Study Guide

1-2 Thessalonians Quotes

  • Community

    You, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews. (1 Thessalonians 2:14, NRSV)

    For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews. (1 Thessalonians 2:14, KJV)

    The Thessalonians are part of the worldwide Christian community. Here, Paul's saying that they're so awesome, they're just like the original Christians in Judea, Jesus' homeland.

    As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face[…] For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy! (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20, NRSV)

    But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20, KJV)

    Paul really loves him some Thessalonians. Here, he explains how badly he wanted to be reunited with his precious community when he was absent. But he also notes that he was only physically absent. Spiritually, he's always been a part of this big happy family.

    [Timothy] has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:6-8, NRSV)

    Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:6-8, KJV)

    Paul loves these guys so much that just thinking of them gets him through the tough times. Now that's a strong bond.

    Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:10, NRSV)

    Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? (1 Thessalonians 3:10, KJV)

    Hold on a second. We thought the Thessalonians were a-okay? So the reason Paul wants to see them is so he can lecture them into being even better Christians? Typical Paul.

    May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NRSV)

    The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you. (1 Thessalonians 3:12, KJV)

    The most important part of any community? Love, say P-dawg. Paul believes that everyone needs to love each other and get along in order to be living the kind of life God wants for them.

    Concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, NRSV)

    As touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, KJV)

    And who's aces at loving? The Thessalonians, of course. These guys have practically written the book on loving their fellow Christians. They don't need anyone to tell them how important love is…except Paul, who plans on doing just that.

    Encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-14, NRSV)

    Comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-14, KJV)

    Just a few simple rules for being in a Christian community. Paul encourages everyone to get along, respect the leaders in the community, and help out those who are following behind. Next, he'll have everyone hold hands around the campfire while he plays Kumbaya on his guitar.

    Beloved, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Thessalonians 5:25-28, NRSV)

    Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Thessalonians 5:25-28, KJV)

    Paul doesn't write to just one person—his letters go to whole groups. Here, he asks everyone to pray for him and his friends and that someone should read his letter out loud. Okay, get the popcorn ready; this is gonna be good.

    We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God. (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, NRSV)

    We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God. (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, KJV)

    More bragging about the Thessalonians' love for each other. This is oddly similar to the opening of 1 Thessalonians, dontchathink? Does that mean this one is a fake? Or were the Thessalonians just that good?

    Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us[…] Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers. (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13-15, NRSV)

    Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us[…] But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13-15, KJV)

    Um, this is kind of a hardcore stance. How should you deal with people in the community who aren't pulling their weight? Shunning! But, it's also clear that this break in relationship isn't permanent. If these lazy bones feel sufficiently ashamed, then all will be well. Or so says Paul.

  • Good vs. Evil

    For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, NRSV)

    For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV)

    Paul assures the good people of Thessalonica that he and his friends haven't come to them with bad intentions. That's probably a rumor some wicked and evil folks have been spreading, but it is totally not true. Take that, evil folks.

    You suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God's wrath has overtaken them at last. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, NRSV)

    Ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins away: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, KJV)

    Whoa. Paul may be Jewish, but he doesn't have much love for the Jewish people here. He accuses them of killing Jesus and claims that God will have his revenge.

    We wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. (1 Thessalonians 2:18, NRSV)

    We would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18, KJV)

    Paul's vacation plans were foiled by Satan! (Seriously, Paul? Over dramatic much?) We didn't know the Prince of Darkness was so skilled at ruining people's travel plans…

    See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. (1 Thessalonians 5:15, NRSV)

    See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (1 Thessalonians 5:15, KJV)

    Awww. This is giving us the warm fuzzies. But there's a reason for it: Paul would probably tell you to leave the revenge for God. He's pretty good at it.

    Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, NRSV)

    Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, KJV)

    This one is a little contradictory: don't try to stop the Spirit of God and the prophets from working, but also test everything. Well, how will the Thessalonians know which stuff is from God and which stuff is evil? Oh, right…Paul will tell them.

    This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-7, NRSV)

    Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-7, KJV)

    According to Paul, Christians don't need to worry about smacking down all the evil people in the world who are making them suffer. Jesus will do their dirty work for him.

    Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, NRSV)

    Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, KJV)

    If God's word spreads all over the world, evil is done for. Just one question: if God can protect Christians from the evil one, why can't he just get rid of him? Hmmm.

    Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God[…] The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-12, NRSV)

    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God[…] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9-12, KJV)

    Ooo, the Man of Sin. This guy is bad news. He raises himself up above God (a big no-no) and is pretty much in league with Satan. Doesn't get more terrible than that. Even God gets in on a little evil action here. Those who don't see his wickedness get bewitched by God into thinking the Man of Sin is great. So which came first? The unbelief or the God that caused this unbelief?

  • Hope

    Jesus […] rescues us from the wrath that is coming. (1 Thessalonians 1:10, NRSV)

    Jesus […] delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10, KJV)

    Okay, so right off the bat, Paul mentions that the end times are coming. And they're coming soon. Good news? Jesus will save all the faithful. Bad news: there's gonna be wrath. Lots and lots of wrath.

    May he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:13, NRSV)

    May stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:13, KJV)

    So there are some qualifications for future salvation? Yup! It's not like Jesus will rescue every rando on the street wearing a cross necklace. You've gotta work on being "blameless" before the world ends. Good luck with that.

    The Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:6-8, NRSV)

    The Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:6-8, KJV)

    Uh-huh, so God's vengeance is coming in the near future. Fun for the whole family! In this future state, Christians are also working towards super holiness. God likes to set the bar high.

