1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Ordinary A51


Now concerning the timesA and the seasons,B brothersC and sisters, you do not needD to have anything written to you. 

Notes on verse 1

A “times” = chronos. Time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time.
B “seasons” = kairos. This is season, opportunity, occasion. The word chronos is used for chronological time. Kairos is used for spiritually significant time – the right time or appointed time.
C “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
D “need” = chreia. From chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is the is task, business, or affair. It can also be need, want, or destitution.

For you yourselves knowE very wellF that the day of the LordG will come like a thiefH in the night. 

Notes on verse 2

E “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
F “very well” = akribos. 9x in NT. From akriboo (examine carefully, learn diligently); from akribes (high point, extreme) OR from akros (the point, end); from akrib– (learning precise information with as much accuracy as possible; probing inquiry to gain a comprehensive, exact sense of the facts). This is carefully, strictly, diligently, with great accuracy. This is investigated to the finest point and so precise.
G “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
H “thief” = kleptes. 16x in NT. From klepto (to steal secretively). This is a thief that steals using stealth rather than violence. It is a thief in a literal or figurative sense.

When they say, “There is peaceI and security,”J then suddenK destructionL will comeM upon them,

Notes on verse 3a

I “peace” = eirene. Perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) and this well-wishing included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual. This word also indicates wholeness and well-being – when everything that is essential is joined together properly. This is peace literally or figuratively. By implication, it is prosperity (but not in the sense of excessive wealth. Prosperity would have meant having enough from day to day.)
J “security” = asphaleia. 3x in NT. From asphales (certain, reliable, secure, definite; literally unfailing – something that is secure because it is solid and constructed on something that will not fall or slip; it is literal or figurative); {from a (not, without) + sphallo (to trip up or fail)}. This is firmness, certainty, reliability. It is security in a literal or figurative sense.
K “sudden” = aiphnidios. 2x in NT. From aiphnes (suddenly); {from a (not, without) + phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear); {perhaps from phos (light, radiance; light literal or figurative)}}. This is literally not apparent so sudden or unexpected.
L “destruction” = olethros. 4x in NT. From ollumi (to destroy). This is ruination, destruction, doom. It can also mean death, punishment, or undoing.
M “come” = ephistemi. From epi (on, upon, what is fitting) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to stand upon, happen, be present. Usually, it is used in a literal sense.

as labor painsN come upon a pregnant woman,O and there will be no escape!P 

Notes on verse 3b

N “labor pains” = odin. 4x in NT. Akin to odune (pain, distress, or anguish, whether physical or mental); perhaps from duno (to enter, sink into; can also be set like the sun); from duo (to sink). This is severe agony, a snare, the pain from childbirth. It can refer figuratively to pain and difficulty that comes from ushering in something new.
O “pregnant woman” = gaster. 9x in NT. This is belly or womb. It can be used specifically to mean pregnant. This is one of the roots of the word “gastronomy.”
P “escape” = ekpheugo. 8x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + pheugo (to run away in a literal or figurative sense; to flee, escape, shun, or vanish). This is to flee away or escape.

But you, beloved,Q are not in darkness,R for that day to surpriseS you like a thief; for you are all childrenT of lightU and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 

Notes on verses 4-5

Q “beloved” = adelphos. Same as “brothers” in v1. See note C above.
R “darkness” = skotos. Perhaps from the base of skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it. This can also mean obscurity.
S “surprise” = katalambano. 15x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, throughout) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual). This is to take hold of something with great intention for one’s own interest. It can be seize or arrest – grasping forcefully. Figuratively, it can also mean to comprehend, to win, to surprise, or to possess.
T “children” = huios. Literally, son. It can be used figuratively for other relations.
U “light” = phos. Related to “sudden” in v3. See note K above.

So then let us not fall asleep as othersV do, but let us keep awakeW and be sober;X for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. 

Notes on verses 6-7

V “others” = loipos. From leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is the rest, remained, remnant, other, residue.
W “keep awake” = gregoreo. From egeiro (to awake, raise up or lift up; to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death; figuratively, rising from inactivity or from ruins). This is to be or stay awake, watch. Figuratively, it can be alertness or vigilance.
X “be sober” = nepho. 6x in NT. To be sober in a literal sense. Also to be calm or vigilant, not subject to illusion or the influence of selfish greed or other sins. This is one who uses clear judgment and has their wits about them.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put onY the breastplateZ of faithAA and love,BB

Notes on verse 8a

Y “put on” = enduo. Perhaps related to “labor pains” in v3. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + duno (see note N above). This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.
Z “breastplate” = thorax. 5x in NT. This is a breastplate as the thing that guards the heart. It can also refer to the chest. This is where the word “thorax” comes from.
AA “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.
BB “love” = agape. From agapao (to love, take pleasure in, esteem; to prefer). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.

and for a helmetCC the hopeDD of salvation.EE 

Notes on verse 8b

CC “helmet” = perikephalaia. 2x in NT. From peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + kephale (head or chief; literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord, corner stone); from kapto (to seize)}. This is a thing that goes around the head, which is to say, a helmet.
DD “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; usually to anticipate positively). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence faith. The expectation can be abstract or concrete.
EE “salvation” = soteria. From soter (a savior, deliverer); from sozo (to save, heal, preserve, or rescue; taking someone from danger to safety; delivering or protecting literally or figuratively); from sos (safe, rescued, well). This is deliverance, salvation, preservation, welfare, prosperity, safety.

For GodFF has destinedGG us not for wrathHH but for obtainingII salvation through our Lord JesusJJ Christ,KK 

Notes on verse 9

FF “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
GG “destined” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
HH “wrath” = orge. From orgao (something that teems or stews; anger rising from prolonged personal contact that is fixed rather than an angry outburst; anger that stems from an individual’s sense of right and wrong, justice, etc.) or from orego (to stretch out towards, yearn for, aspire to, desire). This is impulse, wrath, anger, passion, punishment. Properly, this is fixed anger from ongoing personal irritation caused by something the one getting angry sees as unjust or evil. Wrath implies punishment. Can refer to human or divine wrath.
II “obtaining” = peripoiesis. 5x in NT. From peripoieo (to acquire, earn, preserve, make one’s own); {from peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + poieo (to make, do, construct, cause)}. This is acquisition, possession, preservation.
JJ “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
KK “Christ” = christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

10 who diedLL for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourageMM one anotherNN and build upOO each other, as indeed you are doing.PP

Notes on verses 10-11

LL “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
MM “encourage” = parakaleo. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud) {related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on)}. This is to call to, summon, invite, request, or beg. It can also be exhort or admonish. Also, this can be encourage, comfort, or console. This word has legal overtones and is used of one’s advocate in a courtroom. It is the root of the name of the Holy Spirit “paraclete” is our advocate and comforter.
NN “one another” = allelon. From allos (other, different, another; this is one more of the same kind or a similar type). So, this is each, another, together, or mutual. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
OO “build up” = oikodomeo. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple) + domeo (to build). This is to build a house or be a house builder. Figuratively, it can mean to edify or encourage, be strong or embolden.
PP “doing” = poieo. Related to “obtaining” in v9. See note II above.

Image credit: “Scary, Scary Night” by Jackie Twedell, 2008.

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