1 Thessalonians 5:12
And we beseech you, brothers, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) We now come to minor details of instruction, no doubt suggested by observation of manifest defects in the Thessalonian Church. These details show us still further the mixture of restless ungoverned zeal with gloomy forebodings and discontents.

To know them which labour.—A command to enter into the spirit of ecclesiastical discipline. The persons meant are not simply the hard-working laity, contrasted with the idlers of 1Thessalonians 4:11 and 2Thessalonians 3:11, but those who performed the laborious office of the priesthood, as the words subsequent show. And “knowing” them is hardly to be limited either to the sense of “recognising their position,” i.e., “not ignoring them,” or, on the other hand, to the sense of “being on terms of familiar intercourse with them.” The Greek word indicates appreciation; they are bidden to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the presbyter and his work, and to endeavour to understand his teaching, and to value his example. The logical connection of this verse with the preceding is that of course the main endeavours to “edify” the brethren were made by the presbytery; and the command to edify involves the command to accept edification.

Are over you in the Lord.—This is the primitive idea of the priest in the Church: he is not a member of a sacerdotal caste, ministering to an outer world, but a superior officer in a spiritual society consisting of nothing but priests (Revelation 1:6, where the right reading is, “Made us a kingdom of priests”). It is specially interesting to notice how much power is given to the presbytery in this earliest writing of the New Testament, and how carefully St. Paul seems to have organised his churches, and that at the very foundation of them. It is only “in the Lord” that the presbytery are over men, that is, in spiritual matters.

Admonish you.—The presbytery are not only organisers, managers of the corporate affairs of their Church, but also spiritual guides to give practical advice to individual Christians. These are the two senses in which they are “over you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. We beseech you, brethren, to know — See, mark, take knowledge of them that, 1st, Labour among you — Namely, in the work of the ministry, by preaching, teaching, catechising, visiting the sick, administering the ordinances: 2d, Are over you — Greek, προισταμενους, who preside over you; preventing all irregularities, and keeping order in your assemblies, and taking care that every one exercises his office, and fulfils his duty properly in the station in which he is placed: and, 3d, Admonish you — Who observe the behaviour of individuals, and give to such as are found faulty the admonitions and reproofs necessary in order to their amendment, and that by particular application to each. Sometimes the same person may perform all these offices; may labour, preside, and admonish the whole flock, as need may be. Sometimes two or more different persons may be employed in these duties, according as God variously dispenses his gifts. “But, O, what a misery is it,” as Wesley observes, “when a man undertakes this whole work without either gifts or grace for any part of it! Why then will he undertake it? For pay? What! will he sell both his own soul and all the souls of the flock? What words can describe such a wretch as this? And yet even this may be an honourable man!” And esteem them very highly Υπερ εκπερισσου, literally, more than abundantly; in love — The inexpressible sympathy there is between true pastors and their flock is intimated not only here, but also in divers other places of this epistle. See 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8. For their work’s sake — Their diligence and faithfulness in preaching the word, in teaching, catechising, admonishing, exhorting, and watching over the souls committed to their care, as those that must give an account: the principal ground this of the respect due from Christians to their ministers, and especially of that great regard and strong affection which true believers bear toward those who have begotten them again through the gospel. But how are Christians to esteem those pastors who do none of those things? who take the wages, but do no part of the work?5:12-15 The ministers of the gospel are described by the work of their office, which is to serve and honour the Lord. It is their duty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flock of dangers, and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The people should honour and love their ministers, because their business is the welfare of men's souls. And the people should be at peace among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any differences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. The fearful and sorrowful spirits, should be encouraged, and a kind word may do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must be long-suffering, and keep down anger, and this to all men. Whatever man do to us, we must do good to others.And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you - Who they were is not mentioned. It is evident, however, that the church was not left without appointed persons to minister to it when its founders should be away. We know that there were presbyters ordained over the church at Ephesus, and over the churches in Crete (Acts 20:17; Titus i. 5), and that there were bishops and deacons at Philippi Philippians 1:1, and there is every reason to believe that similar officers would be appointed in every newly organized church, The word "know" seems to mean that they were not to make themselves strangers to them - to be cold and distant toward them - to be ignorant of their needs, or to be indifferent to them. While a people are not obtrusively to intermeddle with the business of a minister, anymore than they are with that of any other man, yet there are things in regard to him with which they should be acquainted. They should seek to be personally acquainted with him, and make him their confidant and counselor in their spiritual troubles. They should seek his friendship, and endeavor to maintain all proper contact with him. They should not regard him as a distant man, or as a stranger among them. They should so far understand his circumstances as to know what is requisite to make him comfortable, and should be on such terms that they may readily and cheerfully furnish what he needs. And they are to "know" or regard him as their spiritual teacher and ruler; not to be strangers to the place where he preaches the word of life, and not to listen to his admonitions and reproofs as those of a stranger, but as those of a pastor and friend.

Which labour among you - There is no reason to suppose, as many have done, that the apostle here refers to different classes of ministers. He rather refers to different parts of the work which the same ministers perform. The first is, that they "labor" - that is, evidently, in preaching the gospel. For the use of the word, see John 4:38, where it occurs twice; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Corinthians 16:16. The word is one which properly expresses wearisome toil, and implies that the office of preaching is one that demands constant industry.

And are over you in the Lord - That is, by the appointment of the Lord, or under his direction. They are not absolute sovereigns, but are themselves subject to one who is over them - the Lord Jesus. On the word here rendered "are over you" (προΐσταμένους proistamenous) see the notes on Romans 12:8, where it is translated "ruleth."

And admonish you - The word here used (νουθετέω noutheteō) is rendered "admonish," and "admonished," in Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:15; and warn, and warning, 1 Corinthians 4:14; Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:14. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means, to put in mind; and then to warn, entreat, exhort. It is a part of the duty of a minister to put his people in mind of the truth; to warn them of danger; to exhort them to perform their duty; to admonish them if they go astray.

12. beseech—"Exhort" is the expression in 1Th 5:14; here, "we beseech you," as if it were a personal favor (Paul making the cause of the Thessalonian presbyters, as it were, his own).

know—to have a regard and respect for. Recognize their office, and treat them accordingly (compare 1Co 16:18) with reverence and with liberality in supplying their needs (1Ti 5:17). The Thessalonian Church having been newly planted, the ministers were necessarily novices (1Ti 3:6), which may have been in part the cause of the people's treating them with less respect. Paul's practice seems to have been to ordain elders in every Church soon after its establishment (Ac 14:23).

them which labour … are over … admonish you—not three classes of ministers, but one, as there is but one article common to the three in the Greek. "Labor" expresses their laborious life; "are over you," their pre-eminence as presidents or superintendents ("bishops," that is, overseers, Php 1:1, "them that have rule over you," literally, leaders, Heb 13:17; "pastors," literally, shepherds, Eph 4:11); "admonish you," one of their leading functions; the Greek is "put in mind," implying not arbitrary authority, but gentle, though faithful, admonition (2Ti 2:14, 24, 25; 1Pe 5:3).

in the Lord—Their presidency over you is in divine things; not in worldly affairs, but in things appertaining to the Lord.

Ver. 12,13. The apostle spake before of their private duties as Christians to one another, now of their duties to their pastors and teachers, lest by what he had said they might think the ministry needless. It seems this church was settled under officers, which is called an organical church. And though the apostle himself was driven from them by persecution, yet they were not without ministers and teachers; and they owed a great duty to them, to which he doth lovingly exhort them. And he describes them not by the name of their office, as pastors, elders, or ministers, but by the work of it.

Them which labour among you; the word imports diligent labour, causing weariness, as 1 Timothy 5:17, who labour in the word and doctrine; which shows both the nature of the work of the ministry, it is laborious; and the duty of ministers therein, not to seek the honour and profit of the office, and refuse the labour of it; they have the work of teaching, and of oversight or government, and admonition, and all require labour.

And are over you in the Lord: the same word is used 1 Timothy 5:17, and translated rule; it signifies that superintendency and precedency, which the elders or ministers have over their respective flocks; and it is said to be in the Lord, either to distinguish them from civil officers, or to show both the original, rule, and end of their office; it is from the Lord by institution, and to be managed according to his laws, and directed to his service and glory as its end.

And admonish you: the word is often used in the New Testament, Acts 20:31 Romans 15:14 Colossians 1:28 3:16; and signifies either the putting into the mind by way of instruction, or upon the mind by way of counsel, threatening, or reproof; and that either publicly or privately. Now the duty they owed to them is:

1. To know them, as in the former words; that is, to own them in their office, to have regard to their teaching, and to submit to their government, and to reward their labours; as knowing is often taken in Scripture to express the acts of the will and affection, and the actions also of the outward man, as well as of the mind; as Psalm 1:6 101:4.

2. To esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake; uperekperissou see Romans 5:20 2 Corinthians 7:4. The words in the Greek carry such an emphasis as cannot well be expressed in English, importing esteem and love to an hyperbole; their love was to be joined with esteem, and esteem with love, and both these to abound and superabound towards them. We read of a double honour, 1 Timothy 5:17, which contains the whole duty of people to their ministers.

For their work’s sake; whether of teaching, ruling, or admonition. Their work is in itself honourable, and work that tends to your salvation, and though their persons be meant, yet to esteem and love them for their work; or if upon any other account they deserve it of you, yet their work is to be the chief reason thereof; especially considering that their work more immediately respected them of this church rather than any others; and their labour was amongst them; or, as some read it, in you, to instruct, edify, and comfort your inward man.

And be at peace among yourselves; some copies read it, with them, autoiv for eautoiv, by a little alteration of the Greek word; and then it still refers to their teachers, they should be at peace, or live in peace, with them; for oftentimes dissensions arise between ministers and people, whereby their edification is hindered. But I rather follow our own translation; and so it is a new duty of the people towards one another, to preserve mutual peace among themselves, and yet these words may respect the former. For if the people give honour and respect to their ministers, it may be a means to preserve peace among themselves: among the Corinthians, the applauding of some of their teachers, and the contempt of others, made great schisms and divisions amongst them. Our Saviour useth these very words to his disciples, Mark 9:50, from whence the apostle might take them. And the duty of peace he often presseth in his Epistles, Romans 14:19 1 Corinthians 7:15 2 Corinthians 13:11 Colossians 3:15 Hebrews 12:14; which was to prevent schism, which breaks the bonds of peace, and may make the labours of their teachers less successful. And we beseech you, brethren,.... Not in a natural or civil, but spiritual relation; and what follows relating to the ministers of the word, the apostle addresses this church on their behalf, not in an imperious and authoritative manner, but by way of entreaty, with great humility and strong affection:

know them that labour among you; who were not non-residents, but were upon the spot with them; and where indeed should pastors be, but with their flocks? and husbandmen and vinedressers, but in their fields and vineyards? and stewards, but in the families where they are placed? and parents, but with their children? nor were they loiterers in the vineyard, or slothful servants, and idle shepherds, but labourers; who laboured in the word and doctrine; gave up themselves to meditation, reading, and prayer; laboured hard in private, to find out the meaning of the word of God; and studied to show themselves workmen, that need not be ashamed; and preached the word in season and out of season; faithfully dispensed all ordinances, and diligently performed the duties of their office; and were willing to spend and be spent, for the glory of Christ, and the good of souls, and earnestly contended for the faith of the Gospel; and all this they did, as among them, so for them, for their spiritual good and welfare: some render the words, "in you"; they laboured in teaching, instructing, and admonishing them; they laboured to enlighten their understandings, to inform their judgments, to raise their affections, and to bring their wills to a resignation to the will of God; to refresh their memories with Gospel truths; to strengthen their faith, encourage their hope, and draw out their love to God and Christ, and the brethren: and what the apostle directs them to, as their duty towards these persons, is to "know" them; that is, not to learn their names, and know their persons, who they were; for they could not but know them in this sense, since they dwelt and laboured among them, and were continually employed in instructing them; but that they would make themselves known to them, and converse freely and familiarly with them, that so they might know the state of their souls, and be better able to speak a word in season to them; and that they would take notice of them, show respect to them, and an affection for them; acknowledge them as their pastors, and account of them as stewards of the mysteries of God, and own them as ministers of Christ; and reckon them as blessings to them, and acknowledge the same with thankfulness; and obey them, and submit unto them in the ministry of the word and ordinances, and to their counsel and advice, so far as is agreeable to the word of God: the Arabic version renders it, "that ye may know the dignity of them that labour among you"; and so conduct and behave towards them accordingly:

and are over you in the Lord; are set in the highest place in the church, and bear the highest office there; have the presidency and government in it, and go before the saints, and guide and direct them in matters both of doctrine and practice, being ensamples to the flock; the Syriac version renders it, "and stand before you"; ministering unto you in holy things, being servants to you for Jesus' sake: and this "in the Lord"; or by the Lord; for they did not take this honour to themselves, nor were they appointed by men, but they were made able ministers of the word by God; received their gifts qualifying them for this work from Christ, and were placed as overseers of the church by the Holy Ghost: and it was only in things pertaining to the Lord that they were over them; not in things civil, which distinguishes them from civil magistrates; nor in things secular and worldly, they had nothing to do in their families, to preside there, or with their worldly concerns, only in the church of Christ, and in things pertaining to their spiritual welfare; and though they were over them, yet under Christ, and in subjection to him, as their Lord and King; governing not in an arbitrary and tyrannical way, lording it over God's heritage, usurping a dominion over the faith of men, coining new doctrines, and making new laws; but according to the word of God, and laws of Christ, in the fear of the Lord, and with a view to the glory of God, and in love to souls: hence the Arabic version renders it, in the love of the Lord; the phrase, "in the Lord", is omitted in the Syriac version:

and admonish you; or instruct you, put into your minds good and wholesome things, and put you in mind of the doctrines of the Gospel, of the duties of religion, of former experiences; and give warning of sin and danger, and reprove and rebuke with faithfulness; and as the case requires, either in public or private, and with sharpness or tenderness.

{7} And we beseech you, brethren, to {b} know them which labour among you, and are over you in the {c} Lord, and admonish you;

(7) We must have consideration of those who are appointed to the ministry of the word, and the government of the church of God, and who do their duty.

(b) That you acknowledge and take them for such as they are, that is to say, men worthy to be greatly esteemed of among you.

(c) In those things which pertain to God's service: so is the ecclesiastical function distinguished from civil authority, and true shepherds from wolves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Thessalonians 5:12. The apostle commences with an exhortation to a dutiful conduct toward the rulers of the church.

δέ] can only be a particle of transition to a new subject. It were possible that 1 Thessalonians 5:12 might be in the following closer connection with 1 Thessalonians 5:11 : Certainly I have praised you, because you seek to edify one another; but this by no means excludes the duty of treating those who are appointed for the government of the church with becoming esteem and respect.[64] At all events, it appears from this that Paul considered this exhortation in respect to the rulers of the church necessary, to prevent the Thessalonians failing in any way in the respect due to them.

εἰδέναι] to recognise, sc. what they are, according to their nature and position, i.e. in other words, highly to value, highly to esteem. Comp. ἐπιγινώσκειν, 1 Corinthians 16:18, and יָדַע, Proverbs 27:23; Psalm 144:3; Nahum 1:7.

Paul does not by κοπιῶντας, προϊσταμένους, and νουθετοῦντας indicate different classes of persons (Bernard a Picon and others), for otherwise the article τούς would have been repeated before the two last predicates; but the same men, namely, the πρεσβύτεροι, whom the apostles were accustomed to place in newly founded churches, and who in apostolic times were not different from the ἐπίσκοποι; comp. Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7; Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Winer, bibl. Realwörterb. 2d ed. vol. I. p. 217 f. These presbyters are at first named generally κοπιῶντας ἐν ὑμῖν] those who labour among you, i.e. in your midst (Musculus, Zanchius, Flatt, Pelt, Hofmann erroneously explain it: on you, in vobis sc. docendis, monendis, consolandis, aedificandis), in order to make it appear beforehand that the εἰδέναι, the esteeming highly, was a corresponding duty due to the presbyters on account of their labour for the church. The expression ΚΟΠΙῶΝΤΑς might, on account of its generality, have been understood of any member of the church they liked; therefore, in order with ΚΟΠΙῶΝΤΑς to make them think definitely on presbyters, Paul adds by way of explanation, ΚΑῚ ΠΡΟΪΣΤΑΜΈΝΟΥς ΚΑῚ ΝΟΥΘΕΤΟῦΝΤΑς, by which presbyters are more particularly described, according to the diversity of their official functions, namely, as such to whom it belongs, first, to direct the general and external concerns of the church; and to whom, secondly, the office of teaching and exhortation is assigned. Incorrectly Theodoret: ΤῸ ΔῈ ΠΡΟΪΣΤΑΜΈΝΟΥς ὙΜῶΝ ἘΝ ΚΥΡΊῼ ἈΝΤῚ ΤΟῦ ὙΠΕΡΕΥΧΟΜΈΝΟΥς ὙΜῶΝ ΚΑῚ Τῷ ΘΕῷ ΤῊΝ ὙΠῈΡ ὙΜῶΝ ΠΡΕΣΒΕΊΑΝ ΠΡΟΣΦΈΡΟΝΤΑς.

