1 Thessalonians 4:1
Furthermore then we beseech you, brothers, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so you would abound more and more.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
IV.

(1) We now approach the practical portion of the Epistle. The first point on which the Thessalonians need instruction is in the matter of social purity (1Thessalonians 4:1-8).

Furthermore hardly expresses the original. St. Paul is not adding a further injunction, for he has as yet given none. It is literally, For the rest, then; and serves to introduce the conclusion of the letter.

Beseech.—The marginal request is better, the word being one of calm and friendly asking, implying that the person so addressed will recognise the propriety of complying.

Exhort is correct, though “encourage” suits the context a little better, as assuming that they are already so acting, but not with enough heart.

By the Lord.—Better, in the Lord. It is not an adjuration, as in Romans 12:1, but states the authoritative ground of his request. “We encourage you, on the strength of our union in the Lord Jesus.” (Comp. 1Thessalonians 1:1.)

How ye ought to walk.—Literally, the how. It indicates that part of the apostolic tradition was a systematic moral code, almost as if it were the title of a well-known book. “We gave you the ‘How ye ought to walk, so as to please God.’“ The best texts add immediately after, “even as also ye walk.”

Abound more and more.—Or, still more. “You did receive of us the rules of a holy life; you are living by them, and that to a very large degree; but we beg you and encourage you, on the faith of Christians, to be still more lavish in your self-denial.”

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2. Furthermore Το λοιπον, as for what remains to be said, in subserviency to the important end of your being presented before God in the final judgment, perfected in holiness; we beseech you, by the Lord Jesus — By his authority, in his name, and for his sake; that as ye have received of us — While we were among you; how ye ought to walk — If you desire to adorn your Christian profession; so ye would abound more and more — Striving continually to make advances in every Christian grace and virtue. Here the apostle reminds the Thessalonian believers that from his first coming among them he had exhorted them to conduct themselves in a holy manner, if they wished to please and continue in the favour of the living and true God, in whom they had believed; and that he had explained to them the nature of that holiness which is acceptable to God. And the same method of exhortation and instruction he undoubtedly followed in all other cities and countries. For you know — You cannot but remember; what commandments we gave you — Commandments very different from those enjoined by the heathen priests, as pleasing to their pretended deities.4:1-8 To abide in the faith of the gospel is not enough, we must abound in the work of faith. The rule according to which all ought to walk and act, is the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification, in the renewal of their souls under the influences of the Holy Spirit, and attention to appointed duties, constituted the will of God respecting them. In aspiring after this renewal of the soul unto holiness, strict restraint must be put upon the appetites and senses of the body, and on the thoughts and inclinations of the will, which lead to wrong uses of them. The Lord calls none into his family to live unholy lives, but that they may be taught and enabled to walk before him in holiness. Some make light of the precepts of holiness, because they hear them from men; but they are God's commands, and to break them is to despise God.Furthermore then - Τὸ λοιπὸν To loipon. "As to what remains." That is, all that remains is to offer these exhortations; see the 2 Corinthians 13:11 note; Galatians 6:17 note; Ephesians 6:10 note; Philippians 4:8 note. The phrase is a formula appropriate to the end of an argument or discourse.

We beseech you - Margin, "request." The Greek is, "we ask you" - ἐρωτῶμεν erōtōmen. It is not as strong a word as that which follows.

And exhort you - Marg, "beseech." This is the word which is commonly used to denote earnest exhortation. The use of these words here implies that Paul regarded the subject as of great importance. He might have commanded them - but kind exhortation usually accomplishes more than a command,

By the Lord Jesus - In his name and by his authority.

That as ye have received of us - As you were taught by us. Paul doubtless had given them repeated instructions as to their duty as Christians.

How ye ought to walk - That is, how ye ought to live. Life is often represented as a journey; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 6:16, Ephesians 4:1.

So ye would abound more and more - "That is, follow the directions which they had received more and more fully." Abbott.

CHAPTER 4

1Th 4:1-18. Exhortations to Chastity; Brotherly Love; Quiet Industry; Abstinence from Undue Sorrow for Departed Friends, For at Christ's Coming All His Saints Shall Be Glorified.

1. Furthermore—Greek, "As to what remains." Generally used towards the close of his Epistles (Eph 6:10; Php 4:8).

then—with a view to the love and holiness (1Th 3:12, 13) which we have just prayed for in your behalf, we now give you exhortation.

beseech—"ask" as if it were a personal favor.

by, &c.—rather as Greek, "IN the Lord Jesus"; in communion with the Lord Jesus, as Christian ministers dealing with Christian people [Edmunds].

as ye … received—when we were with you (1Th 2:13).

how—Greek, the "how," that is, the manner.

walk and … please God—that is, "and so please God," namely, by your walk; in contrast to the Jews who "please not God" (1Th 2:15). The oldest manuscripts add a clause here, "even as also ye do walk" (compare 1Th 4:10; 5:11). These words, which he was able to say of them with truth, conciliate a favorable hearing for the precepts which follow. Also the expression, "abound more and more," implies that there had gone before a recognition of their already in some measure walking so.1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 Paul exhorteth the Thessalonians to proceed in their

endeavours to please God by a holy and just conversation.

1 Thessalonians 4:9,10 He commendeth their love to one another, entreating

them to abound in it,

1 Thessalonians 4:11,12 and quietly to follow their respective callings.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 And that they might not sorrow for the dead, as men

without hope, he briefly deseribeth the resurrection

of the just, and Christ’s second coming.

He descends to some particular duties about their walking, which he ushers in by a general exhortation in this first verse; wherein we may observe his style: he calls them brethren, and speaks to them with much condescension and earnestness, and in the name of Christ, &c. And the subject he insists on is their walking, the course of their life and conversation, which he describes by the rule of it,

as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk; he refers them to the directions he had given them about it as the rule; for he did in his ministry not only open gospel mysteries, but explain moral duties. And not only to walk in them, but to abound more and more, to press forward to a greater exactness and excellency in their Christian conversation. And he here useth motives:

1. From the Person in whose name he speaks to them, which is the Lord Jesus Christ; for he was but Christ’s minister and ambassador.

2. From the knowledge they had received of their duty, and therefore they could not plead ignorance.

3. Their walking as they had been instructed by him would please God.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren,.... Or request of you in the most kind and tender manner, from real and hearty love and affection for you, and with a view to your good, and the glory of God:

and exhort you: or beseech and entreat you. The apostle does not lay his commands upon them as he might have done, and sometimes does, but endeavours to work upon them by way of entreaty, and which he doubtless thought the most effectual method to win upon them, and gain them; for some minds are more easily wrought upon by entreaty than by authority: and this he does in the most moving and powerful manner, even

by the Lord Jesus; or "in the Lord Jesus"; in his name and stead, as personating him, and as though he did beseech and entreat them by him, and his fellow ministers; or for his sake, intimating, that if they had any regard to him, any value for his name, if that had any weight with them, or they had any concern for his honour and interest, then he begs their attention to the following exhortation; or by the Lord Jesus, by all that is in him, or done for them by him; in whom they were chosen, by whom they were redeemed, in whom they were made new creatures, to whose image they were to be conformed, whose followers they professed to be, whose Gospel they embraced, and by whose name they were called.

That as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk, and to please God. The walk of believers is twofold, either internal or external. Their internal walk is by faith, which is the going out of the soul by faith to Christ for every supply of grace. Their external walk is not as it was before conversion, according to the course of this world, or as other Gentiles walk, but in a holy religious life and conversation; and this requires spiritual life, strength and direction from Christ; for neither dead men, nor, if alive, yet weak, can walk; nor is it in a spiritual man, that walketh to direct his steps; and such a walk also denotes continuance, in well doing, and a progression or going on in it, and supposes ways to walk in. Christ, he is the chief and principal way, and there are other paths which regard him, or relate and lead unto him; as the way of truth, the path of ordinances, and of religious worship, both public and private, and the ways of righteousness, holiness, and good works: the manner in which saints are to walk is as Christ himself walked, after the Spirit, and not after the flesh, according to the rule of the word, which is the standard of faith and practice, with prudence, wisdom, circumspection, and worthy of God, and of that calling wherein they are called: and of such a walk there is a necessity; it "ought", it must be both on the account of God, it being his will, and for his glory, and the contrary would show great ingratitude to him; and on the account of the saints themselves, to adorn them, and their profession, and preserve them from shame and disgrace, to show their faith, and demonstrate their calling and election to others; and likewise on account of others, partly for the winning of some, by recommending in this way the Gospel to them, and partly for the bringing of others to shame and silence, who falsely accuse their good conversation. Now when the apostle, and those that were with him, were at Thessalonica, they gave these saints directions and instructions about their walk and conversation, to order it in such a manner as might "please God"; which is not to be understood of rendering their persons acceptable to God hereby, for the saints' acceptance with God is only in Christ the beloved; nor of their gaining the love and favour of God by such means, for the love of God is from everlasting, and is free, and sovereign, and does not arise from, or depend upon the holiness and obedience of men; or of making peace with God by such a walk, for peace is only made by the blood of Christ; but of doing those things, and in such a way God approves of: unregenerate men cannot please God, nor anything they do, because they are destitute of the Spirit of God, and are without Christ, and his grace and have not faith in him, without which it is impossible to please God; but what a believer does in faith, from a principle of love, in the name and strength of Christ, and to the glory of God, is approved of by God, and is acceptable to him through Christ, and for his sake; and there are many things of this kind, as prayer, praise, acts of beneficence to the poor, and indeed every good work and holy action: and inasmuch as they had been thus taught and instructed how to behave and conduct in their outward walk and conversation, they are entreated and exhorted to go on and abound in the work of the Lord:

so ye would abound more and more: that is, be more and more in the exercise of every grace, and in the discharge of every duty, making advances in holiness of life, and perfecting it in the fear of God. Beza's ancient copy, and another manuscript, as also the Alexandrian copy, and some others, add between the preceding, and this last clause, "as ye also walk"; and so the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions seem to have read; commending them for their present and past walk and conversation, in order to persuade and encourage them to go forward.

Furthermore {1} 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 {a} abound more and more.

(1) Various exhortations, the foundation of which is this, to be mindful of those things which they have heard from the apostle.

(a) That you labour to excel more and more, and daily surpass yourselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 4:1. Τὸ λοιπόν (see critical remark) would now directly oppose what follows with what precedes: “for the rest,” “what is yet besides to be said;” whereas λοιπόν is a less prominent particle of transition—“besides.” Both forms, however, introduce something different from what precedes, and serve properly to introduce the concluding remarks of an Epistle; comp. 2 Corinthians 13:11; Php 4:8; Ephesians 6:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:1. Here λοιπόν introduces the second portion of the Epistle, and that in an entirely natural and usual manner, as this second portion is the concluding portion of the Epistle.—(Τὸ) λοιπόν is incorrectly explained by Chrysostom, Theophylact: ἀεὶ μὲν καὶ εἰς τὸ διηνεκές; Theodoret, to whom Oecumenius, though wavering, adheres: ἀποχρώντως; Luther: “furthermore;” Baumgarten-Crusius: “generally, what is the main thing.”

οὖν] therefore, represents what follows as an inference from the preceding, and especially from 1 Thessalonians 3:13. As it is the final destination of Christians to be ἄμεμπτοι ἐν ἁγιωσύνῃ, in order to reach this end prayer directed to God does not suffice, but also man’s own striving is requisite; so the apostle beseeches and exhorts his readers to increase in striving after a holy walk. Comp. Theodoret: Τούτῳ κεχρημένοι τῷ σκοπῷ προσφέρομεν ὑμῖν τὴν παραίνεσιν. Calixtus refers οὖν to the idea of the judgment taken from 1 Thessalonians 3:13 : Ergo, … quum sciates non stare res nostras fine temporali aut terreno, sed exspectari adventum domini a coelis ad judicium, precamur vos et obtestamur, etc. Incorrectly Musculus: Quum igitur gratiam hanc acceperitis a domino, ut in fide illius firmi persistatis, quemadmodum ex relatione Timothei cum ingenti gaudio accepi: quod jam reliquum est, rogo et hortor, etc.

ἐρωτᾶν] in the classics is used only in the sense of to inquire (see the Lexicons); here, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 2 Thessalonians 2:1, Php 4:3, John 4:40; John 14:16, Acts 23:20, etc., in the sense of to request, to beseech, analogous to the Hebrew שָׁאַל (so also the English to ask), which unites both meanings. Ἐρῶτωμεν denotes the entreating address of a friend to a friend; παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν κυρίῳ, the exhortation in virtue of the apostolic office, thus the exhortation of a superior to subordinates.

ἐν κυρίῳ] in the Lord, belongs only to παρακαλοῦμεν (against Hofmann), and means, as in Romans 9:1, 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 12:19, Ephesians 4:17, as found in Christ, by means of life-fellowship with Him, Paul being only the organ of Christ; not for the sake of the Lord (Flatt), which would require διὰ τὸν κύριον; also not per dominum Jesum, as a form of oath (Estius, Grotius, and others), against which is the Greek usage; comp. Fritzsche on Romans 9:1; Kühner, II. p. 307. Falsely, moreover, Theophylact: ὅρα δὲ ταπεινοφροσύνην, ὅπως οὐδὲ πρὸς τὸ παρακαλεῖν ἀξιόπιστον ἑαυτὸν εἶναί φησιν, ἀλλὰ τὸν Χριστὸν παραλαμβάνει κ.τ.λ.

ἵνα] the contents of the request and exhortation in the form of its purpose.

παρελάβετε] see on 1 Thessalonians 2:13. Oecumenius, after Chrysostom (and so also Theophylact, also Pelt): τὸ παρελάβετε οὐχὶ ῥημάτων μόνον ἐστίν, ἀλλὰ καὶ πραγμάτων· ἐξ ὧν γὰρ αὑτὸς ἐβίου, τύπος τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἐγίνετο. But this extension of the idea is arbitrarily inserted against the natural meaning of the word, and against 1 Thessalonians 4:2.

τό] is not superfluous (Grotius), but specifies in a substantive sense the following words, in order to collect them into one idea, as in Romans 4:13; Romans 8:26; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; Php 4:10; Luke 1:62. Comp. Winer, p. 99 [E. T. 134]; Bremi, ad Demosth. de Cherson. p. 236.

καὶ ἀρέσκειν Θεῷ] and (thereby) to please God, is co-ordinate to περιπατεῖν, although logically considered it is the consequence of περιπατεῖν; περιπατεῖν can only be the means of ἀρέσκειν.

περισσεύητε] sc. ἐν τῷ οὕτως περιπατεῖν. Falsely Theophylact, adhering to Chrysostom: ἵνα πλέον τι τῆς ἐντολῆς φιλοτιμῆσθε ποιεῖν καὶ ὑπερβαίνητε τὰ ἐπιτάγματα.

μᾶλλον] a further intensification, as is a favourite custom with Paul; comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:10; Php 1:23; 2 Corinthians 7:13, etc.1 Thessalonians 4:1. Resuming the thought of 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 as well as of 1 Thessalonians 3:10-13. Cf. a pre-Christian letter in Oxyrh. Papyri, iv. 294 (13 ἐρωτῶ σε οὖν ἵνα μὴ, 6 f. ἐρωτῶ σε καὶ παρακαλῶ σε). The ἵνα, repeated often for the sake of clearness, is sub-final (so II., 2 Thessalonians 3:12) = infinitive, cf. Moulton, i. 206 f. Paul meant to write οὕτως καὶ περιπατῆτε, but the parenthesis of praise (κ. καὶ π.) leads him to assume that and to plead for fresh progress along the lines already laid down by himself.1. Furthermore then] R. V., finally; as the same Greek phrase is rendered by A.V. in Php 3:1; Php 4:8, &c. Lit., for the rest therefore, for what remains.

we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus] More exactly, and in the Greek order: brethren, we beseech you, and exhort in the Lord Jesus.

The first of these verbs, “beseech” (or “ask”), frequent with St John, is only found in St Paul besides in ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; and Php 4:3. The Apostle asks as in a matter touching himself and his Interest in his readers; he exhorts, as it concerns them and their own duty and relation to Christ; for it is on the basis and within the sphere of this relationship—in fact, because they are Christians—that such an appeal is addressed to them. Comp. note on “church in the Lord Jesus Christ,” ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:1; and for the title “Lord Jesus,” on ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:19.

St Paul’s deep affection for the Thessalonians and his longing to see them prompted the prayer with which the last chapter concluded, that the Lord Himself would make them to be found blameless in holiness at His coming. And it is “therefore”—in accordance with this prayer and these desires—that he now urges them to a still more earnest pursuit of Christian virtue.

that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God] “That” requires a comma after it, as in R. V.; for it looks forward to the final clause of the verse—“that ye abound more and more.”

