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Showing posts from January, 2006

Notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.
4:2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

As Paul heads toward the close of his letter, he urges the Thessalonians to "excel still more" in pleasing God.

Pleasing God is the relational context within which Paul wants the Thess. to view what he is about to say. I.e., here is further information about how to excel in pleasing God.

4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;

God want us to be "sanctified" -- Paul further defines this sanctification in terms of separation from sexual immorality.

The one word definition of 'sanctification' is separation. To be sanctified or holy is to be separated from immoral behavior to moral behavior, from the impure to …

Devoted to one another in brotherly love (Rom. 12:10)

I was sharing a section of Barclay’s treatment of the key NT words for love with my Greek I students yesterday. The section dealt with philostorgos in Romans 12:10, which the NASB translates, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” As Barclay explains it, the word translated “be devoted” (philostorgoi) connotes the devotion a parent has for a child or a child for a parent. A verse from 4 Maccabees supports Barclay’s statement: “O sacred nature and affection of parental love, yearning of parents toward offspring, nurture and indomitable suffering by mothers!” (15:13). Similar usage may be found in Josephus (e.g., Ant. 7.252) and Philo.

The “yearning toward [their] offspring” which parents experience is the sort of devotion that the Spirit through Paul is exhorting us to have toward one another. Interestingly Paul qualifies this with the word philadelphia, brotherly love. Because we are siblings in Christ, our devotion should be brotherly.

Frankly, the significance of this passage …