1 Thessalonians 5:21
Parallel Verses
New International Version
but test them all; hold on to what is good,

New Living Translation
but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.

English Standard Version
but test everything; hold fast what is good.

New American Standard Bible
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

King James Bible
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
but test all things. Hold on to what is good.

International Standard Version
Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.

NET Bible
But examine all things; hold fast to what is good.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Explore everything and hold what is excellent.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Instead, test everything. Hold on to what is good.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Examine all things; retain that which is good.

King James 2000 Bible
Test all things; hold fast that which is good.

American King James Version
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

American Standard Version
prove all things; hold fast that which is good;

Douay-Rheims Bible
But prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Darby Bible Translation
but prove all things, hold fast the right;

English Revised Version
prove all things; hold fast that which is good;

Webster's Bible Translation
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Weymouth New Testament
but test all such, and retain hold of the good.

World English Bible
Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good.

Young's Literal Translation
all things prove; that which is good hold fast;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:16-22 We are to rejoice in creature-comforts, as if we rejoiced not, and must not expect to live many years, and rejoice in them all; but if we do rejoice in God, we may do that evermore. A truly religious life is a life of constant joy. And we should rejoice more, if we prayed more. Prayer will help forward all lawful business, and every good work. If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in every thing. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and corrections; for God designs all for our good, though we at present see not how they tend to it. Quench not the Spirit. Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. He worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away fuel, and as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the Holy Spirit, by indulging carnal lusts and affections, minding only earthly things. Believers often hinder their growth in grace, by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. By prophesyings, here understand the preaching of the word, the interpreting and applying the Scriptures. We must not despise preaching, though it is plain, and we are told no more than what we knew before. We must search the Scriptures. And proving all things must be to hold fast that which is good. We should abstain from sin, and whatever looks like sin, leads to it, and borders upon it. He who is not shy of the appearances of sin, who shuns not the occasions of it, and who avoids not the temptations and approaches to it, will not long keep from doing sin.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - Prove all things. This exhortation is closely connected with the preceding. "Prove all things," namely, whatever was advanced by the prophets in their inspired discourses (comp. 1 John 4:1, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God"). "Prove" here means to test, as metals are tested in the fire; and hence the word frequently denotes the favorable result of the testing, or approval. There was a special gift of discerning spirits in the primitive Church (1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 14:29). But although the words primarily refer to the testing of prophetic utterances, yet they have a general application. We should not rest our faith on the authority of others. The right of private judgment is the characteristic and privilege of Protestantism. We ought thoroughly to examine all doctrines by the test of Scripture, and then, discerning their reasons, we shall be able to take a firmer hold of them. At the same time, the fundamental principle of rationalism, that reason as such is the judge of the doctrines of revelation, is not contained in these words, and cannot be inferred from them. Hold fast; retain. That which is good; the good, the beautiful, the honorable; a different word from that rendered "good" in ver. 15. We are to retain whatever is good in those "all things" which we are to prove or test, namely, in the prophesyings.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Prove all things,.... That are said by the prophets, all the doctrines which they deliver; hear them, though they have not the gift of tongues, and all desirable advantages; do not reject them on that account, and refuse to hear them, for so, many useful men may be laid aside, and the Spirit of God in them be quenched; try their gifts, and attend to their doctrines, yet do not implicitly believe everything they say, but examine them according to the word of God the test and standard of truth; search the Scriptures, whether the things they say are true or not. Not openly erroneous persons, and known heretics, are to be heard and attended on, but the ministers of the word, or such who are said to have a gift of prophesying; these should make use of it, and the church should try and judge their gift, and accordingly encourage or discourage; and also their doctrines, and if false reject them, and if true receive them.

Hold fast that which is good; honest, pleasant, profitable, and agreeable to sound doctrine, to the analogy of faith, and the Scriptures of truth, and is useful and edifying, instructive both as to principle and practice; such should be held fast, that no man take it away; and be retained, though a majority may be against it, for the multitude is not always on the side of truth; and though it may be rejected by men of learning and wealth, as Christ and his doctrines were rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees, and rulers of the people; and though it may be reproached as a novel, upstart notion, or a licentious one, since these were charges against the doctrine of Christ, and his apostles; and though it may be attended with affliction and persecution, yet none of these things should move from it, or cause to let it go.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

21, 22. Some of the oldest manuscripts insert "But." You ought indeed not to "quench" the manifestations of "the Spirit," nor "despise prophesyings"; "but," at the same time, do not take "all" as genuine which professes to be so; "prove (test) all" such manifestations. The means of testing them existed in the Church, in those who had the "discerning of spirits" (1Co 12:10; 14:29; 1Jo 4:1). Another sure test, which we also have, is, to try the professed revelation whether it accords with Scripture, as the noble Bereans did (Isa 8:20; Ac 17:11; Ga 1:8, 9). This precept negatives the Romish priest's assumption of infallibly laying down the law, without the laity having the right, in the exercise of private judgment, to test it by Scripture. Locke says, Those who are for laying aside reason in matters of revelation, resemble one who would put out his eyes in order to use a telescope.

hold fast that which is good—Join this clause with the next clause (1Th 5:22), not merely with the sentence preceding. As the result of your "proving all things," and especially all prophesyings, "hold fast (Lu 8:15; 1Co 11:2; Heb 2:1) the good, and hold yourselves aloof from every appearance of evil" ("every evil species" [Bengel and Wahl]). Do not accept even a professedly spirit-inspired communication, if it be at variance with the truth taught you (2Th 2:2).

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Additional Commentaries
Context
Christian Living
20do not despise prophetic utterances. 21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.
Cross References
Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

1 Corinthians 14:29
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.

Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

1 Thessalonians 5:15
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

1 Thessalonians 5:22
reject every kind of evil.

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Treasury of Scripture

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Prove.

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this …

Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, …

Mark 7:14-16 And when he had called all the people to him, he said to them, Listen …

Luke 12:57 Yes, and why even of yourselves judge you not what is right?

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received …

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the …

1 Corinthians 2:11,14,15 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which …

1 Corinthians 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; …

Ephesians 5:10 Proving what is acceptable to the Lord.

Philippians 1:10 That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere …

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they …

Revelation 2:2 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you …

hold.

Deuteronomy 11:6-9 And what he did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son …

Deuteronomy 32:46,47 And he said to them, Set your hearts to all the words which I testify …

Proverbs 3:1,21-24 My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments…

Proverbs 4:13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is your life.

Proverbs 6:21-23 Bind them continually on your heart, and tie them about your neck…

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Songs 3:4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom …

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue …

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, …

Acts 11:23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted …

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue …

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; hold …

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always …

Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the …

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are …

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brothers, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you …

2 Timothy 1:15 This you know, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from …

2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive …

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according …

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for …

Revelation 2:25 But that which you have already hold fast till I come.

Revelation 3:3,11 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, …

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