What does 1 Thessalonians 4:6 mean?
ESV: that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
NIV: and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.
NASB: and that no one violate the rights and take advantage of his brother or sister in the matter, because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you previously and solemnly warned you.
CSB: This means one must not transgress against and take advantage of a brother or sister in this manner, because the Lord is an avenger of all these offenses, as we also previously told and warned you.
NLT: Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.
KJV: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
NKJV: that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
Verse Commentary:
The context of this verse is Paul's strong endorsement of sexual morality (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5). Here, Paul makes the point that sexual immorality not only violates God's law, it harms the other person involved. This is a point often missed in modern discussions on sex; the common claim is that one's sexual behavior "isn't hurting anyone." According to Scripture, however, it's not only sin against God, it's harmful to the people who engage in it. As such, Paul assures his readers that God judges those who engage in sexual immorality. When he was in Thessalonica, he had taught the believers to avoid sexual immorality and had warned them about the consequences of such behavior.

In Romans 1:18 Paul teaches that God's wrath is against all who suppress the truth and practice ungodliness and unrighteousness. In Romans 1:24–27 he specifically cites homosexuality as an example of the impurity God's wrath targets. Genesis 18 and 19 record the account of God's retribution on Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities renowned for sexual sins among other atrocities. In His wrath, God destroyed both cities by raining down sulfur and fire. Genesis 19:25 reports the complete devastation that occurred: "And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground." God's warnings about sexual sin are meant to be taken seriously.
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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