“Received” corresponds to the first of the two words so rendered In ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (see note), and signifies the reception as matter of Instruction. Beside the doctrine of the Gospel the apostles taught its practice—what men should do and what should be the “work” and effect of their faith (ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3), as well as what they should believe. In their earliest lessons the Thessalonians had received the moral along with the theological elements of Christianity,—“how you ought to walk.” On this last word comp. note to ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

“Ought to walk and please God” is not the same as “walk so as to please God,” though this Is implied; but rather “how you ought to walk, and ought to please God.” The duty of pleasing God had been a subject of St Paul’s admonitions, and he had set all other duties in this light. Similarly in ch. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 he spoke of himself and Silas as governed in their work by the thought of “pleasing God,” while in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 the condemnation of the Jews was found in the fact that they were “not pleasing God.” Our conduct is always, and in everything, pleasing or displeasing to Him; and the religious man finds in this the highest sanction of right-doing. The word Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3) expresses in another way the same religious necessity attaching to moral obligation.

The clause even as ye do walk is restored to the text by the Revisers, on the best authority. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, “for indeed you do it;” also ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:11. The Apostle would not appear to censure his readers. He is sure that they are walking in the true path, mindful of his instructions; he wishes to keep them in it, and to urge them forward. The sum of his entreaty is (resuming the “that” left incomplete in the earlier part of tie sentence), that ye abound more and more (R. V.).

Section V. A Lesson in Christian Morals. Ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12We now pass from the first to the second of the two main divisions of the Epistle (see Introd. Chap. VII.), from narrative to exhortation. Chaps. 1–3 are complete in themselves, and the letter might fitly have terminated with the prayer just concluded (ch. 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13). For the Apostle has accomplished the chief objects with which he began to write,—viz. to assure his readers of the intense interest he takes in their welfare, to express his sympathy with them under their persecutions, and to explain how it was that he had not himself returned to them. But he cannot let the occasion pass without adding counsel and exhortation on certain subjects in which the Thessalonian Church was specially in need of guidance. Chief amongst these were the misunderstandings that had arisen touching the parousia, or second advent of Christ (ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11). But before he deals with this topic, there are a few things he wishes to say to them about morals and matters of conduct toward each other, which we have before us in this Section. It is significant that the Apostle puts these things first in his exhortation, although the question of the Parousia was of such absorbing interest.

The topics embraced in this Section are (1) and chiefly, that of chastity and the sanctification of the body, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; (2) brotherly love, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; (3) diligence in secular work, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.

That chaps, 4, 5 form an addendum, supplementing the primary intention of the Epistle, is shown by the introductory phrase:—1 Thessalonians 4:1. Ἀρέσκειν, to please, to show yourselves pleasing, acceptable) to the Lord.Verse 1. - Furthermore; literally, finally; for the rest - introducing the closing or practical part of the Epistle. The apostle uses the same word elsewhere at the close of his Epistles (comp. 2 Corinthians 13:1; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:1). Then; or rather, therefore; connecting this exhortation with the closing verses of the last chapter: In order that you may be established un-blamably in holiness at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, you must do your part, you must earnestly strive after holiness. We; to be restricted to Paul. Beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus; or rather, in the Lord Jesus; that is, in fellowship with him - the sphere or element within which the apostle besought and exhorted the Thessalonians. He wrote as the organ or instrument of the Lord Jesus. That as ye have received of us. Paul here appeals to the exhortations which he gave them during his residence among them at Thessalonica. How ye ought to walk and to please God; how you ought to conduct yourselves so as to please God. The walking was the means of pleasing. The R.V., after these words, on the authority of manuscripts, adds, "even as ye do walk." So ye would abound more and more. The apostle acknowledges their Christian walking; they had already entered upon the road; their conduct was sanctified; but he exhorts them to abound therein with still greater care and fidelity. Furthermore (λοιπὸν)

Rev. not so well, finally, although the word is sometimes rightly so rendered. The formula is often used by Paul where he attaches, in a somewhat loose way, even in the midst of an Epistle, a new subject to that which he has been discussing.

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