King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Thessalonians 4

Exhortations to purity and holiness. (1-8) To brotherly love, peaceable behaviour, and diligence. (9-12) Not to sorrow unduly for the death of godly relations and friends, considering the glorious resurrection of their bodies at Christ’s second coming. (13-18)

1 Thessalonians 4 Audio:

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Exhortations to purity and holiness

1 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.

2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

To brotherly love, peaceable behaviour, and diligence

9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Not to sorrow unduly for the death of godly relations and friends, considering the glorious resurrection of their bodies at Christ’s second coming

13 But 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.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 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.

16 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:

17 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.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. In this chapter the apostle begins to remind them of their obligation of always striving to increase in virtue. Though he praises them through the whole epistle, he still thinks it necessary to warn them not to be surprised in uncleanness. He repeats what he had taught them before; first, that there is vengeance awaiting the workers of evil; and secondly, that the favour of God is the reward of those who deal with the brethren in simplicity, and preserve themselves from the defilements of the Gentiles. S. Ambrose, Comment. hic.

Ver. 4. His vessel. That is, his own body. See 1 K. xxi. 5. Wi.

Ver. 6. That no man overreach, nor deceive his brother in business.[1] The Prot. and Mr. N. even in their translations, add, in any matter, because some expound it of frauds and circumventions in any kind of business. But this addition of any, should be left out, seeing the best interpreters expound it of a prohibition of adultery, and the injury thereby done to another, and of sins of that kind only, which is confirmed by what follows and what goes before. See S. Jerom in c. iv. ad Ephes. tom. 4. p. 369. S. Chrys. serm. 3 on this place. Here, says he, he speaks of adultery, as before of fornication, &c. See Theodoret, Theophylact. Estius, Menochius, A. Lapide, &c. Wi.

Ver. 11. And that you want nothing of any man’s.[2] This is the sense by the Greek, nor does the Latin here signify to desire, but to want them that are without; i.e. infidels out of the pale of the Church. Wi. — In regard of brotherly love, he advises them to remain quiet, at peace with every one, troubling nobody, nor interfering with the concerns of others, but each one minding his own work. It had been reported to the apostle that there were some at Thessalonica who made religion a pretest for idleness. It is to reprove such persons as these, that we are given to understand in this place that religion will never excuse the neglect of relative duties, either to our neighbours or to ourselves. It is the duty of all to labour, in order to prevent the evils of poverty; for involuntary poverty is a great snare, and a dangerous temptation against salvation. It exposes to ignorance, to meanness, and low actions; it conducts to fraud, to falsities, to impudence, and forgetfulness of God. Happy are the poor in spirit, but miserable they who are involuntarily so: miserable, not for the wants, the humiliations, or inconveniences of their state, but for the irregularities and disorders of conduct to which they are exposed. It is therefore wise of man to pray, Give me not riches nor poverty, but give me only what is sufficient, &c. Calmet.

Ver. 15. With commandment.[3] God’s command will in a moment raise and bring all to judgment. — And the dead, who are in Christ, in the grace of Christ, shall rise first, not as to time, but in dignity. Wi. — Shall rise first. Not in order of time, for all shall rise in the twinkling of an eye, but first in order of dignity. S. Chrysostom, however, thinks that the elect rise before the reprobate, to go before the Lord; whereas the latter shall come behind him, only to appear before the tribunal of justice. S. Chrys.


[1] V. 6. Ne quis supergrediatur, neque circumveniat in negotio fratrem, en to pragmati. See S. Jerom: diligenter observa, quia ad castitatem nos provocans, et volens uxoribus tantùm esse contentos, dixerit, ne quis supergrediatur, &c. S. Chrys. (log. e. p. 186.) entautha peri moicheias phesin, anotero de peri porneias pases.

[2] V. 11. Nullius aliquid desideretis, medenos chreian echete. i.e. nullius opus habeatis.

[3] V. 15. In jussu, en keleusmati, from keleuo, in celeusmate, in voce simul clamantium.