Saturday, April 29, 2006

My personal amplified version of 1 Thess 5:22

Overall, the first letter to the believers in Thessalonica was upbeat and encouraging. Paul is grateful and relieved to hear that the people are growing in their Faith. After some foundational teaching in the first three chapters, Paul moves to exhortation in chapter 4. [the word ‘exhort’ should bring up a visual of someone putting their loving arm around another and drawing them to their side in an effort to instruct, strengthen, and encourage. ]

By the way, I have often heard this verse quoted to support ‘not being a stumbling block’. While this should be a concern of every believer, here are some specifics about that; and, I don’t think that is the emphasis here. It seems to me that all of chapter 4 and 5 is one complete thought process in how to “walk and to please God” (4:1). If 1 Thess 5:22 is going to be amplified at all, it seems that you have to include both chapters. But for now, here is 5:22 as I understand it...

I told you specifically to abstain from sexual immorality. However, evil can and does appear in many forms. In fact, evil may even appear as something good. There are countless people who think they are doing a good service for God, but in their heart, there is evil. I, Paul, am one glaring example of this. But beware, there will be far more subtle evil that will creep into the church and into your lives. Therefore, you must test all things…then, abstain from every appearance of evil, no matter what form it takes, and hold fast to what is good.

It may help to periodically review the teaching in chapters 4 & 5. (It may also help to look at the Bereans as good example, and then here for sort of a summary of what I am trying to say.)

Finally, if you will do these things that I have brought to your attention, then my prayers will be answered…the God of Peace Himself will sanctify [set you apart] you completely; and your whole spirit, soul, and body will be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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