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1 Thessalonians 5:6

ESV So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
NIV So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
NASB so then, let’s not sleep as others do, but let’s be alert and sober.
CSB So then, let us not sleep, like the rest, but let us stay awake and be self-controlled.
NLT So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
KJV Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
NKJV Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

What does 1 Thessalonians 5:6 mean?

Paul has been discussing the rapture: a future, abrupt moment when Christ will retrieve believers from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17). This moment is one the Thessalonians are prepared for, so they won't be caught off guard the way unbelievers will (1 Thessalonians 5:2–3). Paul emphasized this point in the prior verse by referring to these Christians as "children of light, children of the day."

Because the Thessalonian believers had come to know the Light of the world and the truth of the gospel, Paul calls on them to stay alert and self-disciplined. He urges them not to "sleep," appealing to them not to be apathetic or uncaring. Believers need to be alert and self-disciplined as they watch for the Lord's return to take them to heaven.

Paul issues a similar appeal to the Christians at Ephesus. In Ephesians 5:15–16 he writes, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." If believers fail to be alert to the times and the hopeless condition of the children of darkness, how will they win the lost to Christ? In Ephesians 6:18 he admonishes believers to "keep alert with all perseverance."

The apostle Peter also appeals for sobriety—meaning self-discipline—and watchfulness. Similarly, Peter writes: "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
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