1 Thessalonians



1:1 From Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the Church in Thessalonika which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; wishing you grace and peace.

Thanksgiving and congratulations

1:2 We always mention you in our prayers and thank God for you all,

1:3 and constantly remember before God our Father how you have shown your faith in action, worked for love and persevered through hope, in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1:4 We know, brothers, that God loves you and that you have been chosen,

1:5 because when we brought the Good News to you, it came to you not only as words, but as power and as the Holy Spirit and as utter conviction. And you observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction,

1:6 and you were led to become imitators of us, and of the Lord; and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you.

1:7 This has made you the great example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia

1:8 since it was from you that the word of the Lord started to spread – and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for the news of your faith in God has spread everywhere. We do not need to tell other people about it:

1:9 other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God;

1:10 and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son, whom he raised from the dead, to come from heaven to save us from the retribution which is coming.


Paul’s example in Thessalonika

2:1 You know yourselves, my brothers, that our visit to you has not proved ineffectual.

2:2 We had, as you know, been given rough treatment and been grossly insulted at Philippi, and it was our God who gave us the courage to proclaim his Good News to you in the face of great opposition.

2:3 We have not taken to preaching because we are deluded, or immoral, or trying to deceive anyone;

2:4 it was God who decided that we were fit to be entrusted with the Good News, and when we are speaking, we are not trying to please men but God, who can read our inmost thoughts.[*a]

2:5 You know very well, and we can swear it before God, that never at any time have our speeches been simply flattery, or a cover for trying to get money;

2:6 nor have we ever looked for any special honour from men, either from you or anybody else,

2:7 when we could have imposed ourselves on you with full weight, as apostles of Christ.

Instead, we were unassuming. Like a mother feeding and looking after her own children,

2:8 we felt so devoted and protective towards you, and had come to love you so much, that we were eager to hand over to you not only the Good News but our whole lives as well.

2:9 Let me remind you, brothers, how hard we used to work, slaving night and day so as not to be a burden on any one of you while we were proclaiming God’s Good News to you.

2:10 You are witnesses, and so is God, that our treatment of you, since you became believers, has been impeccably right and fair.

2:11 You can remember how we treated every one of you as a father treats his children,

2:12 teaching you what was right, encouraging you and appealing to you to live a life worthy of God, who is calling you to share the glory of his kingdom.

The faith and the patience of the Thessalonians

2:13 Another reason why we constantly thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the message that we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking; and it is still a living power among you who believe it.

2:14 For you, my brothers, have been like the churches of God in Christ Jesus which are in Judaea, in suffering the same treatment from your own countrymen as they have suffered from the Jews,

2:15 the people who put the Lord Jesus to death, and the prophets too. And now they have been persecuting us, and acting in a way that cannot please God and makes them the enemies of the whole human race,

2:16 because they are hindering us from preaching to the pagans and trying to save them. They never stop trying to finish off the sins they have begun,[*b] but retribution is overtaking them at last.

Paul’s anxiety

2:17 A short time after we had been separated from you – in body but never in thought, brothers – we had an especially strong desire and longing to see you face to face again,

2:18 and we tried hard to come and visit you; I, Paul, tried more than once, but Satan prevented us.

2:19 What do you think is our pride and our joy? You are; and you will be the crown of which we shall be proudest in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes;

2:20 you are our pride and our joy.


Timothy’s mission to Thessalonika

3:1 When we could not bear the waiting any longer, we decided it would be best to be left without a companion at Athens, and

3:2 sent our brother Timothy, who is God’s helper in spreading the Good News of Christ, to keep you firm and strong in the faith

3:3 and prevent any of you from being unsettled by the present troubles. As you know, these are bound to come our way:

3:4 when we were with you, we warned you that we must expect to have persecutions to bear, and that is what has happened now, as you have found out.

3:5 That is why, when I could not stand waiting any longer, I sent to assure myself of your faith: I was afraid the Tempter[*a] might have tried you too hard, and all our work might have been wasted.

Paul thanks God for good reports of the Thessalonians

3:6 However, Timothy is now back from you and he has given us good news of your faith and your love, telling us that you always remember us with pleasure and want to see us quite as much as we want to see you.

3:7 And so, brothers, your faith has been a great comfort to us in the middle of our own troubles and sorrows;

3:8 now we can breathe again, as you are still holding firm in the Lord.

3:9 How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account?

3:10 We are earnestly praying night and day to be able to see you face to face again and make up any shortcomings in your faith.

3:11 May God our Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, make it easy for us to come to you.

3:12 May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you.

3:13 And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.


Live in holiness and charity

4:1 Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it.

4:2 You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.

4:3 What God wants is for you all to be holy. He wants you to keep away from fornication,

4:4 and each one of you to know how to use the body that belongs to him[*a] in a way that is holy and honourable,

4:5 not giving way to selfish lust like the pagans who do not know God.[*b]

4:6 He wants nobody at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a brother in these matters; the Lord always punishes sins of that sort, as we told you before and assured you.

4:7 We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral;

4:8 in other words, anyone who objects is not objecting to a human authority, but to God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.[*c]

4:9 As for loving our brothers, there is no need for anyone to write to you about that, since you have learnt from God yourselves to love one another,

4:10 and in fact this is what you are doing with all the brothers throughout the whole of Macedonia. However, we do urge you, brothers, to go on making even greater progress

4:11 and to make a point of living quietly, attending to your own business and earning your living, just as we told you to,

4:12 so that you are seen to be respectable by those outside the Church, though you do not have to depend on them.

The dead and the living at the time of the Lord’s coming

4:13 We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died,[*d] to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope.

4:14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him.

4:15 We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died.

4:16 At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise,

4:17 and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever.

4:18 With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.


Watchfulness while awaiting the coming of the Lord

5:1 You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’,

5:2 since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night.

5:3 It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.

5:4 But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief.

5:5 No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness,

5:6 so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.

5:7 Night is the time for sleepers to sleep and drunkards to be drunk,

5:8 but we belong to the day and we should be sober; let us put on faith and love for a breastplate, and the hope of salvation for a helmet.

5:9 God never meant us to experience the Retribution, but to win salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

5:10 who died for us so that, alive or dead, we should still live united to him.

5:11 So give encouragement to each other, and keep strengthening one another, as you do already.

Some demands made by life in community

5:12 We appeal to you, my brothers, to be considerate to those who are working amongst you and are above you in the Lord as your teachers.

5:13 Have the greatest respect and affection for them because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

5:14 And this is what we ask you to do, brothers: warn the idlers, give courage to those who are apprehensive, care for the weak and be patient with everyone.

5:15 Make sure that people do not try to take revenge; you must all think of what is best for each other and for the community.

5:16 Be happy at all times;

5:17 pray constantly;

5:18 and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.

5:19 Never try to suppress the Spirit

5:20 or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt;

5:21 think before you do anything – hold on to what is good

5:22 and avoid every form of evil.

Closing prayer and farewell

5:23 May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

5:24 God has called you and he will not fail you.

5:25 Pray for us, my brothers.

5:26 Greet all the brothers with the holy kiss.

5:27 My orders, in the Lord’s name, are that this letter is to be read to all the brothers.

5:28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.