God’s Times and Seasons
1Now, beloved brothers and sisters, concerning the question of God’s precise times and specific seasons, # 5:1 That is “the specific intervals of time and the epoch [hinge] periods of time.” you don’t need me to write anything to you. 2For you already know quite well that the day of the Lord # 5:2 See Jer. 30:7; Joel 1:15; 2:1–2; Amos 5:18; Zech. 1:4–18. will come unexpectedly and as a complete surprise. # 5:2 Or “like a thief comes in the night” (as unexpected as a home invasion). See Matt. 24:3–25:46; Mark 13:3–37; Luke 21:5–36; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 3:3; 16:15. 3For while some are saying, “Finally we have peace and security,” sudden destruction will arrive at their doorstep, like labor pains seizing a pregnant woman—and with no chance of escape!
4But you, beloved brothers and sisters, are not living in the dark, allowing that day to creep up on you like a thief coming to steal. 5For you are all children of the light and children of the day. We don’t belong to the night nor to darkness. 6This is why we must not fall asleep, as the rest do, but keep wide awake and clearheaded. 7For those who are asleep sleep the night away, and drunkards get drunk at night. # 5:7 See John 3:9–20. 8But since we belong to the day, we must stay alert and clearheaded by placing the breastplate of faith and love over our hearts, and a helmet of the hope of salvation over our thoughts. # 5:8 The Aramaic can be translated “be clearheaded in our vision as we are deployed on the battlefield for faithfulness and love, and set apart with the shield of the hope of everlasting life.” See Isa. 59:17; Eph. 6:10–17. 9For God has not destined us for wrath but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 10He gave his life for us so that we may share in resurrection life # 5:10 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek. in union with him—whether we’re awake or asleep. 11Because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing.
12Dear brothers and sisters, make sure that you show your deep appreciation for those who cherish you and diligently work as ministers among you. For they are your leaders who care for you, teach you, and stand before the Lord on your behalf. 13They value you with great love. Because of their service to you, let peace reign among yourselves. # 5:13 Verses 12–13 are translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “Brothers and sisters, we appeal to you to respect [recognize] those who labor among you and have oversight of your lives in the Lord and admonish you. Show them as much respect as possible with great love because of all they do for you. Be at peace among yourselves.” Church leaders deserve our financial support and love because of the work they do for our benefit.
14We appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not in their place of battle. # 5:14 Or “those who are disorderly,” or “those who are idle.” The Greek word ataktos is often used for troops that are not in battle formation (unarranged). Be skilled at gently encouraging those who feel themselves inadequate. # 5:14 Or “those who are losing heart [fainthearted].” Be faithful to stand your ground. Help the weak to stand again. Be quick to demonstrate patience with everyone. 15Resist revenge, and make sure that no one pays back evil in place of evil but always pursue doing what is beautiful to one another and to all the unbelievers.
16Let joy be your continual feast. # 5:16 The Aramaic can be translated “Be joyous in every season.” 17Make your life a prayer. 18And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. # 5:18 Verses 16–18 identify three areas our lives we must focus on: (1) unbounded joy, (2) praying continually, and (3) giving thanks to God no matter what happens in our lives. These three virtues combine to form the wonderful expression of Christ’s life within us.
19Never restrain or put out the fire of the Holy Spirit. # 5:19 See Song. 8:7. 20And don’t be one who scorns prophecies, # 5:20 There is an implication in the context of vv. 19–20 that we put out the Spirit’s fire when we scorn prophecy. Prophecy is a valid gift of the Holy Spirit needed by the church today. There is no place in Scripture or in church history that indicates the gift of prophecy has ceased or disappeared. It is an active function of the Holy Spirit in the church around the world. We must not ignore, despise, or scorn any true gift of the Holy Spirit. Putting out the fire of the Holy Spirit (v. 19) is connected to scorning the prophetic ministry. We need prophets and prophecy to keep the fire (inspiration) of the Holy Spirit burning in our hearts. See 1 Cor. 12–14. 21but be faithful to examine them by putting them to the test, and afterward hold tightly to what has proven to be right. # 5:21 The Aramaic can be translated “Regard everything seriously and choose what is best.” 22Avoid every appearance of evil.
23Now, may the God of peace and harmony set you apart, making you completely holy. And may your entire being—spirit, soul, and body—be kept completely flawless in the appearing of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. 24The one who calls you by name is trustworthy and will thoroughly complete his work in you.
25Now, beloved ones, pray for us.
26Greet every brother and sister with a sacred kiss.
27I solemnly # 5:27 Or “I put you under oath” (a serious obligation). plead with you before the Lord to make sure that every holy believer among you has the opportunity to hear this letter read to them.
28May grace from our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen!