1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - An Exhortation

Thessalonica was a very hostile city for a Christian to live in and the local church was starting to flounder. Therefore, the Apostle Paul gives them the exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Of the several different ways Paul could have encouraged the Thessalonians to rejoice, he chose the word that indicates that the rejoicing should be completely independent of the circumstances we find ourselves in - not based on how we feel or what we are experiencing. The Greek word translated "pray" is a general term which indicates more than just asking God for things - it also includes thanksgiving and worship. The Greek word translated "Give thanks" is almost exclusively used in reference to giving thanks to God rather than other people. Note also, that these verses are commands - they are not optional! Last week I showed that these 3 verses form a chiasmus. This means they are a unity - they belong together and they are not independent of each other. In addition, it is clear from the underlying Greek that they also express the idea of continuous attitudes, NOT once-off activities. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

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