What does 1 Thessalonians 5:12 mean?
ESV: We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
NIV: Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.
NASB: But we ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who diligently labor among you and are in leadership over you in the Lord, and give you instruction,
CSB: Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you,
NLT: Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance.
KJV: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
Verse Commentary:
The Thessalonian church was a model church in many ways. Its members cherished God's Word, manifested faith, hope, and love, and exhibited a missionary zeal. This led to a stellar reputation in their region (1 Thessalonians 1:8–9). However, these believers were not immune to temptation. Paul recognized the possibility that members of the church might become unreasonably critical of their spiritual leaders, so he instructs them to hold church leadership in high regard. The leaders would include not only pastors but also all who shared leadership responsibilities in the church.

Paul describes the leaders as holding positions of authority and responsibility in the church. The Lord had placed them in these positions and given them the responsibility to warn and instruct the church. Hebrews 13:7 encourages a similar relationship between believers and their spiritual leaders. It commands believers to "remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith."
Verse Context:
First Thessalonians 5:12–22 gives the Thessalonian believers a series of exhortations. As children of the day, who were anticipating the Lord's return, they needed to live righteously. As a church, they needed to relate well to their leadership. Paul calls upon them to treat all their fellow believers kindly and patiently and to do good to one another. Paul admonishes the believers to be joyful at all times and to keep on praying. Constant thanksgiving was to mark their lives. Further, Paul tells his readers not to quench the Holy Spirit or to have a negative attitude toward prophetic ministries. However, they were supposed to keep a firm grasp on teachings that they tested and found to be true. Lastly, Paul directs his readers to avoid every kind of evil.
Chapter Summary:
First Thessalonians chapter 5 reiterates that the rapture will occur quickly, catching the unbelieving world unprepared. In contrast, Paul presents faithful Christians as those who are aware and ready for this event. This passage uses the contrast of day versus night to highlight those differences. Paul also completes his letter by offering various practical instructions. These include the need to be peaceful, hardworking, and forgiving. He also commends constant prayer and an attitude of joyfulness, before closing his letter with a command for this letter to be read aloud.
Chapter Context:
The end of chapter 4 discussed the nature of the rapture: a sudden, physical ''taking away'' of believers from the earth. Here, Paul continues to refer to this event's sudden and dramatic nature. A key analogy used in this passage is that of daytime versus darkness, and the concept of being awake and alert. As with many of Paul's letters, practical instructions make up the bulk of his closing statements. In particular, Paul adds a command that this letter be read aloud among all of the people of the Thessalonian church.
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.
Accessed 4/22/2024 2:23:51 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com