ἘΝ ΚΥΡΊῼ
] in the sphere of the Lord, a limitation of προϊσταμένους. Theophylact: οὐκ ἐν τοῖς κοσμικοῖς προΐσταταί σου, ἀλλʼ ἐν τοῖς κατὰ κύριον.

νουθετεῖν] to lay to heart, then generally to instruct and admonish. It refers particularly to the management of Christian discipline, yet Christian instruction generally is not excluded from it. Comp. also Kypke, Obs. II. p. 339 f.

[64] Already Chrysostom closely unites ver. 12 with ver. 11, but determines the connection in the following form not much to be commended: Ἐπειδὴ εἶπεν οἰκοδομεῖτε εἷς τὸν ἕνα, ἵνα μὴ νομίσωσιν, ὅτι εἰς τὸ τῶν διδασκάλων ἀξίωμα αὐτοὺς ἀνήγαγε, τοῦτο ἐπήγαγε, μονονουχὶ λέγων, ὅτι καὶ ὑμῖν ἐπέτρεψα οἰκοδομεῖν ἀλλήλους· οὐ γὰρ δυνατὸν πάντα τὸν διδάσκαλον εἰπεῖν.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24. Miscellaneous exhortations, and the wish that God would sanctify the Thessalonians completely for the coming of Christ.1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. General instructions for the church.12. And we beseech you, brethren] For “beseech” (or “ask”) see note to ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:1. The Apostle resumes the line of exhortation which he there commenced, and which was interrupted by the consolations and warnings he had to give on the subject of the Second Coming.

The “But” with which this entreaty begins, points back to 1 Thessalonians 5:11. The Apostle has been directing his readers generally to “encourage and edify each other:” but at the same time they must not ignore the services of their official ministry or deem their oversight and teaching needless.

to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you] A clear testimony, from this earliest writing of the N.T., to the existence in the Church at the beginning of a ministerial order—a clergy (to use the language of a later age) as distinguished from the laity—charged with specific duties and authority. But there is nothing in the grammar of the sentence, nor in the nature of the duties specified, which would warrant us in distributing these functions amongst distinct orders of Church office. “Labouring,” “presiding,” and “admonishing” form the threefold calling of the local Christian ministry. Doubtless St Paul had organized this Church before leaving it, as he and Barnabas did the Churches of Lycaonia at an earlier time, “ordaining elders in every city” (Acts 14:23). It is not likely that it had advanced beyond the incipient stage of Church government. The Epistle to the Philippians, in which “bishops and deacons” are addressed (Php 1:1), was written nearly ten years later.

“Labour”—or toil, as in ch. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (see note)—implies difficulty in the work; the Apostle uses it of his own spiritual work in 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Php 2:16; Colossians 1:29. The chief instrument and method of this “labour” are pointed out in 1 Timothy 5:17; “who labour in word and doctrine.”

Lit., and preside over you in the Lord. The Pastoral Epistles, describing Church office in its more advanced development, represent this as the chief duty of the elders: “Let the elders who preside (rule, A.V. and R. V.) well, be counted worthy of double honour”; comp. also 1 Timothy 3:5; 1 Timothy 3:12. There, however, as here, “labouring” is honoured even more than “ruling.” The presidency of the elders in the Church assemblies naturally carried with it, as in Jewish communities, the right of exercising discipline over the moral life of the community. Hence “preside” comes to signify “rule,” as also in Romans 12:8. In Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:17 the ministers are called “your leaders.”—To “preside in the Lord” is to preside over a Christian assembly in Christ’s name and authority.

The duty of admonition devolved chiefly on the officers of the Church; but not exclusively, as 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and 2 Thessalonians 3:15 show.

To “know those who labour and preside and admonish” is to understand them and the nature of their duties—to know their character and labours, to have due acquaintance with them. Ministers are often told that they must know their people: the Apostle points out the duty that exists on the other side. Such knowledge, wanting apparently in some of the Thessalonians, would result in high esteem:—

Section VII. Rules for the Sanctified Life. Ch. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24In Section v. (ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12) the saintship of his readers supplied the basis and the nerve of the Apostle’s charge. He there enforced on the Thessalonian believers the virtues which they needed to cultivate, in the light of their consecration to God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit served as the sovereign motive for the leading of a pure life (ch. 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8). The same thought runs through this Section. The string of sententious exhortations it contains, find their goal and their uniting principle in the prayer, “May the God of peace Himself sanctify you fully” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Hence the title we prefix to the paragraph.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 relate to social duties, spreading out in widening circles from “those who preside over yon in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 5:12) to “all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Then we pass to religious duties, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 : to those (1) of the most general character, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; and (2) to the more specific injunctions arising from the special gifts of the Spirit then bestowed upon the Church, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22. These directions lead up to the great prayer of the Apostle for entire sanctification, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.1 Thessalonians 5:12. Ἐρωτῶμεν, we pray or beseech) Paul beseeches, making the cause of those labouring in the word as it were his own: another verb follows, viz. παρακαλοῦμεν, we exhort, 1 Thessalonians 5:14.—εἰδέναι) to know, to have respect and a regard for; a metonymy of the antecedent for the consequent.—κοπιῶντας, labouring) Sometimes one and the same person may labour), προΐστασθαι, be over or preside, νουθετεῖν, admonish; sometimes different persons, according to the variety of gifts. To labour is not only the genus, but it denotes different functions, which are not comprehended under presiding and admonishing; for example, Romans 16:2. Phœbe was προστάτις, a superintendent; on the contrary, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, Tryphœna and Tryphosa had indeed laboured, but they had not been προστάτιδες, they did not preside or act as superintendents. Acting as superintendent implies authority; νουθετεῖν, to admonish, denotes zeal and skill, which one exercises more than another.Verse 12. - With this verse commences a new paragraph. The apostle adds in conclusion a few brief and somewhat miscellaneous exhortations. And we beseech you, brethren; an expression of earnestness and affection. To know; that is, to value, appreciate, and esteem. Them which labor among you. It was Paul's custom to organize the Churches which he had founded, and to appoint presbyters among them. Although the Church of Thessalonica had been so recently founded, yet it had its presbyters. And are over you. The presbyters, in virtue of their office, presided over the Christian assemblies. In the Lord; the sphere in which they were set over the Church; they were ordained to minister in sacred things. And admonish you. There are not three classes or orders of office-bearers here mentioned - those who labored among them, those who presided over them, and those who admonished them (Mac-knight); but all these duties belonged to one class, namely, the presbyters. Know (εἰδέναι)

See on 1 Thessalonians 4:4. Recognize them for what they are, and as entitled to respect because of their office. Comp. ἐπιγινώσκετε acknowledge, 1 Corinthians 16:18; and ἐγνώσθης takest knowledge, lxx, Psalm 143:3. Ignatius, Smyrn. ix.:, has ἐπίσκοπον εἰδέναι to know the bishop, to appreciate and honor him.

Are over (προΐσταμένους)

Lit. who are placed before you. See on Romans 12:8. Used of superintendents of households, 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:12 : of the ruling of elders of the church, 1 Timothy 5:17. It does not indicate a particular ecclesiastical office, but is used functionally. The ecclesiastical nomenclature of the Pauline Epistles is unsettled, corresponding with the fact that the primitive church was not a homogeneous body throughout christendom. The primitive Pauline church consisted of a number of separate fraternities which were self-governing. The recognition of those who ministered to the congregations depended on the free choice of their members. See for instance 1 Corinthians 16:15, 1 Corinthians 16:16. The congregation exercised discipline and gave judgment: 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 2:6, 2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 7:11, 2 Corinthians 7:12; Galatians 6:1.

Admonish (νουθετοῦντας)

Only in Acts and Paul. See on Acts 20:31, and comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 4:14; Colossians 1:28.

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1 Thessalonians 5:11
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