King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Thessalonians 5

The apostle exhorts to be always ready for the coming of Christ to judgment, which will be with suddenness and surprise. (1-11) He directs to several particular duties. (12-22) And concludes with prayer, greetings, and a blessing. (23-28)

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The apostle exhorts to be always ready for the coming of Christ to judgment, which will be with suddenness and surprise

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3 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.

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

He directs to several particular duties

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

And concludes with prayer, greetings, and a blessing

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

25 Brethren, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

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

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Of the times and moments. That is, of the day of judgment, of the end of the world, of the destruction of Jerusalem. It is enough to know the time is uncertain, and that death cometh as a thief in the night. Wi. — When the judgment shall take place the Angels themselves do not know. Perhaps S. Paul, when wrapt up to the third heaven, may have learnt something on this subject; for he was told many things which he could not announce to man; therefore, he says, I need not write to you: it is unnecessary for us to know it. Calmet.

Ver. 4. Overtake you. It is a subject of astonishment, that some people are so childishly afraid of the last day, that they cannot think of it without consternation, lest it should happen in their time. Weak souls! Do they not recollect that death will certainly overtake them, and that will be to them individually the end of the world, and the last day. The whole world then does perish as far as regards them. A.

Ver. 5. You are the children of light. That is, there is little danger of thieves in the day time, when it is light. Also watch and have arms to defend you, the coat of mail of faith; the helmet of hope: you are under the protection of Christ, who died for you, and for your salvation. See S. Chrys. p. 293, &c. Wi.

Ver. 8. The Christian’s panoply is not faith alone, but faith, hope and charity, as we see here.

Ver. 10. Whether we wake or sleep. That is, whether we be of the number of those whom Jesus Christ shall find still upon earth, when he shall come to judgment, or among those who have slept and returned to dust, it is his will that we should be his. Theodoret.

Ver. 14. Rebuke, or correct the unquiet.[1] By the Greek, it signifies the disorderly, or those that keep no order. Wi.

Ver. 16. Always rejoice. It is usual for S. Paul to recommend joy to the faithful. Cheerfulness is indeed the characteristic of true virtue, which by no means consists in, nor encourages, sourness or moroseness, as some mistaken people imagine. God loves a cheerful giver. Sorrow, which is of this world, killeth. A.

Ver. 19. Do not oppose either the interior gifts of the holy Spirit, which are his graces, nor his exterior gifts of prophecy, &c. Take the regular precautions of prudence, that you be not deceived by those who pretend to be inspired; but when satisfied that the inspiration comes from heaven, do not despise it. Be like good bankers, take the good coin, and reject the counterfeit. S. Cyril Alex.

Ver. 21. Prove all things. That is, examine prophecies whether they be true, and the doctrine which you hear from new preachers, and refrain yourselves not only from evil, but from every thing that hath the appearance of evil, and which may disedify and scandalize others. Wi. — Hold that which is good. This we can best learn from the doctrine of the apostles, and the spirit of the Catholic Church. Men can deceive and be deceived, but the Spirit of God, speaking to us by his Church, can neither deceive us nor be deceived.

Ver. 23. Spirit, and soul. The former marks the understanding, the latter the will: hence these two terms give the two principal faculties of the soul. V.

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[1] V. 14. The unquiet: inquietos, ataktous, inordinatos, sine ordine et regula viventes.