly raise up with Jesus those believers who have died.
For this we declare to you k by a word from the Lord, 1 that l we who are alive, who are left until m the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
The Lord said this and we tell you: We who are alive until the Lord returns won't go before those who have died.
For n the Lord himself will descend o from heaven
It'll happen this way: The Lord will come down from his heavenly throne
p with a cry of command,
accompanied by a commanding shout,
with the voice of q an archangel,
and an archangel's call,
and r with the sound of the trumpet of God.
and the blast of God's trumpet.
And s the dead in Christ will rise first.
At that moment, believers who have died will rise before us.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be t caught up together with them u in the clouds
Next , we who are still alive will be drawn up with them into the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air,
in order to welcome the Lord,
and so v we will always be with the Lord.
with the result that we will always live together with the Lord.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
So lift one another's spirits with this message!
The switch from "we believe" to statement of fact seems awkward. Is it? What is Paul trying to do? Wanamaker NIGTC says that "we believe" is implied for 14b.
Why "but"? Wanamaker NIGTC draws attention to the similarity in construction between 9a and 13a: " Now concerning " parallels " Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep" (my translation). Both 9a and 13a introduce Paul's response to an issue raised in the Thessalonians' letter to him.
Commands Love one another more and more Aspire to live quietly Aspire to mind your own affairs Aspire to work with your hands Encourage one another with these words about the future
"for": Is this statement the ground for the previous statement? You have been taught by God to love one another, and we know this because that indeed is what you are doing? Seemingly so.
Added to clarify the ambiguous English construction.
I could have arced this as another series, but I put both/and to avoid ambiguity. The command works like this: 1. Love one another more and more 2. Aspire to: A. Live quietly B. Mind your own affairs C. Work with your hands The series of two commands contains a sub-series of three aspirations. I intended to make that plain by arcing the two commands as both/and.
How does everything following this "and" relate to what came before? Paul seems to quickly shift from relating to believers to relating to unbelievers. And without even a new verb! Actually, it's not entirely a shift toward unbelievers. It's still how to behave within the community, but with an effect on your reputation among unbelievers. "Love radically and live respectably."
What's the converse of working with your hands? Hopefully not knowledge work! Perhaps being lazy? BDAG indicates that the expression refers to manual labor, which was often depreciated in that day. Paul and the apostles did manual labor (1 Cor 4:12), and he honors it when done by others.
Sequence highlighted in orange
Motivations Love one another more and more because this is what God has taught you to do. Live respectably so that outsiders who look in on your Christian conduct will be attracted and not scandalized. Live respectably because this is what we instructed you about. Do good hard work so you won't be a drain on others' resources.
Means Love one another more and more by doubling down on what you're already doing. Avoid grieving like the hopeless pagans by learning what happens to believers who die. Encourage one another with these words by relieving ignorance in the aftermath of a believer's death.
Anchors Jesus died and rose again; therefore, those who die in Jesus will rise again. [Verses 15–17 are an elaboration of this anchor.]
Next Steps: The main takeaway from this course for me is the framework for application. Application includes not only commands, but also means, motivations, and anchors. I anticipate using this as I study passages to preach in the future. Currently I'm preaching through Mark to the youth group I lead. I am going to start using BibleArc to arc the passages I preach, and because of this course I'll try to write paraphrases too. The paraphrases will test my understanding of the passage and also encourage me to use variety in my vocabulary when I preach.