- Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, servants of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, unto the church of the Thessalonians: Grace unto you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We give thanks always, making mention of you all in our prayers to God for you, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father, knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the holy ghost, and in much assurance, as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction with joy of the holy ghost, so that you were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God is spread abroad, so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves show of us what manner of entrance in we had unto you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from Heaven, whom he raised from the dead: Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.
- For you, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain. But even after we had suffered before and were shamefully treated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God, with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile, but as we were approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak — not as pleasing men, but God, who tries our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak of covetousness — God witness — nor of men sought we glory, neither of you nor of others, when we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children; so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because you were dear unto us.
- For you remember, brethren, our labor and travail, laboring night and day because we would not be burdensome unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you that believe, as you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father his children, that you would walk worthy of God, who has called you unto his kingdom and glory.
- For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received not the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus; for you also have suffered like things of your own countrymen even as they of the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always; for the wrath is coming upon them to the utmost.
- But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore, we would have come unto you, even I, Paul, once and again, but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For you are our glory and joy.
- Wherefore, when we could no longer bear it, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and to comfort you concerning your faith, that no man should be moved by these afflictions. For you know that we are appointed unto this; for truly, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation, even as it came to pass, and you know. For this cause, when I could no longer bear it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you and our labor should be in vain.
- But now when Timothy came from you unto us and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that you have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us as we also you, therefore, brethren, we were comforted concerning you in all our affliction and distress by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sakes before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
- Now God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another and toward all, even as we toward you, to the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
- Furthermore then, we implore you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, you would abound more and more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the desire of God: your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor — not in the lust of licentiousness, even as the gentiles who know not God; that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despises, despises not man, but God, who has also given unto us his holy spirit.
- But as touching brotherly love, you need not that I write unto you, for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another, and indeed you do it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we implore you, brethren, that you increase more and more, and that you strive to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands as we commanded you, that you may walk honestly toward them that are outside and that you may have lack of nothing.
- But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so they also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord: that they who are alive at the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who remain unto the coming of the Lord who are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then they who are alive shall be caught up together into the clouds with them who remain, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we be ever with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.
- But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you, for you know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes: as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light and the children of the day. We are not of the night, nor of darkness; therefore, let us not sleep, as others, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep in the night, and they that are drunk are drunk in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore, comfort yourselves together and edify one another, even as also you do.
- And we implore you, brethren, to know them who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren: warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all. See that none render evil for evil unto any, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all. Rejoice for ever. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do.
- Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with a holy salutation. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS
The first epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens.