What does 1 Thessalonians 4:5 mean?
ESV: not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
NIV: not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;
NASB: not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
CSB: not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles, who don't know God.
NLT: not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.
KJV: Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
NKJV: not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
Verse Commentary:
After encouraging the Thessalonian believers to grow in their love and good works (1 Thessalonians 4:1–2), Paul has also reminded them of the importance of sexual purity (1 Thessalonians 4:3–4). Controlling one's body contrasts sharply with the pagan practice of giving in to sexual lusts. In ancient Greek culture, the environment of these Thessalonian believers, sexuality and prostitution were even part of pagan worship. The prevalence of sexual immorality in ancient religion is one reason Paul so often speaks on this subject. The intense power of sexual urges is another.

In 2 Timothy 2:20–21 Paul uses the analogy of a large home with vessels of gold and silver, and vessels of wood and clay. Some of the vessels are used for honorable purposes and some for dishonorable purposes. He makes the point that "if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house." After these words, Paul exhorts Timothy to "flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

Further, in Romans 6:12–13, Paul makes it clear that the body may be used for evil or good. He writes: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness."
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 4:1–8 urges the believers at Thessalonica to recall what Paul said when he was with them. He had taught them how to behave in such a way that they would please God. They were following these instructions well, but Paul challenges them to increasingly become more holy, for this was God's will for them. Each believer was obligated to avoid sexual immorality by controlling his own body, knowing the Lord avenges those who practice sin. Paul insists that to ignore this teaching about sexual immorality is tantamount to rejecting God.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 4 starts with an encouragement for the Thessalonian believers to continue their spiritual growth. Their conduct is exemplary, but they need to seek to do even more. Paul especially emphasizes the importance of sexual purity, as well as the need for believers to live peaceful, polite, and productive lives. Paul then begins to discuss the subject of Christ's return. This begins with a reassurance that believers who have died prior to the return of Christ will be the first ones raised when He comes back for His people. Next will be those still living, all of whom will meet Jesus ''in the air.'' Knowledge of our eternal destiny should be encouraging!
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1—3 had a lot to say about the good reputation of the Thessalonian church. Chapter 4 begins to address points Paul wants to clarify. First of these is the need to grow in good works, and to avoid immoral living. Paul then begins to explain ''the rapture'': the moment when Christ will retrieve believers from this earth. Paul's explanation seems to be intended to dispel rumors. In the final chapter, Paul will further explain the nature of the ''day of the Lord,'' correcting what might have been said by false teachers.
Book Summary:
The apostle Paul's second missionary journey included a visit to the prominent Greek city of Thessalonica. This stood alongside a major land route and boasted a busy seaport. A number of individuals believed Paul's message (Acts 17:1–4), but an angry mob forced Paul to leave the city after his brief stay. Later, while in Athens, Paul received a glowing report: the believers at Thessalonica were growing spiritually and serving God fervently. However, they had questions about the Lord's return, including what happens to a believer who dies before that day. And, as all churches do, they had some areas in which they were falling short. In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, written about AD 51, he addresses these developments. Paul expresses gratitude for the Thessalonian believers' spiritual progress, and frequently makes references to Christ's impending return.
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