VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
1 THESSALONIANS 4
PREVIOUS - NEXT CHAPTER - INDEX
Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Both are wrong. The entire passage exhibits two groups of parallel clauses; the one concerning sexual, and the other business relations. Thus:
A comma should be placed after skeuov vessel, and ktasqai procure or acquire, instead of being made dependent on eijdenai know, should begin a new clause. Render, that every one of you treat his own wife honorably. Eijdenai is used Hebraistically in the sense of have a care for, regard, as ch. v. 12, "Know them that labor, " etc.: recognize their claim to respect, and hold them in due regard. Comp. Gen. xxxix. 6: Potiphar oujk hdei twn kaq' auJton oujden "gave himself no concern about anything that he had." 1 Sam. ii. 12: the sons of Eli oujk eijdotev ton kurion "paying no respect to the Lord." Exod. i. 8: Another King arose ov oujk hdei ton Iwshf "who did not recognize or regard Joseph": did not remember his services and the respect in which he had been held. Skeuov is sometimes explained as body, for which there is no evidence in N.T. In 2 Corinthians iv. 7 the sense is metaphorical. Neither in LXX nor Class. does it mean body. In LXX very often of the sacred vessels of worship: sometimes, as in Class., of the accoutrements of war. In N.T. occasionally, both in singular and plural, in the general sense of appliances, furniture, tackling. See Matt. xii. 29; Luke xvii. 31; Acts xxvii. 17; Heb. ix. 21. For the meaning vessel, see Luke viii. 16; John xix. 20; 2 Cor. iv. 7; Revelation ii. 27. Here, metaphorically, for wife; comp. 1 Pet. iii. 7. It was used for wife in the coarse and literal sense by Rabbinical writers. The admonition aptly follows the charge to abstain from fornication. On the contrary, let each one treat honorably his own wife. The common interpretation is, "as a safeguard against fornication let every one know how to procure his own wife." It is quite safe to say that such a sentence could never have proceeded from Paul. He never would have offset a charge to abstain from fornication with a counsel to be well informed in the way of obtaining a wife. When he does touch this subject, as he does in 1 Cor. vii. 2, he says, very simply, "to avoid fornication let every man have (ecetw) his own wife"; not, know how to get one. Eijdenai know, as usually interpreted, is both superfluous and absurd. Besides, the question was not of procuring a wife, but of living honorably and decently with her, paying her the respect which was her right, and therefore avoiding illicit connections.
That he pursue his gain-getting in sanctification and honor (ktasqai en agiasmw kai timh). As a holy and honorable man. The exhortation now turns to business relations. Ktasqai cannot mean possess, as A.V. That would require the perfect tense. It means procure, acquire. Often buy, as Acts xvii. 28; LXX, Gen. xxxiii. 19; xxxix. 1; xlvii. 19; xlix. 30; Josh. xxiv. 33; absolutely, Ezek. vii. 12, 13.
It is the overstepping of the line between mine and thine. It is used absolutely, being defined by the succeeding clause. The A.V. is literal, go beyond. Rev. renders tranegress. Weizsacker and Bornemann "ubergreife overreach." So. Rev. margin. This last is the best.
Defraud (pleonektein). P o . See on 2 Cor. ii. 11, and covetousness, Rom. i. 29. It emphasises gain as the motive of fraud. Three times in LXX, Judg. iv. 11; Hab. ii. 9; Ezek. xxii. 27. Often in Class.
In any matter (en tw pragmati). Rev. correctly, in the matter. Comp. 2 Corinthians vii. 11. The sense is the business in hand, whatever it be. The tw does not stand for tini any. For pragmati, matter, see on Matthew xviii. 19. Those who connect this clause with the preceding, explain tw as the matter just mentioned - adultery.
Avenger (ekdikov). P o . Here and Rom. xiii. 4. In LXX rarely, and in the same sense as here. In this sense it occurs only in late Greek. For the warning comp. Eph. v. 6; Col. iii. 6; Rom. xiii. 4; Galatians v. 21.
In sanctification (en). Note the change of preposition. Sanctification is the characteristic life-element of the Christian, in which he is to live. Comp. in peace, 1 Cor. vii. 15; in hope, Eph. iv. 4.
To be quiet (hsucazein). Note the paradox, strive to be quiet. For similar instances see Rom. i. 20, unseen things clearly seen: Rom. i. 22, wise, be fooled (comp. Horace, Od. 1, 34, 2, insaniens sapientia): 2 Corinthians viii. 2, poverty abounded unto riches: 2 Cor. vii. 10, repentance, not to be repented of. The disturbances rebuked in the second Epistle may have begun to show themselves, so that there is a possible allusion to the idle busybodies of 2 Thess. iii. 11.
Of nothing (mhdenov). Either neuter, of nothing, or masculine, of no man. In the latter case it would refer to depending upon others for their support, which some, in view of the immediately expected parousia, were disposed to do, neglecting their own business.
