JohnSWilson3 Blog

The First Letter to the Gathering of Believers in Thessalonica (A modified translation of TNIV)
November 24, 2011, 5:09 am
Filed under: H First Letter to the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians (words in parenthesis are more defined or literal and modifies the TNIV; notes to the translation are after the letter)

Paul, Silas and Timothy,

To the (gathering) (1) of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our (good news) (2) came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and (with much assurance.) (3) You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the (Word) (4) in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a (pattern) (5) to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. (The Word of the Lord) (6) rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what happened when we visited you. They tell 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 rescues us from the coming wrath.

You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not (in vain.) (7) We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you (the good news of God) (8) in the face of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the (good news.) (2) We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from any human being, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our prerogatives. Instead, we were (gentle) (9) among you.

Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the (good news) (2) of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we (proclaimed) (10) the (good news) (2) of God to you.

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how (pure, just, and without fault) (11) we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you (to the kingdom and glory of himself.) (12)

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the (Word) (4) of God, which you heard from us, you accepted (this not as a human word, but actually as) (13) the (Word) (4) of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of (the gatherings of God) (14) in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your fellow citizens the same things those gatherings (1) suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. (The wrath) (15) has come upon them at last.

But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown (of glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus?) (16) Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the (good news) (2) of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see (your face) (17) again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts (blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all God’s people.) (18)

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you (through) (19) the Lord Jesus.

(For this is God’s will – your separation to God:) (20) that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is (separated to God) (20) and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to (live a life separated to God.) (21) Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, dear friends, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left (in the presence) (16) of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to (a face-to-face meeting of the Lord) (22) in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who (are working hard among you, who are caring for you in the Lord and who are warning you.) (23) Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject whatever is harmful.

May God himself, the God of peace, (separate you to himself complete.) (24) May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless (in the presence) (25) of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Notes to Modified Translation:
(1) gathering. “Church” incorrectly translates “ekklesia” which means “gathering.” (Vines, 42)
(2) good news. “Gospel” is normally the word translated for “euangelion” which means “good news.” (Vines, 275)
(3) with much assurance. “Deep conviction” incorrectly mistranslates “plerophoria polle” which means “much full assurance.” (Vines, 43). The word “elencho” means “to convict.” (Vines, 128).
(4) Word. Lower case “word” incorrectly translates “logon” which is a singular masculine part of speech of “logos” which signifies the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ in His people and so I have capitalized it to show the Person of Christ. (Vines, 683)
(5) pattern. “Model” is used by the translators but “pattern” or “example” is the better translation for “tupon.” (Vines, 463)
(6) The Word of the Lord. “The Lord’s message” incorrectly translates “o logos tou kuriou” which means “The Word of the Lord.” This construction always describes the Person of Christ Jesus in scripture. (Marshall, 597)
(7) in vain. “Not without results” mistranslates the words “ou kenon” which means “empty” or “vain.” (Vines, 657)
(8) the good news of God. “His gospel” is literally “the good news of God.” (Marshall, 597)
(9) gentle. “Like young children” incorrectly translates “epioi” which means “mild” or “gentle.” The TNIV translators seem to try and connect the word with the next verse but the word actually refers to “a nurse with trying children.” (Vines, 263)
(10) proclaimed. “Preached” incorrectly translates “ekeruxamen” which comes from the word meaning “to proclaim.” (Vines, 481, 489)
(11) pure, just, and without fault. “Holy, righteous and blameless” is better translated “pure, just, and without fault.” “Holy” or better, “holily,” translates “hosios” which means “pure.” (Vines, 308) “Righteous” or better, “righteously,” translates “dikaios” which comes from the word for “just,” meaning to be fair or tolerant. (Vines, 535) “Blameless” or better, “blamelessly,” translates “amemptos” which means “without fault.” (Vines, 68)
(12) to the kingdom and glory of himself. “Into his kingdom and glory” is literally “to the kingdom and glory of himself” and gives the sense that He is the kingdom and glory! (Marshall, 599)
(13) this not as a human word, but actually as. “It not as a human word, but as it actually is” adds the words “it” into the translation when they are not in the original passage. It is literally translated: “not as a word of men but as truly is word of God.” (Marshall, 599)
(14) the gatherings of God. “God’s churches” is literally “the ekklesias of God” which means “the gatherings of God.” This is the plural form for the word “ekklesia.” In Judea there was more than one gathering of believers. A gathering of believers, an ekklesia, was formed in more than one city in Judea, one being in Jerusalem. (Marshall, 599)
(15) The wrath. “The wrath of God” is literally “the wrath.” The sense of the passage is the consequences that a person can expect here on earth as they miss the mark of God’s purpose.
(16) of glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus. “In which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes” actually adds a number of words to give a future sense to Paul’s description but the literal translation is “of glory…before the Lord of us Jesus in the presence of him.” (Marshall, 599) Translators tend to make the word “parousia,” which means “presence,” give only a future time of being in the presence of Jesus when the word gives an actual present meaning of being in Jesus’ presence with and in His ekklesia. (Vines, 111)
(17) your face. “You” is literally “your face” and means an actual face-to-face gathering. (Marshall, 601)
(18) blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all God’s people. “So that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” Here again the translators are using “parousia” to describe a future event without giving credence to the present literal rendering of the passage. The passage is literally translated: “blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the presence of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” (Marshall, 601)
(19) through. “By the authority of” is not in the original language. The translators interpret the instructions that the apostles gave as having Christ’s authority since they were spoken “through the Lord Jesus” which is the literal translation. (Marshall, 601)
(20) For this is God’s will – your separation to God. I think the literal translation along with the word “separation to God,” “hagiasmos,” which means “sanctification,” provides a better sense of the phrase Paul is using instead of “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” (Marshall, 601; Vines, 545)
(21) live a life separated to God. “Live a holy life” is literally translated “in sanctification” which again means to live a life separated to God which refers back to Paul’s statement in verse 3. (Marshall, 601)
(22) a face-to-face meeting of the Lord. “Meet the Lord” while it describes the gathering of the ekklesia with Christ the word “apantesis” comes from the word which means literally “to come face to face with.” A very encouraging word to the believers. (Vines, 402)
(23) are working…are caring…are warning. The words “work…care…admonish” is literally translated “laboring….caring…admonishing.” I use the literal sense of the words to show the active sense of the words and prevent a thought that some in the body who work or care or admonish may somehow “retire” from doing so, who stop living by Christ’s life in this regard. But God’s people continue to do so in the ekklesia as they live by His life. The word “admonish” means to warn. (Vines, 13)
(24) separate you to himself complete. “Sanctify you through and through” is literally translated “may he sanctify you complete.” “Sanctify” again means “separation of yourself to God.” (Marshall, 605)
(25) in the presence. “At the coming” is literally translated “in the presence.” The sense in context of this verse and the following verse seems to indicate both a present and active sense as well as a future sense.

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