What does 1 Thessalonians 5:13 mean?
ESV: and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
NIV: Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
NASB: and that you regard them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
CSB: and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.
NLT: Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
KJV: And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
NKJV: and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Verse Commentary:
Citizens may not approve of everything their president or prime minister does or says, but they ought to respect them for the office they hold. Similarly, church members should value and love their spiritual leaders because of the work they do as the Lord's servants. Paul seems to imply a link between proper respect for a church's spiritual leaders and peaceful relations among the church's members. If some members respect their leaders, but others disrespect them, friction may arise, leading to the members taking sides. In the process the church will become unsettled. However, if all the members hold their leaders in high regard, peace will characterize their church.

It is an under-shepherd's responsibility, of course, to feed and care for the sheep, as Jesus instructed the apostle Peter to do (John 21:15–17). Paul urged the young pastor Timothy to set an example for the believers "in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). He also commanded Timothy to preach God's Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Those who live out their obligations as leaders of the church are worthy of respect.
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.
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