1 Thessalonians 5

We must be ready for Jesus to return

1 Friends, we do not need to write to you about the dates and times when these things will happen. 2 You know very well about how the day of the Lord's return will happen. That day will surprise people very much, as when someone comes to rob people at night. 3 At that time, people will say, ‘We are safe and there is no trouble for us.’ But then, when they are not ready for it, a lot of trouble and pain will happen to them. That trouble will happen to them like the pains of a woman who is giving birth to a baby. And it will be impossible for anyone to get free from that trouble.

4 But you people, who are like brothers and sisters to us, you know about these things. So, you are not like people who live in the dark. And so the day when the Lord returns should not surprise you. That day will not surprise you as when someone comes to rob people. 5 All of you are people who are the Lord's people. So, you belong to the light and to the day. We are not people who belong to the night or to the dark. 6 So, we should not be like other people. We should not be like people who are sleeping. Instead, we should be like people who continue to be awake. We should think clearly about what is happening.

7 It is at night that people sleep. It is at night that people are drunks. 8 But we belong to the day. So we should watch and we should think clearly. We must continue to believe God and to love him. So we will be like soldiers who put on breastplates. Also, we must continue to hope strongly that God will save us. So we will be like soldiers who put on metal hats to keep their heads safe.

9 God did not make us his people so that he could be angry with us. He has not chosen us so that he can punish us. Instead, he has chosen us so that he can save us. He saves us because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done. 10 Jesus died for us so that we can live together with him. When he comes, we will live with him. Whether we are alive or dead at that time, there will not be any difference. We will all live with him. 11 So, tell these things to each other so that you do not feel sad or weak. Help each other to become stronger as believers, as you are doing already.

Paul's last words in this letter

12 Now we ask you, our friends, to remember how valuable your leaders are. They work among you and they look after you. They teach you how you should live as the Lord's people. They tell you when you do wrong things. 13 Show them how valuable they are to you. And love them very much because of the work that they do. Do not quarrel with each other.

14 Tell lazy people that they should work. Speak to those people who are afraid. Help them to be brave. Help those people who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Friends, we ask you strongly to do these things. 15 If a person has done something wrong to you, do not do something wrong back to them. Be careful that none of you does things like that. But always try to do good things to each other and to everyone else.

5:14All the Christians at Thessalonica were waiting for Jesus to return. They thought that he would come soon. Some of them may have thought that they did not have to continue to work. But nobody knows when the Lord will return. So Paul is teaching them about that. They must continue to work. They must go on living in a way that makes God happy.

16 Always be happy. 17 Pray at all times. 18 Whatever things may happen to you, continue to thank God. God wants you to do this, because you are united to Christ Jesus. 19 Do not stop letting God's Spirit work in you as people might put out a fire. 20 Listen carefully when people speak messages on God's behalf. Remember that those messages are important. 21 But think carefully about everything, to see if it really is from God. Then be careful to remember and to obey everything that is good. 22 Refuse to have anything to do with any kind of bad or wrong thing.

23 God causes us to be without trouble inside ourselves. And I pray that God himself will make you completely good and clean. I pray that God will look after your spirits, your souls and your bodies. I pray that he will look after you completely. Then you will be completely good and clean when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24 God has chosen you to be his people. And he always does what he has promised to do. So, he will do this for you.

25 Our friends, please pray for us. 26 Say ‘hello’ to all the believers. Kiss them as you would kiss your brother.

27 I tell you very seriously, on behalf of the Lord, that you should read this letter to all the believers. 28 I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will continue to be very kind to you.