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1 Thessalonians 4:13

ESV But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
NIV 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 of mankind, who have no hope.
NASB But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope.
CSB We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
NLT And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.
KJV But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

What does 1 Thessalonians 4:13 mean?

Here, Paul begins to address some of the concerns plaguing the Thessalonian Christians. These mostly involve their misconceptions about the end times and what will happen when Christ returns to earth.

Paul begins his explanation of what happens to Christians who die before Jesus returns for His church. He calls death a sleep. This is a common euphemism, but one that comes with particular implications in a biblical worldview. When a person goes to sleep, he expects to awake. So, when a believer's body dies, it "sleeps" in the grave, but it will awake. He provides this explanation about the death of a believer so Thessalonian believers will not grieve the deaths of fellow believers in the same way as unbelievers grieve the loss of their friends and loved ones. Unbelievers have no hope, but believers have a firm hope of life beyond the grave. Christians can mourn a fellow believer's death as a sad, but temporary separation, rather than a permanent loss.

It should be noted that Paul's point is about the physical body "sleeping." Elsewhere, he makes it clear that the soul and spirit are conscious even after death; this passage is not meant to endorse anything like "soul sleep." Paul testified to the Philippians that to die would be his gain, so he would rather break camp with this life and enter Jesus' presence (Philippians 1:20–24). Also, in 2 Corinthians 5:8 he tells us "… we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." Jesus' description of Lazarus and the rich man paints a similar picture of consciousness immediately following death (Luke 16:19–31).

Paul explains later in this chapter when this awakening will occur, what the awakening means, and what happens when the body awakens.
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