Them which are asleep (twn koimwmenwn). Or, who are sleeping. See on Acts vii. 60; 2 Pet. iii. 4, and comp. 1 Cor. vii. 39; xi. 30; xv. 6, 18, 20, 51; John xi. 11, etc. The dead members of the Thessalonian church. Ye sorrow (luphsqe). Opinions differ as to the possible ground of this sorrow. According to some, the Thessalonians supposed that eternal life belonged only to such as should be found alive at the parousia, and therefore that those already dead would not share the blessings of the second advent. Others, assuming an interval between the advent and the general resurrection, think that the Thessalonians were anxious lest their brethren who died before the advent would be raised only at the general resurrection, and therefore would not share the blessings of communion with the Lord during the millennial reign. It is impossible to decide the question from Paul's words, since he does not argue, but only consoles. The value of his consolation does not depend upon the answer to the question whether the departed saints shall first be raised up at the general resurrection, or at a previons resurrection of believers only. The Thessalonians were plainly distressed at the thought of separation from their departed brethren, and had partially lost sight of the elements of the Christian hope - reunion with them and fellowship with the Lord. These elements Paul emphasises in his answer. The resurrection of Jesus involves the resurrection of believers. The living and the dead Christians shall alike be with the Lord.
Others (oi loipoi). More correctly, the rest. Paul makes a sharp distinction between Christians, and all others.
Who have no hope. Only believers have hope of life after death. The speculations and surmisings of pagan philosophy do not amount to a hope.
(1) Which sleep should be, which have been laid asleep or have fallen asleep, giving the force of the passive.
(2) Dia tou Ihsou can by no possibility be rendered in Jesus, which would be ejn Ihsou: see 1 Cor. xv. 18; 1 Thessalonians iv. 16. It must mean through or by means of Jesus.
(3) The attempt to construe dia tou Ihsou with touv koimhqentav those who have fallen asleep by means of Jesus, gives an awkward and forced interpretation. It has been explained by supposing a reference to martyrs who have died by Jesus; because of their faith in him. In that case we should expect the accusative, dia ton Ihsoun on account of or for the sake of Jesus. Moreover Paul is not accentuating that idea. Koimhqentav would be universally understood by the church as referring to the death of Christians, so that by Jesus would be superfluous.
(4) Dia tou Ihsou should be construed with axei will bring. Rend. the whole: them also that are fallen asleep will God through Jesus bring with him. Jesus is thus represented as the agent of the resurrection. See 1 Cor. xv. 21; John v. 28; vi. 39, 44, 54. Bring (axei) is used instead of ejgeirei shall raise up, because the thought of separation was prominent in the minds of the Thessalonians.
Remain (perileipomenoi). P o . and only in this Epistle. The plural we indicates that Paul himself expected to be alive at the parousia. 26 Shall not prevent (ou mh fqaswmen). The A.V. misses the force of the double negative - shall in no wise prevent. Prevent in the older sense of anticipate, be beforehand with. See on Matt. xvii. 25, and 1 Thessalonians ii. 16. The living shall not share the blessings of the advent sooner than the dead in Christ.
With a shout (en keleusmati). N.T.o . Once in LXX, Prov. xxiv. 62 (English Bib. xxx. 27). From keleuein to summon. Often in Class. Lit. a shout of command, as of a general to his army, an admiral to his oarsmen, or a charioteer to his horses.
Archangel (arcaggelou). Only here and Jude 9. Not in O.T. The Pauline angelology shows traces of Rabbinical teachings in the idea of orders of angels. See Eph. i. 21; Col. i. 16; Rom. viii. 38. The archangels appear in the apocryphal literature. In the Book of Enoch (see on Jude 14) four are named, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel. Michael is set over the tree which, at the time of the great judgment, will be given over to the righteous and humble, and from the fruit of which life will be given to the elect. In Tob. xii. 15, Raphael appears as one of the seven holy angels. Comp. Apoc. viii. 2. See also on Jude 9, and comp. Dan. xii. 1. 28
With the trump of God (en salpiggi qeou). For the trumpet heralding great manifestations of God, see Exod. xix. 13, 16; Psalm xlvii. 5; Isaiah xxvii. 13; Zech. ix. 14; Zeph. i. 16; Joel ii. 1; Matt. xxiv. 31; 1 Corinthians xv. 52; Apoc. i. 10; iv. 1. Of God does not indicate the size or loudness of the trumpet, but merely that it is used in God's service. Comp. harps of God, Apoc. xv. 2; musical instruments of God, 1 Chronicles xvi. 42. The later Jews believed that God would use a trumpet to raise the dead.
Shall be caught up (arpaghsomeqa). By a swift, resistless, divine energy. Comp. 2 Cor. xii. 2, 4; Acts viii. 39.
In the air (eiv aera). Rend. into the air, and const. with shall be caught up. Ahr the atmosphere with the clouds, as distinguished from aijqhr the pure ether, which does not occur in N.T.
And so. After having met the Lord