    We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NRSV)

    I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, KJV)

    Some folks are worried that dead Christians won't be able to share in all the goodness up there in the clouds with the Lord. They are dead, after all. But Paul says that Jesus will raise the dead and take the holy ones to Heaven. Paul will be glad he put in this loophole when he dies before the Rapture goes down.

    When they say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! (1 Thessalonians 5:3, NRSV)

    When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3, KJV)

    While believers are busy becoming holy and waiting for Jesus to return, the rest of the world is thinking things are pretty good as is. Wrong. When you're most comfortable, that's when destruction will get you. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Paul!

    For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, NRSV)

    For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, KJV)

    Hmm…this verse doesn't jive much with the whole "free will" thing. If God allows everyone to freely choose him, then why does it seems like he's picking and choosing certain people to be saved? Does that mean that God decided who would be damned, too?

    It is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, NRSV)

    Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, KJV)

    The end of the world doesn't seem like it would be a good time (what with all the angels and fire and vengeance), but apparently it will be for Christians: they'll get the satisfaction of seeing their oppressors tormented for all eternity. Don't say they didn't warn you, oppressors.

    As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, NRSV)

    Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, KJV)

    The whole end of time thing is definitely going down in the future, right? …Right? Apparently some folks have been spreading the rumor that the future awesomeness Christians were hoping for has already happening. Weird. How did they miss all the trumpeting?

    Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, NRSV)

    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, KJV)

    More weird future prophecies. The end of time will have something to do with the "man of sin." Right now, he's being restrained, but soon, people will see him for the sinful creep he is. Now, if we just knew who the heck we're talking about, we would be good.

    For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13, NRSV)

    For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13, KJV)

    Seems all this "the world is ending very soon" talk has made some people a little lazy. Think about it: if you thought you were gonna be raptured into Heaven any minute now, would you worry about running that extra load of laundry? But the community can't function like that, and the author needs everyone to start pulling their own weight…whether or not they think Jesus might descend from Heaven on a cloud tomorrow morning.

  • Christian Identity

    For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God. (1 Thessalonians 1:9, NRSV)

    For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. (1 Thessalonians 1:9, KJV)

    Paul praises the Thessalonians for ditching their idol-worshipping ways to follow Jesus. So that's one part of Christian identity down. No idol worship. Check.

    For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, NRSV)

    Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, KJV)

    Another big part of Christian identity is this idea of chosenness. God selected these fine Thessalonian people to be his followers. How does Paul know? Because these guys believed him and have the Holy Spirit. Duh.

    You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12, NRSV)

    For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:9-12, KJV)

    Paul's own identity is also a big deal here. He sees himself as essentially a hard worker. He's not trying to lead anyone astray or mooch off his congregation. Not only that, but Paul treats these "kids" like he's their dad. Taking care of them, nurturing them, and making sure they don't stay out past curfew.

    We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers. (1 Thessalonians 2:13, NRSV)

    For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13, KJV)

    Another part of Christian identity: being able to identify God's messengers. The Thessalonians are good to go because they knew that Paul and company were coming with the word of God.

    Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-5, NRSV)

    Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-5, KJV)

    Okay, so Paul is pretty interested in people's sex lives. But seriously, he sees this as an important part of their identity as Christians. It's yet another thing that sets them apart from those idol-worshipping Gentiles.

    Aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, NRSV)

    And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, KJV)

    While Paul is mainly focused on group identity, he's also worried about the way Christians are presenting themselves to the outside world. Basically, he thinks they should just be keeping their head down and not causing a fuss. Paul's not the best at following this advice actually.

    You yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-5, NRSV)

    For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-5, KJV)

    Another contrast between in and out-group identity. Paul knows that the in-group (Christians) are gonna be watching and waiting for the end of the world, so naturally, they'll be ready when it comes. The out-group (non-believers) are not gonna be so lucky. Hey, you snooze, you lose.

    But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, NRSV)

    But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, KJV)

    Again with the whole choosing thing. God hand-picked these believers to be saved… the rest of the world hasn't been so lucky.

  • Perseverance

    And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, NRSV)

    And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost. So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, KJV)

    The Thessalonians are an awesome example to everyone of faith in the face of adversity. Paul really likes their style.

    As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. (1 Thessalonians 2:17, NRSV)

    But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. (1 Thessalonians 2:17, KJV)

    Paul had to book out of Thessalonica (persecutions and all), but he really, really wanted to come back. Eventually, he would make it back into that neck of the woods. Way to keep the faith, Paul.

    We sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith; I was afraid that somehow the tempter had tempted you and that our labor had been in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:2-5, NRSV)

    And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:2-5, KJV)

    So the Thessalonians knew they were going to get bullied a little for their beliefs. After all, Paul warned them. (Trust us, he knew a thing or two about getting bullied for his beliefs.) But Paul's still worried that they might have fallen by the wayside. Luckily, perseverance is the Thessalonians' strong suit.

    [Timothy] has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:6-8, NRSV)

    Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:6-8, KJV)

    Paul is super glad that the Thessalonians keep on keeping on. Their ability to go on has even given him strength when times get tough.

    We ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. (2 Thessalonians 1:4, NRSV)

    We ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure. (2 Thessalonians 1:4, KJV)

    We bet those other churches are really tired of hearing how awesome these guys are by now. Why can't you be more like the Thessalonians? They never let being socially ostracized, beaten, or arrested get to them.

    We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:4-5, NRSV)

    We have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:4-5, KJV)

    The author really believes in these guys and thinks they're doing great. He knows they'll keep the faith and do great things…as soon as they sort out a couple little issues. No biggie.

    We hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13, NRSV)

    We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13, KJV)

    Because some folks think the world is gonna end, they've decided to stop, you know, caring. But, the Thessalonians need to keep going until the day comes. Constant vigilance!