For we know, brothers, loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our
gospel came to you not
simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with
deep conviction. You know how we
lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the
Lord: in spite of severe suffering,
you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
The Lord's message rang out
from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become
Therefore we need not to say anything about it, for they themselves
report what kind of reception you
gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living
and true God, and to wait for his
Son from heaven, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite 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 men approved by God to be entrusted with
the gospel. We are not trying
to please men 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 are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As
apostles of Christ we could
have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother
caring for her little children. We
loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the
gospel of God but our lives as
well, because you had become so dear to us.
Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night
and day in order not to be a
burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are
witnesses, and so is God, of
how holy, righteous and blameless 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
worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
And we thank also God continually because, when you received the word of
God, which you
heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it
actually is, the word of
God, which is at work in you who believe.
For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which
are in Christ Jesus: You suffered
from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from
the Jews, who killed the Lord
Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are
hostile to all men in their
effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be
saved. In this way they always heap
us their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
But, brothers, when we were torn away 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 stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy,
or the crown in which we will
glory in the presence of our lord Jesus Christ when he comes? Is it not
you? Indeed, you are our glory
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 God's fellow-worker in spreading the gospel 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 were 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 might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your love and faith. 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, 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 you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus Christ 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, as ours does for you. May he strengthen then your hearts 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.
Finally, brothers, 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 by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid
sexual immorality; that
each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy
and honourable, not in
passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this
should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.
The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you
and warned you. For God did not
call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects
this instruction does not reject man
but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Now about brotherly love 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 in
Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to
do so more and more.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business
and to 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
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, 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 own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming 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 meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Now, brothers, 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 labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
So than, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert
and self-controlled. 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 self-controlled, 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, to repsect those who work hard among you, who
are over you in the Lord
and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of
their work. Live in peace with
each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle,
encourage the timid, help the weak, be
patient with everyone.
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be
kind to each other and to
everyone else. By joyful 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. Test
everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just; He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God many count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming.
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and to be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word or mouth or letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strenghten and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.
May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any one of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat".
We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busy-bodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing of what is right. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as a enemy, but warn him as a brother. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.