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1 Thessalonians 5:1 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

1. But of the times and the seasons ] Better, concerning the times and the seasons. The Greek word for “times” denotes stretches of time, that for seasons particular times; the question as to the former was, “How long before the Lord comes? what periods will elapse before the final establishment of His kingdom?” as to the second, “What events will transpire meanwhile? how will the course of history shape itself?” These enquiries our Lord put aside. “It is not for you,” said He, “to know times or seasons, which the Father has put within His own province” (Act 1:7); and previously Jesus had declared respecting the end of the world, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, only the Father” (Mar 13:32). Such knowledge, it appears, is outside the province of human thought. Speculations of this nature have been repeatedly ventured on since the Apostle’s day; they have proved invariably worthless, and afford so many confirmations of the Lord’s warning. Chrysostom remarks on this passage somewhat severely: “Our nature is officious and greedy for the knowledge of things invisible and hidden from us. This comes of our conceit, and from having nothing to do. Often therefore is the mind in haste to learn and understand these things before the time.”

ye have no need that I write unto you ] Lit., that aught he written to you (R. V.). The phrase is a repetition of that of ch. 1Th 4:9, except that there the emphasis lies on you as persons not needing this instruction, here upon the writing as a thing in itself needless. On the topic of the last paragraph, viz. the position of Christians dying before the Lord’s return, it was needful that something should be written; as to the “times and seasons” nothing need be written, for the readers already knew so much as could be known (1Th 5:2).

Section VI. (continued): 1Th 5:1-11

The first part of this Chapter stands in close connection with the last six verses of ch. 4. Together they form the most distinctive and the weightiest section of the Epistle. The two paragraphs of the section touch upon two different aspects of our Lord’s Coming, viewed first as it concerns departed Christians, and then in its relation to men living on the earth. The former passage supplies comfort respecting the dead in Christ, the latter enjoins watchfulness and preparedness upon the living. See note introductory to ch. 1Th 4:13.

From 1Th 5:1-2 it appears likely that the Thessalonians had been enquiring from St Paul “about the times and the seasons” of Christ’s return and the Day of Judgement.

Section VI. The Coming of the Lord Jesus

Ch. 1Th 4:13 to 1Th 5:11

This solemn topic, as we have already seen (note on ch. 1Th 1:10, and Introd., pp. 18 21), is the principal theme of the Epistles to the Thessalonians. It is not treated by way of argument or indoctrination, but as a matter already familiar to the readers; on which, however, further explanation and admonition were needful. The Apostle’s teaching about this event had been on some points misunderstood, while new and anxious questions had arisen respecting it. Death had visited the Christian flock at Thessalonica since St Paul left them; and this had aroused in the survivors a painful fear lest those who were thus snatched away should have lost their place and their share in the approaching advent of Christ. This apprehension the Apostle proceeds to remove; and we may entitle the remaining verses of the chapter: Concerning them that fall asleep.

St Paul (1) bids his readers be assured of the safety of their departed fellow-believers, 1Th 4:13-14; and he makes the revelation (2) that these will have the first place in the assembling of the saints at Christ’s return, 1Th 4:15-17. He goes on to remind them (3) of the uncertainty of the time of His coming, ch. 1Th 5:1-3; and (4) exhorts them to be always ready for the event, like soldiers on guard and fully armed, 1Th 4:4-9.

Consult other comments:

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Greek Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Barclay Daily Study Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - B.H. Carroll's An Interpretation of the English Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Through the Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Expositors Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Expositor’s Greek Testament by Robertson

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Expositor's Dictionary of Text by Robertson

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - F. B. Hole's Old and New Testaments Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - F.B. Meyer's Through the Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Gaebelein's Annotated Bible (Commentary)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - McGarvey and Pendleton Commentaries (New Testament)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Geneva Bible Notes

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Grant's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - International Critical Commentary New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Commentaries on the New Testament and Prophets

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - William Kelly Major Works (New Testament)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by Lange

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Neighbour's Wells of Living Water

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - An Exposition on the Whole Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Complete Pulpit Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist by Riley

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Sermon Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

1 Thessalonians 5:1 - Combined Bible Commentary

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges